check-paper dots minus2 close2 globe hamburger plus2 search starburst linkedin linkedin play bullet close menu minus plus check envelope home instagram youtube twitter facebook calendar minus-circle minus3 plus-circle plus3 chevron-circle-down chevron-circle-up chevron-circle-right chevron-circle-left chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down chevron-up

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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • 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.

    Read More
  • The Latest News

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

    More Stories

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

Learn More

Jamie DeCoster: Research Statistics & Methodology

Research Assistant Professor, CASTL

Learn More

Jason T. Downer: Early Childhood Achievement & Learning

Professor of Education, Director of CASTL

Learn More

Tanya Evans: Educational Neuroscience

Research Assistant Professor, CASTL

Learn More

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

Research Professor, CASTL

Learn More

Chris S. Hulleman: Motivation & Learning Mindsets

Associate Professor, CASTL

Learn More

Jamie J. Jirout: Curiosity & Spatial Learning

Assistant Professor of Education, CASTL

Learn More

Jennifer LoCasale-Crouch: Early Childhood Classroom Interactions

Research Associate Professor, CASTL

Learn More

Luke C. Miller: Early Childhood Education Policy

Research Assistant Professor, EdPolicyWorks

Learn More

Katherine Miller-Bains: Large-Scale Teaching Supports

Research Assistant Professor, CASTL

Khara Turnbull: Language Development & Classroom Discourse

Assistant Professor of Education, Researcher at CASTL

Learn More

Virginia E. Vitiello: Teacher-Child Interactions

Assistant Professor, CASTL

Learn More

Jessica E. Whittaker: Teacher-Child Interactions

Research Assistant Professor

Learn More

Amanda P. Williford: Early Childhood Education

Batten Bicentennial Professor of Early Childhood Education

Learn More

Vivian Wong: Research Methodology

Assistant Professor, EdPolicyWorks

Learn More

Early Learning News


Q&A: Research Shows Federal Early Childhood Policy Proposals Could Have Significant Impact

UVA School of Education and Human Development Dean Bob Pianta walks us through the myriad ways proposed investments in early childhood education could improve society as a whole.


Gears representing thinking in the brain - illustration

Study: What Brain Scans Reveal About Learning Math

A new UVA study will examine brain data of elementary-age students to explore how memory systems support math learning. (Illustration by Ziniu Chen, University Communications)


Young Students interacting with a teacher

How Researchers, Policymakers and Practitioners Can Partner to Improve Early Childhood Education

In a new volume, researchers highlight the ways partnerships between researchers and policymakers are a promising approach to effectively expanding high quality early childhood education.


Jamie Jirout

Curious About Curiosity? Professor Studies How Children Learn

With a new research fellowship, education professor Jamie Jirout will expand her research on how teachers and parents can encourage curiosity and spark interest in learning.


With $3.4M Grant, Researchers Will Examine Professional Development Impact on Preschoolers’ Behavior

Researchers will study an early childhood mental health consultation model aimed to improve teacher practice and promote young children’s success in preschool.