The Abacus and The Importance of Learning the Ancient System for Mathematics

More emphasis is being placed on children to learn specialized subjects that they either excel at naturally or parents wish to promote the interest from an early age for them to start at a young age. The brain is like any muscle that can be trained from an early age, and it responds to stimulations, whether positive or negative, which is widely known as neuroplasticity.

This means when parents provide children with the right type of stimulations, with various types of educational and STEM toys, it can teach the brain to build the correct patterns of thoughts that are positive and help overcome challenges, promotes critical thinking, improves communications, provides opportunities to work as a team.

Why choose to practice the abacus?

There are many advantages of teaching a young child abacus as it builds a strong base in mathematics; used for centuries, originating in China in 1300 BC, the abacus is a few of the best ways to do that. The main reason why abacus is considered to be one of the best options for children learning basic mathematical concepts is one of the best examples of learning toys for a developing child’s mind.

While there are many ways one can teach the child sound mathematical concepts, especially if they have a natural flair for numbers as some do. However, the main reason why the abacus is such a handy tool to teach basic concepts is that it is the best alternative to written numbers. The abacus helps visualize the number with the help of the sliding beads. There is a place for ones, tens, hundreds and thousands, and large calculations can be simply calculated with the beads, which is also promoting mental mathematics to a certain degree. 

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Advantages of using the abacus

There are many benefits of learning the concept through this ancient method; the reason being, having a physical understanding of abstract mathematical concepts is difficult for children below the age of nine. Without the physical aspect of mathematical calculations that the abacus can help with, the only way to proceed for the child will be to memorize the concepts without understanding which not just undermines the child’s performance, but also does not do justice to their capabilities. 

The abacus reduced the strain that children put on their short term memory, obviously, as it helps retain the knowledge through understanding rather than memorizations, which is only effective until after the tests or exams, after which the child can easily forget. 

The other factor that assists with the memory is a clear understanding of the concepts, help the child visualize the answer, mentally to arrive at the right answer, through practice. With this type of scenario, the child is memorizing the patterns and calculation concepts to apply them in the correct format, and getting the right answer by using the concepts. 

A child in the earlier years at the school has manipulatives to help them arrive at the correct answer; however, as the child gets older, the mathematical concepts become more difficult, with larger numbers that are hard to manipulate mentally. The use of abacus from a young age will help the child do difficult calculations or larger numbers, through visualizations.

Practicing the abacus from a young age also changes the way the person perceives mathematical problems. The entire perception is different; this is because the abacus gives the person enough confidence to be able to perceive the question or problem, without fear. On the other hand, children, who have not practiced the abacus and are 8 to 10 years, have trouble solving problems that children at the age of 6 or 7 are solving, after practicing the abacus. Practicing abacus daily will also boost the child’s concentration, allowing him or her to focus in other areas of life through similar concentration.

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The abacus helps train the mind of a developing child, and alters their perceptions; not just at mathematics, but in other areas of life, both personal and academic. While it is important that a child is trained at different subjects with an educational toy or an activity box, it is crucial to the child’s logical thinking and creativity that they practice the abacus starting young. Training a child’s mind in positive ways, making a positive neural connection, forging a path to be successful with the skills acquired through an innate understanding of the matter.