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Funding Opportunities | Education Research Grant Programs

Program Announcement: Supporting Early Learning from Preschool Through Early Elementary School Grades 84.305N

Program Officer:
Dr. Caroline Ebanks
Telephone: (202) 245-8320

The Institute requests applications to form a research network to support early learning from preschool through the early elementary school grades. There are three separate opportunities within the network:

Early Learning Research Team:

The Institute requests applications from researchers in order to form a network to identify malleable factors that support early learning from preschool through early elementary school grades. The Early Learning Network will comprise up to four Research Teams who will conduct in-depth, exploratory research in states, regions, cities, or school districts that are providing preschool opportunities for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Each Research Team will conduct three complementary, prospective studies: (1) a descriptive study of systems-level policies and practices that support early learning; (2) a classroom observation study to identify teaching practices and other classroom-level malleable factors associated with children's school readiness and achievement in preschool and early elementary school; and (3) a longitudinal study to identify malleable factors associated with early learning and school achievement over time from preschool through the early elementary school grades (e.g., kindergarten through third grade). The Research Teams will also provide support to the Early Learning Assessment Team in piloting and validating a classroom observation tool that is designed for practitioners to use. The Early Learning Network will meet regularly to discuss ways to coordinate and strengthen its collective work. The Early Learning Network's ultimate objective is to advance the field's understanding and implementation of policies and practices that support early learning and ongoing academic success.

Early Learning Assessment Team:

The Institute requests applications for an Early Learning Network Assessment Team. Its primary purpose is to support the development and validation of a classroom observation tool that can be used by practitioners (e.g., program directors, district administrators, master teachers, coaches) to assess structural elements and process features of the classroom environment that are associated with child academic and social-behavioral outcomes during preschool and early elementary grades and that are predictive of later learning and school achievement. The Assessment Team will be responsible for the measurement development work and the selection of research site(s) and study sample(s) to pilot-test and validate the measure. The Assessment Team will also work with the Early Learning Network Research Teams to develop and validate the classroom observation tool, and with the Network Lead to implement a dissemination plan for the classroom observation tool. The tool should be accessible, affordable, and easy for practitioners to use.

Early Learning Network Lead:

The Institute requests applications from institutions interested in serving as Network Lead for the Early Learning Network. The Network Lead is responsible for making sure the network runs smoothly and accomplishes its goals and objectives. The Network Lead should possess subject-area expertise in early learning, and should be committed to helping the network produce a body of work that will be informative and useful to policymakers, practitioners, and other researchers. The ideal Network Lead will show respect for different perspectives, foster collaboration, and encourage innovation.

To be eligible for Early Learning Network Lead, applicants must also apply to be an Early Learning Research Team or Assessment Team.