ASTANA – UCMAS (Universal Concepts of Mental Arithmetic Systems) Mental Math School keeps revealing stunning results of children’s cognitive abilities. Kazakh students demonstrate their brain skills to an international audience, multiplying any four-digit numbers within a few seconds. The school’s teaching strategy helps to unveil children’s hidden gifts and talents, said regional director Lyazzat Shamenova in an interview with The Astana Times.
“The UCMAS school teaching strategy aims at developing both hemispheres of the brain. According to the theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance, a person or child who is ‘left-brained’ is believed to be more logical and analytical, while a ‘right-brained’ person is more thoughtful, intuitive and creative. All UCMAS school centres use one technique, which is being updated every four years. In addition, we are now cooperating with Lomonosov Moscow State University to enhance an intellectual development methodology. In this regard, we do not focus only on mental arithmetic skills, but rather take a comprehensive approach in education,” she said.
The founders of the Kazakh school recently joined Assyl Bala, a union of businesspersons in different charitable activities. Every businessperson promotes his or her own social project within the association.
“The UCMAS School organises free lessons for children with cerebral palsy and children with impaired vision and hearing. Over a year, we have taught our young students at Ostrovsky Special Boarding School for Blind and Visually Impaired Children in Almaty. It is very difficult and delicate work. Now, we are witnessing a positive trend in children’s development. One of the boarding school students began drawing colourful pictures. It is so amazing! In the near future, the association plans to purchase Braille equipment to print special books for the children,” said Shamenova.
The education centre also has a social group at each branch throughout the country, allowing talented children from underprivileged families to attend classes without charge. Approximately 400 children are involved in the groups.
The company website describes UCMAS as an international educational organisation globally recognised as a leader in whole brain development and mental arithmetic training. Founded by Dr. Dino Wong in Malaysia in 1993, the UCMAS Education Group has trained more than one million children in mental math schools around the world. UCMAS has gained in popularity and operates more than 5,500 centres in 57 countries, including Australia, Canada, China, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Mental math is the ability to calculate and get a correct answer without using pencil and paper or any electronic device. Mental arithmetic is a method of calculation performed on a virtual image of an abacus. The abacus is merely a tool, but through regular practice children are able to visualise and internalise its image in their minds. Moreover, when children learn mental math skills, they are actually acquiring an astonishing calculation speed, developing such mental abilities as concentration, observation, visualisation, imagination and memory.