Early Childhood

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Early Childhood Education

The importance of early childhood education can’t be overemphasized. Children want to learn. Children want to love and be loved. This photo comes from the Hand-in-Hand Primary School in Thomasville during the Georgia Partnership’s 2008 Bus Trip Across Georgia. These children are now in middle school!

There's a wealth of information on the early childhood years where the graduation pipeline begins.  Here you will find some representative reports, research and articles.  Posting here does not indicate Georgia Partnership endorsement.  Entries go back to 2014.  Please report any broken links here.

Did you know? Fun Facts About Pre-K Education in Georgia!

  • Three out of four Georgia legislators have participated in Georgia Pre-K Week.
  • In the first few years of a child's life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second.
  • Support Georgia Pre-K Week because early learning is the foundation for all future success in school, in the workforce and in life.
  • Quality early learning leads to higher graduation rates, and actually saves money for the government, that's why we support Georgia Pre-K Week.
  • The early care and education industry in Georgia creates over 67,000 jobs and generates $4.7 billion of economic activity each year.
  • Georgia is currently one of only seven states that provides high-quality care to more than 50 percent of 4-year-olds.
  • 65% of Georgia's children under age 6 have working parents.  You know someone benefitting from early learning.
  • Early care provides 67,507 jobs for Georgians.  Supporting Georgia Pre-K makes cents!
  • By 2022, child care will be one of the fastest growing industries in Georgia. Just one more reason to support Georgia Pre-K Week!
  • Children in Georgia Pre-K show significant growth in math, literacy and social-emotional skills regardless of income.
  • Over 1.4 million children have been served by Georgia Pre-K since it began in 1992. Early learning works.  By the way, those first children in 1992 are now college grads with families and careers!!!  Thank you Georgia Pre-K!
  • Children enrolled in Georgia Pre-K are more prepared for kindergarten compared to 4-year-olds in other forms of care.
  • Over 1,100 programs participate in Quality Rated, the voluntary quality improvement system for child care in Georgia.
  • Of Georgia's 159 counties, 135 have at least one Quality Rated child care center.


A Framework for School Readiness in Georgia
GEEARS - Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students

This framework articulates not only the central components of school readiness but also the roles various stakeholders play in promoting it. (September 20)

10 Characteristics of PreSchool-Age Children - A State Local Data Tool to Inform Policy and Action
Urban Institute

This interactive tool shows 10 important characteristics of 3-5-year-olds.  It displays the characteristics by whether the children are enrolled in early education, whether their families are  low-income, or whether their parents are immigrants. (September 20)

What Should We Be Teaching Young Children?

There is a wealth of information available about early childhood learning but does it hit the mark?  This article offers insight. (August 29)

Georgia's Pre-K Program Education Process - Children's Outcomes Through First Grade: Findings from Year 3 of Georgia's Pre-K Longitudinal Study
University of North Carolina

In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly authorized an evaluation of the state's Pre-K Program. In response, DECAL commissioned national experts at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to conduct a series of studies to measure the impact of our state's nationally renowned Pre-K program. Reports and summaries are now available. Evaluations. Related story. (August 24)

School Starting Age and Cognitive Development
National Bureau of Economic Research

This research says older children starting their walk in the education pipeline tend to do better even into their college years. IntroductionRelated story. (August 24)

Brain Matter Matters:  Should We Intervene Well Before Preschool?

The case is clear: Investments in young children have enormous payoffs for society. The question is not whether we should invest in young children, but when and how. (August 22)

Child's Home Learning Experience Determines 5th Grade Academic Skills
New York University

Children whose parents provide them with learning materials like books and toys and engage them in learning activities and meaningful conversations in infancy and toddlerhood are likely to develop cognitive skills that can cascade into later academic success.     Introduction.  Related Story. (August 18)

Study: Children As Young As 3 Attempt to Learn Rules of Reading, Writing 
Washington University in St. Louis

This study reveals exposure to language improves "invented spellings" of children 3-5 years old. Press release.  Related article. (July 25)

Bilingual Baby: Foreign Language Intervention in Madrid's Infant Education Centers
University of Washington

It has long been understood babies exposed to a bilingual experience show signs of advanced learning. This study investigates how babies can learn a second language outside the home. Related article. (July 24)

Do academic preschools yield stronger benefits? Cognitive emphasis, dosage, and early learning
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology

The study found that by the end of kindergarten, children who had attended one year of “academic-oriented preschool” outperformed peers who had attended less academic-focused preschools by, on average, the equivalent of two and a half months of learning in literacy and math. Related story. (May 30) 

