Singapore Math is the program used in Lower and Middle Schools to teach math. The curriculum, developed by the nation of Singapore in the 1980s, has been adapted for American schools in the Math in Focus series used here at Westtown. Westtown was the first school in the Delaware Valley to adopt Singapore Math, and we have seen student test scores climb consistently since it was introduced. Singapore Math lays the foundation for increasing numbers of students to take advanced math coursework in Middle and Upper School.
How does Singapore Math instruction work? Lessons progress from the very concrete – where, for example, students move around the room taking measurements or working with actual money – to pictorial representations of these same activities, and finally, to abstract problem-solving. Young children discover mathematical concepts for themselves and develop a strong “number sense,” resulting in solid understanding of the “whys” of math.
There’s a well-articulated scope and sequence in Singapore Math, allowing for ample practice and repetition to solidify basic skills. An emphasis on word problems encourages students to rely on the meaning of the situation presented, rather than looking for “clue words” as is often the case in traditional American math instruction. Children are encouraged to use and share multiple strategies to solve problems.