Make Connections: You and Me and Math

A collaboration of the YMCA of Silicon Valley and TERC, Make Connections developed, evaluated, and nationally disseminated an English/Spanish math program for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers.

Lead Staff:
Marlene Kliman
Project Staff:
Valerie Martin
Audrey Martínez-Gudapakkam
Nuria Jaumot-Pascual


Make Connections was a collaborative, multi-year effort to develop, evaluate, and nationally disseminate an English/Spanish math program for young children and their caregivers. The program included interdisciplinary math adult-child math units for ages 0-2 and ages 3-5, story time connections, and information for adults on ways to promote young children’s mathematical development through everyday conversation and open-ended questions.

Make Connections materials convey math concepts and activity steps visually, in order to be inviting and accessible to adults with math anxiety and with low literacy. Activities rely upon inexpensive or recycled materials (e.g., toilet paper tubes, plastic bottle caps).

TERC and YMCA of Silicon Valley spent four years developing Make Connections in partnership with YMCA Early Learning Readiness (ELR) sites, which simultaneously engage children and their family, friend, and neighbor caregivers in a preschool setting. Development partners include ELR site serving low-income and immigrant families in CA (San Jose and Los Angeles), MA (Methuen/Lawrence), NJ (Ellizabeth/Rahway), and ME (Portland). The program was disseminated throughout and beyond the YMCA network.

Research Activity

Impact evaluation demonstrated great increases in the confidence caregivers feel finding and sharing math in everyday life with the children in their care.


All Make Connections resources are available for free at


Early Learning Readiness Math from Math Videos on Vimeo.

Hands On! Articles

If You Know the Answer, Don’t Ask the Question: Open-ended questions and math conversation

Feature // Marlene Kliman, Mary Hoshiko Haughey, Doreen Hassan, Audrey Martinez-Gudapakkam

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Families, Friends, Neighbors and Math: The Nana y Yo y las Matemáticas Project

Feature // Marlene Kliman

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