The Math Shack Education Centre in Red Deer uses a hands-on, play-based approach to helping young students master basic math skills.

Making math make sense to your kids

Red Deer education centre helps takes the anxiety out of math for students

Are you a parent whose child struggles with math? You’re not alone.

You’re among many Central Alberta parents who hear frustration voiced by children who don’t “get” math at their grade level, are perhaps falling behind in class and frequently put off doing their math homework.

At worst, those struggles can be a blow to your child’s self esteem. But there is a way to address the challenges and get them back on track, according to Lisa Hansen, founder of the Math Shack Education Centre in Red Deer.

“There’s a lot of anxiety that comes with math; we try to change that,” she says. “I often hear kids say, ‘I’m not good at math.’ We tell our students ‘you’re not bad at math, you’re still learning math.’ We want to help change the story they tell themselves.”

Helping your kids master the basics

If your child struggles with telling time on an analog clock, understanding money, or doing simple multiplication without help, it may be a sign they lack some of the basic principles of math necessary to tackle higher-level concepts, Hansen says.

“If step 1 and 2 are not secure, no wonder step 3 and 4 are hard,” she notes. “The foundations, those computational skills, have to be the focus. We use a very multi-sensory and play-based approach to help kids memorize and master certain skills, but we go at their pace and make sure they’re engaged and having fun with it.”

With school curriculums often prompting teachers to speed along in math, especially at the elementary and middle school levels, your children may have fallen behind. Math Shack not only works to bring younger students up to their grade level, they help children with learning disabilities and other challenges improve their math skills.

Here’s how Math Shack approaches working with your learner:

  • How much math does your child understand? Using an initial screening and assessment session, which you can sit in as a parent, it’s determined where your child is at in terms of knowledge of specific math skills.
  • Learning in a regular routine Twice a week 45-minute sessions with qualified teachers in small groups gives your child a chance to learn techniques to help them with the basics (elementary school), or boost their skills in preparation for higher-level courses and programs (high schoolers).
  • You can help them at home As a parent, being able to sit in on sessions and watch how your child learns, discover their particular challenges and learn what they’re interested in helps you contribute to their learning outside the school classroom.


Math Shack operates all year, so students can sign up at any time. To set up an initial screening or ask other questions, call them at 403-406-3102 or send an email to You can also follow Math Shack on Facebook.


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