At EACMSI, we honor mathematics as a broad and multifaceted subject. It is an art form and has inherent beauty, it reinforces analytical and problem solving skill development, it teaches logic, and (as a language) it enables clear communication across cultures. Most importantly, math is a tool to help students understand and describe the world.
Dr. Maria Montessori called the hand, “the tool of the mind”, activated by our nervous system, sending signals to and from the brain to solidify facts and identify patterns. Montessori posited that math offers one of the richest opportunities to make connections between the hands, the brain, and geometric and numerical patterns.
Lessons offer multiple entry points for students. The process of reasoning and discussion of multiple strategies is promoted, even after a correct “answer” is determined. This engages students in making connections in math representations to deepen understanding.
EACMSI teachers use the evidence of the student thinking to assess conceptual understanding and interrupt misunderstandings through instruction adjustment. In the wider U.S. culture of math education, short-sighted aggrandizement of math procedural fluency has led to some counter productive approaches to assessment. We combat this trend wholeheartedly with an approach to math learning and assessment that maintains perspective and the dignity of our students.
EACMSI students learn how to perform well on math assessments and many leave our school with a credit in high school math. As in other content areas, teachers use careful observations and collection of data to determine and meet the needs of individual students.