Joybox Studios—a startup established in 2015 by Will and Julie Clark, the creative minds behind Baby Einstein—has partnered with the University of Denver (DU) to develop early childhood curriculum materials including activities, music, videos, games, flash cards, books, and toys. The materials are designed based on research from early childhood education experts.

The collaboration between DU and Joybox Studios is a part of Project X-ite, a cross-disciplinary initiative at the University intended to ignite new ideas and build exciting, innovative partnerships with creative thinkers and doers in industry and government.

The partnership allows Joybox to leverage the expertise of three academic departments at DU, including the Morgridge College of Education (MCE), Daniels College of Business (DCB), and the Daniel Felix Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science. The project also leverages DU’s location at the heart of Colorado’s thriving high-tech innovation economy.

Carrie Germeroth, Ph.D, Assistant Director of Research at the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy at MCE, is the team lead for the project. Dr. Germeroth will lead a diverse group of students from across the University as they delve into longitudinal efficacy studies, resource creation, business analytics, Latino market studies, project management, video production, and application development. The students – who will come from MCE, DCB, and the Ritchie School – will work together to create a finished product.

Joybox Studios will also create a suite of tech-based and physical tools for parents and children—birth to three—providing parents with a road map for understanding, supporting, and monitoring their child’s development. Dr. Germeroth, along with Research Methods and Statistics students Heather Blizzard and Ksenia Polson, are providing research support for the development of the tools, including the creation of a research design intended to evaluate the suit of tools and the creation of a plan for data collection which supports iterative development. Utilizing the expertise of MCE faculty and students will enable Joybox to create more effective means of developing and measuring their products.

“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.

Doctors Julie Sarama and Doug Clements, the Morgridge College of Education’s Kennedy Endowed Chairs and Curriculum and Instruction professors, as well as Dr. Heather Ryan, Library and Information Science assistant professor, will present at the University of Denver’s Pioneer Symposium on September 25-26. During this two-day event, DU accomplished alumni and distinguished professors will present lectures and host panels and keynote speakers who will discuss a range of critical issues.

Doctors Sarama and Clements will lead a session entitled “The Surprising Importance of Early Math,” where they will discuss five research findings about early mathematics: its predictive power, children’s math potential, educators’ understanding of that potential, the need for interventions, and what we know about effective interventions.

Dr. Ryan’s session, “Preserving Our Digital Cultural Heritage” will address new challenges in maintaining access to our digital cultural heritage over the long term, and the “digital dark age.”

The Pioneer Symposium features a wide array of topics, including “The Right to Health in Practice: Lessons and Challenges,” “Film as Religion,” “Mental Illness and the Courts: Myths, Challenges, and… Hope?” among many others. DU’s Chancellor Rebecca Chopp will kick off the event during a welcome luncheon and panel discussion on September 25. View the full event schedule here.

The Pioneer Symposium is in its eighth year and open to everyone–alumni, parents, friends, and students of the University.

EVENT DETAILS:

Date: Friday, September 25 through Saturday, September 26, 2015
Time: 10 am to 6pm on Friday and 8 am to 2 pm on Saturday
Location:
The University of Denver
2199 S. University Boulevard
Denver, CO 80208
Cost: $40 fee covers all sessions and lunches on Friday and Saturday

The Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy (MIELL) is assisting the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) in conducting a state-mandated study. This study centers on the development, delivery, and administration of comprehensive early childhood care and early childhood education in North Dakota. Dr. Carrie Germeroth, Assistant Director of Research at Marsico and the project director, works closely with a State Advisory Committee to provide insight on early childhood needs. The Marsico study “has really given us a roadmap, I think last session we didn’t have enough information to really make some changes,” said Senator Michael Nathe in the Grand Forks Herald. The state funding would cover approximately half of the cost of pre-kindergarten education for an estimated 6,000 children through annual grants of $1,000 per student. “With just 36 percent enrollment among 3- and 4-year-olds, the state ranks fifth from the bottom in early childhood education,” said Kirsten Baesle, State Superintendent. Under the legislation, communities would have to organize coalitions of early childhood education providers, both public and private. Dr. Germeroth also works closely with the State Advisory Committee developing a state Early Care and Education Framework and Parent Brief to support further legislative efforts.


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