Early Childhood

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Early Childhood Education

The importance of early childhood education can’t be overemphasized. Children want to learn. Children want to love and be loved. This photo comes from the Hand-in-Hand Primary School in Thomasville during the Georgia Partnership’s 2008 Bus Trip Across Georgia. These children are now approaching high school!

There’s a wealth of information on the early childhood years where the graduation pipeline begins.  Here you will find some representative reports, research and articles.  Posting here does indicate Georgia Partnership endorsement.  Please report any broken links.

Did you know? Fun Facts About Pre-K Education in Georgia!

  • Three out of four Georgia legislators have participated in Georgia Pre-K Week.
  • In the first few years of a child’s life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second.
  • Support Georgia Pre-K Week because early learning is the foundation for all future success in school, in the workforce and in life.
  • Quality early learning leads to higher graduation rates, and actually saves money for the government, that’s why we support Georgia Pre-K Week.
  • The early care and education industry in Georgia creates over 67,000 jobs and generates $4.7 billion of economic activity each year.
  • Georgia is currently one of only seven states that provides high-quality care to more than 50 percent of 4-year-olds.
  • 65% of Georgia’s children under age 6 have working parents.  You know someone benefitting from early learning.
  • Early care provides 67,507 jobs for Georgians.  Supporting Georgia Pre-K makes cents!
  • By 2022, child care will be one of the fastest growing industries in Georgia. Just one more reason to support Georgia Pre-K Week!
  • Children in Georgia Pre-K show significant growth in math, literacy and social-emotional skills regardless of income.
  • Over 1.4 million children have been served by Georgia Pre-K since it began in 1992. Early learning works.  By the way, those first children in 1992 are now college grads with families and careers!!!  Thank you Georgia Pre-K!
  • Children enrolled in Georgia Pre-K are more prepared for kindergarten compared to 4-year-olds in other forms of care.
  • Over 1,100 programs participate in Quality Rated, the voluntary quality improvement system for child care in Georgia.
  • Of Georgia’s 159 counties, 135 have at least one Quality Rated child care center.

Additional Early Childhood Education Resources
Alliance for Early SuccessCarolina Abecadarian ProjectDepartment of Early Care and Learning – Bright from the Start and Quality Rated Child CareGeorgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students (GEEARS)Get Georgia ReadingHigh Scope – Perry Preschool StudyNational Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)Voices for Georgia’s Children


State of Pre-School 2017
National Institute for early Education Research

According to this report, overall Georgia offers high-quality education programs for 4-year-olds. However, the study said, Georgia’s pre-kindergarten program needs to offer more support for students who are learning English as their second language. Related story. (May 30)

Video: Early Childhood Education Featuring GEEARS
Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students

Check out this short video (7 minutes) that puts the spotlight on the complex work of this organization. The film was a cooperative effort between the GEEARS staff, Emory University and the Druid Hills Child Development Center. (May 11)

Preschool and Children’s Outcomes in Elementary School: Have Patterns Changed Between 1998 – 2010 and Variations in Long-Term Benefits of Child Care:  The Role of Classroom Quality in Elementary School 
University of Virginia

Plenty of early-childhood studies have shown that children who attend preschool start kindergarten with a measurable advantage over their peers who were not enrolled. Two new studies have tackled the topic of early education “fadeout.” Related story. (May 2)

The State of Preschool 2017
National Institute for Early Education Research

Progress on early education depends more than ever on the states.  This report highlights which states invest most in early education programs and which leave too many behind. Press release. Related story. (April 21) Related story: Report: More support needed for Georgia Pre-K students learning English (April 25)

Does Universal Preschool Hit the Target? Program Access and Preschool Impacts
Dartmouth College

Because preschool programs for all kids boost low-income 4-year-olds’ reading scores, they could be a better way to spend tax dollars. Related story. (April 16)


The Terrible Twos – A Special Report
Hechinger Report and the Columbia Journalism School’s Teacher Project

This series of nine articles looks at what makes the 2-year-old year so critical and what could be done to better support toddlers in America. (December 21)

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten? Here Are a Few Things to Consider
Seattle Times

Whether to “red-shirt” a five-year-old is a tricky topic parents should weigh carefully, according to experts. (December 20)

Impacts of Early Childhood Education on Medium – and Long-Term Educational Outcomes
Educational Researcher

This research confirms the benefits of high-quality, classroom-based preschool education. IntroductionRelated analysisRelated story.(November 17)

