## INTEGRATED MATH

## QUANTIFYING POSSIBILITIES

Bambini Creativi does not believe the study of mathematics is an imposition for children, nor should it be introduced as an artificial exercise with complex rules. Bambini Creativi’s goal for its students is to develop a love for mathematical literacy and a deep appreciation for how it is accessible in virtually every aspect of our lives. Within spontaneous classroom experiences, mathematical concepts like quantifying, classifying, measuring, navigating, comparing, orienting, graphing, weighing, conserving and exchanging extend children’s developing interests into super highways for learning mathematical thinking. The integrated math program for kindergarten not only involves situations that communicate and quantify what is happening around us; it is also part of a formal knowledge base that children want to access so they can become part of the world of social experience. Bambini Creativi’s math program embraces individual approaches to problem-solving while meeting state and national mathematics standards. The goal is to make math accessible, applicable, relevant, useful, and meaningful.

All math work in the early years is connected to the real-life application. When children design pretend cities, they calculate dimensions and begin to understand scale and size relation. To make enough goji berry cookies to feed parents and guests, children multiply, measure, add and estimate. As children locate their homes on a map, they calculate how far they have to travel to get to the Kansas City Zoo. Also, they will know what to bring, how much their belongings will weigh, and debate if the weight of those items will be worth toting around all day around the zoo. Bambini Creativi helps children see mathematics as a practical solution for grappling with real problems. Children’s experiences and intuitive ideas translate into mathematical theories as they reflect and formulate on them, use various ways to represent them and connect them to other ideas.

Children will naturally engage in conceptual understanding and have many opportunities for mathematical expression by using....

Intuitive Thinking to connect math to something they have experienced in their daily lives.

Concrete Thinking to create models or tactile experiences to solve problems.

Visual Thinking to experience diagrams or draw to assist in resolving problems.

Abstract Thinking to learn to read the numbers and symbols in mathematical equations.

Application to relate mathematics concepts to solve everyday problems.

Communication to verbalize how to solve problems through various forms of mathematical thinking.

Bambini Creativi elementary program integrates Singapore Math into the integrated math curriculum. Singapore’s approach to math for the elementary years has consistently ranked in the top three for international assessment of student math achievement called the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS). Those who are supportive of Singapore Math credit the Singaporean methods of instruction and curriculum for its student success. While American math education often relies on skill and drill and route memorization tactics, Singapore math methods focus on children not just learning but also actually mastering specific math concepts each school year. The goal is for children to love math and perform well because they comprehend and enjoy the material on a much deeper level; they are not just learning it for temporary test taking.

Students in the same grade level may learn mathematical concepts at different paces, but ultimately they learn all of them and develop a strong foundation for further math learning. This prevents the need for reteaching as students move to the next grade. (Laura Lewis Brown, 2013)