Latinos now account for 1 out of every 4 kindergartners in the country; their early education is of great importance for them personally, and also has major implications for the future U.S. economy. Making Math Count More for Young Latino Children outlines the disparity in early math skills between Latino and white children.
We found that, at the start of kindergarten:
- Latino children's math skills trail those of white students by the equivalent of 3 months of learning;
- Latino children are more than twice as likely as white children to be poor, and much of the variation in Latino children's math scores can be attributed to conditions of poverty; and
- Prior experience in center-based child care, plentiful children's books at home, and parents who frequently practice numbers with them are all independently associated with higher math achievement among Latino children.
- Latino students' progress in math is helped by attending a full-day kindergarten, and by having more children's books at home; and
- Among Latino children who start the year with relatively weak math skills, those with strong executive functioning skills (such as paying attention and self-control) make the greatest progress.
- Policymakers can expand access to high-quality early care and education and full-day kindergarten, and make it more responsive to the needs of Latino families.
- Teachers can incorporate activities that promote children's executive function.
- Programs for low-income families can help those families access children's books.
- Parents can bring number concepts into children's play, and talk about math at home (in any language).
- Watch a 4-minute news package on the need to support Latino children's early math skills here.
- Download graphics and sample tweets and posts to share on your social media pages here.
Senior Director of Communications and Hispanic Outreach, Child Trends
Senior researcher and Director of Child Trends' Hispanic Institute
Alianza Latina Pro-Educación en Salud
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