Child Care and Early Education

MDRC examines the effects of early care and education on children and tests programs to enhance the quality of preschool settings through innovative strategies to promote low-income children’s social and emotional development and behavioral and academic readiness for school.

The Latest
Brief

This study investigates whether naturally occurring lotteries, which approximate random assignment, can be used to evaluate the long-term effects of instructional alignment—standards, curricula, and assessments that build on one another from pre-K to elementary school—on children in Boston Public Schools. It concludes that they can.

Brief

This brief outlines how Head Start programs responded to the ever-evolving public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic—shifting activities to virtual formats, adapting in-person activities to local restrictions, and maintaining connections with families and community providers.

Key Documents
Report

A Focus on Literacy and Math Achievement Outcomes and Social-Emotional Skills

This report reviews 95 studies on how families’ involvement in children’s learning and development through activities at home and at school affects the literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional skills of children. The review also offers recommendations for additional lines of inquiry and discusses next steps in research and practice.

Issue Focus

MDRC’s Portfolio in Early Childhood Education

Today, leaders from across the political spectrum are calling for new investments in early childhood education. But many important questions remain about how to make the most of the promise of preschool and related interventions. MDRC’s portfolio of research and demonstration projects is tackling some of the biggest ones.

 

Brief

Preliminary Kindergarten Impacts of the Making Pre-K Count and High 5s Programs

Can children’s math skills be strengthened in pre-K and kindergarten, and can such improvements have longer-term effects? This preliminary analysis examines the cumulative effects of two early math programs and demonstrates that this enhanced experience can have modest, positive impacts on children’s math and executive function skills in kindergarten.