Erica L. Zippert, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Department of Psychology and Human Development

Vanderbilt University

Preschool children are innately curious about a broad array of early mathematical concepts (including numbers, patterns, and space). They engage in spontaneous math exploration during solitary play, as well as during informal interactions with parents and peers. Additionally, they explore math across an array of contexts, including during play with traditional toys and games (e.g., playing cards and building blocks) and digital app use and e-book reading. In my research program, I examine how preschoolers explore math concepts during their everyday experiences outside of school, as well as the impacts on this exploration of characteristics of the child (e.g., their math and language ability and interests), their play partner (e.g., social interactivity, questioning, prior knowledge, and beliefs), and features of available play materials and resources (e.g., helpful hints to focus on math, types of toys, & affordances of the materials themselves). Through my work, I my hope to guide families and early childhood educators to engage their young children in meaningful math experiences that lead to math learning.