Understanding the Early Education Essentials

Extensive evidence shows that high-quality early childhood education (ECE) positively impacts the learning abilities of children, especially for low-income or at-risk children. Yet many early childhood programs struggle to implement high-quality programming effectively and as a result, children are not as prepared for kindergarten as they should be.

That is why, over four years ago, we partnered with UChicago Consortium on School Research to better understand what high-performing early childhood education programs look like. Our research is grounded in the idea that six essentials are critical to supporting a healthy and high-performing environment:

This work culminated in the Early Education Essentials—a new measurement tool that early education providers can use to measure where their program falls along each of the six essentials and provides the data and tools they need to improve and monitor results to create better outcomes for our most vulnerable children.

Most recently, researchers from the Ounce and UChicago Consortium conducted a qualitative research study interviewing families, teachers, and leaders at several test sites to further refine the tool.

Want to learn more? See below for links to both the full report and snapshot, which provides an executive summary of the study.