Assistant Director of the Marsico Institute
Assistant Research Professor
What I do
Crystal Day-Hess conducts early childhood research and evaluation projects, professional development trainings, and technical assistance focusing on young children’s cognitive and social-emotional skills. Her interests focus specifically on make-believe play, executive function skills, scaffolded writing, and mathematics.
Crystal Day-Hess, Ph.D., is an Assistant Research Professor and is the Assistant Director at the Marsico Institute for Early Learning. She conducts early childhood research and evaluation projects, professional development trainings, and technical assistance with multiple stakeholders, including public and private preschools, Early Head Start and Head Start programs, institutes of higher education, and various local and state government agencies and centers. Her most recent interests are in understanding the relation between executive function and early mathematics, the cognitive and social-emotional benefits of high-quality make-believe play, and scaffolded writing to develop early literacy skills.
She is a co-PI on an IES Goal 3 study evaluating the efficacy of the pre-K interdisciplinary curriculum, Connect4Learning (C4L), and was the project director on an NSF-funded development study of C4L. She is a Research Associate and Project Director for the Development and Research in Early Math Education Network. She served as Director for multiple federally funded projects from NSF, IES, OEL, ACF Office of Head Start, and foundation-funded grants. She has also served on several Regional Education Laboratories and early childhood resource and development Centers. Her work has been published in various journals and groups, such as Journal of Educational Research, Contemporary Educational Psychology, Journal of Experimental Education, Journal of Play, Early Education and Development and NHSA Dialog: A Research-to-Practice Journal for the Early Intervention Field, ASCD, Cambridge Handbook series, and others.