Brenna Hassinger-Das

Brenna Hassinger-Das
Pace University · Department of Psychology

Ph.D.

About

37
Publications
27,424
Reads
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796
Citations
Citations since 2016
31 Research Items
747 Citations
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Introduction
My research examines children’s play and learning in home, school, and community contexts, particularly for children experiencing poverty. I am also committed to translating my research for use by the public through community-based research projects.
Additional affiliations
June 2013 - December 2017
Temple University
Position
  • Fellow
August 2009 - May 2013
University of Delaware
Position
  • Research Assistant
Education
August 2009 - May 2013
University of Delaware
Field of study
  • Education (Learning Sciences)
August 2007 - May 2009
University of Pennsylvania
Field of study
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
August 2002 - December 2005
Pennsylvania State University
Field of study
  • Anthropology

Publications

Publications (37)
Article
Full-text available
Domain-general skills that mediate the relation between kindergarten number sense and first-grade mathematics skills were investigated. Participants were 107 children who displayed low number sense in the fall of kindergarten. Controlling for background variables, multiple regression analyses showed that both attention problems and executive functi...
Article
Full-text available
The present study moves beyond previous investigations to examine whether an educational intervention combining shared book-reading with a vocabulary game increases children’s vocabulary knowledge. Four-year-olds (N = 44) were randomly assigned to dyads in either an intervention (shared book-reading plus vocabulary review game) or comparison condit...
Article
Games play a significant role in childhood, fueling hours of engagement and social interaction, and probably much learning as well. Board games, card games and outdoor games (such as Tag) first come to mind, but more recently, games have also gone digital. In this piece, we offer a new perspective by placing games within the established construct o...
Article
A growing body of evidence indicates that the development of mathematics and literacy skills is highly related. The importance of literacy skills-specifically language-for mathematics development has been well rationalized. However, despite several prominent studies indicating that mathematics skills are highly predictive of literacy development, t...
Article
Full-text available
How can we transform places where people gather or wait into hubs for interaction and playful learning? Bus stops offer one setting in which to test this idea. Urban Thinkscape reimagines an everyday bus stop in an under-resourced area as an interaction zone instead of merely a place to wait for a ride. Results suggest that embedding playful learni...
Article
Full-text available
STAGE 1 - REGISTERED REPORT Although the presence of toys in childhood has remained steady for decades, the types of toys that fill children’s toy boxes have changed, especially over the last 10–15 years. Many of today’s toys are marked by technological enhancements, from a shape sorter driven by a singing bear to robotic plastic animals designed...
Article
Full-text available
This study describes how 3-to 8-year-olds' justifications for their reality status judgements about people on YouTube relates to their age and previous YouTube watching experience. Using a within-subjects design, children were asked about their beliefs regarding the reality status of a purported YouTube video and provided justifications for their r...
Article
Full-text available
High-quality language interactions not only support children’s language development but also promote better long-term academic outcomes (Hirsh-Pasek, Adamson et al., 2015; Huttenlocher et al., 2010; Pace et al., 2019; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). Interactions in the form of frequent back-and-forth conversations between caregiver and child predict la...
Article
Public space interventions offer one example of how to translate cognitive science into the public square. Here, we detail several successful projects and the six principles of learning that underlie them that support caregiver–child engagement, interaction, and the use of content area–specific language. Policy and community implications are also d...
Article
Children's caregivers are their first play partners, and toys influence the quality of these caregiver-child interactions-with research suggesting that electronic toys are not as supportive of these interactions as traditional toys. In this study, we investigate (1) toy use amongst care-givers and infants, with an eye towards investigating the prev...
Article
Since the advent of television in the 1950s, parents, educators, researchers, and policy makers have been concerned about the effects of screen time on children's development. Then, when computers became widely used, a new wave of interest in the positive and negative effects of this new medium was generated. Within the past 15 years, the developme...
Article
Full-text available
Even prior to the COVID-19 crisis, one of the children’s most common screen activities was using the video-sharing platform YouTube, with many children preferring YouTube over television. The pandemic has significantly increased the amount of time many children spend on YouTube—watching videos for both entertainment and education. However, it is un...
Article
Participating in play affords physical, social, and cognitive benefits. Here, we review the cognitive behavioral science literature highlighting the value of play and describe the different types of play along with the evidence linking play to positive outcomes for children in areas such as social-emotional, cognitive, academic, and social-emotiona...
Article
Modern libraries are reimagining their spaces as more than repositories for books. The Play-and-Learn Spaces project married developmental science with the changing nature of 21st century libraries. The study asked if it is possible to augment learning in informal spaces using the built environment to encourage discourse and interaction. For this p...
Article
Focused on community play memories, the goals of this project were to (1) uncover the variety and degree of playful learning memories; (2) ascertain whether community members would spontaneously share memories of play, and (3) appraise whether memories differed between low-income and mixed-income communities. Results indicated that although communi...
Article
A child’s early language skills are one of the best predictors of academic success, and a number of community interventions have aimed to increase caregiver–child interactions to improve language development and related outcomes. This article describes ongoing community efforts in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, aimed at enriching...
Article
Full-text available
To answer the question central to this special issue, we engaged in part autoethnography and part self-ethnography over a one- month period. During this time, we positioned ourselves as researchers of play and learning, academic parents, and parent- researchers to individually (a) reflect upon the significance of play, (b) document the theoretical...
Chapter
Born into a digital world, today’s children spend more and more time with new media starting at an ever-younger age. While data show that games, YouTube videos, and television shows are children’s favorites and digital books are generally underutilized (Merga and Mat Roni 2017), the number of studies targeting digital books is growing. Books are se...
