Mathematics in the Lower School

Lower School MathThe mathematical curriculum at MFS motivates and challenges each Preschool through Fourth Grade student to think critically, accurately, and independently to become a successful and confident problem solver not only in their classroom environment but in the world around them. We strive to develop a joy of inquiry and satisfaction of knowing about math and its relationship to everyday living. Through whole group, small group, and individual discussions, explorations, and hands-on activities the children apply their rote and conventional knowledge, flexibly while using manipulatives and literature.

Much of the mathematics learning that takes place in our early childhood classrooms comes from children’s play. Children develop geometric concepts as they build with blocks or sort buttons according to their shape. As they work at the water table or sand tray, children develop ideas that lay the foundation for work with measurement. When they recognize and repeat a pattern of actions or sounds, they beginning to develop concepts that are fundamental of algebraic thinking.

In Prekindergarten students begin more formally exploring mathematical concepts through the Growing with Mathematics program (see Appendices 2-6). The use of this core math program is continued through Fourth Grade. The Growing with Math program ensures that understanding and skills are developed simultaneously. It equips students with a variety of thinking strategies they can use to solve problems effectively and confidently. It supports The National Council for the Teaching of Mathematics (NCTM) standards and the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) guidelines. Extensive field testing and in-depth research determined the mathematical content and sequence of the program, as well as the teaching methods it promotes. At each grade level, all components and learning experiences are carefully designed to match students’ interests and abilities. Basic fact practice and regular assessment are an important part of the program.

Growing with Mathematics provides our students with a spiraling curriculum, meaning that the depth and complexity of the content taught and learned are increased each subsequent year. For the educator, this means that re-teaching is minimal because the content is addressed in more depth and in a more complex fashion with each repetition. For the student, spiraling curriculum means that engagement and interest remain high because the depth and complexity of the subject matter increases each year. Instead of being trampled with redundancy, every year in school remains fresh and new, while building on the foundations laid down the previous year.