All children are capable of excelling at all levels of math.
Math is about creativity and flexibility.
Children need strong numeracy skills to pursue big dreams.
Families play an essential role in their child’s math learning.
What We Do
We partner with local preschools and community centers to provide families with the knowledge and tools they need to make math activities a part of their daily routine. We target schools who serve low-income families, since these families are in the greatest need of support.
Our parent workshops provide parents with the confidence and knowledge they need to support their child’s numeracy, and our Early Math Play Kits provide parents with the tools to play math activities together.
Together, we can make numeracy a part of every child’s life and ensure that all children have the foundation they need to be successful in school and beyond.
Rachel Devaney started Counting Fingers and Toes as a blog in 2020 as a way to give parents tips on how to support their child’s early math learning. A few months in, she realized that in order to reach the families and children who need the most support, she needed to connect with the Nashville community on the ground,
In February 2021, she led the first parent workshop at Haywood Elementary School, and she led three more throughout the year at other MNPS schools. She realized that there is real need for numeracy resources in Nashville, and in June 2021, she founded Counting Fingers and Toes as a nonprofit so she could reach more Nashville families.
Counting Fingers and Toes currently partners with 4 schools in Metro Nashville Public Schools, and is working to expand their network.
Math achievement in school has been linked to many factors of success, such as attending college and job earnings. Additionally, the skills that form the core of mathematical thinking – problem solving, thinking flexibly and creatively, finding patterns and justifying your conclusions – are critical to succeeding in today’s world and solving big problems.
Based on the 2021 TCAP Results, 1 in 4 TN students is on grade level in math, and only 1 in 10 economically disadvantaged students is on grade level in math (TN DOE, 2021).
Why early math learning?
Research shows if children are behind in math skills when they enter kindergarten, they tend to stay behind. Additionally, by the time children enter kindergarten, there is already a gap in math performance between children from low socioeconomic backgrounds and those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. In order to give all children the ability to succeed in elementary school and beyond, it is essential that we begin supporting children’s math learning as early as possible.
Parents are children’s first teachers. Children spend the majority of their time at home with their parents, and a child’s home environment has the potential to be full of learning experiences that support cognitive development. Although engaging in math activities at home is a strong predictor of children’s math performance, many parents are unsure of how to support their child’s math learning. Furthermore, many adults report having some level of math anxiety or discomfort with doing tasks that involve math.
Rachel Devaney, Founder
Rachel spent 9 years working in schools with students in grades 5-12, as both a teacher and instructional coach. She earned her Masters in Education with a focus in Poverty and Intervention at Vanderbilt University.
While working with high school math teachers, she came to understand the depth of gaps in students’ math understanding and math confidence. She decided to use what she learned about early intervention to develop a program to support children’s math development at the earliest point possible.
Board of Directors
Community Achieves Site Manager at Haywood Elementary School
Math Teacher at Overton High School
Teacher in Atlanta, GA, formerly taught at STEM Prep High