Research linking early intervention to both cognitive and socio-emotional gains has fueled the proliferation of early childhood programs across the country. In this section, you will find useful information about best practices in early learning: the National Early Learning Benchmarks, national research on pre-K, a list of national pre-K advocates, examples of models of success, and other resources that will offer you strategies you can apply when working in early education.

National Early Learning Benchmarks

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) conducts and communicates research to support high-quality, effective early childhood education for all young children. Such education enhances their physical, cognitive, and social development, and subsequent success in school and later life.  NIEER’s State of Preschool Yearbooks are annual reports profiling state-funded prekindergarten programs in the United States.

National Research on Pre-K

National Pre-K Advocates

Models of Success: State Collaborative Pre-K Programs

State of Oklahoma

State of Georgia

  • Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL): Unlike Oklahoma’s “district-based” pre-K funding strategy, Georgia uses a “center-based” strategy. Schools and child care providers – public or private – apply directly to the state for pre-K funding. Participating providers can be found in each of Georgia’s 159 counties. The program serves 55% of Georgia’s 4-year-olds.
  • Research: Georgia Study of Early Care and Education: Findings from Georgia’s PreK Program (2009)
  • The study found that Georgia’s pre-K program participants had well-qualified teachers and leaders, and scored well in classroom environment, quality materials, and emotional support. The study also stated that additional improvements were needed to ensure that Georgia’s 4-year-olds receive the highest quality of instruction.
  • Research conducted by the FPG Child Development Institute at UNC Chapel Hill

State of West Virginia