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Early Childhood Education Initiative

Excellent early childhood education is essential to giving kids in low-income communities a strong start.

Young students in the classroom.

Shape Eager Minds: Become an Early Childhood Educator

Corps Member Crystal Hercules (Delaware ’13) works with her 3- and 4-year-old students at the West Center City Early Learning Center to help establish a foundation for educational success in their lives.

Why Early Education Matters

Seven hundred new neural connections are formed every second in the young brain. From the day they are born, children are learning. Their early experiences are critical to their long-term development. Yet studies show that children living in poverty can be nearly a full academic year behind their peers when they enter kindergarten—a gap that grows wider as school progresses.

Excellent early childhood education can change that, making the earliest and longest-lasting impact on a child’s life.


About Our Initiative 

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.

In the community

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.

In the Classroom 

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

From 2014-15, 300 Teach For America corps members taught 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.


“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.”

AnnaMaria Smeraldi

New York Corps Member 2014