The Crisis Facing America’s Preschool Teachers
The Atlantic

Efforts to fill preschool centers with more qualified personnel are displacing those who do not have the money to get their college educations, many states are turning to apprenticeship programs. (November 1)

Marshpoint Elementary School celebrates Georgia Pre-K Week – Georgia Partnership one of organizational supporters
Savannah Morning News

Dignitaries and other community Pre-K supporters visited schools across the state the first week of October calling attention to the importance of early childhood education. (October 11)

Getting the Most Out of Pre-K – The ‘Most Important’ Year in School

This article looks at a new book, “The Most Important Year,” and provides parents with a guide to what a quality Pre-K program should look like. (October 4)

Breaking the Cycle? Intergenerational Effects of an Anti-Poverty Program in Early Childhood
Texas A&M, Notre Dame Researchers

This study of the Head Start program that began in the 1960s, found that the children of kids who participated have substantially higher rates of high school graduation and college participation and are less likely to commit crimes and become teen parents. Related story. (September 27)

A Framework for School Readiness in Georgia
GEEARS – Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students

This framework articulates not only the central components of school readiness but also the roles various stakeholders play in promoting it. (September 20)

10 Characteristics of PreSchool-Age Children – A State Local Data Tool to Inform Policy and Action
Urban Institute

This interactive tool shows 10 important characteristics of 3-5-year-olds.  It displays the characteristics by whether the children are enrolled in early education, whether their families are  low-income, or whether their parents are immigrants. (September 20)

What Should We Be Teaching Young Children?

There is a wealth of information available about early childhood learning but does it hit the mark?  This article offers insight. (August 29)

Georgia’s Pre-K Program Education Process – Children’s Outcomes Through First Grade: Findings from Year 3 of Georgia’s Pre-K Longitudinal Study
University of North Carolina

In 2011, the Georgia General Assembly authorized an evaluation of the state’s Pre-K Program. In response, DECAL commissioned national experts at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to conduct a series of studies to measure the impact of our state’s nationally renowned Pre-K program. Reports and summaries are now available. EvaluationsRelated story. (August 24)

School Starting Age and Cognitive Development
National Bureau of Economic Research

This research says older children starting their walk in the education pipeline tend to do better even into their college years. IntroductionRelated story. (August 24)

Brain Matter Matters:  Should We Intervene Well Before Preschool?

The case is clear: Investments in young children have enormous payoffs for society. The question is not whether we should invest in young children, but when and how. (August 22)

Child’s Home Learning Experience Determines 5th Grade Academic Skills
New York University

Children whose parents provide them with learning materials like books and toys and engage them in learning activities and meaningful conversations in infancy and toddlerhood are likely to develop cognitive skills that can cascade into later academic success.     Introduction. Related Story. (August 18)

Study: Children As Young As 3 Attempt to Learn Rules of Reading, Writing 
Washington University in St. Louis

This study reveals exposure to language improves “invented spellings” of children 3-5 years old. Press release.  Related article. (July 25)

Bilingual Baby: Foreign Language Intervention in Madrid’s Infant Education Centers
University of Washington

It has long been understood babies exposed to a bilingual experience show signs of advanced learning. This study investigates how babies can learn a second language outside the home. Related article. (July 24)

Do academic preschools yield stronger benefits? Cognitive emphasis, dosage, and early learning
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology

The study found that by the end of kindergarten, children who had attended one year of “academic-oriented preschool” outperformed peers who had attended less academic-focused preschools by, on average, the equivalent of two and a half months of learning in literacy and math. Related story. (May 30)

The State of Pre-School 2016
National Institute of Early Education Research

This report from the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER) concludes that Georgia does a good job educating the state’s four-year-olds, but there’s room for improvement. Related story. (May 25)

The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects

Some of the nation’s top researchers who’ve spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool. They came away with one clear message. IntroductionRelated story. Related story. (May 5)

From Sesame Street to State Capitols: The case for STEM and early learning
Education Commission of the States

As researchers and policymakers continue to evaluate what pre-K and kindergarten should include, STEM is beginning to enter the conversation as a key component of early learning success. (April 5)

Kids Today: The Rise in Children’s Academic Skills at Kindergarten
SAGE Journals

Using two large, nationally representative data sets, this article documents how students entering kindergarten in 2010 compare to those who entered in 1998 in terms of their teacher-reported math, literacy, and behavioral skills. Related article. (March 2)