MEP Reception Review

I thought I had talked about MEP Math previously but I can't find it anywhere around here so I guess I'm just having another case of mommy brain. But back last fall Lucy was going through the Rod and Staff Preschool books and finished them up but was begging me for more school, mostly math. I was trying to hold her off and MEP reception was our compromise.

MEP stands for Mathematics Enhancement Programme and it is, as the spelling might indicate, British. I believe it was put together after research on Hungarian Math programs which are top rated but is available free of charge to British schools - and anyone with access to the world wide web. Free - you just got to print it (or use it on screen).  I started Lucy with their Reception which, depending on who you ask, is the equivalent of Preschool or Kindergarten. We just finished it up last month and I thought I'd tell you what we thought.

We both loved it!

Oh, you want more? I think it is great, especially in being developmentally appropriate for young children in terms of working deep concepts but in very tangible ways. It's all based on talking and looking at pictures, holding up fingers or clapping and basically having fun. There is some coloring but no writing of numerals, or even seeing numerals. Because its visually, they can talk and ask about addition and subtraction and even pretty tricky concepts like "how many more" without issue. It's spiral in that it works with a variety of concepts within each lesson, slowly advancing them.

Lucy really enjoyed it as well. She asked for it daily, so much so that I thought we were going through it too fast so I purchased Singapore Essentials Math A and B, one of the Singapore Kindergarten programs to use as filler. I picked that one because it is fairly inexpensive and from reviews seemed to be something that I could just let her do a few pages with each day without worrying about getting manipulatives out and such. I don't want this to turn into a Singapore bashing session because it wasn't horrible, it just showed me how great MEP really is. In contrast to the EM program, MEP stays with much smaller numbers early on but seems to give the child a lot of practice working with them in multiple ways.

It also mixes things up quite a bit so students are always reviewing things and thinking about different things instead of 10 pages on addition, 10 pages on number bonds, 10 pages on ordering. To Lucy, that makes it a lot more fun. She would do an MEP Reception lesson and then a few pages of Singapore but once she finished up Reception and I was still getting my act together in terms of printing MEP 1*, she got frustrated with Singapore. Not the work itself, we are about half way into B and she's fine with the concepts, but she'd do one page of number bonds then want something different but I'd have to sort through and find a page about time or ordering that wasn't built off of the pages she missed. She finally nagged me enough that I printed MEP 1 for her and now math is a daily request again but she is always very clear to asks for the "purple math" (MEP placed in a purple binder) and not "yellow math" (Singapore).

Other "pros" for MEP. It's quick. The lessons have time frames in them but because they are meant for a classroom, the "30 minute lesson" probable takes us 15 minutes even with Jonah climbing on us and taking our counters, etc. Which I think is perfect for her age. She may not agree, but I'm the mom :-) The cost is also pretty nice. Reception is the most expensive to print because the pictures are all in color but I sent mine to bestvaluecopy.com and got the teachers manual printed and bound, plus the sheets printed in color for quite a reasonable cost (don't remember exactly, perhaps $20?). I put the color work sheets in sheet protector sleeves and she used dry erase markers so the whole thing is reusable for whenever Jonah is ready. For Year 1 materials, I'm just printing 30 lessons and the corresponding worksheets in black and white at home as I go, leaving the few posters as something we can look up on the computer when we need them so the cost is even less.

As for cons, the biggest is that it seems confusing. It isn't really confusing once you start, but looking at it seems you can easily get intimidated. Reception isn't as bad as 1 but your eyes might start to glaze over - what are copymasters? Do I need those and posters? But if you download it and actually read it, and it comes together pretty cleanly. It's also designed for a classroom so occasionally it says to have three kids line up and pick the tallest and shortest but we've always been able to easily do the same activities with her finding stuff animals or using duplo people. And despite what I thought, it turns out to be very open and go after you get used to it. I actually found Singapore to be less so because even though its just worksheets, I often had to prep Lucy and teach the concept then let her do the sheet herself, with MEP, the teaching part is built into the activities and the concepts aren't always taught directly from the teacher as the questions help the child discover the method themselves.

TL;DR? MEP math is awesome. You should check it out.

*Because British grades don't correspond exactly to US Grades and MEP is advanced in some ways but slow in others (variety of concepts but with small numbers), there are some who say Reception is Kindergarten and MEP 1 is first grade, others who say that Reception is the equivalent of preschool and 1 is for Kindergarten. I say, who cares! If your child is younger than 6, I'd start with Reception because it is a lot of fun and only 60 lessons so you can do it pretty quickly if you wish. But Reception was added recently and the original program began with MEP 1 so you also won't miss out on any concepts if you start with 1.

1 comment :

  1. Thanks for you review. There aren't a lot of MEP reviews out there.