Chapter
In this chapter, we will explore explanations for this conflicting evidence, and importantly, demonstrate the power of evidence-based recommendations for e-book use. In an effort to compare traditional books and e-books, this chapter will apply four pillars of learning generated from the Science of Learning (Hirsh-Pasek K, Zosh JM, Golinkoff RM, Gr...
Article
Full-text available
Playful learning is a context in which children learn very effectively. The enjoyable nature of play helps draw children in and allows them to focus and learn while having fun. Play does not need a ton of bells and whistles; a simple play space featuring visually interesting block play or other child-friendly activities is enough to get children in...
Article
Full-text available
Editor's Note: Google "brain games for kids" and you can find apps, board games, puzzles, phonic fun, improvisational games-the list goes on and on for all ages in a billion dollar market. But questions remain: do toys and games improve thinking or IQ, or do they just make a child better at playing the games? Our authors examine the market and give...
Book
This edited book focuses on affordances and limitations of e-books for early language and literacy, features and design of e-books for early language and literacy, print versus e-books in early language and literacy development, and uses of and guidelines for how to use e-books in school and home literacy practices. Uniquely, this book includes cri...
Article
Rich learning opportunities in and out of school are critical for children to develop positively. Learning Landscapes is a new initiative that marries the fields of urban design and developmental science to bring playful learning opportunities to places where children and families spend time. Through this initiative, we have transformed parks, bus...
Article
Full-text available
In the United States, children from under-resourced communities regularly enter formal schooling lagging behind their peers in language development, reading readiness, and spatial skills. These deficits predict later mathematical and vocabulary knowledge and can persist throughout life, affecting everything from occupational attainment to health ou...
Article
Curiosity is critical for the development of knowledge, even from the earliest of ages. From infants’ motivation to explore their immediate physical environment to kindergarteners questioning why the sky is blue, curiosity drives our acquisition of new understandings about the wider world. Subject to many definitional debates, curiosity is both a s...
Article
There is need for empirically-based educational practices shown to support learning, yet validation tends to require a high-degree of experimental control that can limit ecological validity and translation to classrooms. We describe our iterative intervention design to support preschoolers’ vocabulary through book reading coupled with playful learn...
Article
Two studies explored the role of play in a vocabulary intervention for low-income preschoolers. Both studies presented new vocabulary through book-readings. Study 1 children (N = 249; Mage = 59.19 months) were also randomly assigned to participate in Free Play, Guided Play, or Directed Play with toys relating to the books. Guided and Directed Play...
Article
Full-text available
Children from under-resourced communities regularly enter formal schooling lagging behind their peers. These deficits in areas such as language development, reading readiness, and even in the kind of spatial skills that predict later mathematical knowledge, may persist throughout their lifespan. To address such gaps, policymakers have focused large...
Article
One potential advantage of e-books is that unlike traditional books, preschoolers can read independent of an adult by using the audio narration feature. However, little research has investigated whether children comprehend a story's content after using an e-book with audio narration. The current study compares preschoolers’ comprehension of an e-bo...
Article
Play is important for children’s development in a variety of areas. Guided play—when a caring adult gently scaffolds children’s play—is particularly effective for supporting specific learning goals. While behavioral research demonstrates the power of play, brain science is playing catch up to reveal why play works.
Article
Strong language skills are critical for developing literacy, social skills, mathematics, and executive function skills. However, homes and classrooms often do not provide the key elements necessary for improving children’s language outcomes. After reviewing the evidence for the six principles of language development—which have been distilled from t...
Article
Full-text available
The present study involved examining whether a storybook reading intervention targeting mathematics vocabulary, such as "equal," "more," and "less," and associated number concepts would increase at-risk children's vocabulary knowledge and number competencies. Children with early numeracy difficulties (N = 124) were recruited from kindergarten class...
Article
Full-text available
The present study involved examining whether a storybook reading intervention targeting mathematics vocabulary, such as "equal," "more," and "less," and associated number concepts would increase at-risk children's vocabulary knowledge and number competencies. Children with early numeracy difficulties (N = 124) were recruited from kindergarten class...
Article
Full-text available
The efficacy of a research-based number-sense intervention for low-achieving kindergartners was examined. Children (N = 126) were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: a number-sense intervention followed by a number-fact practice session, an identical number-sense intervention followed by a number-list practice session, or a business-as-usual co...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence-based number sense interventions (NSI) can help kindergartners link their nonverbal understanding of quantities to the symbolic representations of number, number relations, and number operations.
Article
Full-text available
Math achievement in elementary school is mediated by performance and growth in number sense during kindergarten. The aim of the present study was to test the effectiveness of a targeted small-group number sense intervention for high-risk kindergartners from low-income communities. Children were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups (n = 44 in each gro...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Using shared book reading and playful learning to improve children's vocabulary outcomes.
Project
By 2050, over 70% of the world’s children will live in cities. With less opportunity to read or play spatial/math games with caregivers, children from under-resourced neighborhoods enter school far behind their more affluent peers. In this context, public spaces hold immense potential to provide learning opportunities from infancy onward. Enter Playful Learning Landscapes, an innovative project where city rejuvenation meets early education. By demonstrating the power of infusing learning into public spaces, we make a compelling case for cities to integrate these installments into their normal budgets.
Project
Develop and test interventions to improve number sense skills for children at-risk for mathematics difficulties