Counting for Life® was designed to provide one-on-one support to children with numeracy disorders, including dyscalculia.

The program targets children in Years 3-5 who are struggling with numeracy at an important stage of their development. Addressing learning and numeracy is important if we want children to have the best chance of success. Children who suffer from learning difficulties have a far greater likelihood of poor behaviour, poor social relations and delinquency.

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Counting for Life is a program that works by training volunteers to work with selected children at their school to improve their:

  • numeracy
  • self-esteem
  • confidence

Volunteer Buddies

The volunteer ‘Buddies’ visit the children once a week for 10 weeks and guide them through a semi-structured program which contains a variety of fun activities and games to encourage children’s engagement and interest while building their numeracy skills. They also encompass activities to boost children’s self-esteem.

Pre and Post Testing

​Each child is tested prior to the program to determine their numeracy levels across several areas and their self-concept. They are re-tested again at the end of the program to determine their improvement. This information is compiled into a report that is given to the school and children’s parents. Feedback is also requested from the school, volunteer Buddies, children and their parents at the conclusion of the program.

Impact

Since its development, Counting for Life has been enormously successful in providing children with the mathematical skills they need to fully participate in society in later years. By intervening at an early age, Learning Links aims to prevent children leaving school with limited numeracy outcomes. Addressing problems during the primary school years will have a long-term impact on the child.  Most importantly however, the confidence and enjoyment of learning in children participating in Counting for Life has increased, influencing their self-esteem and motivation to learn.

Benefits of the Program

Numeracy is needed for a wide range of everyday activities such as money handling, taking medication and cooking. It is also critical for economic and social participation in the technology-rich 21st century. For individuals, proficiency in numeracy is positively associated with labour market participation, employment and earning higher wages. It has become an essential skill for all people in the workplace.

​The benefits of the program are sustainable for each participating child – once they develop their numeracy skills, it affects their outcomes in all their subjects at school, particularly when they reach high school and a good level of numeracy is necessary to achieve academic outcomes. The importance of developing strong early mathematics knowledge, skills and positive dispositions, can have a lifelong effect.

Our education system and teachers work hard to support all students in schools, however are constrained by time, funding and specific training in the area of learning difficulties. Learning Links works in partnership with school communities to complement their programs and supports for the maximum outcomes for children.

Learning Links is focused on resolving a significant and serious issue in our community – the negative impact of learning difficulties on our children and their future. Without the help of Learning Links, the education outcomes, well-being and potential of these children are affected, at great cost to our community.

​Volunteer Buddies have also benefited enormously from their involvement in the program, recognising the difference they have made to children’s lives.

Gains made by children

On average, over a 10-week period, children participating have made

the following learning gains and improved their:

 

SkillGains
Numerical Operations 9 months
Mathematical Reasoning 10 months
Math Self-concept 7 points
Addition 13 months
Subtraction 12 months
Multiplication 11 months
Division 10 months
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What the Counting for Life kids say

“It helps me a lot since my homework has maths at the back. I use some counting patterns and it really helped me.”

“I feel better and more confident. I have moved into a higher maths group.”

“Thanks for helping me with my maths”

“She was a good teacher”

“She is nice……. if I have questions wrong she helped”

“She is fun, like a friend”

“She was nice, friendly, loving and caring ”