Who’s calling?

Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative is in its 10th year of transforming the understanding, learning and teaching of early mathematics from the ground up.

What are we calling about?

Promising Math is a biennial event that promotes connections between researchers and practitioners who care about early mathematics, using three distinct and overlapping lenses: cognitive, contextual, and collaborative. Our first Promising Math event will use these strands to explore the impact of dual language learning experiences on the construction of mathematical understanding in children from birth to age 8.

Compared to native-English speakers, language-minority children in the United States begin kindergarten with math scores about three-fourths of a standard deviation lower. Among the subset of these children who are not considered “English proficient,” the difference in math scores is a full standard deviation (Galindo, 2010). Given the strong predictive power of math achievement at kindergarten entry for overall school success (Duncan et al., 2007, Aunio & Niemivitra, 2010), there is great interest in the early math field in developing a better understanding of how these gaps can be addressed.

Presentations might address questions such as:

Cognitive: How do children construct a foundational understanding of mathematics, from birth to age 8?

  • What difference does learning English as a second language in preschool make in the development of very early math concepts?
  • How often do children have math knowledge they can express in their home language but not in English?
  • How well does the ability to express a solid understanding of early math concepts in a home language transfer to the learning of math symbols and arithmetic in kindergarten and first grade?

Contextual: What kind of mathematical interactions do and should young children experience at school and at home?

  • What are the most effective non-verbal math representations to help young English learners when math is taught in English?
  • Do different approaches to teaching English Language Learners, such as dual immersion, transitional bi-lingual, and English immersion, have differential effects on math learning?
  • How does parental engagement in “math talk” in a child’s home language relate to her ability to learn about math in English?

Collaborative: What are proven highly effective ways to work with families and teachers to provide access to mathematics for young children?

  • How can we better prepare teachers of young children to teach math to children whose first language is not English?
  • What can we do to help non-English-speaking parents help their children to learn mathematics?
  • How should math professional development be tailored to meet the needs of teachers’ aides and assistants, who are often the only adults in the classroom who speak the child’s home language?

Who is joining the conversation?

This conference is meant to be useful to a wide variety of professionals, including: developmental researchers, early math education researchers, school leaders, policy makers, curriculum developers, teacher educators, funders, and family interventionists.

Featured Plenary Speakers:

Sylvia Celadón-Pattichis is a Professor of Bilingual and ESL at the University of New Mexico. She will describe her study of teaching and opportunities to learn in bi-lingual kindergarten and first grade classrooms.

Barbara Sarnecka is an Associate Professor of Cognitive Sciences at the University of California at Irvine. She will discuss her analysis of early number knowledge among dual-language learners from low-SES households.

Rodrigo Gutierrez is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning, Policy, and Leadership at the University of Maryland College of Education. Galina (Halla) Jmourko is an ESOL Instructional Coach at the Prince George County Public Schools in Maryland. They will share work related to the integration of English learning, language, and culture with mathematics instruction.

Presenters attend for free! (Regular attendance will be $150.)

What kind of presentation formats can be proposed?

Roundtable: an informal 15 minute presentation and discussion with other attendees. Each roundtable will have a facilitator and at least two presenters selected by the conference committee. Both research studies and presentations describing intervention work are welcome.

Panel Presentation: A 15 minute classroom-style presentation followed by discussion with attendees. LCD projector, computer, and speakers provided. Each panel will have a facilitator and at least two presentations selected by the conference committee. Both research studies and presentations describing intervention work are welcome.

Research Presentation: A 45 minute classroom-style presentation with at least 15 minutes of that time devoted to discussion with attendees. Both empirical research studies and program evaluations are welcome.

How do I submit a proposal?

Use our online form. Only proposals submitted via the online proposal form by the applicable deadline (June 15, 2017 at 11:59 PM CST) will be considered. To submit you will need:

  • Presentation title
  • Presenters’ full names, emails, and affiliations (up to 4)
  • Conference strand (cognitive, contextual, or collaborative)
  • Preferred Format (roundtable, panel, research)
  • Description of presentation (1800 character limit)
  • Description of how you will engage other participants in discussion (700 character limit)
  • Three recent speaking engagements of presenter(s)


Proposals Due: June 15, 2017
Notification of Acceptance: July 21, 2017
Registration Opens: July 21, 2017