Welcome Instructors!

Early Learning in Math and Science (ELMS) is a model curriculum designed for use by college instructors to prepare pre-service early childhood educators to teach science and math to young children. The course was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation through collaboration between UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science and Los Medanos Community College. The development of the course was an iterative process, through which students and instructors at pilot sites provided ongoing feedback and evaluation data used to refine the instructional materials. These materials are detailed, flexible, and well tested and designed so that even instructors unfamiliar with teaching a science and math curriculum course can inspire, excite, and actively engage their students. Although the curriculum is structured in a particular way, each instructor can adapt, pick, and choose from the variety of ideas presented to fit their own format and time frame.

Key Elements

  • Developed as a 3-unit semester class
  • Designed for 17 sessions, but can be adapted to your situation (each session totals 2.5 hours)
  • Hands-on experiences are central to every class session
  • Aimed at both undergraduates and active working professionals
  • Focuses on learning experiences appropriate for children ages 2-6
  • Applies constructivist pedagogy to fully engage students in the learning process
  • Integrates science and mathematics with other early childhood topics
  • Provides detailed step-by-step instructor guides for each class session with supporting PowerPoint slides
  • Uses Big Ideas of Early Mathematics by The Erikson Early Math Collaborative as textbook
  • Provides a sample Course Reader, suggested homework, Midterm and Final assignments, examples of course syllabus and calendar and other general course documents

Connection to Early Childhood Frameworks and Guidelines

Most states have developed, or are in the process of developing, guidelines that define expectations for preschoolers’ development and learning in mathematics and science, as well as other domains. Since this course originated in California, some of the instructor guides, PowerPoints, and assignments reference the California Preschool Science and Math Foundations. If not teaching in California, you can adapt course materials as necessary so that your students become familiar with the guidelines, expectations and resources available in their own locale.

Because preschool curriculum frameworks are more relevant to the majority of students in college early education programs than primary grade standards, the course does not address K-12 Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). If connecting to these standards is important in your situation, you can incorporate them where you deem appropriate.

Student instructors experiment with different creative tools for coloring.
"The one thing I learned about myself from taking this class is that even though throughout school science and math were areas I avoided, I don’t need to avoid them as a teacher with young children. I learned that I am doing math and science on a daily basis. I have a newfound enjoyment for both science and math."
Jocelyn R., student