Frequently asked questions
Is this a remedial program or an enrichment program?
We recognize that many children have not mastered essential skills that are appropriate for their grade level, such as multi-digit multiplication, long division, and fraction arithmetic and we teach those essential core skills well and help children to master them. Children will work through questions in class with the help of our teachers, but will also be required to do weekly homework and keep up with the material.
We do not offer one-on-one tutoring, and if a child has been determined to be well below grade level in math by his or her teacher, or if a child has difficulty concentrating in a group setting or has known behavioral issues, a one-on-one tutoring program would be more appropriate. Although our class sizes are small, we offer whole-class instruction only. We are unable to offer individualized programming.
We also provide weekly math enrichment problems to challenge children and pique their interest in mathematics. We register for the Canadian Math League contest and provide some preparation for the contest for those students who wish to write. Participation in the contest is strictly optional for our students. Usually, about half of the students registered in the program opt to write the contest and our students have performed very well in the past.
Core instruction and enrichment problems: We provide quality instruction in core mathematics topics and we also provide math enrichment problems for children who are in need of extra challenges. All children are expected to participate in the core instruction portion of the class. Although we do provide a certain amount of enrichment material, parents who are seeking a program that provides advanced math enrichment problems only, without core instruction, may wish to look for a different program.
When and where will classes run and how much is the tuition?
Classes run weekly from 4:45 to 5:55 at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, 600 Cambridge Street on either Tuesdays or Thursdays.
2023 - 2024 Tuition fee: $375 (except for families receiving bursaries)
Note that we have bursaries available based on financial need. Please contact us to apply for a bursary.
Our program is non-profit; tuition fees are used to sustain the program and to provide bursaries based on financial need.
Registration details can be found on this page.
What are the criteria for acceptance?
Acceptance into our program is at the discretion of the program supervisors.
We will only register children who will be in Grades 4, 5, or 6 as of September of the year that classes begin.
To qualify for our program, a child must have completed Grades 3, 4, or 5 at an official day school.
Our program is designed to supplement the education of children who attend official day schools. Homeschooled children may be considered, at our discretion, if space is still available in September. Homeschooled children will be required to write a proficiency test prior to acceptance.
How will classes be assigned?
Parents may choose the day of the week on which they would like their child to attend, provided that capacity has not been reached on that particular day. Children may be grouped with other students who have a similar educational background rather than by grade or age. Children will be assigned to classes within the first two weeks of the program based on a combination of factors, which include the following:
whether the child has previously attended the program;
the child's current school grade;
our observation and assessment of the child's math experience/knowledge.
We understand that a child may wish to be in a classroom with a particular friend and, while this will be taken into consideration, our primary concern in assigning classes is to optimize the learning environment for all children in a given class.
What will the teacher-to-child ratio be for my child's class?
There will usually be at least one teacher present for every seven children.
How are teachers and teaching assistants selected?
We hire university students who are passionate about mathematics, have strong backgrounds in mathematics and enjoy working with children to deliver lessons.
How do you choose what core topics to cover?
Topics are selected based on what the program directors know to be important for future success in mathematics.
For example, we cover fraction arithmetic in all of our classes, including the Grade 4 class, because it is imperative that students be fluent in fraction arithmetic so that they can succeed with later topics, like algebra. We also lead students in all grades to proficiency with all four standard algorithms (vertical addition and subtraction, vertical multiplication, and long division).
What resources are used in the program?
All Grades 4,5,6 lessons are planned by Professors Anna and Ross Stokke, who are program volunteers. We use a number of different resources, one of which is JUMP Math (also see this article). We supplement JUMP with additional lessons and word problems that we design. In addition, children are provided with weekly enrichment problems that provide extra challenges or help them prepare for national and international math contests if they choose to participate in these contests. Children who move quickly through the core material work on these enrichment problems in class. Many children also work on these enrichment problems at home, sometimes with the assistance of a parent. Since the enrichment problems can be quite challenging, the enrichment homework is usually optional, whereas assigned homework on core math topics is mandatory.
On occasion, we may bring in a guest speaker to treat the children to inspirational math diversions.
Do you require children to write tests or quizzes?
It is important for children to memorize times tables, to develop fluency with math skills and to gain experience writing tests and quizzes. After a certain point, our students will have quick, low-stakes, times table quizzes at the beginning of every class. After students have been working on a topic for a reasonable amount of time, we give students notice that there will be a short quiz on that topic in the following class. We feel that it is important to give quizzes and tests so that teachers, children, and parents are aware of whether the material has been mastered. Also, we feel that writing tests and quizzes provide important experiences for students that will prepare them for later academic experiences.
Do you provide help with children's school homework?
We do not provide help with school homework as our program runs independent after-school math classes and instruction in math topics chosen by the program directors.
What will be expected of children in the program?
Our program is designed to ensure that children succeed in mathematics. We have high expectations in terms of behavior, work ethic, and attendance. Children are expected to come to class willing to learn. They are expected to attend class every week and on time, except when ill or when special circumstances arise. They are to be polite and respectful to their teachers and classmates, and to complete assigned weekly homework. Specific policies regarding attendance, behavior, and homework can be viewed here.
How much homework will my child be expected to do for the program?
In order for children to succeed in mathematics and develop confidence in their math abilities, they must practice concepts and skills regularly. Since we want children to succeed, we assign a reasonable amount of weekly homework that reinforces concepts learned in class and children are required to turn in homework at the next math class. We also provide optional bonus enrichment problems for children who are interested in doing extra challenging mathematics. Since we only see children once per week, this weekly homework is extremely important to reinforce the skills covered in class.
NOTE: We are a non-profit organization and our program is in high demand. If you think you may be too busy to ensure your child completes homework and attends regularly, please do not register so that another child may have the space.
What will the partnership with parents look like?
Teachers will send an email to parents every week that details the topics covered and the homework that is due the following week. Teachers may suggest activities that parents can do with children to help reinforce concepts learned in class. Parents are provided with honest and constructive progress reports twice during the year. While we understand that parents may not always be able to help with homework, we do expect parents to download the weekly homework instructions and to ensure theat their child completes required homework regularly.
What will be expected of parents?
We expect parents to treat teachers and volunteers with respect at all times. We expect parents to support their child's learning process by ensuring that their child attends class regularly and on time, completes assigned homework regularly, and prepares for class quizzes. Parents are responsible for going over material that was covered during a missed class prior to the following class. The child's teacher will inform parents about the material that should be covered by email after the missed class has occurred.
Note: you will need access to a printer to print some of the weekly homework.
What materials should my child bring to class?
Children should bring a notebook, sharpened wood pencils or mechanical pencils, an eraser, and a ruler to every class. Your child should also bring a 3-ring binder to store materials given out in class.