Before the invention of the Arabic numeral system, a “counting frame” was used to make calculations. This frame is known as the Abacus, which is a counting tool made from movable beads that follows the traditional Chinese calculation method.
Technological advancements brought forth the calculator, which is now common trade and is preferred by students to solve even the simplest calculations.
Owing to its primitive look, the Abacus and its efficiency is often doubted. But, it is an excellent tool that can help youngsters sharpen their mathematical skills, as I will outline later in this article.
Only recently has there been a global awareness, including in Singapore, about the importance of developing math abilities for future academic success. Good math abilities help individuals in career aspirations, good judgment, and effective decision-making.
In this article, I will also highlight why enrolling your children in an Abacus class is a good idea and will also cover some of the best institutes offering Abacus classes in Singapore.
Why is Abacus Training Popular in Singapore?
Abacus training started trending in Singapore after parents realised its benefits in children’s development, especially in their early education years. Also, many internationally recognised Abacus learning centres have opened their branches in Singapore which have gained the attention of many parents.
Similar to how yoga, dance, and other extracurricular activities help in a child’s character building, Abacus helps in mental development – and this goes a long way. Due to this reason, more and more learning centres now offer Abacus training along with other curricular activities.
Is Abacus useful for my child?
Abacus is a technique that enables children to solve arithmetic problems faster and reduces the fear of solving problems involving big numbers. In short, it is very useful for all children. If your child doesn’t like or perform well in math, you can enrol them in Abacus classes.
Not only will this help them learn how to solve math problems easily but will also foster their interest in the subject. Moreover, Abacus broadens the working capability of the brain and aids its development.
Impressed yet? I still have many benefits to cover!
Pros of using Abacus to teach a child Math
Enrolling a child into Abacus classes in their early years will help tremendously in many ways. As children start to learn the Abacus, they imagine the Abacus in their mind and carry out the functions virtually.
This, in turn, boosts their concentration skills and helps them focus easily as compared to conventional problem-solving techniques.
Once children get the hang of using an Abacus, they can start processing numbers as soon as they see a mental math problem; this helps improve their observational skills.
By learning Abacus, students can solve even the most lengthy mental math problems in less time.
When a child uses the Abacus to solve a problem, they also develop analytical skills. Learning Abacus can also be a training programme for creativity and critical thinking skills!
What is the Right Age for a Child to Learn Abacus?
Some primary schools in Singapore are offering this course to students for their development. Students can start their Abacus training as early as age 4 if they can write the numbers 0-9 independently.
If a child begins learning Abacus early at 4, usually the preschool and kindergarten age, it might take them three years to complete the course. If they start from the age of 7, they can complete the course in almost two years.
How many levels are there in Abacus?
There are many Abacus learning centres that are offering more or less similar courses for Abacus. The course is divided into two levels for the ease of the students. Students can even skip a few courses at each level if they are quick learners.
Students start from the preparatory course when they are 4-6 years old. This course involves learning formulae, number bonds, place values, number sequences, and the introduction of the Abacus to solve simple sums.
Children usually learn fast at the preparatory course so parents may have them skip a few levels according to their abilities.
The elementary course will include all the formulas needed to work on the Abacus. The mainstream course will cover addition and subtraction for up to two digits. Towards the end of the course, multiplication is also introduced.
17 Popular Abacus Classes in Singapore
The increased awareness of Abacus has prompted parents to enrol their children in classes that offer its training. Parents are intrigued by how their children manage to solve math problems on their Abacus.
The curriculum is similar for most of the centres, but the teaching style and material may vary.
Here are the 17 popular Abacus classes for children in Singapore.
1) 3G Abacus
Established in 2005, 3G Abacus provides an excellent environment to learn Abacus. They have the mission for all their students to grasp the principles and basics of Abacus and calculations. They strive to groom their students to become outstanding mathematicians.
Its founder, Mdm Chee Geok Hwa, has been teaching Abacus for more than 25 years and has trained more than 200 instructors in the field.
Location: 134 Jurong Gateway Road #04-307A Singapore 600134
Asia Learning Resources Pte Ltd is a renowned education service provider, providing acknowledged and enriched curriculum-based education programmes for children 4 – 15 years of age. They have 12 centres operating all over Singapore, with more than 1,000 students seeking effective learning.
Their child-friendly course material makes comprehending instructions easier for children. They aim to improve the numerical abilities of their children in a fun-filled environment.
