The preschool years are a critical time for math development. Unfortunately, children from low-income backgrounds often enter kindergarten with lower math skills than middle-income peers, perhaps due to less math exposure at home. Few home-based math interventions are available for preschool age children; those that do exist are costly and difficult to implement. Interventions conducted in children’s schools using linear numeric board games developed by researchers have been particularly successful with low-income preschool children. Researchers have suggested they may be adapted for home-use by using commercially available board games, such as Chutes and Ladders, and teaching parents how to play. The two studies described in this paper explored the effectiveness of using Chutes and Ladders with a specialized counting procedure with Head Start families. Implementation proved to be challenging and children did not improve as much as in previous classroom-based interventions.
Key Take Away Points
- A math intervention successfully implemented in the classroom with low-income children met with far more modest success when implemented at home.
- Although parents emphasized the importance of assisting their children with math home, many did not implement the intervention as instructed.
- When designing interventions to be used with families, we need to consider what is feasible for them to realistically implement.
Susan Sonnenschein is a developmental psychologist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is the graduate program director of the Applied Developmental Psychology program. Her research focuses on ways to promote the educational success of children from different demographic backgrounds. She is particularly interested in home experiences of children often at risk for difficulties in school (e.g., immigrants, low income, ELL, minority groups).
Shari R. Metzger is a doctoral candidate in the Applied Developmental Psychology program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research interests include schooling and educational development, children’s conceptions of mathematics and how those conceptions relate to home experiences and achievement, curriculum development and program evaluation.
Rebecca Dowling is a doctoral student in the Applied Developmental Psychology program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research examines the associations between early childhood classroom practices and emergent literacy development in diverse populations.
Brittany Gay is a doctoral student in the Applied Developmental Psychology program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research interests focus on ways to improve the academic success of children from low-income backgrounds.
Cassandra L. Simons is a doctoral student in the Applied Developmental Psychology program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Her research focuses on the ways in which parenting and other home factors affect children’s self-regulation and school readiness.
We are grateful for assistance to our colleagues, Claudia Galindo and Joy Thompson, and our undergraduate research assistants, Jessica Benedict, Megan Bennaman, Dafina Chisolm, Ely Cuff, Semone Dupigny, Hannah Engelke, Gelareh Vakili Dastjerd, Alana Diggs, Christine Glancey, Rebecca Hill, Leila Jelvani, Jessica Neumyer, Stephanie Okpara, Claudia Paiva, Shea Patel, Asma Quaiyumi, Kaitlyn Rosa, Aman Sajid, Felice Schwartz, Sheina Singer, Kristen Spence, Aryn Spring, Valerie Stone, and Disha Sud. We also thank the UMBC Psychology Department for providing funding. Requests for additional information should be addressed to Susan Sonnenschein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sonnenschein, Susan; Metzger, Shari R.; Dowling, Rebecca; Gay, Brittany; and Simons, Cassandra L.
"Extending an Effective Classroom-Based Math Board Game Intervention to Preschoolers’ Homes,"
Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for Children at Risk: Vol. 7:
2, Article 1.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/childrenatrisk/vol7/iss2/1