A source of fun and learning
Teaching mathematics at Maple Bear occurs gradually starting with preschool.
Students are encouraged to recognize elements from objects found in their daily lives and make connections with the content
presented in the classroom. At first, they are introduced to math in a tangible and fun way, through objects they can handle. Little by little, as the students’ ability for abstraction increases, they are introduced to mental and more complex math.
This process of teaching math in the Maple Bear classrooms starts off by establishing connections between what students bring from their personal experiences and what is addressed in class. As children’s thought processes change, moving from the concrete to abstract realm, the subject of math is continuously redirected, moving from the handling of materials, whether structured or not, to graphic forms, until achieving the sophistication of mathematical language.
At the elementary education level, the children consolidate their knowledge of the
decimal number system and how it works and start using different strategies and expanding their repertoire to solve challenges that are presented.
A challenge that is skillfully handled by educators is making math something stimulating for children. First, it is important to make it relevant and relatable to their daily lives. For example, with small children, we can count parked cars on a street and discover whether the result is even or odd. Another way of doing this is to encourage learning math at home.
Families can encourage mathematical learning by helping the children apply what they learn at school to day-to-day life at home. Counting toys before putting them away, adding or subtracting socks while folding laundry, or dividing fruits among family members, are some examples of making mathematics an active and fun element in children’s lives. Organizing toys in sequence or putting together the family’s event calendar are other activities that make learning math more meaningful.
A key ingredient in learning math is the challenge. The more students feel challenged to solve a problem, the stronger the desire to do it. For this reason, math classes are always based on challenging situations. And the activities are done in groups. Thus, the children can tap into their previous knowledge and, by discussing and sharing information with other students, they are able to arrive at conclusions. Math is not a question of ready-made rules, but is presented as a discovery, the building of knowledge that teachers help create and mediate.
As they learn math, students become more confident, since they achieve new levels of logical reasoning.