Kid City in Haverhill gets a maths boost

Children from Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill have helped Abbeycroft Leisure makeover Kid City with a maths theme,
Children from Castle Manor Academy in Haverhill have helped Abbeycroft Leisure makeover Kid City with a maths theme,

Students from Castle Manor Academy have helped design and deliver a makeover at Haverhill Leisure Centre’s indoor play area Kid City and Tot’s Town to stimulate mathematical thinking and questions.

As part of the Suffolk Learning and Improvement Service’s drive to raise standards in mathematics across the county they approached Abbeycroft Leisure to see if it could help by talking part in a project to incorporate maths into everyday life for young children in key stage 1 and 2. This has resulted in a partnership between Suffolk County Council’s Learning and Improvement Service (LIS), Castle Manor Academy and Abbeycroft Leisure in support of the wider County Council’s Raising the Bar initiative. Raising the Bar is based on an enquiry into school standards in Suffolk and has identified a range of solution groups and innovative ideas to help support schools, families and communities in accelerating progress and driving up attainment for all Suffolk children and young people.

The very popular Kid City and Tot’s Town, which attracts 1,600 children every year, was chosen for a maths themed makeover which will help children practice their sums in a fun and familiar environment.

Abbeycroft Leisure and the Learning and Improvement Service enlisted the help of KS3 students at Castle Manor Academy to help design and put together the project. The students worked on their own ideas as part of their design and technology lesson with their Design and Technology teacher Mrs Becky Baldwin and math teacher Mr Colin Bailey.

Using photos and measurements of the Kid City area the students designed logos , wall art and activities to fit in with Abbeycroft’s mascot ‘Scales the Dragon’ including a numeracy theme. They presented their ideas with costings to Abbeycroft Leisure and the Secondary Learning and Improvement Adviser for Mathematics in a Dragon’s Den style format.

Mrs Baldwin said: “When I gave my students the brief they were really excited to be involved in a ‘real’ project that would happen in their home town. They worked hard researching costings to put together a bid for funding using persuasive language and they practised all through lunch on the day so they would be word perfect. I was so proud of them when they made their presentations. They were confident and professional in a situation that was comparable to a job interview. They gave a fantastic pitch and the adults were blown away with their ideas which secured the funding to buy all the things on their shopping list.

“When you see what they have achieved from concept to completion you wouldn’t know that it had all been planned by young teenagers. They are looking forward to the opening event and to bringing their friends and family here to say ‘I did this’. They have learnt life skills to help them in the workplace which is an invaluable experience.”

Now Kid City has been revamped with a wooden shop called Scales Stores complete with the Centre’s mascot Scales the Dragon money in the play till, a reading corner with maths books, a Scales height measurer, and other interactive features.

Michelle Banfield-Curran, Abbeycroft’s Partnership Manager, said: “Kid City is now bright, interactive and full of practical activities to help children with their maths while having a great time.

“We’d like to thank Castle Manor Academy staff for supporting the project. A well-deserved thank you goes to the Year 9 students who put together the proposals for the makeover, planning the wall art designs and purchasing the toys. Thank you also to Chelsea and Leslie, Sixth Form art students at the Academy who mentored the Year 9 pupils throughout the process and designed the shop, making the curtains to make it usable as a puppet theatre. I’m sure our younger Visitors will enjoy the theme and parents will be happy that they will be learning and improving their maths too.”

The makeover was funded by The Suffolk Learning and Improvement Service and Abbeycroft Leisure.

Gill Larkin, Learning and Improvement Adviser for Secondary Mathematics, said: “I am delighted that this partnership between our three organisations has come to fruition. We are very excited by the potential that this has created for parents and children to enjoy and take part in maths together in a relaxed environment.

“The aim is that the variety of resources that have been created will provide something for all children, and will stimulate and encourage mathematical thinking from an early age. Resources are still being developed and will continue to be in order to create and support a wide range of age related exciting and engaging activity in mathematics. ”