Small Child

Early Childhood Development

Child Trends researchers study young children from birth through early elementary school with a focus on understanding how the experiences children have across different settings promote optimal development and well-being. Our team works with the federal government, state agencies, communities, and foundations on research, evaluation, and policy projects that address important issues for policymakers, practitioners, and families. We are skilled at developing resources and reports that address complex topics in easy-to-understand terms. We are strong thought partners in addressing a range of early childhood issues.

Much of our work fits into five broad categories.

Featured Projects

Featured Publications

Linking Head Start Data with State Early Care and Education Coordinated Data Systems

Mar 2015 | Elizabeth Jordan; Thomas Schultz; Carlise King

When linked to other early care and education data systems, data collected by Head Start programs on their children, program services, and workforce can inform key decisions by state policymakers and guide efforts to improve early childhood programs. To better understand some of the challenges, successes, and strategies involved with linking Head Start with state data systems, the Early Childhood Data Collaborative (ECDC) contacted and interviewed a sample of Head Start and state early childhood leaders in a dozen states.

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Early Care and Education Choices, Quality, and Continuity for Low-Income Families: New Findings from the Maryland-Minnesota Child Care Research Partnership

Feb 2015 | Kathryn Tout

The purpose of the Maryland-Minnesota Child Care Research Partnership is to collect information about low-income families’ experiences with early care and education for their young children that can be used to improve state policies and practices. Child care subsidies that provide financial assistance to eligible low-income families are a focal topic of the research conducted by the Partnership and a subject of four new research briefs, summarized here.

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Georgia's Pre-K Professional Development Evaluation: Final Report

Jan 2015 | Diane Early; Kelly Maxwell; Debra Skinner; Syndee Kraus; Katie Hume; Yi Pan

Georgia’s Pre-K, administered by Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL), aims to provide high-quality preschool experiences to four-year-olds to help prepare them for kindergarten. This study evaluated the impact of two professional development models—Making the Most of Classroom Interactions and MyTeachingPartnerTM—on teacher-child interactions in Georgia’s Pre-K classrooms.

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Connecting the Dots: Raising A Reader Builds Evidence Base for its Parent Engagement and Early Literacy Program

Nov 2014 | Karen Walker; Rachel A. Gooze; Alicia Torres

This brief examines the case of Raising A Reader (RAR), which has been steadily building its evidence base over many years and is now positioned to undertake such a comprehensive evaluation. RAR is a national nonprofit literacy organization which, through work with direct service agencies, helps develop sustainable home literacy routines essential to language and literacy development. The brief first summarizes the research base for family literacy programs and the emerging evidence base for RAR. It then describes the RAR program and how it uses a variety of data to regularly improve its program, inform programming integrity, and prepare for a randomized controlled trial. In closing, the brief addresses the lessons for the broader field.

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