Early Childhood Education


The years before a child begins school are critical in setting the stage for future learning: Adequate preparation for kindergarten is instrumental in determining later success in school. RAND research has informed the debate on balancing the costs and benefits of preschool and early childhood education in the United States and Europe.

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    Exploring the Benefits of Early Childhood Education in California

    Sep 24, 2010

    The California Preschool Study sought to understand achievement gaps among the state's children, whether existing preschool education programs is adequate, and what efficiencies could be achieved through public funding of early childhood education.

Explore Early Childhood Education

  • Project

    “T” Is for Technology: Early Childhood Education and the Digital Divide

    The "T" is for Technology project explores the potential for early childhood education to help narrow the digital divide.

    Mar 3, 2014

  • News Release

    Early Education Plays Role in Bridging the 'Digital Divide'

    Technology literacy plays an important role in a child's ability to succeed in school and later life. Incorporating technology into early childhood education help close the “digital divide” that separates low-income students and their more-advantaged peers.

    Mar 3, 2014

  • Blog

    State of the Union 2014: President Obama Calls for a Year of Action

    Obama called for “a year of action” to achieve his 2014 agenda — from helping people sign up for health insurance, to immigration reform, to completing the mission in Afghanistan. RAND is committed to raising the level of public policy debates and offering evidence-based, actionable solutions.

    Jan 29, 2014

  • Journal Article

    Preschool Education Programs

    The goal of this article is to highlight the specific research base that provides support for early education investments.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • Solution

    Improving Access to Early Childhood Education

    Achievement gaps between disadvantaged and advantaged students in language arts and mathematics can form early, with some children trailing behind in school readiness measures when they enter kindergarten. Despite fiscal constraints, an increase in the funding for effective preschool programs can help to close these gaps and reduce costs later on.

    Dec 1, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Local Quality Improvement Efforts and Outcomes Descriptive Study: Final Report: Executive Summary

    Quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) constitute an ambitious policy approach to improving early care and education practices and child outcomes.

    Jul 1, 2013

  • Blog

    Investing in Children

    The historic objective of Children's Day — celebrated in many European countries on the first day of June — was not simply to celebrate children for who they are, but to bring attention to children around the world who suffer from exploitation, violence, and discrimination.

    May 31, 2013

  • Blog

    Give Poor Kids a Chance with Early Education

    Federal and state initiatives to advance preschool program quality will further ensure that these investments in early learning programs will achieve their full promise and promote healthy child development — physically, socially, emotionally, and academically, writes Lynn Karoly.

    Apr 10, 2013

  • Blog

    High-Quality Early Childhood Programs Require High-Quality Teachers

    High-quality early childhood interventions can improve academic achievement, reduce crime and delinquency, and enhance future labor market success, but the operative word is “high quality,” says Brian Stecher.

    Mar 18, 2013

  • Blog

    RAND Researchers Discuss Early Childhood Development

    Joe Dougherty summarizes key points from a media conference call with RAND experts on early childhood development and education. They discuss the importance of early childhood development in laying the foundation for success later in life, as well as the potential for high-quality programs to yield a return on investment for society at large.

    Feb 21, 2013

  • Blog

    The President's Early Childhood Expansion Should Take a 'Portfolio' Approach

    An optimal approach to strategically expanding access to early childhood programs is one that helps states and communities identify evidence-based approaches that address their particular needs, within the context of their characteristics, writes M. Rebecca Kilburn.

    Feb 21, 2013

  • Multimedia

    Media Conference Call on Early Childhood Development

    In this media conference call, RAND experts on early childhood development and education explain the importance of early childhood development in laying the foundation for success later in life, as well as the potential for high-quality programs to yield a return on investment for society at large. In his State of the Union address, President Obama stressed the need to increase the number of children with access to early education programs.

    Feb 19, 2013

  • Blog

    The State of the Union 2013

    The 2013 SOTU address will be remembered for its impassioned call for greater gun control just two months after Sandy Hook. But President Obama's second-term agenda can be characterized by its sheer breadth, reflecting the broad range of policy challenges facing the U.S. today.

    Feb 13, 2013

  • Journal Article

    Understanding Variation in Classroom Quality Within Early Childhood Centers: Evidence from Colorado's Quality Rating and Improvement System

    This study examines variability in quality across classrooms within early childhood centers and its implications for how quality rating systems (QRSs) capture center-level quality.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Blog

    Bernanke Knows a Good Investment When He Sees One

    Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve System Ben S. Bernanke cited RAND studies that have documented the importance of investing early in children's learning. He made the case that early education programs, especially those serving disadvantaged children, are one of the best investments that society can make in its future.

    Aug 2, 2012

  • Blog

    Children Left Behind with Brown's Cuts to Programs

    Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget for the next fiscal year slices funds from established, successful programs that for decades have helped California's youngest and most at-risk children gain a foothold in their own educations, writes Lynn Karoly.

    Jun 24, 2012

  • Report

    How Would Programs Rate Under California’s Proposed Quality Rating and Improvement System?

    In 2010, the California Early Learning Quality Improvement System Advisory Committee recommended a structure for a voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) that could apply to the state's licensed centers and licensed family child care homes. Researchers examined fundamentals of the proposed QRIS rating scheme that could inform California's QRIS design.

    May 1, 2012

  • Event

    RAND to Host Community Conference on Early Childhood Issues

    This year's conference includes a presentation on "toxic stress" and its impact on early learning, social-emotional development and long-term health, and a discussion about creating a community system that supports the success of children from cradle to career.

    Mar 17, 2012

  • Report

    Improving the Professional Development System for California's Early Child Education Workforce

    California has taken steps to implement components of a comprehensive professional development system for its early child education workforce. However, further advances are needed and more information is required to identify possible inefficiencies in the current system.

    Feb 28, 2012

  • Report

    Incorporating Child Assessments into State Early Childhood Quality Rating and Improvement Systems

    Including child assessments in the design, implementation, and evaluation of quality rating and improvement systems or other quality improvement efforts could improve practice and raise care quality for early childhood education.

    Feb 28, 2012

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