Shira
Kolnik Mattera
Senior Associate

Mattera’s research focuses on early childhood education and intervention and children’s development. She currently works on impact and implementation evaluation for both preschool interventions and projects focused on children from birth to age 3. In studies related to preschool, she helped lead the Head Start CARES project (which studies the impact of social-emotional interventions on preschool children’s outcomes) and Making Pre-K Count (which examines the effects of a preschool mathematics curriculum). In studies related to children from birth to 3, she focuses on services offered through pediatric settings and aligning services across providers in the early years. Mattera received her PhD in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami.

  • MDRC Publications

      Brief

      What Do We Know and What Are We Learning?

      July, 2019

      There is growing evidence that alignment between preschool and elementary school can help sustain the learning gains that children make in preschool. A new policy brief examines two large-scale, multiyear projects seeking to build rigorous evidence about the promise of aligning instruction from preschool through third grade.

      Report

      The Impacts of Making Pre-K Count and High 5s on Kindergarten Outcomes

      March, 2018
      Shira Kolnik Mattera, Robin Tepper Jacob, Pamela Morris

      This project tested whether high-quality, aligned math instruction, via an evidence-based curriculum in pre-K and innovative math clubs in kindergarten, could improve children’s outcomes. The effect of two years of enriched math translates into closing more than a quarter of the achievement gap between low-income children and their higher-income peers.

      Report

      The Implementation of High 5s in New York City

      March, 2018
      Robin Tepper Jacob, Anna Erickson, Shira Kolnik Mattera

      Small-group math clubs in kindergarten are an innovative way to align children’s elementary and pre-K math experiences. In a demonstration of the High 5s kindergarten supplement aligned with the principles of an evidence-based, developmentally appropriate pre-K curriculum, attendance and engagement were high, and children participated in hands-on, individualized activities.

      Brief

      Preliminary Kindergarten Impacts of the Making Pre-K Count and High 5s Programs

      February, 2017
      Shira Kolnik Mattera, Pamela Morris

      Can children’s math skills be strengthened in pre-K and kindergarten, and can such improvements have longer-term effects? This preliminary analysis examines the cumulative effects of two early math programs and demonstrates that this enhanced experience can have modest, positive impacts on children’s math and executive function skills in kindergarten.

      Report

      Improving Math Instruction in New York City

      October, 2016

      An evidence-based preschool math curriculum called Building Blocks, combined with ongoing professional development, was compared with “business as usual” pre-K programs across 69 public schools and community-based organizations. This report contains interim findings on the implementation of the model, the amount and quality of its math instruction, and children’s learning outcomes.

      Report

      Exploratory Findings from the Head Start CARES Demonstration

      December, 2014
      JoAnn Hsueh, Amy Lowenstein, Pamela Morris, Shira Kolnik Mattera, Michael Bangser

      This report suggests that evidence-based approaches can improve 3-year-olds’ social-emotional competence in mixed-age preschool classrooms. While the findings are promising, further research is needed to confirm the results and to better understand how these benefits are generated.

      Report

      National Evaluation of Three Approaches to Improving Preschoolers’ Social and Emotional Competence

      June, 2014
      Pamela Morris, Shira Kolnik Mattera, Nina Castells, Michael Bangser, Karen Bierman, Cybele Raver

      This demonstration tested the effectiveness of three program enhancements implemented at scale that were designed to improve preschool children’s social-emotional competence. All three had positive impacts on teacher practice and on children’s social-emotional outcomes during the preschool year, although to varying degrees and not necessarily in the expected ways.

      Report

      Large-Scale Implementation of Programs to Improve Children’s Social-Emotional Competence

      December, 2013
      Shira Kolnik Mattera, Chrishana M. Lloyd, Michael Fishman, Michael Bangser

      This report describes the extent to which three different classroom-based social-emotional strategies and related professional development supports were implemented as intended in Head Start centers, as well as the degree to which teachers’ practices changed as a result.

  • Other Publications

      Mattera’s research focuses on early childhood education and intervention and children’s development. She currently works on impact and implementation evaluation for both preschool interventions and projects focused on children from birth to age 3. In studies related to preschool, she helped lead the Head Start CARES project (which studies the impact of social-emotional interventions on preschool children’s outcomes) and Making Pre-K Count (which examines the effects of a preschool mathematics curriculum). In studies related to children from birth to 3, she focuses on services offered through pediatric settings and aligning services across providers in the early years. Mattera received her PhD in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami.

  • Projects