Barbara Sarnecka, cognitive sciences professor at UC Irvine, has been awarded a two-year, $152,000 grant from the National Institute of Health to study early childhood education. Sarnecka and her research team will work with preschool-age children and direct different education games in which the youngsters perform cognitive tasks such as counting different objects and grouping them into different boxes. Their goal is to determine how and when children start learning number concepts. “Children learn to count at a very young age,” Sarnecka said, “but the conceptual understanding of what the number words actually mean comes later.” Parents with children under age four who are interested in participating may visit, call 949-824-5492 or e-mail