Introduction
School Environment
The school environment which constitutes of the school buildings and grounds, is a key factor in the overall health and safety of students, staff, and visitors.

Being appointed as a Trainee Support Teacher in the zone 3, I am posted at Robert Edward Hart Government School situated at Surinam since 25th January 2018. The school environment as well as the teaching staff, the HM and DHM as well as the non-teaching staff is very friendly. Since Support teachers are meant to teach grade 1 & 2 students having difficulties in their learning, I was directed towards the grade 1 class where the main teacher welcomed me. At the beginning, that is, semester 1, I was on observation stage and was taking notes of the class. By the end of the first semester, together with the help of the main teacher, she gave me a list of 7 students with whom I need to work with. These students were short listed with reference to their first term assessment. Those pupils had difficulties in literacy, numeracy and even their writing.

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Some of the learning difficulties that pupils encountered in case of their numeracy can be as follows:
Mind-map on learning difficulties in numeracy in the early years
Factors contributing to learning difficulties in the early years
According to the NCF (National Curriculum Framework Grades 1-6- Mauritius
Published by Mauritius Institute of Education, 2016-01):
Mathematics involves the study of numbers, quantities, shapes and colors and it reveals patterns that help to understand the world around us. Children learn mathematics as they need to reason, think logically, be creative and critical, solve real life problems and connect ideas, including those from daily life experiences. As the first three years of primary lay emphasis on Literacy and Numeracy, there are added opportunities to develop mathematical knowledge and disposition by relating the underlying concepts to life situations.

However, even though children are taught the basic numeracy skills and competencies at the early years, they still face difficulties in understanding and grasping what is being taught. As seen in the above mind map, children face a lot of difficulties in numeracy in the early and the factors contributing to those learning difficulties can be as follows:
Absenteeism on behalf of teachers
Absenteeism on behalf of pupils
Overcrowded classes
They do not understand the spoken or written instructions
Lack of use of teaching aids (Concrete, pictorial, abstract)
The use of pragmatic language for instance telling the pupils ‘as put together’ instead of addition, take away instead of subtraction and sharing in equal portions instead of division.
The home literacy environment that is, the socioeconomic status and parental education level
PUPIL’S PROFILE
Name of School: Robert Edward Hart Government School
Name of pupil: Souraiya
Gender: Female
Age: 6 years
Communication, Language and Literacy:
Has Difficulty Emerging
(Attempting) Expected
(Can Do)
Tells own names, gender and age Name His/her school Writes own names Answers questions when asked Describes simple events Relates experiences in structured sentences Express emotions and feelings Show honesty and respect Show initiative to lead an activity Socializes with peer(s) Plays cooperatively 12.Follow instructions 13.Feeds oneself independently 14.Discipline 15.Participate actively After observing the pupil, the following information were gathered:
Strengths Weaknesses Others
Can count 0 – 10 orally
Can recognize numbers 0 – 10 in numerals if written in order
Recognise colours and shapes orally
Can count objects in a given set and give correct answer
Understands English (communicating) Difficulty with writing in a given space
Mirror writing (Literacy and numeracy – fine motor skills)
Difficulty with French communication Shows willingness to work
NOTE: This student has problem with speech and is following speech therapy which is done in English.
PUPIL’S PROFILE
Name of School: Robert Edward Hart Government School
Name of pupil: Darius
Gender: Male
Age: 6 years
Communication, Language and Literacy:
Has Difficulty Emerging
(Attempting) Expected
(Can Do)
Tells own names, gender and age Name His/her school Writes own names Answers questions when asked Describes simple events Relates experiences in structured sentences Express emotions and feelings Show honesty and respect Show initiative to lead an activity Socializes with peer(s) Plays cooperatively 12.Follow instructions 13.Feeds oneself independently 14.Discipline 15.Participate actively After observing the pupil, the following information were gathered:
Strengths Weaknesses Others
Can count 0 – 10 orally
Can recognize numbers 0 – 10 in numerals
Can read and recite alphabets in order from a – z Does not recognize colours
Difficulty with writing in a given space
Mirror writing
Confusion with letters b, d, p and q
Confusion with f and t Shows interest and is more attentive while pulled out to “support class”
Likes to do colouring
DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS:
Diagnostic assessment is assessment which looks back to understand the pupil’s current position and it often takes place at the beginning of a programme. It is mainly used to:
Identify pupils’ strengths and weaknesses.

Identify the nature of pupil’s learning difficulties and areas for improvement.

Form the basis for interventions to address the learning difficulties identified.

