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Early Childhood Education Resources


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Brief
Elementary teacher working on a project with students
Brief
| In 2021, California committed to making transitional kindergarten (TK)—a school-based preschool program—available for all 4-year-olds by 2025–26. As TK becomes universal, California will need to expand the early learning workforce by recruiting educators and candidates and supporting them through various pathways into the profession. State policymakers can take six recommended actions to help stabilize, support, and expand the entire early childhood workforce.
Report
Pre-school students using learning toys.
Report
| Early learning has the potential to support children’s learning and development prior to kindergarten. This study investigates the relationship between preschool quality in California and children’s learning and development. Children of almost all demographic groups enrolled in programs categorized as higher-tier showed more learning and development than those in lower-tier programs, though underserved children were less likely to attend the higher-tier programs. 
Report
Elementary teacher working on a project with students
Report
| Estimates show that California has a substantial, urgent need for new lead and assistant transitional kindergarten teachers. To meet this need, California must develop new teachers and draw upon educators currently in the workforce. State policymakers can take steps to stabilize, support, and expand the broader early childhood workforce and build pathways for racially, linguistically, and culturally diverse educators.
Brief
Pre-school teacher reading to students.
Brief
| An additional 12,000 to 15,000 credentialed teachers are needed to support California’s expanded transitional kindergarten (TK). High-quality early childhood–focused residencies, such as Fresno’s Teacher Residency Program and UCLA’s IMPACT Program, can help districts strategically build TK teacher capacity. These programs encompass coursework, university–district partnerships, clinical experiences, and resident and mentor supports and can lead to a more fully prepared and diverse teacher workforce.
Brief
Woman with a clipboard observing a young girl in a school setting
Brief
| Early childhood assessments can provide important information to guide instruction and inform policy. Given the widespread and growing use of statewide kindergarten entry assessments, it is important to understand how to choose and use assessments wisely. This brief summarizes research and provides recommendations for state policymakers about how to select, develop, and implement high-quality assessments that can both improve policy systems and support equitable learning.
Report
Woman with a clipboard observing a young girl in a school setting
Report
| Kindergarten entry assessments, when well designed and well used, have the potential to support high-quality equitable learning by guiding instruction and supporting whole child development. However, when poorly designed or misused they can foster poor teaching practices and exacerbate inequity. Some states and districts have developed thoughtful, holistic systems that can be used from preschool through early elementary school to support developmentally appropriate instruction.
Fact Sheet
Yellow pencils and stacked coins on a reflective surface.
Fact Sheet
| Federal COVID relief packages have allocated more than $176 billion for pandemic-related education needs—the federal government’s largest single investment in schools. In a series of fact sheets, policy experts discuss how states and districts can develop, implement, and refine plans for these funds. One key area is early childhood education, which provides one of the highest returns on investment of any educational spending.
Blog
Educating the Whole Child Blog series art: California's Early Learning Assessment System by Cathy Yun
Blog
| High-quality early childhood experiences depend upon ongoing formative assessments. High-quality assessments enable teachers to monitor each student’s changing skills and competencies and to tailor instruction to reinforce children’s strengths and support individualized growth. Aggregated assessment data can also be used to identify system-level patterns, strengths, and gaps that can inform equitable resource allocation and investments in early childhood and elementary programs and initiatives.
Brief
Preschool student and teacher playing with toy
Brief
| Reopening efforts should consider child care and preschool programs alongside k–12. To clarify what is known about COVID-19 transmission in early education programs, LPI researchers synthesized studies from around the world that explore transmission rates and mitigation strategies in these programs. They found that, when appropriate health and safety precautions are in place, there is no increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
Brief
Building a National Early Childhood Education System That Works
Brief
| Despite the long-term benefits of early childhood education (ECE) and widespread public support for ECE programs, many children lack access to integrated, inclusive early learning experiences before kindergarten. To build a high-quality, equitable ECE system, federal policymakers can use the tools and resources at their disposal to support state and local efforts to meet the needs of children and families.