Location: 756, Upper Serangoon Road #02-10, Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre Singapore 534626
3) Brainy Moves
Brainy Moves is a brand trusted by schools and businesses to offer development plans for children and adults. The centre is famous for providing age-appropriate programmes and counselling sessions catering for toddlers, young children, adults, and seniors. They offer therapy for children with neurological conditions such as autism, ASD, ADHD, etc.
Also, they provide various other programmes, including Abacus training, to accelerate brain performance and improve academic results. The founder James Tang aims to make his students focused and motivated learners through the various personalised programmes.
Location: Centropod @ Changi, 80 Changi Road, #03-18, Singapore 419715
CMA boasts of being the best Mental Arithmetic Centre in Singapore, with over 20 centres providing quality services to over 30,000 students all across Singapore. They have age-appropriate programmes to improve brain functions.
CMA has introduced programmes that offer visualised training, response training, dual hand Abacus system, and many more to help the children perform better in academics. The institute aims to build self-confidence and courage in its students through its training programmes. CMA has achieved many awards for its services for students over the years.
Location: Several locations (Head Office: 81, Tagore Lane #01-07 TagA, Singapore 787502)
Crestar is a learning centre that offers enrichment programmes such as dance, Abacus, art, music, and many more for children of all ages. They excel in creatively designing their programmes so that the children learn new things and develop their confidence.
Crestar Learning Centre is a member of the Crestar Education Group, a leading provider of enrichment education programmes for preschoolers and adults across the region. They organise parent-teacher enrichment sessions to reach out to the parents and train them with the proper skills to promote a child’s development.
Location: Several Locations (Head office: Blk 87 #04-302, Marine Parade Central, Singapore 440087)
Edufarm is a learning centre that offers enrichment programmes, tuition, and playgroup services for children as young as two years old. Their enrichment services include training for 3G Abacus and many more. They place great emphasis on Abacus training and have experienced teachers to educate their students. You can also utilise their online classes if you wish for your child to learn Abacus within the safety of your home.
Location: Several locations (Head office: 18 Boon Lay Way 303-137 Tradehub 21 Singapore 609966)
Fun with Abacus is a learning centre that specialises in offering training on how to use the Abacus and have fun with it. They have teachers with over ten years of experience teaching Abacus, so you can be confident that your child is in good hands.
Fun with Abacus aims to design its programmes for children to learn how to solve essential functions such as Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division using the Abacus. They send report cards to parents to inform them about their child’s performance. Fun with Abacus believes in creating a fun learning environment; hence they have a reward system to motivate the children to work hard.
Location: Several locations (Head office: 1 Brooke Rd, #02-45, Singapore 429979)
If you are looking for an online platform for your child to learn Abacus, then choose Kiya learning. Kiya ensures to provide teacher support to its students all round the clock. They offer Abacus training as well as many other services and activities for children.
With its headquarters in Noida, India, the institute provides tuition for all subjects including Accounting, Science, English, etc. Lessons for Zumba, yoga, singing, dancing and many other activities are also offered.
Mentalmatics is an internationally recognised brain development learning centre with a well-rounded curriculum. Their grading examinations are associated with the standards of the Taiwan National Abacus Association. Mentalmatics aims to offer a fun learning environment so that the children enjoy learning.
Their Abacus programme is designed to teach their students 2-hand and 4-finger Abacus and mental arithmetic techniques. Their curriculum is designed to increase a child’s propensity for learning. Also, they are offering a trial class for the children for only $10.
Location: Several locations (Head office: 4 Bukit Batok Street 41, #01-96 Le Quest Mall, Singapore 657991)
10) Nickel Apple Learning Centre
Nickel Apple Learning Centre has been working to offer child enrichment programmes for many years. They offer Abacus training, tuition services, and many other services for children. Nickel Apple has experienced staff and well-trained teachers for the students.
Since the institute doesn’t have a social media presence, you will have to visit the centre before enrolling your child. This will also help you judge the teaching environment better.
Location: 204 Hougang Street 21 #03-119 Singapore 530204
Roots Abacus and Mathematics is a learning facility that offers brain development programmes such as Abacus training, mathematical problems programme, cursive handwriting training, and much more. They have adopted research-based methods that are proving to be fruitful for children learning worldwide.
Their experienced teachers can also provide personal attention to students if needed. Also, the centre has an app to make learning easy and available for everyone. Along with the app, they are also offering online lessons for children due to the current Covid-19 situation.
