Our projects range from short-term to multi-year programs, from one school to networks of schools. We offer teacher education online as well as intensive and in-person. In total, we’ve worked with approximately 700 teachers and facilitators and impacted over 12,000 students around the country since 2007.

Innovations (i3)

(View this project page →)
This five-year initiative will help high needs students reach or exceed state and national Common Core Standards for Mathematics (CCSM) and will create within-school math teaching expertise that will persist beyond the life of the project.

In 2010 Early Math Collaborative was one of only 49 in the nation to receive a prestigious $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education Investing in Innovation (“i3”) Fund (which was matched by funding from the CME Group Foundation) to expand programming to the primary grades. Eight Chicago Public Schools were selected to participate in the partnership.  All teachers in grades pre-k through three in these schools are participating in ongoing learning labs at Erikson, receiving individual coaching around mathematics instruction and participating in Erikson coach-facilitated monthly math-focused meetings with other teachers in their grade level.

LEARN MORE: Innovations (i3)

CPS P-5 Initiative

Early Math Collaborative partners with the Chicago Public Schools' Department of Math and Science to improve pre-k through fifth grade math education throughout the district.
SERVICES PROVIDED: In-Person Learning Labs

Through the partnership, the Collaborative provides training to 50 pre-k through fifth grade network math facilitators, focusing on increasing their knowledge and understanding of math content. Those same facilitators are trained to work with approximately 1,000 selected teacher leaders across district elementary schools to improve their mathematical competencies and achieve the content and practice standards of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics

The trainings mark the first phase of an initiative designed to prepare CPS teachers to achieve the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics.

Community College Partnership

Early Math Collaborative has developed a blended online/onsite training mechanism to prepare community college faculty to use new early math materials and ideas with students pursuing associate degrees in child development or early childhood education.

Currently many community colleges’ education programs are not able to offer enough quality coursework in early math. This quickly cascades down. Graduates aren’t prepared to teach math concepts to the young children they work with, and children begin school without the foundation they need for elementary math.

With funding from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the project has used modern materials, such as video and adult learning activities, to produce educators that spend more time and are more engaged with foundational math concepts. Nine colleges, 15 instructors, and 150-200 ECE students (current & future teachers) have been involved in this program so far.

Kentucky Center for Mathematics

This Northern Kentucky University institution has a strong record of providing math training in elementary and high school, but they are excited to partner with the Early Math Collaborative to learn more about developmental considerations and the complexity of math in the earlier years.

The Kentucky Center for Mathematics is also working hard to develop the high-impact facilitative strategies we model in our programming.  This program involves 100 pre-k teachers at Kentucky school districts and three Kentucky Center for Mathematics-trained Regional Coordinators.

Big Shoulders

Big Shoulders works with the Catholic Archdiocese and the Collaborative to develop teacher leaders who are strong in math. The goal is to create a cohort of classroom teachers who can provide math professional development to their peers based on the Collaborative’s approach.

All facilitators in the program are currently teaching full time in pre-k and kindergarten classrooms, so balancing teacher and leader roles while also exploring new foundational math concepts has been a learning experience. It involves 34 pre-k and kindergarten teachers and 11 teacher facilitators. Content addressed has included “teaching math for understanding” and coaching vs. direct instruction approaches to teacher development.

Academy for Urban School Leadership

In coordination with their mathematics coordinator, the Collaborative assists in providing support and professional development for teachers in the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) network.

The goal of this project is to provide a professional learning community centered around numeracy with a lesson study focus. Much of the emphasis and growth has involved content surrounding the importance of building visual number sense and number operations. It also includes blending teachers from different schools in a lesson study model. It involves 40 teachers in 4 In-person Learning Labs each year.


The Collaborative is partnering with Educare Chicago for three years to provide services consisting of learning labs, coaching supervision, and research assistance.

The entire team of 3-5 classrooms, including teachers, teacher assistants, and aides, is participating in the professional development. Administrators, coaches, family support staff, and infant master teachers are also involved in the training.

Kohl Children's Museum

Kohl Children’s Museum was founded to meet the growing needs of educators, families, and the community at large through interactive exhibits and hands-on programs.

The project with Early Math Collaborative involves development of an exhibit guide and preparing pre-k teachers to use museum exhibits to help children explore math. It also includes development of an observation tool and data analysis to evaluate the project. It involves 28 teachers and 2 facilitators.

Seix Academy

Seix Academy opened their doors in 2012 as an independent, year-round pre-k to 8th-grade school. There are 16 teachers involved with on-site and online consultation at Seix Academy.
SERVICES PROVIDED: Observation and Consultation

An early goal of the Seix Academy was to establish a strong program in teaching foundational mathematics. What has evolved while working with the Early Math Collaborative is a set of more expanded goals, which includes developing a shared school-wide understanding of the importance and best practices of early math education.

Erikson Institute-based PD (concluded)

This four-year development phase of the Collaborative involved intensive, year-long professional development for over 200 Chicago Public School pre-k and kindergarten teachers.

MDRC (concluded)

An education and social policy research organization, MDRC conducted a pilot intervention in eight New York City preschool classrooms.
SERVICES PROVIDED: Research and Evaluation

In 2011-2012, working with the Collaborative and the HIS-EM tool it created, eight teachers and four trainers connected with MDRC benefited from a framework for measuring mathematics instructional quality in early childhood classrooms.  MDRC was interested in the HIS-EM observation tool because no other measure exists like it. It is designed to capture mathematical instructional quality in early childhood classrooms, pre-k through 3rd grade.