Foundations for Education Excellence. Helping foundations leverage public and private funds for improving education.
Foundation Center

Knowledge From the Field: Early Learning

Research Highlights

Identify research that can inform your grantmaking using summaries prepared by the Foundation Center.

Markers That Matter: Success Indicators in Early Learning and Education

Jones, Nathalie; Preskill, Hallie; Tengue, Afi
July 2013

Identifies 48 early learning indicators and 10 emerging themes that research suggests should be prioritized. Concludes with a guide for how various stakeholders can use these results to support young children's growth and development.

Funder(s): W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The Condition of Education 2013

National Center for Education Statistics
Aud, Susan; Kristapovich, Paul; Rathbun, Amy; Wang, Xiaolei; Wilkinson-Flicker, Sidney; Zhang, Jijun
June 2013

Presents 42 indicators of developments and trends in U.S. education, including population characteristics, participation in education, elementary and secondary education, and postsecondary education.

Early Warning Confirmed: A Research Update on Third-Grade Reading

Annie E. Casey Foundation
Fiester, Leila
June 2013

Reviews new research that underscores the importance of third-grade reading proficiency and the factors that contribute to it.

Increasing the Effectiveness and Efficiency of Existing Public Investments in Early Childhood Education

Center for American Progress
Cooper, Donna; Kristina Costa
June 2012

Proposes ten reforms to maximize the impact of Head Start, Child Care Development Block Grants, and other existing funding streams, including working with states to align standards, improving provider quality, and enhancing data collection and reporting.

Funder(s): Irving Harris Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation

Transforming America's Primary Education System for the 21st Century

Foundation for Child Development
March 2012

Highlights, in slides, the need to transform early childhood education; evidence of the effectiveness of a pre-K-to-third-grade program with aligned standards, curricula, instruction, and assessment; and its implementation to date.

Funder(s): Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

Supporting Our Youngest Children: Early Head Start Programs in 2010

Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Schmit, Stephanie; Danielle Ewen
March 2012

Reviews research about the impact of Early Head Start programs on the health and development of poor children under age 3 and their parents' knowledge and parenting, trends in enrollment, program options, and characteristics of teachers and enrollees.

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation, George Gund Foundation

Take a Giant Step: A Blueprint for Teaching Young Children in a Digital Age

Joan Ganz Cooney Center
Barron, Brigid; Laura Bofferding; Gabrielle Cayton-Hodges; Carol Copple; Linda Darling-Hammond; Michael H. Levine
November 2011

Calls for enhancing early childhood education and teacher preparation and development by incorporating digital learning and highlights best practices, policy and program trends, and innovative approaches. Outlines goals for 2020 and steps to achieve them.

Funder(s): Joyce Foundation

Racial Gaps in Early Childhood: Socio-Emotional Health, Developmental, and Educational Outcomes Among African-American Boys

National Center for Children in Poverty
Aratani, Yumiko; Janice L. Cooper; Vanessa R. Wight
April 2011

Examines gaps in early childhood cognitive and socio-emotional development among young African-American and white males, controlling for socioeconomic and family traits, and factors that boost resilience to risk. Makes policy recommendations.

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

Show more

Early Grade Retention and Student Success: Evidence From Los Angeles

Public Policy Institute of California
Cannon, Jill S.; Stephen Lipscomb
March 2011

Analyzes risk factors of retention through third grade in the L.A. Unified School District, including age, gender, race/ethnicity, family income, and English learner status; retention's effectiveness in improving grade-level skills; and educators' views.

Funder(s): William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Young Children of Immigrants and the Path to Educational Success

Urban Institute
Golden, Olivia; Karina Fortuny
April 2011

Summarizes June 2010 discussions on the needs of immigrant children age 3 to 8 and policy opportunities. Examines access to high-quality early care and education and elementary education for English language learners, as well as parent-focused strategies.

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation, Foundation for Child Development

Lessons for PreK-3rd From Montgomery County Public Schools

Foundation for Child Development
Marietta, Geoff
December 2010

Presents a case study of how a district improved third-grade reading proficiency rates and narrowed the achievement gap, in spite of growing English Language Learner and low-income populations, by implementing an integrated early learning strategy.

Funder(s): Foundation for Child Development

Fulfilling the Promise of Preschool for All: Insights Into Issues Affecting Access for Selected Immigrant Groups in Chicago

Urban Institute
Adams, Gina; Marla McDaniel
July 2009

Presents findings on access to quality early education among small immigrant groups. Outlines policy implications of programs used, knowledge of "Preschool for All," value of preschool education, transportation and enrollment barriers, and other factors.

Funder(s): Joyce Foundation

Linking Ready Kids to Ready Schools: Building Policy on State and Community Successes

W.K. Kellogg Foundation
May 2009

Summarizes discussions from a March 2009 forum on the policies needed to provide early childhood education for all children in order to prepare them for the K-12 system and beyond, as well as current initiatives and lessons learned.

Funder(s): W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Preschool Adequacy and Efficiency in California: Issues, Policy Options, and Recommendations

RAND Corporation
Karoly, Lynn A.
May 2009

Examines achievement gaps among K-3 students, the quality of and access to preschool education, potential efficiencies in the funding system, and policies and resources needed for the state's children to meet K-3 standards. Makes policy recommendations.

Funder(s): David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Los Angeles Universal Preschool, Pew Charitable Trusts, W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Starting Out Right: A Cluster Evaluation of the Early Childhood Grants of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: Year 3 Final Report

John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Gomby, Deanna S.; Lisa G. Klein
December 2007

Evaluates Knight's early childhood grantmaking in twelve communities, with a focus on grants that transform systems and build networks at a scale sufficient to create meaningful change. Presents grantee results and lessons learned.

Funder(s): John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Village Building and School Readiness: Closing Opportunity Gaps in a Diverse Society

State Early Childhood Policy Technical Assistance Network (SECPTAN)
Bruner, Charles; Syed Noor Tirmizi; Michelle Stover Wright
January 2007

Examines a community's impacts on child development and frames strategies to build early learning systems in poor minority neighborhoods. Stresses combining services with community-building and developing a diverse early education workforce from within.

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Supporting Minnesota's Youngest Citizens: Lessons Learned 2003-2006

McKnight Foundation
November 2006

Presents lessons learned from the efforts of six Minnesota foundations and their grassroots coalition partners to establish early education outreach, business relationship building, parenting education, quality child care, and advocacy initiatives.

Funder(s): McKnight Foundation

Building Culturally and Linguistically Competent Services to Support Young Children, Their Families, and School Readiness

Annie E. Casey Foundation
Hepburn, Kathy
May 2004

Provides guidance, tools, and resources that promote cultural and linguistic competence in young children and families. Outlines a holistic approach to service delivery for preschool skills development.

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

Improving School Readiness Outcomes: Lessons From Six Communities

Annie E. Casey Foundation
Segal, Ann; Charles Bruner

Describes efforts in California, Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia to develop early learning systems for school readiness, using federal and state resources. Includes common themes that emerged from these six case studies.

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

Show less

Top Funders and Recipients

Top 50 Foundations Awarding Grants for Early Learning

Top 50 Recipients of Foundation Grants for Early Learning

View more top funders and recipients»

Resource Links

IssueLab connects you to annotated research reports, case studies, and more on early learning. Read more»

Key Statistics

View charts illustrating elementary/secondary education's share of overall foundation giving and how funding within the field breaks down.
View Statistics»

Related Resources

Contact Us

Have an idea for other
resources on this topic? E-mail
© Foundation Center
All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy