Early Learning for a Strong Mathematic Future

Learning basic mathematic concepts early is an essential way to build a strong foundation for future learning. A teacher once told us, “Gaining strong math skills at an early age truly generates better decisions and has a life-long significance.” This type of early learning also helps to demystify math, a subject often feared by students who find it intimidating.

We are playing our part in supporting early math education through our Mathematics Resource Grants Program. Generously funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation, this program provides $500 immediate response grants to Transitional Kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers working in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties. These grants help to get critical math materials into public school classrooms, which often struggle with a lack of funding due to limited district resources.

During the 2015-2016 school year, we gave out 98 Math Grants to public school teachers. Throughout the year, teachers have reported back that these small grants have had a big impact in their classrooms. For example, 1st grade teacher Angelica Bruno told us: “This grant has allowed my students’ number sense to develop and deepen. It has been a joy to see the students grow in their knowledge and use of the apparatus that we purchased with the grant funds.”

“In an educational environment that can often be basic black and white, you add the color.”

These grants are particularly useful in helping to make math more engaging, as shared by teachers like Jennifer Mercado: “This donation helped make math more interactive and hands-on with the purchase of new math tools. Thank you for your support in furthering my work to make my Kindergarten students future mathematicians who appreciate math and recognize that learning mathematical concepts can be fun and interactive.”

Another crucial element of these grants is helping to alleviate some of the workload pressure on teachers. Third grade teacher Nancy Campos reported back: “You have made my life easier as a teacher since I would no longer have to spend so much time trying to make paper fraction strips.”

In addition, rather than having the pressure of submitting a lengthy application, teachers merely have to fax us a simple, one-page application that we review within 48 hours of receiving. Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Mitchell shared with us: “I would like to thank you for making the process so easy and streamlined. I could not believe how quickly the project was approved and the check delivered. Your organization is truly a teacher’s dream.”

These anecdotes depict that these grants helps to supplement the classroom in a way that benefits both the teacher and students, with K-1 teacher Linda Herbert saying it best: “In an educational environment that can often be basic black and white, you add the color.”

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