EDC Receives New Grant for Preschool Mathematics Study

Jessica Young

With a new $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation, EDC will conduct a study designed to advance the field’s knowledge of strategies to close school readiness and achievement gaps for young children from low-income families. In the four-year R&D project, Principal Investigator Jessica Young (shown at left) and co-PI Kristen Reed--with Janna Fuccillo, Paul Goldenberg, Deborah Rosenfeld, Katherine Schwinden, and Deborah Spencer—will investigate whether and how Head Start teachers’ participation in an EDC mathematics professional development program ("Games for Young Mathematicians") influences the early mathematics learning of 600 children enrolled in programs in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Featuring developmentally appropriate mathematics games adapted from EDC’s successful Think Math! curriculum, the professional development will build teachers’ capacity to engage young children in challenging mathematics learning and support children’s persistence in mathematics learning, as well as seek to change educators’ beliefs about mathematics teaching and learning.

Young said, “New research shows that providing children from low-income families with effective, developmentally appropriate mathematics experiences in preschool can support their later mathematics success. We hope that this study will provide new insights into how to develop their strong early mathematics understanding and ensure they're prepared for kindergarten. The PD has a special focus on giving teachers effective strategies to support children’s “mastery motivation”—the ability to persist at challenging tasks—a skill that is key to school readiness."

Reed added, "This ability to tackle challenges and persist is one of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) Standards for Mathematical Practice. The program will encourage teachers to adapt their practices to help children acquire this “habit of mind”—setting them on course to meet the expectations of the CCSSM and helping narrow mathematics achievement gaps early on."

Last Updated: September 2013