Principal Investigator: Marlene Kliman

Funder: The Heising-Simons Foundation


YMCA of Silicon Valley and TERC are designing, piloting, disseminating, and exploring impacts of a robust set of English/Spanish math materials for informal preschool programs. We are developing our materials in conjunction with YMCA Early Learning Readiness (ELR) programs, which simultaneously engage children and their informal family, friend, and neighbor caregivers in a preschool setting. Our materials are designed to engage program facilitators, and the young children and caregivers they serve, in a rich array of mathematical content including patterns, spatial sense, quantities, sizes, sorting, and logic. Materials include:

  • 12 month-long units, each with a math theme (e.g., comparing sizes) and a contextual theme (e.g., my family), consisting of interdisciplinary math activities for caregivers to do with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers both in the program and at home;
  • resources for combining picture book reading and math;
  • professional development modules for program facilitators and education modules for caregivers, both centered on video that models caregiver-child interactions.

Our materials are designed to model and promote open-ended questions and comments, everyday math vocabulary (e.g., curved, highest, more), and adult-child hands-on exploration. They convey math concepts and activity steps visually to as great an extent as possible, in order to be inviting and accessible to adults with low literacy and with math anxiety. Activities rely upon everyday inexpensive or recycled materials (e.g., toilet paper tubes, plastic bottle caps, construction paper).

Impacts to date show great increases in extent to which caregivers feel confident finding and sharing math in everyday life with the children in their care.

Partners as of 2017: YMCA of Silicon Valley (lead), Merrimack Valley YMCA (MA), The Gateway Family YMCA (NJ).

Families + Math = Success.

This report includes our work with the Silicon Valley YMCA on the Nana y Yo y las Matemáticas project. Thanks to the Heising-Simons Foundation for their generous support.

Download here.