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Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy

What We Do

Professional Development

Dr. Clements

Marsico staff are experienced education consultants who provide schools and districts with research-based, tailored guidance and innovative solutions to help focus on what matters most.

  • Staff development: We offer extensive staff development offerings, including, Learning and Teaching with Learning Trajectories, Math Play, and a variety of certification options .
  • Training of trainers: We can build the capacity of your staff to deliver professional development programs like the Building Blocks Institute.
  • Technical assistance/consulting: Our customized services can target specific areas for improvement in your school or district, from standards analysis to technology in the classroom and everything in between.

If you would like to discuss your technical assistance needs with us, please contact our Assistant Director of Research 

One of our current professional development clients includes the City of Phoenix Head Start.

In an effort to increase the knowledge, skills, and understanding of concepts of mathematics and inquiry-based practices for teachers and staff, the City of Phoenix Head Start program’s annual professional development training series through the Head Start Learning Institute, will be on foundational early mathematic skills for young children. To assist the City of Phoenix Head Start program to achieve this goal, the Marsico Institute for Early Learning andLiteracy (MIELL) with staff from the Kennedy Institute, will provide professional development focused on developing teachers’ instructional practices in early mathematics through a series of one-day Learning Institutes. MIELL will also provide monthly virtual technical assistance to instructional coaches and staff to support teachers in implementing into practice their learning from the Institute in a manner that is specifically contextualized to their sites.

Professional Development Options

Learning Trajectories Workshops

The Learning Trajectories Workshops provide an overview of the learning trajectories for early childhood mathematics. Each workshop will focus on a specific mathematical topic, such as counting, geometry, or measurement. Participants will learn to understand children’s mathematical competence within a research-based developmental progression and how to target instruction to a level of understanding.

Learning trajectories for each math topic will be presented, including how to use learning trajectories to (a) structure observation and other authentic assessment strategies; (b) support children’s mathematical development in the classroom, including small-group activities, learning centers, and recognize and support mathematics throughout the day; and (c) support mathematical development in the home.

Mathematical topics offered include

  • Counting and Number Sense
  • Geometry and Spatial Relationships
  • Measurement
  • Patterning

Workshop Objectives

  • Understand the components of a learning trajectory: mathematical goal, developmental progression, and related instruction
  • Develop a better understanding of a mathematical topic
  • Understand the developmental progression in children’s understanding of a mathematical topic
  • Identify a child’s level of thinking within the developmental progression through video analysis
  • Relate instruction to the level of development of a child


Teachers, Administrators

Math Play Workshop

The Math Play Workshop will provide an overview of the learning trajectories for early mathematics and how to address them through play. Over the course of two days, Marsico and Kennedy early childhood experts will lead participants through structured discussion and activities in small groups to develop play opportunities for their classrooms to target the learning trajectories. Participants will view and analyze videotapes that illustrate different teaching practices for use in their own classrooms to address the trajectories. Participants will leave with an understanding of how to implement research-based, developmentally appropriate strategies in their classroom.

Workshop Objectives

  • Understand the domains of early math development
  • Use explicit, intentional, scaffolded instruction based on scientific research
  • Mature make-believe play as a context where young children develop  skills critical to meet standards


Teachers and Administrators

Certification Options

Building Blocks Institute Facilitator Training

Attend our Building Blocks Institute and facilitator training to learn effective research-based instructional strategies and methods to help other teachers learn and implement these strategies in their classrooms. The first three days of this training will solidify your understanding of the Learning Trajectories for Mathematics. The final two days will prepare you to become a licensed facilitator of Building Blocks Institute in your own district or region. During these two days you will:

  • Deepen your understanding of the Building Blocks instructional strategies and associated activities
  • Learn how to assist teachers in applying the instructional strategies to lesson design  
  • Discuss how to lead professional development and practice the delivery of a lesson
  • Participate in quality assurance steps necessary to become a licensed provider of the Building Blocks Institute

Upon successful completion of this training you will be licensed to deliver Building Blocks Institutes to educators in your district or service area for a period of one year (annual relicensing available). Your organization will retain 100 percent of any tuition or fees you charge for the trainings that you deliver during the year.


District professional development staff, regional education service agency trainers, professional association trainers, and others would like to deliver Building Blocks Institutes in their service area.

Classroom Observation of Early Mathematics – Environment and Teaching (COEMET)

The COEMET Institute provides in depth training on using the Classroom Observation of Early Mathematics—Environment and Teaching (COEMET). The focus of this 2-day institute is to prepare participants to use the COEMET. Learn to effectively utilize the COEMET, understand the three major components: classroom culture, specific math activity (SMA), and miniature specific math activity (mini-SMA).  The focus of this institute is developing facility with the instrument itself as well as providing certification to conduct observations in their own settings. During this 2-day training participants will:

  • Learn about the Classroom Culture portion, which includes questions about how actively the teacher interacts with the children, how the teacher uses teachable math moments, how math is displayed in the physical environmental of the room, how confident the teacher appeared about math, etc.
  • How to conduct the SMA portion of the COEMET which uses event sampling.
  • Practice conducting observations in pre-k classroom setting with feedback from expert instructors.

Upon successful completion of this training you will be licensed to conduct COEMET observations in your district or service area for a period of one year (annual relicensing available). Your organization will retain 100 percent of any tuition or fees you charge for the trainings that you deliver during the year.


Administrators, Coaches, Researchers

For more information on our professional development options please contact Assistant Director of Research Carrie Germeroth,