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New Grant to DREME Network to Advance Early Childhood Math Education

The Heising-Simons Foundation’s Education program is pleased to announce a $5.75 million grant to Development and Research in Early Math Education, also known as the DREME Network. This brings the Foundation’s total investment in the DREME Network to more than $14 million since its launch in 2014.

The DREME Network, based at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, is comprised of 12 leading scholars from across the United States who engage in collaborative research and develop educational resources in key areas of early math education.

To date, DREME members have produced more than 75 research publications and have presented their work to education professionals and policymakers. The network collaborates with school districts, family support organizations, and teacher professional development organizations to develop and disseminate its research and resources.

The Foundation’s latest grant allows DREME to continue working in four key areas of early math learning. Learn more about each area below:

Coherent Math Learning From Preschool Through Elementary School

Policymakers, educators, and researchers agree that math learning in preschool is often disconnected from math learning in the early elementary grades, which can lead to uneven instructional practices and learning. DREME’s COHERE project investigates how policy alignment and curricular coherence affects students’ learning opportunities and achievement in math. The project focuses on pre-K through second grade. At present, COHERE is partnering with two California school districts with the goal of researching, testing, and sharing best practices, and to develop tools that will enable districts to assess and improve the coherence of their math policies and instruction.

Early Math Resources for Teacher Educators

In order to improve early math learning, teachers need access to professional development opportunities in early math. DREME’s Early Math Resources for Teacher Educators improves these opportunities by providing free high-quality resources for those who educate teachers on this subject. You can access these resources through DREME’s Teacher Educators online platform here. The website includes materials on how to best integrate mathematical content into teaching, ideas for pedagogical approaches to support teacher learning, examples of children’s mathematical thinking, and effective teaching practices.

Parent and Early Caregiver Engagement in Math

Parents and caregivers play a critical role in young children’s early math learning, attitudes toward math, and later math achievement. DREME’s Family Support project focuses on developing and testing resources for parent educators in partnership with organizations that serve culturally diverse families to ensure that these resources are practical, fun, and culturally relevant. Examples include tips and videos for using music to explore math, ideas for incorporating math in household activities like cooking, and math storybooks that families can share.

The Intersection Between Math Proficiency and Executive Function Processes

High-quality early math experiences can promote preschoolers’ learning and executive functioning skills (such as planning, focusing attention, and problem solving), which are essential for later academic success. DREME’s Math Plus team conducts research on experiences that promote math and executive function skills. The team also develops resources that can be woven into the preschool classroom throughout the day. Some examples of resources include tip sheets for activities like shared reading, guidelines for how to create and use math centers, and ways to engage in math talk during daily routines. Given the relationship between math and executive function skills among other areas of learning and development, the power of this work is likely to extend well beyond math.