In order to conduct diagnostic assessments, teachers develop diagnostic tools in a number of creative ways which include introductory activities, questioning, observation and worksheets”. The automated grading feature makes it easy to instantly know how much information the pupil already knows and as consequently the teacher get to know about the strengths and weaknesses of the pupil.

In order to know more about the difficulties that the two pupils mentioned above have, a diagnostic assessment was carried out. The purpose of these activities was to help me understand whether the child had difficulties or not and how I could help him improve and what resources I could use to help them which would give positive results in the learning process of the child.

Two very simple activities were carried out with the pupils.
ACTIVITY I: SOURAIYA
The pupil was asked to count the number of objects in the set and write the correct numeral from a worksheet. She could understand what she had to do and started to count the number of objects both in the set and she also counted on her fingers to confirm she was saying the correct numeral. She had one to one correspondence and stable order as she could count and associate one finger as she continues counting on and she always counts 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 in the same order. However, since her fine motor skills are not well developed, she had a problem in writing (both in literacy and numeracy). She mirror wrote numerals; number 2, 3 and 7 as consistently as shown below. This has also been observed from her book (see picture below).

ACTIVITY I: DARIUS
Firstly, the pupil was asked to show objects with red, blue, yellow and green colour from the class itself and it was observed that the child was unable to correctly point a red, blue, yellow or green object accordingly. To further confirm that the pupil really had difficulty in recognizing colours, he was asked to colour the objects according to said colour in the task as shown below.

The pupil could understand that the task given was a colouring activity and he was happy to do it as he likes colouring. The pupil was given a full set of wax crayons having all the different colours and still he was unable to choose the correct wax crayon to do the colouring shown in the above picture. Hence, it could be concluded that the child had a difficulty in recognizing the primary colours.

INDIVIDUAL PLAN:
SOURAIYA
Weaknesses Strategies and activities Time Span
Mirror writing (Literacy and numeracy – fine motor skills) Tracing on sand paper flash cards, tracing letters and numerals in the air, writing in sand tray, modeling clay, finger painting 3 – 4 weeks
Difficulty with writing in a given space Writing on A4 paper without restricting the area, writing in restricted area A5 paper size and writing in mandarin Copybook 2 month approx
Difficulty with French (communication Developing her French by making her read alphabets in French, make her get used to introducing herself in french like ;je m’appelle…, je suis une fille, j’ai 6 ans, je suis en grade 1 DARIUS
Weaknesses Strategies and activities Time Span
Does not recognize colours Watch video on colours, visit in the school yard, sorting objects according to colour cards, colouring according to given task 2 – 3 weeks
Difficulty with writing in a given space Writing on A4 paper without restricting the area, writing in restricted area A5 paper size and writing in mandarin Copybook 2 months approx
Mirror writing Tracing on sand paper flash cards, tracing letters and numerals in the air, writing in sand tray, modeling clay, finger painting 3 – 4 weeks
Confusion with letters b, d, p and q
Confusion with f and t Tracing on sand paper flash cards, tracing letters and numerals in the air, writing in sand tray, modeling clay, finger painting, reading words starting with the alphabet we are working on (working with one alphabet at a time) LESSON PLAN:
SOURAIYA
DARIUS
INTERVENTION TOOLS AND TEACHING STRATEGIES
So, to help the pupils the following strategies were adopted.

Souraiya:
The child had to pick the flash card with number 3 written on sand paper among the others.

She had to say the number aloud
She then had to trace her finger on the number 3 following proper direction from me. This step was done twice.

Next she had to trace the number 3 in the sand tray

ACTIVITY II
In the next activity she had to write the number 3 using modelling clay.

Activity III:
In activity III, the pupil had to write the numeral 3 using finger painting

Note: Every time the child had some difficulty I guided her.

DARIUS:
Activity I:
The pupil accompanied by myself had a tour in the school yard to show him objects of different colours.

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Activity II
Game activity

Activity III

JUSTIFICATION FOR USE OF INTERVENTION AND TEACHING STRATEGIES
REFERENCES:
https://www.understood.org/en/learning-attention-issues/child-learning-disabilities/math-issues/understanding-your-childs-trouble-with-mathhttp://www.scecs.act.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/346056/Learning_Difficulties_-_Factsheets.pdfhttp://www.child-encyclopedia.com/numeracy/according-experts/early-predictors-mathematics-achievement-and-mathematics-learninghttp://ccea.org.uk/curriculum/assess_progress/types_assessment/diagnostic

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