On Tuesday October 24 from 8:20am to 9:20am in the Learning Commons at St. Ann school, the food was fresh and the math was friendly to parents and students alike. Under the creative genius of Mrs. Mary O'Brien, HWCDSB math special assignment teacher, in collaboration with St. Ann school staff, the idea of bringing families together before school started to engage them in simple yet fun math activities was crafted. With full support from fellow math special assignment teachers Sonia Horta-Barresi, Alison Tyrell, Dave Loschan and Evelyn Niemiec the St. Ann community was treated to numerous friendly and free resources that support the early development of a love for math both in school and at home. Research shows that students who engage in learning activities with their families tend to achieve greater success at school.
The session was comprised of a portion of time with students and parents working together while being supported by the team of math experts. Through simple connections to key resources available free of charge on line, combined with a take away gift bag for each family as well as a free take home board game that supports the development of early visual and spatial reasoning skill development, no family was turned away and all families left with insight into some simple things that can be done at home nightly. With the success of this event, Mrs. O'Brien stated that "This first session is one that has raised initial awareness in the community of early learners from JK to grade 2. Future sessions will target all age groups with the intent of hosting one session per month to support the school's goal to continually engage parents in the learning process." This event, supported by Mr. Pizzoferrato, principal of St. Ann who reports that "These engaging sessions will culminate in February with a Family Math Night open to all members of the St. Ann community. We are most appreciative for the tireless effort that Mrs. O'Brien committed to seeing this idea to fruition. I look forward to further creativity that will see Mrs. O'Brien incorporate math into everyday activities at home which might include following simple recipes at home to have students actively engaged in measurement tasks associated with making fun food like J-E-L-L-O."
Feedback from the families in attendance is very positive and demonstrates a level of genuine interest and appreciation for this unique opportunity which will become part of the fabric of this community. "We look forward to more Math for Breakfast sessions with the community in the months ahead and strengthening the partnership between home and school." states Pizzoferrato.