What is the most important thing young children need to know to have long-term academic success? Research shows that it’s early math skills. Yet, too many children start kindergarten lacking the foundational mathematics skills needed for academic success, in part because many families don’t know how to help their preschoolers develop math skills.

Young Mathematicians (YM), a program of early math research and development at EDC, is seeking to change that. Every child should have the opportunity to enjoy rich, engaging, and culturally responsive mathematics learning that prepares them for success in school, careers, and life. Guided by this belief, YM helps teachers, families, and community educators in the under-resourced community of Worcester, Massachusetts, promote the mathematics skills of young children.

Key Activities

The ultimate goal of YM in Worcester is to transform the way that educators and families interact with children around math—making it a common and doable family activity. As part of the project, EDC researchers and professional developers do the following activities:

  • Bring together early childhood programs, schools, community centers, libraries, and museums to improve the quality of early mathematics teaching and learning
  • Establish strong partnerships with families to ensure they can access culturally relevant mathematics materials and activities
  • Provide professional learning and resources to help educators engage families and support quality early mathematics teaching and learning across the settings where children live and learn
  • Foster positive attitudes toward early mathematics so that every child sees themselves as a mathematics learner


YM in Worcester will achieve the following impacts:

  • 6,400 children and their families will participate in the YM program at school, at home, and in their community
  • 200 educators will receive continuing education units for YM professional development from Quinsigamond Community College

Learn More

Heising-Simons Foundation; Overdeck Family Foundation

Worcester Child Development Head Start, Worcester Family Partnership, Worcester Public Library, Quinsigamond Community College, Greater Worcester Community Foundation, Goodman Research Group