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Too Small to Fail Expands Focus on Early Language & Brain Development to Include Early Math

Partnerships with ZERO TO THREE and Highlights for Children, Inc will provide resources to encourage parents and caregivers to talk and engage in conversations about developmentally appropriate math concepts with their children

NEW YORK – Today, Too Small to Fail announced an expansion of its current work on early language and brain development to include a focus on early math. This includes new partnerships with and resources for parents and caregivers from ZERO TO THREE and Highlights.

Research has found that a strong understanding of early math concepts predicts both a child’s future math and literacy skills, and that the roots of early math skills begin developing from birth, through a young child’s everyday play and interactions with parents and caregivers.

“Talking to young children about early math concepts like numeracy early on not only helps their brains develop, but can help their confidence with math later on in school.” said Patti Miller, Director of Too Small to Fail. “Early math concepts are everywhere. By providing parents and caregivers with resources to make the most of everyday moments to talk about math, we believe we can strengthen a young child’s understanding of the world around them and help them succeed in school.”

Too Small to Fail has partnered with ZERO TO THREE to produce a series of six videos that model parent behaviors for interacting with infants and toddlers to help build the foundation of early math skills in the first three years of life. The videos cover six topics: counting, shapes, spatial awareness, measurement, early computation and patterns. Each video will be accompanied by a handout to help parents support these skills through playful activities at home and on-the-go. The videos and handouts will both be available in English and Spanish. Today marks the official release of the first three videos and accompanying materials on Too Small to Fail’s social channels, with the remaining to be released later this year.

Additionally, Too Small to Fail has worked with Highlights, publisher of Highlights High Five magazine for preschoolers, on a bilingual (English/Spanish) resource kit that contains a parent guide with fun math activities that can be done anytime, anywhere; a numbers and shapes matching card game; and a pull-out poster for 3-5 year olds. The resource kit empowers parents with easy, fun ways to incorporate math exercises into everyday conversation. On September 16 at Dreamforce, attendees will have the opportunity to volunteer their time to fill tote bags for Too Small to Fail’s “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign. The bags include the initiative’s standard early language materials along with the newly developed early math resources and new early math-themed children’s books donated by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They will be distributed to families in Too Small to Fail’s partner communities, including through UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, as well as through grocery stores in Tulsa, OK.

“ZERO TO THREE is proud to be part of the joint initiative to create these videos,” said Matthew Melmed, Executive Director of ZERO TO THREE. “Our goal with these videos is to help parents understand that the roots of math learning can be found in the everyday playful moments that parents share with their babies and toddlers—stacking, counting, sorting, matching, talking, and having fun together. All learning happens in the context of a relationship—and early math skills are no different.” 

“’Fun with a Purpose’ is at the center of Highlights’ mission to help children become their best selves, and we’re thrilled to be part of this joint effort to deliver math resources to families to encourage early math comprehension,” said Highlights Editor-in-Chief Christine French Cully. “These resources support parents in organically generating everyday conversations about math, as well as allow children to have fun while gaining critical math skills.”

The “Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing” campaign has expanded to include early math and language development with support from the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Find the videos and other resources for parents and caregivers at www.toosmall.org andwww.ZEROTOTHREE.org. Also, follow Too Small to Fail on Twitter @2SmalltoFail. Find research-based tips, information and resources on early language development for parents and caregivers at www.TalkingIsTeaching.org