Early childhood learning and development

For over three decades, the SRI Education early learning and development team has been working to improve the lives of young children and their families.

We do this through conducting rigorous research and evaluation, providing technical assistance grounded in client needs and facilitating actionable strategic planning informed by our expertise. Our team is driven by an understanding of the importance of the early years and a passion to ensure all young children have the opportunity to thrive in school and in life. We strive to identify solutions to the challenges of inequitable opportunities and outcomes. 

About the program

SRI Education’s seminal work in early intervention and early childhood special education has shaped our broader approach to technical assistance and research and evaluation. At the systems level, we deliver technical assistance to support administrators and policymakers in building high-quality, accessible and equitable early childhood systems. We also collaborate with intervention developers and educators to select, adapt, implement and evaluate interventions that can promote learning and development across a range of domains. Our evaluations of statewide and local preschool programs highlight the importance of equitable access to high-quality early learning environments. And we develop innovative digital technologies to help young children learn and grow.  

Female teacher reading a story to cute children at kindergarten

Recent work

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Early childhood care and education systems 

State and local agencies and community organizations are building comprehensive early childhood care and education systems that promote collaboration across the public and private sectors to support child development. To strengthen these systems, leaders need solutions that increase access to high-quality programs, ensure a well-supported workforce, promote evidence-based practices and enable all children to reach their full potential. 

SRI Education supports state, local and community leaders in building stronger systems. We build our partners’ capacity to collect and strategically use data, increase systems coordination through strategies such as coordinated eligibility and enrollment, facilitate family and community engagement, strengthen the workforce and evaluate the results of their work.  

Implementation and impact of early learning programs  

As Head Start and state and local programs work to provide high-quality early learning opportunities for young children, program leaders need more information on which interventions are most effective and how they can be implemented with fidelity.  

SRI Education’s researchers combine deep content expertise with rigorous methods to provide our partners with practical information about how programs impact the development of young children, what components yield positive impacts and where those programs might be improved. 

High-quality early learning environments 

Providing high-quality early care and education requires well-trained and well-supported educators as well as developmentally appropriate curricula. Early childhood programs also need support to build and sustain excellent and equitable early learning environments.  

SRI Education’s early learning and development team examines the effectiveness of professional development models and resources on classroom quality and teacher practices. We also use our expertise to improve existing measures and develop new measures to assess the quality of teaching practices.  

Young children with disabilities 

At SRI Education, we are committed to equitable access to educational experiences and positive outcomes for all young children with disabilities. Providing high-quality equitable services and supports requires a well-functioning state and local system, strong leadership and well-trained personnel.   

SRI Education applies our knowledge of child development, effective interventions and systems-building to conduct research and provide change-oriented technical assistance. Our research and evaluation projects examine what works, what does not and why at the child, program and system levels. Our technical assistance supports state agencies and other entities to examine and improve their systems through effective use of data. 

Early learning digital media 

Young children spend a lot of time interacting with digital media such as games, apps, and videos. Yet parents and early childhood educators often do not have clear information about whether digital media helps or hinders children’s learning. 

SRI Education researchers are leading groundbreaking studies of how young children learn from digital media. Our results provide media developers with insights into how children engage with digital media and give parents and educators practical information about which media best support children’s learning. We also use our multidisciplinary expertise to develop innovative learning technologies for young children. 

Recent reports and publications

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Our experts in early childhood learning and development