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Parent Questionnaire- Meet Alison

by Early Math Counts

I have been relentlessly hounding my friend Alison for her responses to the Early Math Counts Parent Questionnaire only to find out that she sent me her answers ages ago!  My bad….

Alison and I go way back. In the late 1990’s, we were both directors of small preschools in Chicago.  We met by chance one day and began talking.  I think our first conversation lasted several hours as we found that we had so much in common.  Alison cares deeply about education, children, parenting, friends, and family.

When my youngest son entered Alison’s preschool, I was astounded each and every day by the care and detailed attention she paid to every facet of that little school. I had never been a member of a community that took such good care of its members.  It showed me what was possible for young children and how, with a lot of work, early childhood programs can be extraordinary.

Alison rocks!



  1. Please describe how you are involved in the field of education

I currently stay at home with my two young children. Previously, I was a preschool director and head teacher in a 3-year-old class. I have also taught in both junior kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms.

2. How many children do you have and how old are they?

I have an almost 5-year-old daughter and a 2 and a half-year-old son.

3.  Describe your children’s early childhood experiences. Did they stay at home with a family member? Did they attend preschool or childcare? Did they attend a home-based childcare program, or a combination of the above? (If your children have not yet entered a childcare setting, please answer these questions for the future, i.e., What do you hope your children’s math experiences will be? What are your plans for introducing math to your children at home?)

Our kids stayed home with me until they were old enough to begin preschool. We have had a part-time nanny since my oldest child was 6 months old. Beatrix started preschool at 2 years 9 months (when most programs begin where we live). At that time, she attended 3 mornings per week her first year (per the preschool); the second year she attended 5 mornings per week. This year she attends 5 afternoons per week. Theo started this year: he will be attending 2.5 hours per day, 2 days a week.

4. Describe your children’s exposure to math in their prekindergarten years both at home and at school.

At home there was/is a lot of counting (everything: stairs as we go up, buttons, snacks) and sorting (playthings in storage bins, food in pretend kitchen, and art materials (in boxes and drawers)) and matching. With my older child we play board games like chutes + ladders and Headbanz. Lots of block and magna-tile play. We also talk some about time and use a Time Timer (a visual timer) for the kids to see it countdown until we need to move onto something else (transitions are especially hard for one of my kids). We have a toy tape measure and measure items. We cook (a little) and make play dough and they help measure ingredients. it seems to be much of the same at their school. Now that I’m writing I realize that while Beatrix can write all of her letters (ok, well not “G” or “K”), I’ve never seen her write a numeral.

5. Knowing what you now know about raising and educating children, what worked well in your children’s early math experiences?

I think all of it. I tried to make it relevant to their interests and what was happening



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