Early Math Initiative

Closing the achievement gap by building early math and problem-solving skills

The math skills a child possesses by the beginning of kindergarten are predictive of later academic success. Robust evidence suggest that early education programs can powerfully enhance these skills, including the abilities to:

·         recognize numbers

·         problem solve

·         use reasoning skills; and

·         apply knowledge.

Through the Early Math Initiative at Educare Chicago, the Ounce of Prevention Fund is working to expand the first experiences the school’s young students have with numeracy and problem-solving. As part of the initiative, we help teachers integrate strategies that promote early math and problem-solving skills into classroom activities, and through the initiative we ensure that classrooms have the appropriate supplies (i.e., measuring cups, clocks, and blocks) essential to early math exploration. Additionally, specialists coach teachers on how to provide one-on-one support to children most at risk of poor math development. And the work of the initiative stretches outside the walls of the school as well. Through such activities as cooking, shopping and gardening, parents are shown everyday ways they can enhance their child’s math skills.

The Ounce is evaluating the initiative’s outcomes through classroom measures, parent surveys and child assessments. Initial findings indicate the initiative is having a positive impact on children, families, and teachers.

In partnership with the Erikson Institute, the Ounce is developing new approaches for promoting early math awareness in young children based on best practices from our Early Math Initiative. We plan to incorporate these strategies into the Ounce’s Center-Based Training Institute, a new program designed to elevate the quality of early childhood programs across Chicago.

Private funding allows us to develop and test new approaches, like the Early Math Initiative, for educating at-risk children. To support this project, please contact April Wozniak, Director of Development, at 312.922.3863.

This project is generously supported by the CME Group Foundation, the Louis R. Lurie Foundation, and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation.