Early Math Counts Arms Early Childhood Professionals with Free Virtual Math Literacy Resources

In 2012, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Education launched the Math at Home (now Early Math Counts) website with a grant from the CME Group Foundation to give family child care providers and other early childhood educators in Illinois the knowledge and skills they need to boost children’s mastery of early math.

In 2016, the CME Group Foundation provided additional funding to support the development of Early Math Counts — a free, online professional development program for family child care providers and other early childhood educators across the nation.

Early Math Counts offers free virtual resources such as downloadable early math lesson plans, links, and videos about early math concepts and activities; blog posts by early math experts; and information about how to set up math-rich environments for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Thousands of early childhood professionals visit the website each month and enroll in online professional development courses to learn how to integrate math into their early learning environments and activities. The eight online professional development courses focus on high-impact strategies for teaching early math. The program introduces teachers and caregivers to mathematical concepts such as math literacy, number sense, patterns, geometry, measurement, data collection, and math processes. The courses also count toward continuing professional development hours.

To date, more than 13,000 early childhood educators have taken the online courses, with nearly 74,000 (participants usually take more than one of the eight courses) course completions.

"Early Math Counts is by far the best professional development program available to me as an early care educator,” said one family care provider who completed all eight courses. “This site is very user-friendly, and is a treasure trove of research-based, hands-on practices that I rely on weekly. I love how the Illinois Early Learning Standards are easy to find, with great ideas for meeting these standards through age-appropriate play!"

A recent study of educators who completed the Early Math Counts courses found that teachers reported statistically significant increases in recommended math practices, as well as an increase in the time spent in math activities. Teachers who took the courses also reported spending more time in real-life math activities, such as integrating math learning into music and art.

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