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.

  • Preschool children making art with their teacher, photo by damircudic/Getty Images


    Early Childhood Education and Care Services Across the EU Still Fall Short

    Children's access to education and care from a young age is vital. Large differences exist between EU countries in access to those services and the quality of child care. Bridging the gap would require more efforts at the EU and national levels to guarantee that each child has access to services that will have lasting effects on their development.

    Oct 10, 2019

  • A young girl reading with her grandmother, photo by Malek Hosni


    From Day One: The Importance of Early Learning

    RAND researchers Rita Karam and Gail Zellman discuss the importance of early childhood learning. This video features interviews with families and educators in the Middle East who have experienced the positive effects of engaging children in conversations and educational activities at home and in early childhood programs.

    Feb 24, 2021

Explore Early Childhood Education

  • Report


    Vermont Early Care and Education Financing Study: Estimated Costs, Financing Options, and Economic Impacts

    Vermont is interested in expanding families' subsidies for early care and education (ECE) programs. This report estimates the costs of a high-quality ECE system with a well-compensated workforce and identifies possible funding sources.

    Jan 17, 2023

  • And early care and education program, photo courtesy of Hawai'i Public Radio


    Early Childhood Educators in Hawai'i

    A diverse, well-supported, and well-compensated workforce is essential for the delivery of high-quality early care and education (ECE) programs. What does the employment landscape look like for the ECE workforce in Hawai'i and what policy strategies can improve their compensation and working conditions?

    Oct 25, 2022

  • Report


    Holistic early education and care: Policy and practice in France 2017-2021

    The report presents an overview of holistic early childhood education and care policy and practice in France between 2017-2021, including an analysis of broader societal, political and research trends regarding early childhood development.

    Sep 8, 2022

  • A group of small school kids with teacher sitting on the floor in class, photo by Halfpoint/Adobe Stock

    Journal Article

    Building a Better Understanding of the Impact of Early Childhood Education and Care

    This European Platform for Investing in Children research note examines the medium- and long-term impact of early childhood education and care provision on education and labour market outcomes for children and parents, as well as the indicators employed for these measurements.

    Jan 27, 2022

  • Multimedia

    RAND Video Highlights of 2021

    The best RAND videos from the past year brought our research to life in new ways. From the sidewalks of Pittsburgh to preschools in the Middle East, see how people around the world are using RAND research to make their communities safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous.

    Dec 20, 2021

  • Report


    The Big Lift Evaluation: Research Findings Five Years In

    The authors examine participation rates, kindergarten readiness, and third-grade outcomes of children eligible to participate in The Big Lift™, a preschool–third-grade initiative to designed to boost reading proficiency.

    Nov 9, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Professional Development Incentives for Oregon's Early Childhood Education Workforce: A Randomized Study

    This study used two trials to test whether sending emails and offering different financial incentives to Oregon ECE workforce members increased career lattice sign-up and increased education and training levels or workplace retention.

    Sep 24, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Accelerated Reader: Evaluation Report and Project Addendum

    Accelerated Reader (AR), developed by Renaissance Learning, is a digital whole-class reading management and monitoring programme that aims to foster independent reading among primary and secondary pupils.

    Jul 28, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Level 4 Group Triple P: Positive Parenting Programme

    This report evaluates the Positive Parenting Program, targeted at parents of children aged 3 to 4 years for whom nursery staff and caregivers had concerns around language and communication or children's behavioural, emotional, or social development.

    Jul 27, 2021

  • Report


    Advocacy efforts in Brazil to extend the recognition of children's rights in early childhood: A case study

    Case study on the advocacy efforts of the National Network of Early Childhood (RNPI) in collaboration with governmental institutions to introduce a Legal Framework for Early Childhood Development in Brazil.

    Jun 22, 2021

  • Teacher and children in a preschool classroom, photo by bernardbodo/Getty Images


    Making Preschool Investments Count Through the American Families Plan

    The American Families Plan would address disparities in preschool access by adding $200 billion for high-quality preschool for all three- and four-year-olds. How can we make sure that this historic investment, if approved by Congress, counts?

    Jun 3, 2021

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    High-Quality Publicly Funded Pre-Kindergarten Programs: How Much Do They Cost?

    There is strong evidence that children who attend high-quality pre-kindergarten programs learn skills that benefit them in school and life. In this brief, RAND researchers estimate the cost of such programs and outline implications.

    May 6, 2021

  • Teacher Jonathan Clausell conducts a math lesson as his students finish eating in his pre-K class at C.A. Weis Elementary Community Partnership School in Pensacola, Florida, Friday, March 5, 2021, photo by Gregg Pachkowski for USA Today via Reuters


    What Is the Cost of High-Quality Publicly Funded Pre-K?

    Researchers use cost data collection and cost modeling to estimate the cost of a high-quality publicly funded pre-kindergarten program. They outline the challenges in understanding full program costs and the implications for policymakers.

    May 6, 2021

  • President Joe Biden addresses a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind him, Washington, D.C., April 28, 2021, photo by Melina Mara/Reuters


    Biden's First Address to Congress: Insights from RAND

    President Joe Biden addressed a joint session of Congress, summarizing his administration's early COVID-19 response and outlining plans that aim to loosen the pandemic's year-long grip on a weary nation. The speech reflected the fact that the United States faces policy challenges across a wide range of domains.

    Apr 29, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Participation in State-Funded Prekindergarten in Oklahoma

    This study examined participation in Oklahoma's state-funded preK program for five cohorts of first-time public school kindergarten students and compared the percentages of students by geographic locale and student characteristics.

    Mar 16, 2021

  • Report


    The Quality Start Los Angeles Developmental Evaluation: Research Findings and Lessons Learned

    RAND researchers conducted a developmental evaluation of Quality Start Los Angeles, the voluntary quality rating and improvement system for early learning providers in Los Angeles County.

    Feb 1, 2021

  • Brochure

    Spotlight 2020–2021

    Spotlight 2020-2021 features examples of our research that helped to improve people's lives during a turbulent year. It also highlights a selection of research initiatives on the horizon for 2021.

    Jan 26, 2021

  • Journal Article

    More "Boarding" Facilities Geolocated in Southern Xinjiang

    We identified 21 preschools that house Uyghur children in Qira County, Xinjiang using satellite imagery. These facilities are part of Beijing's efforts to assimilate Uyghurs by erasing their culture to a Communist Party ideal that has been compared to genocide.

    Jan 22, 2021

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus: Cost Study Final Report

    This report includes estimates of the Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus expenditures in the 2016–2017 and 2017–2018 school years as part of a larger evaluation of VPI+ that also examined the impacts of VPI+ on children's kindergarten entry outcomes.

    Dec 22, 2020

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