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Math Intervention For Latino Parents and Kindergarteners Based on Food Routines


Family food routines are important contexts through which children develop math knowledge and skills. The Food For Thought (FFT) program teaches Latino parents strategies to develop their kindergarten children's math abilities during family food routines such as grocery shopping and cooking. We examined whether attendance to FFT was related to children's math outcomes at post-test (right after program completion). Sixty-eight low-income Latino parents and their kindergarten children (M = 71 months) participated in the four-week program taking place in schools. Children's math skills (counting, numeral recognition and cardinal understanding) were assessed at pre- and post-test. The association between parents' attendance to FFT meetings and children′s math outcomes at post-test depended on children's initial levels of math skills (i.e., math skills at pre-test). Children with lower initial math skills whose parents attended more FFT meetings had more advanced math outcomes at post-test, than children with lower initial math skills whose parents attended fewer FFT meetings. The effect size of this interaction was moderate, d = 0.46. Limitations and future directions of this early math intervention targeting Latino families are discussed.

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This project was funded by the Brady Education Foundation and Davidson College. We are grateful to the parents and children, school principals, family liaisons and teachers who participated in our research. We appreciate the contributions of the following students: Allie Lowe, Nate Kindig, Varenya Hariharan, Rhea Costantino, Clarise Ballesteros, Marlene Arellano, Mary Frith, Mary Walters, Itziri Gonzalez-Barcenas, Ally Arocha and Christine Diaz. Special thanks to Jocelyn Bowne, Christina Weiland, Catherine Snow, and Rosario Best for their input. A.D. is now at University of Virginia and L.S. is at Boston College.


This study was funded by the Brady Education Foundation (grant # 2015-13 awarded to the first author) and Davidson College (Center for Civic Engagement grant awarded to the first author and Abernethy grant awarded to the third author).

Author Contributions

D.L.: designed and implemented the study, collected and analyzed data and wrote the paper. A.D. and L.S.: collected and analyzed the data and collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Diana Leyva.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of IRB committee at Davidson College and the American Psychological Association and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Appendix A

Appendix A

Table 5

Table 5 Math strategies embedded in food routines for each FFT meeting

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Leyva, D., Davis, A. & Skorb, L. Math Intervention For Latino Parents and Kindergarteners Based on Food Routines. J Child Fam Stud 27, 2541–2551 (2018).

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  • Parent
  • Intervention
  • Math
  • Kindergarten
  • Latino