In order to address a wide range of abilities, and to make mathematics challenging and exciting to all children, Birchwoods mathematics program follows three guidelines:

First we believe children should develop core competencies at the earliest possible age. Specifically computation skills including whole number operations, fraction and decimal operations, and basic geometry vocabulary and concepts. These skills become tools in the student’s math “toolbox.” As students gain fluency they learn to enjoy math and are prepared to do higher-level mathematics.

Second we give them extended experience solving word problems. This requires critical thinking, logic, and a variety of problem-solving strategies. All students in second through eighth grade take classes that prepare them to participate in an assortment of math contests requiring higher-order thinking and problem-solving skills.

Third we allow flexibility in accommodating each child’s math aptitude. It is not unusual for children to be working on math content that is one, two, or even three years ahead of their current grade level. We offer students in middle school formal classes in high school honors algebra and geometry.

We also support the interest of highly motivated and able math students who wish to compete at the state or national levels in math contests such as the American Mathematics Contest 8, Continental Mathematics League, and Math Olympiads. We also enable these students to take online math courses through the online Gifted LearningLinks program sponsored by the Center for Talent Development at Northwestern University.