The Early Childhood Education Initiative

Why Early Education Matters

About Our Initiative

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  • Overview
  • In the Classroom
  • In the Community

In 2006, we launched our Early Childhood Education (ECE) Initiative and joined other organizations determined to make an excellent early education the reality for every child.

Today, Teach For America corps members lead pre-K classrooms in Head Start centers, district and charter schools, and other child care centers across the country.

We aspire to be one of the largest providers of great early childhood education teachers for low-income classrooms.

In 2014-15, 300 Teach For America corps members are teaching more than 6,000 pre-K students nationwide. And thanks to partners like the Atlanta Speech School, we’re providing training and resources to set our teachers and their students on the path to success. Recent gold-standard research on our pre-K through second grade corps found that their students achieved an additional 1.3 months’ growth in reading compared with their peers with non-Teach For America teachers.

And check out these learning modules from the Atlanta Speech School to discover the importance of developing a rich vocabulary in young learners.

The work of our ECE corps members and alumni—whose ranks include teachers, school and district leaders, and community organizers—would not be possible without the support and partnership of organizations like the Community Action Project and the broader ECE community. So much more is possible for our young learners when we all work together.

Meet Our ECE Leaders

A young woman with long wavy dark brown hair leans over a pre-school student using an iPad to learn.
AnnaMaria Smeraldi
New York 2014
“As I watch my students take an active role in their learning or see them be kind and compassionate to their peers, I am reminded of how powerful it is to work with our city’s youngest learners. It’s amazing to watch them be so eager and invested.”
A close shot of a young male teacher with wild brown curly hair in a classroom, handing an art assignment back to an elementary school boy with short black hair.
Sergio Jara Arroyos
Oklahoma City 2013
“Pre-K is the time when children’s crucial mind-sets about school and learning are developing. As a pre-K teacher, you have so much power to help your students reflect on their own education.”
An extreme close shot of a pre-school aged boy with wild curly brown hair playing, leaning on a young female teacher with long straight black hair wearing diamond earrings, and smiling.
Heather Burleson
Houston 2009
“We have to ensure that our students have the right mind-set and social skills to excel in their education, and as ECE educators we are at the front lines to teach these crucial skills.”
A close head shot of a young woman with long straight dark brown hair and horn rimmed glasses smiling in a classroom, wearing a blue and white polka dot blouse and a white sweater.
Victoria Hong
Los Angeles 2011
“As a pre-K teacher, you not only teach language, math, and science, but you also have the opportunity to foster empathy, compassion, relationship building—all the social skills necessary for our world.”

In The News

A Pre-K Teacher’s Letter to Her Students, Six Years Later

Shapes, numbers, and colors soon revealed patterns that helped explain your everyday lives. But the growth didn’t stop there. Read more

More Than Milk Cartons

My students have come up with ingenious strategies to open these cartons—far more interesting than my own pinch and pull method. Read more

Can We Talk About Race With Young Children?

From the moment they are born, children are learning. So what are we teaching them about race? Read more.

How Can Students Learn Through Play?

Two teachers explain a four-part approach to developing academic and social skills in early childhood. Read more