In Spring 2016, NEF funded a $12,000 multi-school grant for math backpacks in every kindergarten classroom across all five elementary schools. With three backpacks per classroom, students take home math-related activities they can do with their families.
Elaine McKenna, grant writer and Hillside/Eliot math coach explains the program, “The kindergarten math backpacks are a great home school connection where the students are completing math activities, playing math games, and are introduced to math literature. The math concepts are aligned with Massachusetts State Frameworks but are introduced and practiced in a fun and engaging way.”
Backpacks contain a journal for students to record their experience with the backpack, which includes books, interactive games and manipulatives. Teachers report that their students are enthusiastic about the program, “The kids really enjoy using the math backpacks. They come to school excited to tell me that they played the games with their families.” And in the words of several students,
- “I love all the games!”
- “I learned how to count by tens.”
- “The books are my favorite!”