The State of Pre-School 2016
National Institute of Early Education Research

This report from the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) concludes that Georgia does a good job educating the state’s four-year-olds, but there’s room for improvement. Related story. (May 25) 

The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects

Some of the nation's top researchers who've spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool. They came away with one clear message. Introduction. Related story. Related story. (May 5)

From Sesame Street to State Capitols: The case for STEM and early learning
Education Commission of the States

As researchers and policymakers continue to evaluate what pre-K and kindergarten should include, STEM is beginning to enter the conversation as a key component of early learning success. (April 5)

Kids Today: The Rise in Children's Academic Skills at Kindergarten
SAGE Journals

Using two large, nationally representative data sets, this article documents how students entering kindergarten in 2010 compare to those who entered in 1998 in terms of their teacher-reported math, literacy, and behavioral skills. Related article. (March 2) 


We Learned A Lot In 2016 About How Preschool Can Help Kids
Georgia Public Broadcasting

One of the most controversial questions in education has been whether preschool — and specifically Head Start — helps kids succeed as they move through elementary school. (December 27)

Early Math Knowledge Related to Later Achievement
Vanderbilt University

This longitudinal study found that children’s math knowledge in preschool is related to their later achievement—but not all types of math knowledge were related equally. (December 13)

The Life-cycle Benefits of an Influential Early Childhood Program
The Heckman Equation (University of Chicago, University of Southern California researchers)

Preschool programs have greater effects the earlier they start, when they include some health care and when they encourage "motherly love," economist James Heckman said as he announced a new study of the benefits of early childhood programs. Earlier 2009 report.  More.  Related article.   Related article.  Related article. Related article. (December 12) 

Children's Outcomes and Classroom Quality from Pre-K to Kindergarten - Findings from Year 2 of Georgia's Pre-K Longitudinal Study
Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute - University of North Carolina

According to this report, Georgia’s pre-k program is showing positive impacts,  tracking 1,169 children who participated in the program during the 2013-2014 school year. Introduction. Executive summary. Related story. Related story.(December 1)

K-3 Policymakers' Guide to Action: Making the Early Years Count
Education Commission of the States

The preschool through third-grade years are foundational in a child’s journey towards lifelong learning. Developmentally, these early elementary years are when children best acquire the academic and non-academic skills on which long-lasting educational success depends. Introduction. (December 1) 

A Lesson for Pre-Schools:  When It's Done Right, the Benefits Last

High-quality preschool programs can have lasting benefits for students, according to a recent study. Researchers followed about 1 million students in North Carolina from preschool to the fifth grade and found that the students had higher test scores and were less likely to be held back a grade. Research requires a fee. (November 18)

Trouble in the Land of Early Childhood Education?
The Future of Children - Princeton/Brookings

A recent evaluation has roiled the field of early childhood education with the finding that by the time they reached third grade, children who participated in Tennessee’s statewide pre-K program had worse attitudes toward school and poorer work habits than children who didn’t. Why should this be? Related article. (November 1)

Policy Brief on Early Learning and the Use of Technology
U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The guidance will help those who care for nearly 36 million children from birth to age eight make wise decisions about media use, and provides four guiding principles for families and early educators on the use of technology with young children. Introduction. Related story. (October 24)

Do Early Educators' Implicit Biases Regarding Sex and Race Relate to Behavior Expectations and Recommendations of Preschool Expulsions and Suspensions?
Yale Child Study Center

According to this study, preschool teachers and staff show signs of implicit bias in administering discipline, but the race of the teacher plays a big role in the outcome. Yale article. Related article. Related article. (October 4)

Education at a Glance 2016 (Covers variety of subjects but focus here is early childhood education)
Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD)

In the U.S., 42 percent of 3-year-olds and 68 percent of 4-year-olds enrolled in early childhood or preschool programs in 2014 – far below the OECD average of 71 percent of 3-year-olds and 86 percent of 4-year-olds. Related story. (September 15) 

Early Childhood Workforce INDEX 2016
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

This report represents the first effort to establish a baseline description of early childhood employment conditions and policies in every state and to track progress on a state-by-state basis to improve early childhood jobs. Introduction and press release. Related story. Related story - specific to Georgia. (Updated August 29. Originally posted July 8) 

Book Deserts - The Consequences of Income Segregation on Children's Access to Print
Urban Education

(Abstract is free.  Fee charged for full document.) This study examines the influence of income segregation on a resource vital to young children’s development: a family’s access to books in early childhood. Related story. (July 18)

