Early Childhood Education in the Context of Mathematics, Science, and Literacy
Sarama, Julie Principal Investigator
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The Mathematics, Science, and Literacy (MSL) curriculum project is using empirically-tested mathematics and science programs and research-based approaches to develop a six module interdisciplinary curriculum for pre-K students. Mathematics and science content is included with literacy/language and social-emotional development. The curriculum is being designed to counter the frequent situation of devoting most pre-school instructional time to literacy by having activities that join literacy with mathematics and science. The project is housed at the University of Buffalo, but also has sites at Rutgers University New Brunswick and Michigan State University. A detailed process, a curriculum development framework that has been used to develop prior curriculum materials is being used for developing the MSL curriculum. The design of the materials is giving strong attention to being viable for at-risk students. The MSL materials are research-based and incorporate learning trajectories developed from prior work. The materials are being developed in the first two years of the project and piloted by a four teachers at each of the three sites. In the third year of the four year project, the materials will be piloted by four different teachers at each of the three sites. Formative evaluation data are being used to revise the materials. Pretests and posttests in each of the three content areas are being used to measure improved learning. An external evaluator is verifying the analyses of data and that valid conclusions are being made. The development effort includes attending to the professional development needs of teachers who will be using the six module pre-K curriculum and teachers who will have students who have completed the curriculum. The main deliverable will be the research-based six module curriculum for pre-K mathematics, science, and literacy. In addition, a detailed formative evaluation of the curriculum's creation and implementation is being produced along with a detailed description and evaluation of the curriculum model used. A publisher has indicated interest in publishing the materials and is interacting with the developers throughout the process. There is a potential that the interdisciplinary curriculum will be widely used. The curriculum is being designed using the most current learning trajectories with the expectations that these will particularly helpful for at risk students.