Location: Several locations (Head office: Mountbatten Road #05-30, Katong Shopping Centre)
The People’s Association is a learning platform that connects Singaporeans through a wide network of grassroot organisations, community clubs, and much more. Their services include Abacus training, art classes, music sessions, sports classes, and much more. Their initiative, onePA, offers all-in-one access to the People’s Association’s memberships, courses, activities, facilities, and interest groups.
The platform aims to offer endless opportunities to members in a fun and lively environment so that they have no problems learning new skills. If you’re looking to enrol your child in Abacus, the People’s Association has excellent Abacus training programmes.
Location: Several locations (Head office: 9 King George’s Avenue, Singapore 208581)
13) Shenmo Education
Shenmo is a worldwide education service provider with over 6,000 branches. They specialise in brain training programmes and Abacus mental math. Their mission is to develop confidence and competence in their students by helping them perform their best. The Abacus programme at Shenmo is suitable for all ages, but it’s most fruitful for primary levels.
A team of qualified instructors provide individual attention to students who need it and ensure that every child understands what is being delivered. Shenmo maintains a good student-teacher ratio by adhering to a strict policy of enrolling only five students per class. This helps the instructor better focus and analyse each child’s progress.
Location: Blk123 Bukit Merah Lane 1, #03-104, Singapore 150123
Smart Kid Abacus Learning is an international education service provider that facilitates effective Abacus learning techniques. They have been organising the Abacus National Competition every year since 2011. The professionally managed company has its franchise in 22 countries, with over 100,000 students acquiring quality training in different courses.
Smart Kid offers the most comprehensive Abacus training in the industry and has trained more than 5,000 individuals in Abacus. They also carry out online classes for their students.
15) UMA Mental Arithmetic
UMA is a leading Abacus training institution founded by Zhu Shuihua. Zhu aims to provide comprehensive Abacus training to students and teachers with one or two-hand methodology. The learning facility emphasises instilling the interest for Abacus in its students to acquire the skills to move forward gradually.
Zhu has incorporated his years of research and development in designing a state-of-the-art Abacus learning programme for the students in line with the modern advancements in arithmetics. The programme will teach Abacus three times faster than other Abacus programmes.
Location: Block 845, Yishun St 81, #02-180, Singapore 760845
The Superman Mental Arithmetic centre was founded in 1982. Since then, it has been working to improve its teaching skills to offer its students the best Abacus training. The syllabus compilation is completed by Prof. Wang Tsung Cheng, chief instructor of Abacus & Mental Arithmetic & Mathematics Research Association of the R.O.C and the founder of Superman Mental Arithmetic.
The facility aims to provide Abacus training to cultivate their concentration and improve their calculation speed and ability. Successfully solving mental calculations, in turn, helps boost the children’s confidence. Superman Mental Arithmetic also motivates its students to take part in various Abacus competitions throughout the year.
Locations: Several locations (Head office: Block 703, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 8, #02-2531, Singapore 560703)
SIP is a skill development training facility for children. They have trained staff who specialise in facilitating Abacus-based learning. The Achiever’s Mind & Attitude programme is also offered at SIP to help mould children’s beliefs about themselves. The programme also helps tap into their true potential. SIP boasts to meet the international learning standards.
The facility also took years of research and testing before it commenced operations. Their vision is to make a difference in the life of their students by offering them world-class education that may significantly improve their mental potential and help bring them fantastic career opportunities in the future.
Location: Several locations (Head office:#02-10, 756, Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre, Upper Serangoon Road. S-534626)
Does Abacus Training Conflict School Mathematics?
If a child starts Abacus training before or concurrent with the traditional mathematics taught at school, there should not be any conflict. The child can quickly get the hang of both systems.
However, starting Abacus training when a student is in the middle of learning the basics of traditional mathematics may create confusion.
Once the child has grasped the traditional mathematical techniques and moves to higher levels, it might be easier to return to Abacus methods to solve mathematical problems.
Abacus learning will complement conventional methods taught at school, provided the training begins before or simultaneously with traditional mathematics.
Abacus enables the brain to work efficiently and improves visualisation, memory, and concentration. Hence, Abacus training will play a vital role in better learning and academic performance. As a child learns to solve arithmetic problems effectively, their interest in mathematics increases.
This increased interest will also help them tackle a complex subject efficiently and make them work hard to perform better in tests.
It takes a lot of practice, effort, and time to master the technique of Abacus. Practice can be intimidating too, but when your child masters the method, their performance in mathematics will speak for itself!