New Duke Study:  Early Attention Skills Most Consistent Predictor of Future Academic Success
Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This study suggests problems paying attention in school in early childhood can foreshadow academic challenges later, including graduating from high school. Such students are 40 percent less likely to graduate. Related study. (July 7) 

The Road to High Quality Early Learning - Lessons from the States
Learning Policy Institute

This report provides substantial information on answering on of education's toughest questions:  What does it take to get preschool right? Introduction.  Report brief. Related story. (June 29)

Some Assembly Required - Piecing Together the Preparation Preschool Teachers Need
National Council On Teacher Quality

Preschool teachers have one of the toughest jobs around. Do the prep programs training aspiring preschool teachers give them the skills and knowledge they need to create an high-quality and enduring preschool experience? Introduction.  Related article. (June 24)

How much does it benefit a child to delay kindergarten entry for a year?

Academic redshirting is the practice where a five-year-old child’s caretaker chooses not to enroll her or, more commonly, him in kindergarten even though he is of appropriate age by the state’s cut-off date for enrollment.  Is it the right thing to do? (June 24)

How Much Can High-Quality Universal Pre-K Reduce Achievement Gaps?
Center for American Progress

A new analysis of reading and math scores in two of the country's highest-performing public preschool programs (Tulsa and Boston) concludes that high-quality preschool could help children of all backgrounds enter kindergarten on an even playing field. Related story. (April 8) 

Part day or full day kindergarten?
Education Commission of the States

The experiences of children birth to age five have tremendous impact on their readiness for kindergarten. The approaches to learning, executive function, interest and persistence, flexibility, social and emotional development, engagement in learning tasks, language enrichment and attitudes about school all influence academic achievement and later success. (March 23)

Early Grade Teacher Effectiveness and Pre-K Effect Persistence: Evidence from Tennessee
Vanderbilt University - Peabody College

This study shows there is a strong relationship between teacher effectiveness and the trajectory of student learning. The findings could strengthen the argument that pre-K is a valuable tool in helping students get ahead in their learning at a young age, especially for students who are economically disadvantaged or learning English.  AbstractRelated story. (January 2016)


Building a Strong Foundation - State Policy for Early Childhood Education
Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)

On the heels of a major five-year study questioning the long-term effectiveness of Tennessee’s publicly funded pre-kindergarten program, this report calls on states to raise the quality of such programs and make early childhood development a priority. Related story. (November 2015)

Bright and Early
Teachers College - Columbia University

If all goes well, Teachers College neuroscientist Kimberly Noble will soon begin handing over $4 million to a group of new mothers. The goal: to see if a boost in monthly income translates into bigger brains for heir children. (October 2015) 

Georgia's early learning industry - an economic win today with long-term business, social impacts
Saporta Report

How important is early learning? Even more than you realize. Early learning is an industry that generates significant and well-substantiated societal benefits. (October 2015)

A Randomized Control Trial of a Statewide Voluntary Prekindergarten Program on Children's Skills and Behaviors Through Third Grade
Vanderbilt University - Peabody Research Institute

Teachers, parents and politicians have long wrestled with the question: How effective is preschool.  This study is clear albeit controversial. Related story. (October 2015) 

Mapping the Early Attendance Gap
Attendance Works

This report shows how disparities in school attendance rates starting as early as preschool and kindergarten are contributing to achievement gaps and high school dropout rates across the country. Introduction. Executive summaryRelated story. (September 2015) 

Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8 - A Unifying Foundation
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies

This explores the science of child development, particularly looking at implications for the professionals who work with children birth through age 8. Brief and Summary. (July 2015)

Early Social-Emotional Functioning and Public Health:  The Relationship Between Kindergarten Social Competence and Future Wellness
As published in the American Journal of Public Health

This study examined whether kindergarten teachers' ratings of children's prosocial skills, an indicator of noncognitive ability at school entry, predict key adolescent and adult outcomes. Abstract. Related article. (July 2015)

Too Much TV? Prospective Association Between Early Childhood Televiewing and Later Self-reports of Victimization by Sixth Grade Classmates
Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

Using a birth cohort, this study aimed to verify whether televiewing at 29 months, a common early childhood pastime, is prospectively associated with self-reported victimization at age 12. Abstract (charge for full article). Related article. (July 2015)

Pre-K and Charter Schools:  Where State Policies Create Barriers to Collaboration
Thomas B. Fordham Institute/National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

