Transforming the Preschool Math Learning Environment
Children are natural mathematicians! Long before they enter kindergarten, they are engaging with the world in mathematical ways, from counting and sorting objects, to noticing patterns, and even dividing a treat fairly among friends.
The Young Mathematicians project at EDC has partnered with teachers and families who have historically been denied access and equitable opportunities to engage in high-quality STEM experiences to develop over 50 math games for children 3 to 6 years old.
Why Does Early Math Matter?
Early engagement with math is particularly important because children from under-resourced communities can enter kindergarten a full year behind their higher-income peers.
YM’s partnership with early childhood educators, families, and community organizations strives to create a web of opportunity by promoting math at home, in schools, and in playgroups and libraries — all places where young children live and learn — to help inspire preschoolers’ math learning.
Family Math Research
The Young Mathematicians games have been intentionally designed to use simple materials like dot cards, number path boards, and even the fingers on your hands so that after children play the games at school, it’s easy to take the same (or similar) materials home for families to play with.
- Family engagement with YM’s math materials promoted children’s mathematics learning over and above a classroom-only math intervention.
- Children who played YM’s math games more frequently had higher math scores by the end of their school year (even after taking into account their beginning math knowledge).
- Family engagement with YM’s math materials increased teachers’ instructional support ratings, as measured by the CLASS.
All children deserve to be inspired by STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and to reach their full potential, but a math opportunity gap exists even before children start kindergarten. To address this gap, YM is building a network of family math communities to support and inspire educators and families as they engage their preschoolers in mathematics in developmentally appropriate ways. Our Young Mathematicians in Worcester program has helped foster early mathematics learning and engagement among the educators and families in Worcester, Massachusetts and has engaged over 90 educators in professional learning sessions!
YM aims to foster positive attitudes toward math and transform the ways that educators and families engage young children in STEM —making it a common and doable family activity, so that all children see themselves as mathematicians.