Dominique Ciccarelli: October 24, 2017


Education Expert Provides Tips to Deal with Math Anxiety 

Dominique Ciccarelli, Ed. M.

Education Expert Kumon North America


As students are back in full swing at school, some may feel the stress and pressure that comes along with it. The thought of a test can make even the most confident student feel stressed, but for some, the feeling goes beyond a little worry.  It has been shown that many students deal with “math anxiety”. And often times, that math anxiety starts at home. Research shows that children of highly math-anxious parents were more likely to develop math anxiety themselves when their parents helped with homework. Some studies show that 10 to 20 percent of adults experience math anxiety.

On Tuesday, October 24th education expert Dominique Ciccarelli will be available for interviews to give advice to parents on how to lessen math anxiety. Instilling confidence early is one key factor. Math skills at kindergarten entry can predict later math achievement.

Some of her tips for parents include:

  • Positive Reinforcement: Math anxiety is contagious! Stay positive and relaxed. Create a math-positive environment at home, especially while helping children with homework. Negative associations like ‘I’m not a math person’ can transfer from one person to another.
  • Develop math skills early with practical applications:  Develop number sense by counting food items at snack time, practice simple addition and subtraction using small toys and blocks, and develop math language by helping them recognize the connection between a numeral, the word and the amount. Showing your child how math is relevant in their everyday lives, helps them to engage and think critically.
  • Make math fun: Playing games that are math and numbers oriented is an excellent way to make math fun and get children interested. Incorporate math into their natural interests, such as with cooking, through sports and with problem-solving games.
  • Learning doesn’t have to stop when the bell rings: An individualized learning program can give children the foundation and tools they need to succeed, and take the pressure of the parent.
  • Communicate with the teacher: How math is taught in school today is likely different from how parents were taught. Children who are struggling with math often have difficulty conveying their confusion to their parents. School teachers are the best resource for parents to understand how their child is supposed to solve the exercises.

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Dominique Ciccarelli is the education spokesperson for Kumon North America and has been featured on television and radio news programs nationwide. She began her tenure with Kumon eight years ago as the director of a company-owned center in New York City instructing 200 students. Ms. Ciccarelli went on to launch a revamped training program for Kumon Instructors in the United States and Canada. Using her prior experience in qualitative research for an education non-profit, she then spearheaded new research of instruction in the Kumon Reading program. Ms. Ciccarelli holds a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University and a Master of Education degree from Harvard University.

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