This examines 36 jurisdictions that have both charter schools and state-funded pre-K programs to determine where charters can provide state-funded pre-K. The most common practical barriers include low funding levels, small pre-K programs, barriers to kindergarten enrollment, and local district monopolies on pre-K funds. Introduction. (July 2015)

Full-Day Kindergarten in Nevada - A Health Impact Assessment
University of Las Vegas School of Community Health Services

Full-day kindergarten may be a gateway to higher academic achievement and improved health for Nevada’s youth, according to this study.  Related story. (July 2015)

The State of Preschool 2014
National Institute for Early Education Research

The 2014 State Preschool Yearbook is the newest edition of this annual report profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the U.S. This latest Yearbook presents data on state-funded prekindergarten during the 2013-2014 school year as well as documenting more than a decade of change since the first Yearbook collected data on the 2001-2002 school year. (May 2015)

A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America
U.S. Department of Education

All parents hope their child will start school ready for success. Unfortunately, not every parent can find the high-quality early learning opportunity that sets their child up for success. Related story. (April 2015)

Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain, Much to Lose
Defending the Early Years and Alliance for Childhood

In the U.S. there is widespread belief that teaching children to read early - in kindergarten or even prekindergarten - will help them be better readers in the long-run.  Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence that this is so.  How then did this idea take hold so strongly? Related story. (January 2015)

Regular naps are key to early learning

Trials with 216 babies up to 12 months old indicated they were unable to remember new tasks if they did not have a lengthy sleep soon afterwards. The University of Sheffield team suggested the best time to learn may be just before sleep and emphasized the importance of reading at bedtime. (January 2015)

Quality Counts 2015: Report and Rankings
Education Week

This annual report takes a broad look at the issues and forces shaping the discussion around early-childhood education.  It examines how new academic demands and the push for accountability are changing the nature of early childhood education for school administrators, teachers, and children alike. (January 2015)


From Preschool to Prosperity - The Economic Payoff to Early Childhood Education
W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

This report shows that investment in high-quality early childhood education has several long-term benefits, including higher adult earnings for program participants. Introduction.  (2014)

The Economics of Early Childhood Investments
The White House

This report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers makes the case that investing in preschool education is absolutely worth it. Related story. Related story. (December 2014) 

Self-regulation intervention boosts school readiness of at-risk children, study shows
Oregon State University Study

An intervention that uses music and games to help preschoolers learn self-regulation skills is helping prepare at-risk children for kindergarten, a new study from Oregon State University shows. Related story. (November 2014)

Moving Beyond Screen Time - Redefining Developmentally Appropriate Technology Use in early Childhood Education
Rand Corporation

Screen time remains a hot-button issue, but classifying technology use guidelines to include active versus passive use, and how the technology is used, could help redefine traditional screen time guidelines as tech tools become increasingly integrated into early childhood education settings. Related story. (October 2014)

The Scarring Effects of Primary-Grade Retention? A Study of Cumulative Advantage in the Educational Career
Oxford Journals - Social Forces

The already muddy research on whether it’s better to hold back struggling students or promote them to the next grade just got muddier. This study is an empirically solid analysis that adds more weight to those who say retention — what education wonks call repeating a grade — is ultimately harmful. Related story. (October 2014)

The Effects of Poor Neonatal Health on Children's Cognitive Development
Institute for Policy Research - Northwestern University

This working paper makes use of a new data resource—merged birth and school records for all children born in Florida from 1992 to 2002—to study the effects of birth weight on cognitive development from kindergarten through schooling. Related story. (October 2014)

From Preschool to Prosperity: The Economic Payoff to Early Childhood Education
Timothy J. Bartik, Upjohn Institute

Bartik shows that investment in high-quality early childhood education has several long-term benefits, including higher adult earnings for program participants. (September 2014)

2014 Kids Count Data Book
The Annie E. Casey Foundation

This is an annual publication that assesses child well-being nationally and across the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Georgia jumps one spot to 42nd! Georgia Family Connection Partnership press release. (July 2014)

The State of Preschool 2013
U.S. Department of Education

Forty states and the District of Columbia had state-supported preschool in 2012-13, serving 1.34 million children, according to this report. (May 2014)

Early Childhood Data System Survey
Early Childhood DATA Collaborative

The 2013 State of States’ Early Childhood Data Systems report is based on a survey of 50 states and the District of Columbia, assessing the coordination of their early childhood data systems. Press release. (February 2014)

Early Reading Proficiency in the United States
Annie E. Casey Foundation

Children who are proficient readers by the end of third grade are more likely to graduate from high school and to be economically successful in adulthood. Related article. (January 2014)