Thousands of letters, emails and drawings from teachers, parents and kids
Dozens of conference presentations
Visits to 5 foreign countries: China, India, Italy, England, Qatar
1 toe-tappingly terrific math-a-licious hit children's musical
What a journey it has been! It was actually more than 20 years ago when I had the first glimmer of an idea for a series of books that would teach mathematical concepts to children using a simple stories and visual strategies. But it was 1995 when I held the very first MathStart book in my hands: The Best Bug Parade (comparing sizes). To this day it is my favorite because it was the first.
Twenty years ago, there was not a lot of talk about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) or STEAM (just add Art). The discussions that would lead to the development of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were just getting underway. Meanwhile, conversations on Early Math were focused more on Kindergarten and the primary grades than Pre-K. Yet the need for better tools to augment the teaching of mathematics to young children—starting in preschool—was just as obvious then as it is today.
The MathStart books were written before CCSS, but mesh seamlessly with its Standards for Mathematical Practice. Likewise, by combining the arts of storytelling and illustration with math, the series embodies the spirit of STEAM.
In 2015, the need for quality early childhood education is a rare non-partisan issue. Mission Readiness (MR), a nonprofit organization of over 500 retired admirals, generals, and other retired senior military leaders, has framed early childhood education in the stark terms of national security. Some more numbers: According to MR, "70 percent of 17- to 24-year olds in the U.S. cannot serve in the military, primarily because they are too poorly educated, too overweight...".
Whether it is to serve our country, pursue a career in a STEAM field or simply figure out how much pizza to order for dinner, math skills really are life skills.
Just ask Perry the Penguin, one the "stars" of The Main Street Kids' Club: A MathStart Musical. He used a chart to help him keep track of the clams he earned and spent while trying to save up for an ice scooter. Life is much more fun with an ice scooter! Math skills are lots-of-fun skills, too!