We have created these resources so that teachers can organise workshops for parents in their own schools. Links below will download a teachers guide, and four printable leaflets for parents that link to outlines of four suggested workshops. A summary of the workshops, with some examples of parent contributions to previous workshops, can be found below in the article 'Workshop plan for teachers'.

Introductory videos can also be found on this site, under 'For Parents'. The first video focuses on the ways in which mathematics can be found in many aspects of everyday family life and activity. The second focuses on the importance of home maths talk for supporting children's mathematics learning. 

If you are thinking about using the Everyday Maths resources in your school, then we would love to hear about it. We may be able to offer additional support, depending on your situation - please contact Tim (t.jay@shu.ac.uk) or Jo (jo.rose@bristol.ac.uk)

This page gives some information about how we designed the workshops for parents. The 'stories' tab above gives some idea of the discussions that parents had, and the pictures below show some of the notes taken by researchers and parents during the sessions. It is important to note here that the workshops were designed to be parent-centred, and to respond to the interests, needs and contexts of parents. Therefore, the plan adapted to each school, and did not stick to a rigid schedule. Some parents were more interested than others in documenting some of their family activity with the rest of the group. Some parents were more keen on small-group work, while others preferred whole-group discussion. We found that being flexible and responsive to these kinds of preferences made for enjoyable and useful sessions. One more thing to mention before describing the plan for the workshops relates to our recruitment strategy. We found that the workshops had a good level of attendance, once parents understood what we were trying to do. When we first started working with schools on this project, many parents expected us to be running workshops to teach parents how to do classroom arithmetic. We found that investing some time helping parents understand what our aims were, paid dividends in terms of levels of attendance and engagement with the sessions. To this end, we sent letters home to parents, put up posters near school entrances, included items in school newsletters, and offered parents a short morning meeting to explain the purpose of the workshops - all emphasising the 'everyday maths', parent-centred, nature of the workshops.

Plan for workshops

We have found that 3 sessions of approx. 1 hour – with no more than 2 weeks between sessions – is about right. Throughout, there was a recognition of parents as experts (think empowerment) - which meant making sure that parents have lots of opportunities to lead aspects of the discussion, decide on topics, and the format of the workshops.

The aim of the workshops is to give parents opportunities to share:

- Family activities

- Understandings of maths in family activity

- Experience of maths talk with children

Session 1

Introduction to the workshops – aim is to increase the amount of maths talk out-of-school. Make sure to allow plenty of time for questions, and for some discussion about the ways that parents currently do maths and maths-talk with their children. It's good to know where everyone is coming from. Ask parents to talk in pairs/threes about an activity they do as a family. This should be something where there would normally be no maths-talk. The point of this is to show that all activities that families engage in can be seen from a mathematical persective, and provide opportunities for maths-talk. As whole group, ask for some examples. Then “What maths might be involved?” - let the parents do the work as much as possible!

Examples that we have used in workshops include; going to the M-Shed (an interactive museum in Bristol), going to the zoo, going swimming, doing some cooking. It's useful to choose an example that all or most parents will be relatively familiar with. We have found that parents do this very well. With the zoo visit example, we started off with parents talking about the number of animals in each enclosure. But later contributions included ideas such as navigating around the site, planning a route so that children could see the animals they wanted to see within the time available, and relationships between the size and lifestyle of animal and the amount of space they needed. Depending on the group, and on how much time is spent on each example, choose some further examples to 'find the maths', as above. For the next session – ask parents to think about family activities where there wouldn't normally be any maths talk. Maybe ask them to bring in photos/notes to share with group. In our experience, some parents like sharing photos and some don't. Some like taking notes and some don't. It's best to go with parents preferences rather than ask them to something they're not keen to do (at least if you'd like them to come back!)

Session 2

Ask parents to work in small groups on the activities that they have recorded or remembered since session 1. Their task is to come up with as many mathematical ideas as they can that relate to the activities they have done. Use flipchart paper, post-it notes, marker pens etc. to make notes for sharing later Share ideas with whole group. Discuss how these ideas can be used as conversation starters - “I wonder...?” - “How did you...?” We have found that session 2 often brings some important issues to the fore. Parents often feel restricted at first by a lack of confidence with mathematical language, or by a feeling that they need to stick to 'mathematics' and not stray into 'science', 'economics' or 'geography'. This is an ideal time to help parents feel comfortable with the idea that any talk is good, and that talk that crosses boundaries between mathematics, science, history, etc., is likely to be really good conversation and great for children's learning. Similarly, parents often express worries in this session that they don't know the 'right answer'. Again, this is a good opportunity to reassure parents that good maths-talk does not need to end up with a right answer. For example, one discussion with parents in this session was about finding a rope swing. This presented an opportunity to think about pendulums - and we had lots of good maths-talk about properties of pendulums (pendula?) without ever knowing or remembering the exact formula connecting the length of the rope and the duration of the swing. The important thing was to think about what the properties might be, and to think about interesting questions.

Session 3

The way you manage this session should depend on how the previous 2 sessions have gone – be flexible! Have parents had conversations with children that they wouldn't have had before the workshops? Would it be helpful to explore the maths in more activities? Do parents feel that there is anything stopping them putting the workshop experience into practice? We have found that this session is useful as a way for parents (and facilitators) to get closure from the workshops; to ask any questions that have come out of the previous sessions, discuss additional acitivites, or to share examples of maths-talk with children.

Let us know!

We would like to know about how this approach works in your schools

We are designing a short evaluation questionnaire to help us and you understand parents’ responses to the workshops. Let us know if this would be helpful for you. Please let us know if and when you are planning to run sessions for parents. We may able to provide some support, and would be very interested in hearing about any outcomes.