The goal of early childhood education is to improve academic and social behavioral outcomes for children from birth through third grade. IES supports rigorous and relevant research in education and special education, evaluation, and survey data collection to improve the school readiness skills of young children and examine children's early learning and development during the preschool years (birth to five years old), as well as as children's progress through school (K-3rd grade and beyond). Early childhood initiatives at IES include evaluation studies and technical assistance programs; grant programs to fund research on prekindergarten children (ages 3 to 5); research on infants, toddlers, and young children (birth to five) with or at risk for disabilities; and cross-sectional and longitudinal studies.
Kindergarten: Where Play and Learning Can Meet: What can kindergarteners gain from play-based learning? This documentary explores the advantages associated with a play-based approach in kindergarten and features stories of how two Illinois school districts- Valley View School District 365U and Elgin Area School District U-46- made the transition to play-based learning. The documentary also includes scientific findings about the cognitive and social-emotional benefits of play. Watch the video to learn more about play-based learning.