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Early Childhood Education Laws and Policies

posted on Wed, Dec 20 2017 10:17 am by Colleen Healy Boufides

Research shows that early childhood education can have a big impact on helping kids develop their full potential and get a head start on living healthier lives. Many leaders in education, public health and other fields have called for early childhood education to be available to all children. The Network was recently asked to provide recommendations on published research articles, policy statements or briefs, fact sheets, or other published material assessing laws or policies that implement universal early childhood education (e.g. "pre-Kindergarten" starting at 3 years of age).

The National Institute for Early Education Research provides many peer-reviewed policy briefsarticles, and research reports addressing a variety of early childhood education topics. The following resources might be of particular interest: 

  • Implementing 15 Essential Elements for High Quality: A State and Local Policy Scan, by Barnett et al. (National Institute for Early Education Research) (2016) (examines the extent to which “15 essential elements” of a high quality preschool education program are present in several states and large cities).
  • The State of Preschool 2016: State Preschool Yearbook, Barnett et al. (National Institute for Early Education Research) (2017) (evaluates state pre-K programs against research-based quality benchmarks). In particular, note the section titled “Quality” on pages 29-31 and the summary on each state’s profile page relating to the Quality Standards Checklist.

In addition to the NIEER resources, the following articles and book may be useful:

Finally, this recently published journal issue focused on early education might also be of interest:

Network attorneys are available to answer questions on this and other public health topics at no cost to you, and can assist you in using law to advance your public health initiatives. Contact a Network Attorney in your area for more informat

The legal information and assistance provided in this document does not constitute legal advice or legal representation. For legal advice, readers should consult a lawyer in their state.