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Early Learning

Early Learning

Early childhood – typically defined as preschool through about 3rd grade – is a critical developmental period and a core focus of the Education School's research. From training early childhood teachers to cultivating policy partnerships across Virginia and beyond, UVA's education school is deeply committed and engaged in how to improve education for our littlest learners.

News & Media

  • $10 Million Gift Supports Early Learning

    Jane Batten’s gift will enable creation of professorships and fellowships in the School of Education.

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  • 2019 Early Childhood Education Summit

    Superintendents, policy makers, and experts gathered for a conversation about the status and future vision for Early Childhood Education in the Commonwealth of VA.

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  • New Undergraduate Major: Early Childhood Education

    In a major restructuring of its Teacher Education program, the UVA School of Education and Human Development launched 3 new undergraduate teaching majors.

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  • Running on a New Promise for Pre-K

    "Let’s stop thinking that pre-k, universal or targeted, is the silver bullet answer," writes Dean Pianta for The Hill.

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  • Researchers Pilot New Curriculum in Virginia

    The Ed School will pilot a new curriculum in 100 early childhood classrooms, half private and faith-based and half state or federally funded, over the next two years.

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  • Expanding Quality Early Childhood Education

    Virginia and Louisiana landed nearly $18M in federal grants to enhance early childhood education initiatives. Ed School researchers are a key part of both projects.

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  • The Latest News

    Stay in the know – click the link below for a full list of news stories about Early Learning.

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Measurable Impact

  • 99 %

    of Virginia kindergartners take EHD's readiness assessments

  • 6 th

    best Elementary Education program in the country

  • 50

    states use tools developed at the School of Education and Human Development


Research Spotlight

In the Classroom

At the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, or CASTL, researchers are breaking new ground in the study of how young children learn.

Literacy Innovation

Developed at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening—or PALS—has become the gold standard for the reading assessment of PreK-3rd grade students, expanding into 99% of Virginia school divisions, 50 states, and multiple countries.

Kindergarten Readiness

The School's suite of assessments that measures how prepared a child is for kindergarten is now in every single kindergarten classroom in both Virginia and Louisiana.

School Absences

Economically disadvantaged children are more likely to be chronically absent from school. How does absenteeism affect learning outcomes for young children?

Early STEM Skills

Weekly spacial playgroups, held at the Virginia Discovery Museum, are a living and growing collaboration including researchers, museum staff, and students to learn more about children's spacial skill development – a key skill for STEM learning.

Meet the Researchers

Daphna Bassok: Early Childhood Education Policy

Associate Professor, Associate Director of EdPolicyWorks

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Jamie DeCoster: Research Statistics & Methodology

Research Assistant Professor, CASTL

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Jason T. Downer: Early Childhood Achievement & Learning

Professor of Education, Director of CASTL

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Tanya Evans: Educational Neuroscience

Research Assistant Professor, CASTL

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David W. Grissmer: Achievement Gaps, R&D Funding Policy

Research Professor, CASTL

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Chris S. Hulleman: Motivation & Learning Mindsets

Associate Professor, CASTL

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Jamie J. Jirout: Curiosity & Spatial Learning

Assistant Professor of Education, CASTL

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Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch: Early Childhood Classroom Interactions

Research Associate Professor, CASTL

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Luke C. Miller: Early Childhood Education Policy

Research Assistant Professor, EdPolicyWorks

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Katherine Miller-Bains: Large-Scale Teaching Supports

Research Assistant Professor, CASTL

Khara Turnbull: Language Development & Classroom Discourse

Assistant Professor of Education, Researcher at CASTL

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Virginia E. Vitiello: Teacher-Child Interactions

Assistant Professor, CASTL

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Jessica E. Whittaker: Teacher-Child Interactions

Research Assistant Professor

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Amanda P. Williford: Early Childhood Education

Batten Bicentennial Professor of Early Childhood Education

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Vivian Wong: Research Methodology

Assistant Professor, EdPolicyWorks

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Early Learning News


Illustration of an adult standing next to a young child wearing a backpack

Education Researcher Offers 5 Tips to Smooth Children's School Transitions

School transitions for young students can be tricky. UVA researchers have delved into why – and how to make things easier.


Researchers Awarded $5.7M by the Institute of Education Sciences

With four new grants, researchers from the School of Education and Human Development will be examining a range of topics including full-day pre-kindergarten and cultural and racial equity.


UVA Early Childhood Curriculum Will Be Made Available Statewide

The Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning and its partners have created a teaching approach that combines social smarts with academic ones.


Daphna Bassok standing outdoors with arms crossed

Small Students, Big Opportunities

Working in partnership with policymakers, Associate Professor Daphna Bassok aims to provide long-term solutions to real-world problems for America's youngest learners.


Bob Pianta, Jacqueline Jones, Sam Meisels, Amand Williford each in one of 4 boxes on the screen

Supporting Our Youngest Generation

Four early childhood education scholars gathered for a recent webinar to discuss some of the greatest opportunities and challenges facing early childhood education in America.