Students in class at Zhengyang Primary School /Hubei Daily Photo
The school's curriculum reform was pushed forward by its principal Wu Zhenqiu, who believed first and second graders were not ready to digest the abstract concepts in mathematics.
"When children are in the lower grades, it's the best time for them to form and develop imaginal thinking, not abstract thinking that is required for mathematics," Wu told The Beijing News.
The school only reintroduced math as a mandatory class after students entered third grade, when children are believed to enter a critical stage in obtaining mathematical skills.
"Also, first and second graders cannot read much," Wu added. "Parents and teachers have to read aloud the questions for students to solve the problems. It's such a burden for everyone and a waste of time."
With time and energy saved, children can have time to pursue their interests, expose themselves to a variety of subjects and in turn inspire potential, Wu explained to Hubei Daily.
When the school first introduced the curriculum change, many parents expressed concerns that their children would be left behind. The school thus separated children into experimental and regular classes, and kept teaching math to students in the regular classes.
It turned out, however, that children in the experimental classes reportedly scored higher in math compared with their peers after they started taking the subject.