The Global Family Research Project recently highlighted a new initiative in Michigan to get kids and parents learning math together by sending them materials in the mail.
The Project reports:
Math in the Mail kits are designed to develop mathematical skills in three-year-olds by providing the tools that parents, guardians, and other caregivers need to build positive family relationships around math learning.
What’s Included in the Kits?
Each kit includes:
• Materials designed for hands-on play.
• Ideas for activities with the provided materials and extension activities using items found in any home, as well as a description of how these activities help children learn.
• A storybook that corresponds to the kit’s main topic that parents and children can enjoy together.
Inspired by Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library campaign which sends free books to low-income families, “the goal of Math in the Mail is to reach those families who will benefit from the materials most and have the least financial resources available.” Through this program, “children who meet economic eligibility requirements receive six kits in the mail over the course of a year.” The program is “currently serving Michigan children from Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, and Saginaw counties” and these kits have reached more than “1,700 families from low-income homes to date.”
This initiative is a great example of how civil society can support family learning. The report explains that various organizations collaborated to make Math in The Mail possible. Specifically, “museums, libraries, and early childhood programs all help us get the word out about the work we do, and help us recruit families into the program by sharing our information with those who visit their spaces. Also, a variety of groups—like the Girl Scouts, parks and recreation departments, and local businesses—partner with us around our math kits, a win-win for everyone.”