Elementary aged students learn important math concepts using hands-on Montessori mathematics materials. Each exercise is designed to engage students in discovering the concrete basis for important mathematics processes and formulas. Once learned, students practice mathematics using traditional methods. At Encinitas Country Day School students excel in mathematics because they understand the process that determines the formulas used and can more easily solve mathematics problems using their expanded understanding of the concepts. During fifth and sixth grade our secondary mathematics instructors prepare students for their transition into our traditional middle school by providing longer periods of traditional mathematics instruction.
Note: Many scholars and scientists have attempted to discover and address the reasons American students have fallen behind their peers around the world. In 1991, the National Sciences Foundation funded a project to support greater understanding of the foundations of mathematics in the middle years in order to improve outcomes for high school graduates. In fact, the project proved to be a solution that brought the academic scores of students who attended the middle school pilot program back into the worldwide lead at high school graduation. The successful project provided middle school students with manipulable models and visual representations of important math concepts as a foundation for all future mathematics learning. Their work validated the Montessori approach to mathematics instruction and provided an alternative method we could offer our incoming middle school students who may not have received the benefits of the Montessori portion of our mathematics program.
Using National Sciences Foundation rationale, our middle school mathematics curriculum makes important real life connections to math and science applications beyond the classroom. Students learn the importance of mathematics in various careers and understand the interdisciplinary connections between mathematics they are studying and the arts, sciences, and even history and language arts through the cross-curricular connections that are made throughout the year. Whether a student is beginning pre-algebra, working in a regular Algebra or Geometry class or taking honors classes, mathematics courses help him learn to think logically, critically, and analytically while preparing for the rigors of the advanced mathematics courses of high school.
All middle school mathematics courses meet and exceed California mathematics standards as documented by the curriculum pacing guide. To assure our mathematics courses build on student learning, all students take a mathematics placement test and are placed in an appropriate course to assure success in either regular or accelerated classes. Individualized placement assures all students will have an excellent foundation for high school mathematics. (See our course descriptions and prerequisites for additional information.)
Apple iPads are used to promote mastery over foundational math skills and to reinforce concepts and enhance the curriculum. On-line technology such as video tutors and practice tests and additional practices are also made available.