The mathematics curriculum at Nightingale Primary School is based on a Singaporean approach to teaching and learning. The method uses a three-stage learning model, which consistently introduces concepts progressively. Children are taught not only to know how to complete an equation, but also explain why it works. Emphasis is placed on the foundations for learning and not on the content itself so students learn to think mathematically as opposed to merely reciting formulas or procedures. Our curriculum encourages high expectations of mathematical reasoning and supports a breadth and depth of understanding of number concepts. At Nightingale Primary School we focus on children developing their mental mathematics skills. It is a crucial part of our mathematics curriculum.
Crucial to the Singaporean approach to teaching mathematics is the children being taught to examine mathematical concepts through the use of ‘Concrete’, ‘Pictorial’ and ‘Abstract’, (CPA) approaches. By using concrete apparatus, which can include dienes rods, counters or any interactive material, the teacher can demonstrate a concept using equipment and the children may also use equipment. The children’s learning then develops to the pictorial stage where they are able to incorporate their concrete work into more recognisable number pictures and patterns. Finally, the children are able to move swiftly on to the standard algorithms for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, with less and less reliance upon concrete materials because of the linear approach to the mathematics content. This is called the abstract stage.