Mission: Foster math education for all families with children under six.

 

Program Goals

 

The goals of this program are:

  • Universal Access - This should be available, accessible, and understandable to all.

  • Fun - At least 90% of the activities should be fun. Families should learn that doing math can be playful, creative, and beautiful. Wherever possible, use games and puzzles to teach and practice the material. Emphasize problem solving over routine skill practice.

  • Social - Math is something to be enjoyed together as a family or with friends. Very young children should not be off doing work by themselves on electronic devices or worksheets.

  • Build Confidence - For the child and the family, early confidence in math skills will make a huge difference.

  • See Math Everywhere - Math is all around us. It can be seen and discussed while reading storybooks, walking around, and in doing our daily activities.

  • Create Positive Attitudes - Combining the above, seeing math as a fun, sociable, natural part of our everyday world will be a significant and important change in attitude for the majority of people.

  • Present Activities in a Learning Progression - The given order of the material should create a well-crafted path for the child to learn the mathematics without adults concerning themselves with “what comes next.”

  • Get Support From National Organizations - We will need support from major organizations to get this free program to be noticed by all families and to help provide the impetus for those families to keep using it..

 

Discussion

We believe that early math education, especially before kindergarten, is badly under-served. You have probably heard public service announcements that you should read with your child, but when have you ever heard one saying that you should do math with your child? At the same time, dislike and insecurity for math is rampant among adults, and this helps train the next generation to have similar feelings. You may have heard an adult say “that’s okay, I was never good at math either” - an adult would be ashamed to say “that’s okay, I was never good at reading either.” Mathematics is central to early education, and studies show that early success with math is a strong predictor of later general success in school. Early math education should not be ignored!

We seek to improve math education and attitudes for young children from age 6 months to 6 years in all families in all communities. Central to this is creating an environment where families and children enjoy math as a fun activity to do together. The program should be easily affordable and accessible to all families. The material should be inclusive of all family structures, races, ethnicities, cultures, religious beliefs, and geographic regions.

Currently, many children enter school without the appropriate mathematical background. They either arrive disliking math or quickly learn to dislike it due to their struggles. It is essential that our program is filled with fun mathematical activities that a family can do together, so that all concerned develop a sense of pleasure and mastery of mathematics. These lessons have been created with an eye toward fun, simplicity, and ease of use. At the same time, these activities create opportunities to learn real mathematics and practice problem solving, while avoiding mindless, repetitive drill.

Printed materials are very effective to work with, but they are expensive and logistically difficult to distribute at a national or international level. Today’s almost universal access to laptops and smart phones has created an opportunity to place a high quality program in the hands of the great majority of families. However, this will not be enough. A social component, yet to be designed, is needed to ensure engagement and continued commitment of families in the program.