Heising-Simons Fdn. and EDC: Promoting All Children's School Readiness

Boy playing math game

Three grants from the Heising-Simons Foundation are significantly advancing EDC's goals to ensure all children have high-quality early math experiences that support their school readiness and success. With one grant from Heising-Simons Foundation, EDC and partners WGBH and SRI are launching Finding Our Way Around, an initiative to design resources for parents that feature digital and hands-on activities to promote children’s understanding of spatial ideas and prepare them for success in mathematics. Ashley Lewis Presser, who leads the project with Deborah Rosenfeld, said: "We hope these resources help families deepen their young children's understanding of spatial and mathematics concepts through everyday experiences, such as going to the grocery store or walking around the neighborhood. Exploring math and spatial ideas with their families lays the groundwork for children's successful math learning in kindergarten and beyond."

The second and third grants are enabling EDC to carry out two projects to expand and enhance its successful Games for Young Mathematicians program. Led by Heidi Rosenberg, Kristen Reed, and Jessica Young, the Family Engagement in Early Mathematics (FEEM) project is helping preschool teachers engage families in early math activities through games and stories and studying the added benefits to children’s school readiness skills. Funded in September 2016, the accompanying in-depth observational Supporting School Readiness study will examine the classroom instructional practices of teachers in the FEEM project.

“The Supporting School Readiness study allows us to investigate the specific things that teachers do as a result of the professional development that have the biggest impact on children’s learning. We are interested in what teachers talk about related to math and problem-solving, the quality of their interactions with children, and the types of opportunities they provide children to learn math” said Jessica Young, who with Kristen Reed co-leads Games for Young Mathematicians. “Learning math in preschool has long-term benefits for young children—particularly children from low-income families,” added Kristen Reed. “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.”

Last updated: September 2016