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Advancing Early Childhood Learning

The Promise of Every Child

The initiative in early childhood learning will promote new discoveries in early childhood development and improved policies and practices in the field of early learning.

The initiative will build on Stanford’s interdisciplinary strengths to bring education together with neuroscience, pediatrics, law and policy, business, social science, and engineering to address the complex issues that intersect in early childhood.

Seizing New Opportunities

Recent advances in brain and learning science have clearly demonstrated that children’s experiences in the first five years are critical to laying the groundwork for learning for the rest of their lives.

Moreover, early childhood education is receiving attention at the policy level, with growing recognition that accessible, quality early education is an important lever to reduce opportunity gaps. The time is right to build a strong body of science and policy to support early learning.

Research and innovation are essential for advancing the world’s capacity to nurture its youngest learners and to realize the promise of all children.
The Way Forward

The Graduate School of Education at Stanford is well positioned to advance interdisciplinary efforts in research, practice, and policy to improve child well-being in the U.S. and around the globe. In particular, Stanford and the GSE can accelerate discovery and innovation in three key areas:

The Science of Learning

Creative, ambitious, and transformative research will expand our understanding of early learning and identify the practices that promote healthy neural, cognitive, and social-emotional pathways.

School Readiness Framework

Interdisciplinary research will identify ways to align home, community, and caregiving contexts to ensure young children enter formal schooling with a solid foundation for learning.

Early Learning Development Support

We will develop tools, policies, and professional support to strengthen early learning, and research the impact of technology on young children.


Scholars affiliated with the initiative are among the top in their fields and span the University.

Research Stories

Discoveries made at Stanford inform teaching practices, generate new ideas and innovation, evaluate policies and change lives.

Learn more about the GSE Vision for the future

Grand Challenges

We have identified nine grand challenges in education where Stanford can drive transformative breakthroughs.

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Discover. Innovate. Drive Change.

To answer educations's grand challenges, we must discover new knowledge, innovate new ideas and put those ideas to work in the world.

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Strategic Initiatives

New programs, research areas and spaces will help us accelerate progress on education’s grand challenges.

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