Skip to main content

Early Childhood Education

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

You are here

Improving young children’s early learning experiences is an essential complement to K-12 reforms. Research shows that early years form the crucial foundation for children’s later learning, but that disadvantaged youngsters have less access to the types of experiences that foster learning and development, resulting in large achievement gaps even before children enter kindergarten. High-quality early childhood programs can help prevent or narrow these gaps, however, allowing children from all backgrounds to enter school prepared to succeed.

Bellwether’s work in early childhood seeks to make publicly funded programs more effective; develop innovative strategies to expand access to high-quality early learning; improve the preparation, training, and compensation of early childhood educators; and scale the work of high-performing early childhood providers. We also work to bridge the divide between K-12 and early childhood policies to help create aligned, birth-to-eight learning systems.

We advise foundations and advocacy organizations working to improve early learning outcomes and produce research, policy analysis, and ideas for the field as a whole. Although our approach is grounded in a deep knowledge of childhood development, how young children learn, and the early childhood provider and policy landscape, we also draw on relevant lessons from our K-12 work.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

May 18, 2017
U.S. News & World Report -- Head Start has accomplished a great deal for children and families – but it could do even more.
May 4, 2017
U.S. News & World Report -- America spends the least on education during the years in which children learn most.
April 6, 2017
U.S. News & World Report -- Early childhood education is highly skilled work, and it's time to train teachers accordingly.  
March 19, 2017
C-SPAN - Ashley LiBetti Mitchel talked about her Education Next article in the Winter 2017 issue on pre-K programs at charter schools in the U.S.   
March 9, 2017
U.S. News & World Report - He can make his child care plan better for families and children – and more appealing to Congress.

Blog Posts

April 27, 2017
Bonnie O'Keefe
In celebration of NAEYC’s “The Week of the Young Child” April 24 – 28, Bellwether looks at programs that improve the lives of young...
April 4, 2017
Marnie Kaplan
Last week, the internet Greek chorus turned its attention to a previously wonky topic: DC’s educational requirements for child care workers...
January 19, 2017
Ashley LiBetti Mitchel
Betsy DeVos is top-of-mind right now, particularly after her tense confirmation hearing on Tuesday night. Front and center in most of these...