IL Practice Movement Building
Project Grant
New America Foundation
Laura Bornfreund, Director, Early & Elementary Education Policy, New America Foundation, [email protected]

Through this project, Trust for Learning supported New America Foundation to document and amplify concrete examples of how the principles of ideal learning are emerging, in practice, at sites around the country.

Context and need

The conversation about quality in early learning has been going on for a long time, yet the complete picture of what quality looks like in programs for children and families from many different backgrounds and with many different needs is still hard to discern. Reported stories in the mainstream media often include little more than scenes with children sitting on rugs looking up at storybooks or little kids climbing on jungle gyms. To address this problem, the Trust supported New America’s Early & Elementary Education Policy Program to document and amplify rich, detailed examples of public ideal learning programs in communities  around the country. The project enabled on-the-ground and in-person reporting to paint portraits of ideal learning programs that align with developmental science and showcase best practices in teaching and learning. 

Goals and impact

The project created portraits of ideal learning through five published articles featuring ideal learning principles and approaches and a dedicated webpage, What it Looks Like to Promote Children’s Growth and Discovery. In-depth articles were published in The Pacific Standard, Hechinger Report, and Scientific American, which provided several opportunities for dissemination of insights via social media and New America’s list-serv, as well as a webinar presentation for Early Childhood Investigations on Executive Function and Language Development: Unpacking the Science, which attracted more than 4,300 registrants across the country.

The webpage was updated throughout 2019 with articles, reports, books, videos, and other resources for education leaders, and as of January had over 4,000 views. The page also attracted further philanthropic investment to feature videos of quality early learning interactions from video collected by the documentary crew of No Small Matter.

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