Light-touch design enhancements can boost parent engagement in math activities

Yana A. Kuchirko, Lerzan Z. Coskun, Helena Duch, Maria Marti Castaner, Lisa A. Gennetian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early proficiency in math skills is increasingly being seen as an independent area worthy of early curriculum development and policy investment to reduce socioeconomic disparities in children's school readiness. However, scalable approaches for parents to support their children's emerging math skills at home are limited. We examine how behavioral economics (BE)–informed enhancements to an existing play-based school readiness curriculum, Getting Ready for School, can promote parents’ involvement in mathematical activities with their children. The BE-informed enhancements included strategies specifically intended to normalize math and alleviate math anxiety by interweaving fundamental math components such as numbers, patterns, and shapes into daily parent–child interactions. The customized supplemental math content and images––delivered via text messages, along with personalized invitations to Getting Ready for School math workshops––increased family attendance at the math workshops. Math scores were higher among children in the GRS-BE math enhancement group but not statistically distinguishable from the comparison group when controlling for covariates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106133
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Early numeracy
  • Home experiences
  • Parent involvement
  • Socioeconomic gaps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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