The history of Living Maths is a wonderful story of innovation, inspiration and dedication! It all began in 1994 when a teacher at SACS approached 2 house-masters of the boarding houses to provide a young bright student with additional extension and enrichment. A couple of students also expressed interest and a group was formed. A parent at the school heard about the little experiment and offered for his company to provide financial support. The programme, which became known as Living Maths and the sponsors, Norwich Life, began a very happy relationship.
The two house-masters, Mr JG Cowper and Mr Reece Donovan, were both students at UCT in the Biomedical Engineering department. They had created a term’s syllabus and started looking to expand the programme. One of the boys from the original class had a sister at St Cyprians, and through this connection, a new class was started. During the expansion effort, facilitators were interviewed and a small group of facilitators formed the teaching team. The idea was to recruit Science and Engineering students at UCT to ensure that their passion for maths would be passed onto the learners.
During 1994, Mr Steve Sherman, the current owner, joined the programme as a facilitator and taught for a month or two. Mr Sherman then approached Mr Cowper and Mr Donovan and pointed out the merits of the project but there were aspects that required attention: curriculum development, quality control, communication with staff etc – It was clear that his enthusiasm and determination to build Living Maths had been noted. He was then offered a position as the general manager and began running the project. Staff were recruited, a curriculum was created, a website was assembled, schools were contacted, etc. After a few months of successful implementation, Mr Sherman approached the two owners and requested to buy Living Maths from them. To cut a long story short, on the 1st of February 1995, Mr Sherman took ownership.
Today, Living Maths proudly works with about 4500 learners per week in areas as diverse as Gugulethu and Constantia! We have successfully run the world’s first Maths Olympiad to cater for grade R-9. We also run the Loving Maths Programme for grades R-3 at several of our schools and this programme is rapidly expanding to more schools each year.
The goal is to begin developing educational materials for teachers and students and within the next year, we will be offering online classes and our Olympiad will also have an online participation process.
There is a great need to continue assisting schools in the disadvantaged areas and we will therefore continue to look for innovative ways to make a meaningful impact.