What works in the early years?

This synthesis of research from the US Institute of Education Sciences (IES) describes what has been learned from IES-funded research grants on early intervention and early childhood education. Their findings include the following:

  • There are critical associations between features of pre-kindergarten (Reception) classrooms – such as the quality of teacher–child interactions and the nature of teachers’ feedback to children – and children’s outcomes. For instance, the extent to which teachers are observed providing emotional support to children in their classroom is positively associated with children’s growth in social competence.
  • Parents’ and teachers’ support for children’s learning contributes to young children’s outcomes. As an example, one study showed that the extent to which parents were involved in their children’s schooling and their perceptions about their children’s teacher were related to their children’s academic and social competence.
  • Classroom teaching can be improved by providing professional development to teachers. Improvements may be seen in general measures of the teaching environment or in more specific ways, such as teachers’ use of assessment data to design individual teaching plans.

Additional findings are discussed in the full report.

Source: Synthesis of IES Research on Early Intervention and Early Childhood Education (2013), Institute of Education Sciences.

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