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Planet Math’s Summer Day Camp Programme

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Ministerial Statement by the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports, The Hon. Lovitta F. Foggo, JP, MP

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to advise this Honourable House of an initiative that the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation’s Summer Day Camp Programme engaged in during the school’s summer break.

Mr. Speaker, One of the objectives of the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation’s Summer Day Camp Programme is to provide the day campers we serve with fun education activities during the summer break.  One of those activities was Planet Math.

The Senior Officer responsible for the programme, Ms. K. Charryse Bean, began the consultative process with Planet Math in February 2018.  Planet Math is dedicated to improving math competency throughout Bermuda.  The co-founders, Mr. Kevin Warner and Mr. Sergio Pitcher, recognised many students have a unjustified fear and aversion to mathematics. 

Mike Lefkowitz of the Mind Research Institute puts the importance of mathematics to students quite succinctly:

 “Studying mathematics not only will develop more engineers and scientists, but also produce more citizens who can learn and think creatively and critically, no matter their career fields. The workforce of tomorrow, in all fields, will demand it.

Mr. Speaker, Planet Math’s Summer Day Camp Programme initiative produced high quality math lessons in one (1) hour sessions daily with three (3) hour sessions per day.  It should be noted, that the Summer Day Camp Programme operated for six weeks July 2 – August 10, 2018.  The Planet Math Programme was provided to upwards of five hundred (500) campers between the ages of four (4) years – ten (10) years old.

Mr. Speaker, The Department transported these students to Planet Math from eight (8) camp sites throughout the island at no cost to their parents.

It has been said that students often lose math skills learned during the school year during their summer breaks.  The result is that teachers spend at least a month reviewing previous lessons before they can progress.

Mr. Speaker, It was the intent of the programme to minimize the time spent on revisions so that learning new math skills can be optimized.

It must be stated that the founders of Planet Math were cognizant of the fact that the campers were in “summer mode” and may be reluctant to school work so they provided dynamic teachers that understand that students learn and are stimulated in various ways including hands on learning, audio and visual styles.  A combination of technology, drills and manipulatives were used to achieve their goals.  The environment was catered to successful learning.

Mr. Speaker, In the words of Mr. Kevin Warner who stated “we feel privileged that we had the opportunity to work with these students this summer.  Our hope is that they had a lot of fun while learning math this summer, but most importantly, they are able to carry this over into the new school year and were ready for whatever math came their way in the fall!”  “Fear math no more”.

Mr. Speaker, The programme was such a success that it is planned to run it again next summer and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation’s, Senior Recreations Officer, Ms. Charryse Bean and her team for their foresight and Planet Math for being such valuable resources for the community. 

Thank you Mr. Speaker