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From the beginning Spirit of Math has produced exceptional results. Using the Spirit of Math approach, program creator Charles Ledger’s classes produced more Canadian Junior High School Championship Teams in mathematics competitions than all other schools combined, winning well over half of the mathematics competitions that they entered. In 13 years, these students won over 80% of the Ontario Team Championships, including 7 Canadian championships in the Grade 9 Pascal Contest (a national mathematics contest sponsored by the University of Waterloo).
Today, Spirit of Math students continue to accrue honours. In the last five years Spirit of Math students earned more than 5,000 placements on national and international math competitions, including top medals and Certificates of Distinction. But Spirit of Math is not principally a contest prep school. While winning competitions are certainly occasions to celebrate, we applaud our students’ successes in their day school classrooms and focus on the development of valuable skills that carry over to many areas of daily life:
• A strong sense of teamwork
• A solid understanding of how to approach many types of problems
• Persistence in the face of difficulty
Graduates of the program have gone on to top universities and impressive careers, acknowledging the role Spirit of Math played in their success.
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Over the past 30 years we developed Spirit of Math’s four elements which forms the foundation of our program. These elements create a multi-layered experience that creates well-rounded students who have an intensive toolkit of skills, logical problem solving and higher-level collaborative capabilities. Our students are therefore able to understand new ideas with ease, being agile in learning in any area of their lives. In addition, our mental math is added in as a fun way to end the class.
Students delve deeply into math concepts from the earliest grades in Spirit of Math. Rather than just introducing math topics on the surface to students, Spirit of Math spends time exploring and practicing the topics and ideas to a greater depth. This gives students the skills and understanding to be able to work with others in a cooperative team, tackling interesting and difficult problem-solving questions. Engagement is intensive and exciting.
In simple language, practicing our drills makes it easy to have math facts, like multiplication tables, ready in your mind so you can focus on the more complex math material. Drills also help increase speed and accuracy when solving problems. Whether in kindergarten or in university, it is a base that matters and stays with you. Our approach to drills is a complete system that we designed from the ground up, tracking success and promoting students to work together to achieve new goals in the classroom.
Spirit of Math’s problem-solving stream is unique and hardly routine; students learn to read critically, to think creatively, to work cooperatively and to press on when the answer isn’t immediately obvious. In every grade our students complete a minimum of 400 competition-level problems over the course of the year and apply their skills in international and national math contests.
Spirit of Math’s program introduces students to unique problems which have been crafted in such a way that students quickly realize that they need collaboration with others to solve the problems. Our students learn how to share their ideas while learning from their teachers and their peers. Students are encouraged to discuss their homework, collaboratively problem-solve in class, and present their results to their classmates. By promoting strategic thinking and a cooperative classroom environment, students organically gain confidence and learn skills that go beyond mathematics, which will benefit them in all aspects of their academic and personal careers.