Challenge

Research suggests that children’s preschool mathematics knowledge is a predictor of later academic success and that strong spatial-thinking skills are key to children’s readiness for kindergarten and later STEM learning. Yet many preschoolers from underrepresented and underserved groups lack opportunities for high-quality early math learning, and children’s spatial thinking is often ignored in early childhood education environments.

EDC, WGBH Educational Foundation, and Digital Promise Global are developing and studying a preschool mathematics curriculum supplement that will help caregivers and early childhood educators foster children’s spatial orientation (SO) and math learning. The supplement features hands-on developmentally appropriate spatial learning activities, books, and digital touch-screen tablets with augmented reality technologies.

Key Activities

Using a design-based research and development approach, the project is carrying out the following activities:

  • Produce a set of spatial orientation activities and a digital teachers’ guide for use in preschool classrooms
  • Develop a family-focused guide with SO learning activities to engage children at home
  • Design a validated, hands-on assessment to understand and track preschoolers’ SO learning
  • Conduct user studies and a pilot study with 700–800 preschool children and their families and teachers to test the activities and inform revisions to those activities

Impact

The project and its findings will:

  • Illuminate the potential for this approach to support preschoolers’ SO learning
  • Advance knowledge of how to design digital activities that foster SO learning and that can be modified and tested with other domains and age groups
  • Provide a model for STEM interventions that use augmented reality to facilitate children’s SO and STEM identity and support teachers’ and parents’ engagement with preschoolers’ learning

Additionally: 

Learn More

PROJECT DIRECTOR
DURATION
2021–2024
FUNDED BY
National Science Foundation
PARTNERS

WGBH, Digital Promise, SRI International