The project builds upon the YMCA of Silicon Valley’s Nana y Yo early childhood program, which simultaneously engages children and their caregivers in an informal preschool setting. As children experience a range of enriching activities, caregivers, many of whom have little formal education, gain skills promoting and sustaining children’s enthusiasm about learning. Nana y Yo y las Matemáticas is bolstering the mathematical component of the program through materials development and implementation support.
Impacts to date include Nana y Yo facilitators gaining an enhanced capacity to engage children in explaining and demonstrating their thinking and to explain about children’s mathematical development to caregivers. Caregivers are coming to include more math in their interactions with children both during the Nana y Yo program and at home.
Public libraries exist in virtually every community in the nation, and increasingly, families rely on them as a free, safe place for children in grades K-5 to spend time in the absence of other care. They are an ideal venue for reaching a large and diverse population with math. To that end, we created math materials for library staff to use with children and families, and we supported peer-led outreach via state and national library associations. Partners included the library systems of Queens, San Jose, St Louis, Westchester County, and dozens of libraries in AZ, CT, FL, and MA. As of 2012, we had documented 60,000 informal and formal educators using MiM with over 925,000 children in every state in the US.
External evaluation identified dramatic changes in attitudes about math and its role in the library, in the amount of math offered to children and families, and in communication about math with library patrons and peers.
After-school programs, with their wealth of creative, physical, and social activities, offer tremendous potential for interdisciplinary activities; but like many informal educators, after-school staff are often uncomfortable with math. To promote more math in after-schools serving grades K-6, we developed a wide range of interdisciplinary math resources, and we worked with national and regional organizations to promote peer training and outreach. Partners included YMCA of Santa Clara Valley/Silicon Valley, CA; BELL, Boston and NYC; Girls Inc of NH; and St Louis Science Center community outreach programs.
External evaluation demonstrated that MIM was readily accessible and well-used without training, promoted substantial long-term gains in amount of math that after-school staff provided for children, and led to after-school staff and children building math skills and engagement.
Through several related projects, we brought MiM to parents and other caregivers of children aged 3-12 in the US, Canada, Argentina, and other Spanish-speaking countries. We created booklets of math activities for childcare centers, family day care, and after-school providers, and we developed professional development resources. Those who care for children of IBM employees receive the materials for free.
Impact evaluation showed that the materials made a substantial difference in quantity and quality of math experiences and in the development of positive math attitudes among caregivers. Attitude changes were particularly salient among caregivers with a history of math avoidance.
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We developed a “recipe box” of activities that integrate math into everyday family life, including math to do while making dinner, cleaning up, reading bedtime stories, and enjoying down time together. AT&T distributed the materials to hundreds of employees with children aged 3-12.