“It is surprising how deep and broad children’s thinking can be about mathematics” said Douglas Clements, Ph.D, to a packed White House Press room this morning, April 21, 2016. Dr. Clements, who is a faculty member at the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), the Kennedy Endowed chair in Early Childhood Learning, and the Co-Director of the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy alongside his Colleague Julie Sarama, Ph.D, is a nationally renowned expert in early childhood math education. He was invited to the White House to participate in the panel discussion “What does the research say about Early STEM” a part of the Early Learning STEM Symposium which was hosted by the White House, U.S. department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Invest in US.

The Early Learning STEM Symposium highlights the important role science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have in preparing our nation’s youngest children for the future. The Marsico and Kennedy Institutes at the Morgridge College of Education are making a significant impact in the field of early childhood math. “We know so much already about how children learn math. Our work on learning trajectories needs to continue and be more widely disseminated,” Dr. Clements told the crowded audience of early childhood STEM experts.

For the full video visit the White House Briefing Room.

LEWISVILLE, N.C. – Kaplan Early Learning Company announced today the launch of an innovative approach to early childhood education that puts math and science at the forefront of learning. Connect4Learning: The Pre-K Curriculum is a research-based, interdisciplinary approach to learning that was developed by nationally recognized experts in early childhood education and through funding from the National Science Foundation.

The Connect4Learning (C4L) curriculum, available January, is exclusively sold through Kaplan Early Learning Company. A preview of the curriculum and its components will be revealed at the National Association for the Education of Young Children conference on November 18. Curriculum principal investigators are Julie Sarama, PhD, University of Denver; Kimberly Brenneman, PhD, Heising-Simons Foundation; Douglas H. Clements, PhD, University of Denver; Nell K. Duke, EdD, University of Michigan; and Mary Louise Hemmeter, PhD, Vanderbilt University.

After years of research and classroom testing, C4L’s principal investigators designed the curriculum to address growing concerns that the majority of Pre-K instructional time is not balanced among literacy, science, math, and social-emotional domains. One study found that a literacy-based curriculum teaches only 58 seconds of mathematics instruction in a 6-hour day.* Limited opportunities for early math and science learning are factors that can contribute to the United States falling behind other countries in math and science proficiency**.

The C4L prekindergarten curriculum includes 6 units that address 140 measurable learning objectives and support children’s development of 10 fundamental cognitive processes. The learning objectives are fully aligned with the new Head Start Outcomes Framework and state early learning standards. C4L seamlessly integrates child-centered activities with teacher-led instruction. With its project-based approach and rich vocabulary use, C4L aligns with recommended practices to support dual-language learners and children from under-resourced communities. Fundamental to the curriculum is the importance of play-based learning:

Research tells us that children naturally explore and engage with content areas such as mathematics during free play,” says Clements. “So we know that, when they are playing, they are acting out the foundations of their lessons from the classroom.”

Results from pilot programs report that children achieve their learning goals beyond expectations, and teachers and parents have been surprised at how effectively the curriculum improves the children’s performances across all domains.

The C4L curriculum also includes:

  • Pre-K Teacher’s Handbook
  • Director’s Handbook for Pre-K or Principal’s Handbook for Pre-K
  • Pre-K Kit
  • Classroom Book Set
  • Formative Assessments
  • Online Portal, including how-to videos, professional development offerings, classroom management tools, and math games

*Farran, Lipsey, Watson, & Hurley, 2007.

** Ginsburg, Cooke, Leinwand, Noell, & Pollock, 2005

 

About Kaplan Early Learning Company

Kaplan Early Learning Company is based in Lewisville, North Carolina, and provides products and services that enhance children’s learning. Since 1968, the company has delivered innovative products and services that support educators and caregivers worldwide in the creation of quality learning environments.

Morgridge’s Dr. Douglas H. Clements, Professor in Curriculum Studies and Teaching and Kennedy Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Learning at the Kennedy Institute, co-authored the report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth to Age Eight: A Unifying Foundation. The report, released through The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and The National Research Council (NRC), explores the science of child development, focusing specifically on the implications for professionals that work with children birth through age eight. Dr. Clements and his colleagues offer recommendations with a goal of developing a workforce unified through the foundations of the science of child development and early learning. Their research and recommendations promote shared knowledge and skills that are needed to provide consistent, high-quality support for the development and early learning of children from birth through age eight.

Morgridge College of Education faculty member, Dr. Douglas Clements, sat down with NPR Morning Edition to discuss Why Math Might be the Secret to School Success. Across the country, enhancing the education of young children has been a major area of focus from academia to politics. This podcast focuses on Building Blocks, a math curriculum developed by Dr. Clements and Dr. Julie Sarama.Currently, in New York City, a $25 million study is collecting evidence on ways to effectively raise educational outcomes for children in poverty. Building Blocks is one math curriculum being tested in the study. Dr. Clements and Dr. Sarama believe that math may be key to increasing educational outcomes.

The NPR Morning Edition podcast was released a day prior to the December 10, 2014, White House Summit on Early Childhood Education. Morgridge faculty are at the forefront of the conversation of early childhood learning. Their work is pushing the envelope on how teachers engage and promote educational outcomes for future generations.


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