Heloïse van der Merwe

Heloïse van der Merwe


I was born and bred in the Eastern Cape, studied teaching at Paarl and Stellenbosch and specialized in Special Education through UNISA.

After 30 years of teaching experience I joined the advisory team of the Western Cape Education Department in the Eden and Central Karoo district. Our focus was to develop strategies for the improvement of Literacy and Numeracy.

During this time, I was introduced to the Towermaths concept. If all children could be exposed to this methodology, they will enjoy the beauty of mathematics paving the way towards a better tomorrow.

I was introduced to the Towermaths methodology while I was still in the teaching profession. I realized the potential to improve the number concept of learners through this program. One of the biggest challenges the education system encounters, is for learners to enjoy mathematics while they are learning the basic concepts which are needed for a sound foundation in mathematics. The program focusses on the brain development of a child through play, patterns and pleasure. With this strategy, the curriculum requirements are met in a fun way e.g. the development of number concepts, place value, ordering, position, patterns, shapes, colour, counting, problem solving and mental calculations. All of this starts as early as grade R. Initially I thought this was too good to be true. I was wrong! At this stage Grade R learners have already mastered much more than what is expected according to the curriculum – AND they WANT to do maths.

Learners who have completed school often don’t have the necessary mathematical qualifications to be admitted to tertiary education and struggle to find proper jobs. We believe that early intervention is the best way to stop the vicious spiral and to give children hope which they don’t have at home. From an educational perspective, it is therefore essential to start the program in the foundation phase (pre-school and grades 1 to 3) We believe that if we can lay a firm foundation, eventually we shall be able to ensure better results in numeracy in all grades.