The mathematics curriculum at The School In Rose Valley is based on our own standards and benchmarks, which meet or exceed the standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The primary program used at most grade levels is Everyday Mathematics, and this is supplemented by teachers as needed with a variety of rich materials and resources. The curriculum emphasizes mathematical thinking, problem solving and communication. Instruction includes hands-on experiences as well as practice with number facts and computation.
Preschool – The preschool math program is exploratory and encourages hands-on experience through the use of math manipulative materials such as blocks, pattern blocks, beads, balance scales and measuring. Teachers stress how math is a part of everyday activities by counting students during attendance, wondering if there is enough fruit for everyone, how tall we are. Games are introduced for number recognition, geometric shape identification, quantity recognition and the development of understanding one-to-one correspondence. Teachers keep an eye out for children’s math exploration and guide them to expand their thinking.
Kindergarten – The math curriculum in the Kindergarten has two components. We use the Everyday Mathematics program to teach students the fundamental concepts and skills of the curriculum. Teachers also initiate mathematical lessons and activities to supplement the program, sometimes because they see a need to enrich or review topics, and sometimes because the children’s questions and interests inspire the group to take its explorations in different directions. In all math endeavors, children are actively engaged in the exploration and discovery of basic mathematical concepts. They develop a shared language for the communication of ideas, and they begin to build confidence in themselves as competent mathematicians. Specific topics covered in Kindergarten include patterns, one-to-one correspondence, counting, introduction to place value, and introduction to single-digit addition and subtraction.
Primary Years – We also use the Everyday Mathematics program in the first and second grades to teach most of the math curriculum. To supplement this program, teachers initiate additional mathematical lessons and activities, both to enrich or review topics, and where the children’s interests inspire the group to take its explorations in a different direction. Teachers also provide children with extra practice in certain skills, such as computation and memorizing number facts. At this age children continue to develop their mathematical vocabulary and communication skills, using speech, writing, drawings and other symbols to represent concepts. An emphasis of the program is on creating and articulating alternate strategies to solve problems, rather than on simply using a formula to find the predetermined “correct” answer. Specific topics covered in the primary years include skip counting, place value, up to three-digit addition and subtraction, introduction to multiplication, and measurement.
Middle Years – The math curriculum in the third and fourth grades also uses the Everyday Mathematics program. Teachers continue to supplement the program with additional mathematicallessons and activities that enrich or review topics, and/or to take advantage of the children’s questions and interests. Children receive extra practice in skills such as computation and memorizing number facts. At this age children are beginning to be able to think more abstractly. Hands-on activities with manipulative materials continue to be helpful, but more and more of the work is done with tools such as calculators and computers. Concepts are explored in depth so that children can do more than simply follow the steps of algorithms; they understand why they are doing what they are doing. Specific topics covered in the middle years include place value, an introduction to alternate bases and number systems, the four operations with whole numbers, an introduction to fractions and decimals, and plane geometry.
Older Years – In the fifth and sixth grades, we use a variety of resources and materials to teach the math curriculum, including Everyday Mathematics, teacher resources by Marilyn Burns and middle school text books by Harold R. Jacobs. Teachers continue to encourage the students’ active participation and engagement with mathematical concepts and procedures. Ten to twelve year olds have the ability to think more and more abstractly. The teachers help them make the connections between mathematical concepts, such as the relationships between the area of geometric figures, operation arrays, and the multiplication tables.
The students work with negative numbers and expressions with variables, and discover new ways of representing problems, including drawing intersecting sets and graphing equations. Specific topics covered in the older years include using alternate bases and number systems, the four operations with whole numbers, fractions and decimals, plane and solid geometry, an introduction to algebra, basic logic and statistics.