Sylvia Celedón-Pattichis, professor of Bilingual and Mathematics Education at University of New Mexico, advocates storytelling as a means to vary the context of word problems so that math is more relevant and accessible to young, dual-language learners. She speaks about having young children use oral storytelling and journals with pictures, words, and symbols to pose their own problems. Using familiar people, objects, and places from their communities as the context for problem situations connects children’s math learning to the language and cultural practices that are part of families’ traditions, work experiences, and daily routines. Culturally-relevant problems, and the opportunity to use a home language for thinking mathematically, can help children persevere in solving problems.
The Early Math Collaborative, supported by the CME Group Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation, held their first biennial conference in 2017 called Promising Math. A conference linking research and practice, the event brought experts from around the United States to discuss the understanding, teaching, and learning of mathematics for children between birth and eight years.The focus for 2017: Fostering access to mathematics for children who are English Language Learners (ELLs).