September 20, 2016

Mathematics for Pre-School Children—and Their Teachers

EDC has received more than $1 million to prepare preschool teachers with skills to provide effective math learning opportunities for young children and build knowledge in the field of early childhood education.

The funding, awarded by the California-based Heising-Simons Foundation, will enable EDC to study the effectiveness of a teacher professional development model designed to increase preschoolers’ math knowledge and skills. The model also includes a family engagement component that uses a set of at-home activities aligned with lessons that teachers are using in the classroom.

The new funds will enhance EDC’s Games for Young Mathematicians program. Funded by the National Science Foundation, Games for Young Mathematicians introduces teachers to developmentally appropriate math games and activities, provides teacher training to help integrate games into classrooms, and examines how well these games actually improve early math learning.

“Learning math in preschool has long-term benefits for young children—particularly children from low-income families,” said EDC’s Kristen Reed, who leads the project with colleagues Jessica Young and Heidi Rosenberg. “But many preschool teachers aren’t well prepared to teach math and don’t feel comfortable doing so. That’s why this help is critical.”

This work is part of a stream of funding from the Heising-Simons Foundation to support EDC’s work in early mathematics. EDC’s Center for Children and Technology is leading Finding Our Way Around, a collaboration with fellow researchers at SRI and media developers from WGBH that is also funded by the foundation. The initiative will create a suite of tablet-based games and activities that promote preschool children’s math understanding.

Learn more about EDC’s other initiatives to improve and expand mathematics, STEM, and early childhood learning.