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.

  • A mother reads with her three-year-old daughter at a Head Start program in Boston, Massachusetts, March 5, 2013, photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters


    High-Quality Early Childhood Programs Can Change Lives

    Jan 3, 2018

    The most comprehensive look to date at the benefits of early childhood education found that 102 of 115 programs improved at least one outcome for children beyond a statistical doubt. And the economic and social benefits continue to pay dividends, sometimes well into adulthood.

  • Preschool children and teachers, photo by Weekend Images Inc./Getty Images


    In Britain's Approach to Free Child Care, Lessons for the U.S.

    Oct 27, 2017

    If public school in America is free for kindergarten through high school, why not extend the same guarantee for the earliest years, when the potential impact is greatest? The United States can learn from Britain's experience in this area.

Explore Early Childhood Education

  • Young boy with tablet


    Identifying an Adequate Technology Infrastructure for Early Childhood Education

    Infrastructure (devices, software, and connectivity) should support technology's potential to improve learning and build digital literacy among young kids. But many factors make “adequate infrastructure” a moving target, such as the myriad of choices on the market.

    Oct 20, 2014

  • Preschoolers in a classroom looking at a tablet with their teacher


    The Role of Technology in the Lives of Children

    On a typical day, children ages 3-5 spend an average of four hours with technology, and technology use is increasing among children of all ages. Debates about the role of technology in early childhood education are ongoing, with some providers, parents, and others yet to be convinced of its potential benefits.

    Oct 10, 2014

  • Little boy with tablet and mother


    Moving Beyond Screen Time: Appropriate Technology Use for Young Children

    Appropriate technology use by young kids has traditionally focused on a single, blunt measure: “screen time.” But technology and patterns of use have changed. A more comprehensive definition should also consider what technology and content kids use, how they use it, and why.

    Oct 8, 2014

  • Three preschoolers looking at a laptop with their teacher


    Identifying Goals for Technology Use in Early Childhood Education

    Technology use among young children is increasingly a fact of life. Establishing a clear set of goals that are broadly accepted by stakeholders is critical to planning for the successful integration of technology into early childhood education.

    Sep 22, 2014

  • Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility, June 18, 2014


    With Child Migrants Set to Become Students, Educators Must Prepare

    Between 70,000 and 90,000 unaccompanied children are expected to cross the U.S.-Mexico border by year's end. Lost in an intensifying debate over U.S. immigration policy is the possibility that this wave will spill from shelters to schools. To best respond to this reality, policymakers and educators should consider what research says about educating migrant children.

    Jul 14, 2014

  • group of young children in art class


    Innovative Preschool Academy Project

    RAND is helping bring evidence-based practice into Hopkins House's Innovative Preschool Academy (IPA), an early childhood education center located in Northern Virginia.

    Jun 13, 2014

  • two preschool children using colored pencils


    Narrowing the Income Achievement Gap

    The achievement gap between children from the highest- and lowest-income families has substantially grown since 1960. The income achievement gap is now about twice the size of the black-white achievement gap.

    Jun 12, 2014

  • woman playing with toddler


    Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage: Early Childhood Interventions and Progression to Higher Education in Europe

    In the long term, early childhood education and care (ECEC) can boost the academic abilities of disadvantaged students, thus enabling them to pursue higher studies. Whether ECEC results in increased access to higher education remains to be seen.

    Jun 12, 2014

  • pre-school girls drawing


    Evaluating Delaware Stars for Early Success: Year One Report

    As a first step in a larger study of Delaware Stars, a voluntary quality rating and improvement system for early learning and care programs, RAND researchers reviewed prior literature, examined existing data, and interviewed key stakeholders.

    Jun 9, 2014

  • Diverse group of kids looking at tablet


    RAND Convenes Experts to Examine Role of Technology in Early Childhood Education

    The forum focused on several key issues underlying successful integration of technology into early childhood settings, including the goals that should be established for technology use, the infrastructure that is needed to support it, and the facilitating roles of teachers and parents.

    Jun 4, 2014

  • caregiver with boy


    Early and School-Age Care in Santa Monica: Current System, Policy Options, and Recommendations: Executive Summary

    In July 2012, the City of Santa Monica Human Services Division and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District contracted with the RAND Corporation to conduct an assessment of child care programs in Santa Monica.

    Apr 25, 2014

  • young children with teacher playing outside with bubbles


    Early and School-Age Care in Santa Monica

    Researchers examine how well Santa Monica's child care programs meet the needs of families, including child care and early education programs before kindergarten, as well as care for school-aged children, both during the school year and the summer.

    Apr 25, 2014

  • kindergarten girls using computer


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

    Despite the central and growing role of digital technology for knowledge-based work, children in low-income families have relatively limited access to computer-based devices, software applications, and the Internet. “T” Is for Technology explored the potential for early childhood education to help narrow this 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

  • standardized test


    How New Deeper Learning Tests Measure Up

    English language arts and mathematics items from a group of nationally and internationally administered “deeper learning” tests were more cognitively demanding than previously studied state tests. Demand also varied by subject and item format. These and other findings provide a benchmark for comparing how well new tests assess deeper learning.

    Mar 3, 2014

  • preschool teacher with students around a laptop


    Early Education Plays Role in Bridging the 'Digital Divide'

    Digital 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

  • Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner applaud as President Barack Obama finishes his State of the Union speech on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 28, 2014


    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

  • First grade classroom at the elementary school in the village Ait Sidi Hsain, near Meknes, in Morocco.

    Journal Article

    How Moroccan Mothers and Fathers View Child Development and Their Role in Their Children's Education

    The purpose of this study was to explore parents' understanding of and support for their children's early development.

    Jan 1, 2014

  • A child builds with blocks

    Journal Article

    Predicting Child Development Knowledge and Engagement of Moroccan Parents

    We developed, tested, and administered a survey to a small number of parents of children aged six years and under in Casablanca, Morocco in 2013 to assess parents' child development knowledge and how they view their role as teachers of their young children.

    Jan 1, 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

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