In order to address a wide range of abilities, and to make mathematics challenging and exciting to all children, Birchwood’s 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.