Family Engagement in Early Math

Engaging Families to Promote Young Children’s Math Learning and Mastery Motivation

Family Engagement in Early Math is a research study designed to develop, test, and disseminate a series of complementary classroom- and home-based mathematical learning activities that promote young children’s mathematical thinking and mastery motivation, with a focus on children from low-income families.

Family Engagement in Early Math utilizes the infrastructure of our classroom-based mathematics intervention targeting young children, Games for Young Mathematicians, as the foundation for the classroom component of this project’s intervention. The at-home mathematics learning activities we create will be designed to complement, and build on, the concepts covered in the YM classroom games.

Preschool children complete math tasks as part of the Games for Young Mathematicians project.

Check out this handout: 5 Ways That Playing Games Helps Children Learn Math

Printable Math Mini-Books for families to read at home
Minibooks 1-12_md

What’s Playing (with Parents) Got to do with Children’s Math Learning?

Even before children have the skills to compare measurements with accuracy or the language to express measurement comparisons with clarity, they notice which is bigger or taller or fatter or hotter: their cognitive apparatus is aware of the phenomena and is interested in it, ready to be fed the language and experiences that become the foundation for the more formal learning that comes later. Their very early experiences—through everyday activities at home, and in interactions with caregivers—can build a strong foundation for later mathematics understanding (Goldenberg, Mark, & Cuoco, 2010).

The National Research Council’s (NRC) study Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity (2009) concluded that while young children indeed have the capacity and interest to learn meaningful mathematics, they need “adult support to build and extend their early knowledge and learn to focus on and elaborate the mathematical aspects of everyday situations—to mathematize” (p. 334). That support, including exposing young children to mathematics-rich activities, scaffolding their engagement in those activities, and encouraging their persistence in the face of challenge, can be, critically, provided by families in the home context.

Game Examples

Books for teaching math in Preschool

  • A-B-A-B-A A Book of Pattern Play (Math Is Categorical)
  • Counting (Math Counts)Jess Gideon pattern
  • Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed (A Five Little Monkeys Story)
  • How Many Snails?: A Counting Book (Counting Books (Greenwillow Books))
  • Mouse Count
  • Mouse Shapes
  • Numbers (Math Counts)
  • Pattern (Math Counts)
  • Pattern Bugs
  • Quack and Count
  • Seashells by the Seashore
  • Shape (Math Counts)
  • Ten Black Dots
  • The Baseball Counting Book
  • The Greedy Triangle (Scholastic Bookshelf)
  • The Little Engine That Could
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Toy Examples

  • Hi Ho Cherry-O
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Memory Game
  • Tangrams