Building Early Language & Math Together

Program Contact

Eliana Colunga

The main goal of this project is to provide young children and their families with fun, hands-on activities that foster early language and mathematical development. A secondary goal, particularly during this pandemic, is to provide a virtual space for parents to connect with other parents of similarly-aged children and share their ideas.

The “30 million” word gap that describes the disparate language input among children from different socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds has drawn considerable attention from both researchers and policy- makers. Among others, one challenge faced by parents’ from low- SES backgrounds is the lack of context or activities that promote the use of language and concepts that are currently understood as signs of school readiness. The goal is to design and implement activities that parents will enjoy doing at home with their children and that will foster the use of those terms and concepts. The target language includes nouns (e.g., circle, horn, boot) and adjectives (e.g., big, red, sunny), and those pertinent to mathematics, such as relational terms (e.g., equate, more) and number words (e.g., twenty-five). The target concepts and practices include following instructions, sorting, classifying, and making predictions.

Specific goals:

  1. Provide hands-on activity kits to 2- to 5-year-old children and their families from underserved communities in the Boulder and Carbondale areas. 
  2. Establish researcher-practitioner collaboration with educators in these communities. 
  3. Iteratively incorporate the diverse cultural and familial perspectives by incorporating parents’ feedback and suggestions in designing activities.
  4. Evaluate the effectiveness of the program by measuring vocabulary growth, kindergarten readiness, and parental self-efficacy.

The current plan is to work with 2 to 3 1/2 year-old children in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022, and with 3 1/2  to 5 year-olds in Spring 2022.

  • Building Up Preschool


    Material Distribution


    9/5/2021 - 12/31/2021

    Public or Private

    Private Program (by request only or for a specific audience or group)

    Program Fee

    No charge to attend/participate in activity or program

Sponsoring Units

  • College of Arts & Sciences

  • Department of Psychology & Neuroscience

Program Partners

  • Boulder Housing Partners
  • Carbondale Arts

Audiences Served

  • Families
  • Minority Group(s)
  • Rural Communities
  • Socio-Economic Disadvantaged
  • Students - Early Learning
  • Students - ESL