This edition of Centre Stage is with the mind behind the St James Sudoku Challenge and Countdown Championship, as well as being the mum of Oliver (Y4) and Henry (Y2). We sit down with Mrs Munro and ask her to sum up what she loves about maths.
Can you tell us a bit more about your role as Head of Maths – what does it entail?
When I was asked to be Head of Maths, Mrs Thomlinson tasked me with creating a buzz about maths in the school, making the children more enthusiastic about this subject, and learning to love it as much as I do.
I take a group of children from most classes once a week and do problem solving and challenges with them. I also teach Y5 & Y6 Maths and work with Class Teachers to help plan maths lessons.
As well as my role as Head of Maths, I also lead our ACE programme with Mrs Cselko. I love setting the challenges for the children and finding strategies that stretch them in fun and exciting ways like the Sudoku Challenge last year and our whole school Countdown Championship which will take place at the end of this term.
You are obviously very passionate about your subject. What inspired you to study maths (can you include where you studied it and what you studied) and what do you love most about it?
I loved maths from the age of about 13 onwards, mainly because I loved my maths teacher! She was really strict but loved her subject. I went on to study maths and Education at Oxford University. Pure maths and algebra are my favourite and I love doing puzzles and challenges. When Sudoku first came out in the Independent newspaper I entered a competition and got through to the national final!
Maths is often considered one of the most difficult subjects for children to find fun. How do you engage with the children and do you have any tips for parents?
My advice to parents is to try to bring maths into everyday life, for example ask your children to help you count change when paying for things in the shops, or working out how much change you will get. You could also get them to work out how long a journey will take, or what time you will arrive if a journey takes a certain time. For children who are in Y2 or above you can also play with your Tackling Tables cards. Most importantly though don't get cross when they can't do something, don't worry, this school is full of amazing teachers who are looking after your children. That is why I chose St James for my children!
What do you like to do on a Sunday?
Weekends for us are about being together as a family and eating good food. We like to go out and have adventures on Sunday as Saturday is usually a day of rest after a busy week. We are just starting to get into long cycles as the boys are old enough not to fall apart at the sight of a hill! We love to play board games together, particularly Skyjo, Desert Island, Labyrinth, Mech vs Minions and Flashpoint.