The CESJDS Lower School math curriculum consists of multiple inquiry- and context-based units that are meant to motivate and challenge students. There is a focus on fostering a deep conceptual understanding of essential mathematical ideas, strategies, and models while also engaging students in critical thinking, problem solving, and communication activities. The two major programs used are Contexts for Learning Mathematics and Project M2/M3, with supplemental materials sourced from Jo Boaler, Greg Tang, Steve Wyborney, Marilyn Burns, and various other leaders in the field of mathematics instruction.
Each curricular unit features explorations of simulated and real-life problems so students can actively solve them in the same ways that practicing mathematicians do. Students work individually and in groups to develop efficient and accurate approaches to calculations and problem solving. Between units, calculation strategies are reinforced through use of manipulative materials, explicit instruction, and games.
Throughout all units, students develop grade-appropriate content standards with a special focus on the development of mathematical communication and critical and creative thinking skills in problem solving.