Early Childhood

The early years shape a child’s development and future success. Research shows that early education programs can improve children's school readiness and later academic achievement, particularly for those children most in need. SEDL's expertise and work in this area focus on school readiness, prereading skills, prekindergarten programs, and family involvement in supporting education.

Success Story

“Children are actively engaged and learning and loving it. . . . I can see growth in the 3-year-olds from DHS [Delta Head Start] as they enter into the district’s 4-year-old preK program. Their oral language and expression are exceptional. They also follow oral directions well, and their early writing skills are on target."

— Corine Holmes, Early Reading First Reading Coach, Tallulah Elementary, Tallulah, Louisiana

Early Reading First Results Shine

Tallulah, Madison Parish, Louisiana
Brighter futures await a group of preschoolers in Madison Parish, Louisiana. The children showed gains in language and literacy as part of the Bright Futures Early Reading First project. During this 3-year project, SEDL partnered with Madison Parish and the Delta Community Action Association-Tallulah Head Start to improve the literacy and language development of some 250 children in three preschools serving low-income families. Our final evaluation found significant gains in children’s receptive vocabulary, letter recognition, and print awareness skills as well as significant increases in teachers’ instructional knowledge in developing early literacy and language.
Read more about the project  Read the final report

Significant Work

Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC): The SECC provides professional development and technical assistance to the state education agencies of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals, including school readiness and early childhood education. Work varies by state.

Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC): The TXCC provides professional development and technical assistance to the Texas Education Agency and the state’s 20 regional education service centers to build their capacity to support districts and schools in meeting student achievement goals, including school readiness and early childhood education.

Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Southwest: The REL Southwest assists the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas in using data and research evidence to address high-priority education needs in the region. The project addresses early childhood issues through two research alliances: The Arkansas Prekindergarten Research Alliance focuses on the quality and effectiveness of the state’s prekindergarten programs by examining high-quality programs and their impact on school readiness and grade 3 success. The New Mexico Prekindergarten Research Alliance addresses the need for a comprehensive, statewide preK–12 data system to inform and support prekindergarten policy and practice decisions.

Show More Work


Image of publication cover Stepping Stones: A Texas Migrant Early Childhood Program for 3- and 4-Year-Olds

This home-based migrant preschool program provides 100 lessons aligned to the Revised Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines. The lessons, available in both English and Spanish, are organized around early learning themes or units. A manual to guide home educators and migrant program coordinators is included.

Image of publication cover Rapid Response: Early Childhood Education Curricula and Programs for PreK Students
This resource was produced by SEDL's Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) in response to a request from a state department of education for a list of research-based early childhood education curricula and programs for preK students that address both reading and math readiness. Additional discussion of early childhood curricula and related SECC work can be found in the SECC Spotlight newsletter.
Image of publication cover Readiness: School, Family, & Community Connections
The fourth research synthesis focusing on family and community connections with schools describes 48 research studies on the contextual factors associated with children's school readiness.

Image of publication cover Southeast Comprehensive Center eBulletin, Volume 5, Number 3: Improving School Readiness and Success for Children
In this edition of the Southeast Comprehensive Center (SECC) eBulletin we highlight school readiness, how early experiences matter, the role of preschool in supporting
readiness, and state and local efforts to implement recommendations from the National Governors Association (NGA).

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