Beginning in kindergarten, our lower school mathematics curriculum fosters a deep understanding of mathematical concepts, procedures and basic skills. It is our goal that students not only know how to perform mathematical procedures but also why those procedures work. Throughout the lower school years we expose students to all strands of mathematics—number, place value, rational numbers, geometry, measurement and algebraic thinking. We understand that students need active involvement to develop their mathematical understanding. Therefore, we provide opportunities for students to play games and use a variety of hands-on materials to build their conceptual understanding.
Problem solving is central to our mathematics instruction. Students encounter real life word problems in all strands of mathematics. We teach them how to show their thinking about the solution to a word problem in a variety of ways. At the youngest age, students use pictures to explain their thinking. As they grow students learn to use words and equations to explain a solution to a problem. It is our goal to develop flexible mathematical thinker who are able to use a variety of strategies to attack procedures and solve problems.
In math, as in language arts, we differentiate our instruction to meet the needs of all of our students. Teachers confer with individual students, asking each one questions to extend their thinking and to push their learning forward. In addition, teachers use small groups and partner teachers to provide both support and extension work for students who need it.