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 begin to develop concepts that are fundamental to algebraic thinking.

In Prekindergarten students begin more formally exploring mathematical concepts through Math in Focus, an American version of Singapore MathMath in Focus provides rich and engaging resources based on 20 years of Singaporean success as a world leader in mathematics education. The framework presented in Math in Focus follows the same framework developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education. The instructional approaches emphasize real-world, hands-on experiences through a concrete-pictorial-abstract learning progression.

Math in Focus offers:  

  • A focused and coherent syllabus. The program introduces fewer topics in each grade but teaches them to a greater depth. Topics are taught to mastery, so they build from year to year across grade levels without repetition.  
  • Ample opportunities for enrichment and reteaching, better meeting the wide range of learners’ needs.
  • A visual and balanced approach. The program is highly visual, following a concrete-to pictorial- to-abstract progression.  
  • A focus on number and operations. The program is sequenced in a way that ensures students develop and maintain strong number sense. Students spend the majority of the first half of the year studying number. This provides the foundation necessary to move on to more complex and abstract thinking.  
  • An emphasis on problem-solving using model-drawing. The program utilizes model drawing strategies that help students solve both routine and non-routine problems.  
  • A recognition of the importance of attitudes and metacognition. The program emphasizes the importance of attitude and the ability to self-monitor while problem-solving to achieve success in math.