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Peg + Cat: Early Learning of Math Through Media (ELM2)

NSF Awards: 1323485

2017 (see original presentation & discussion)

Informal / multi-age

ELM2 encompasses production of Peg + Cat, an animated math-based PBS television series for preschoolers and complementary games and apps, piloting of professional development (PD) with 80+ Head Start teachers and administrators, development and distribution of family engagement resources, and research to advance the field’s understanding of how best to support early math learning.

Focused on developmentally appropriate math content, the PD helps educators incorporate math into children’s everyday routines and build families’ confidence and interest in math. It uses Peg + Cat media to deepen teachers’ knowledge of math content and pedagogy, help families become more comfortable and interested in math, and bridge children’s engagement with math everywhere.

To understand the PD’s impact on teachers, families, and children, content assessments, interviews, PD observations, and classroom observations were conducted. Findings indicate that educators who participated in the PD:

  • Experienced significant increases in their confidence in teaching math.
  • Experienced significant gains in their preparedness to teach number concepts.
  • Engaged their students in counting, adding, subtracting, and patterning during large group circle.
  • Learned to facilitate math thinking during transitions and other daily routines.
  • Learned to ask higher-level questions and meta-cognitive questions, such as “Why do you think that?” as compared to simple yes/no questions.

ELM2 parents reported that:

  • Their children tried more often to figure out problems independently.
  • They gained awareness of the importance of exposing their children to math at home.
  • They participated more in activities that involve math at Head Start.
  • They talked to their children about math more.
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