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3 Crucial Factors in Bridging The Gap Between Research and Early Literacy Success

Research related to early reading success is most effective when the findings reach the educators and administrators who stand to benefit from implementing them in the classroom. 

Through exploration of translational science, researchers have examined the many layers that exist between research and classroom teachers. 

These layers encompass policies, politics, governing bodies, education leaders in districts and states, higher education institutes, and publishing companies. They influence decisions related to curriculum and professional development at the leadership level.

The existence of all these layers can impede the successful communication and adoption of research in classrooms.

But worry not, the gap between research and practice, and consequently, the achievement of early literacy success through practical application, can be bridged.

By addressing the three crucial factors outlined in this article, any school district, governing body, or elementary literacy team can enact policies or implement measures to successfully translate the latest research into actionable practices.


1. Stay Up To Par with Current Research: Leverage New Tools/Resources or Adapt Existing Ones

Stay Up To Par with Current Research- Leverage New Tools:Resources or Adapt Existing Ones

If your school lacks a comprehensive standard or curriculum that covers all the research-based foundational reading skills, consider exploring supplemental tools that offer structured lessons and engaging activities/resources. 

These resources play a crucial role in ensuring students receive essential lessons and participate in activities that enhance their understanding of key concepts.

While over half of elementary school teacher preparatory programs now have evidence-based components in them, this was not always the case. 

In instances where elementary school teacher preparatory programs may have lacked evidence-based components, educators might be accustomed to certain teaching methods.

If educators are not receiving training in structured literacy within their current school environment, how can they acquire this knowledge while fulfilling their teaching responsibilities?

Are there accessible teaching resources with integrated professional learning components? 

Alternatively, can support from specialists, such as literacy coaches, increasingly employed by many schools, fill this knowledge gap for educators?

These are legitimate questions that have to be answered if any education system is serious about bringing science-backed and proven early literacy research into schools.

Gathering the right support for teachers is one of the quickest ways to help them translate research into effective practice for early literacy success. That’s why it tops the list of three crucial factors.


2. Integrate the Science of Reading with The Science of Teaching Reading

Integrate the Science of Reading with The Science of Teaching Reading

There is a need for identifying strategies to align classroom practices with current knowledge on literacy development and instruction. Achieving this goal hinges on gaining a clear understanding of classroom teaching practices.

It needs to be understood how reading is taught in primary grades.

Is there resistance among teachers toward broad educational changes? One key point of contention in the discourse on word reading development is the appearance of total disregard of the language acquisition model. 

If such perceptions exist, they must be dispelled promptly. Evidence-based early literacy has consistently highlighted the crucial need for decoding skills, such as phonics and phonological awareness, and also skills such as oral language and comprehension. 

All these knowledge areas, and more that have not been mentioned, collectively constitute the foundational reading skills essential for evidence-based instruction and assessment tools.

Language can be universally and naturally acquired without explicit instruction, thriving in enriched linguistic environments. Whole language approaches leverage the innate development of language skills, arguing that children can deduce meaning from print.

Yet, studies indicate that word reading is distinct from the natural act of language learning and acquisition. Unlike oral language comprehension, reading is not universally inherent across cultures, languages, or individuals. 

Thus, it can be asserted that oral language comprehension is natural, while word reading necessitates explicit instruction.

Thus, it can be understood how educator knowledge, beliefs and perception about their teaching philosophies matter a great deal. Because it is ultimately them who will have to formulate the right teaching strategy and tactics, in line with the research, and with help from others.

They must teach and progressively monitor the foundational reading skills explicitly. Additionally, they need to create routines and classrooms with appropriate activities and learning environments. 

It’s a big ask. Thus, recognizing the importance of the science of teaching reading alongside the science of reading, is paramount.

Teachers require support through professional development which not only imparts new concepts but also provides practical, teacher-centric advice on applying these concepts in the classroom.


3. Adopt a Holistic Approach That Makes An Effort to Know the Full Context of Every Student

Adopt a Holistic Approach That Makes An Effort to Know the Full Context of Every Student

What if teachers, equipped with added support and enriched resources due to school initiatives, align their teaching with the latest research on early literacy success? 

What if there’s a concerted focus not only on the science of reading but also on the science of teaching reading, incorporating the best aspects of their existing practices and extensive teaching experience? 

Fulfilling the above criteria would result in a successful realization of the first two crucial factors discussed in the preceding sections.

Even with the fulfillment of the two mentioned criteria, the early learner’s perspective in bridging the gap between research and early literacy success remains unaddressed.

While school resources and personnel have been acknowledged, the ultimate beneficiaries of the education system, the students, have yet to be discussed.

They indirectly benefit from evidence-based teaching practices like explicit and differentiated instruction, which tailor lessons to their individual competency. But understanding their full backstory and current learning circumstance is also crucial for an effective early literacy approach.

What does understanding a student’s full circumstances entail?It involves gaining insights into their interests, strengths, and learning experiences beyond the classroom, encompassing their home and community environments.

Understanding all these different areas to get a complete picture is holistic learning. When combined with evidence-based learning, it is a powerful deciding factor for early literacy success.


Bridge The Gap Between Research and Early Literacy Success 

We stand at a crucial juncture, armed with compelling evidence supporting specific teaching content and practices, which is finally being implemented at large in schools throughout North America.

Therefore, in this very important era of widely translating research into early literacy success, it is strongly encouraged to bear in mind the three factors highlighted in this article.

Using enrichment/supplementary tools +combining research with the art of teaching + learning as much as we can about the student= Abridgment of Gap between Research and Early Literacy Success.

4 More Types of Parental Involvement in Early Childhood Education

It is Parental Involvement Day!

It is an annual occasion for schools, which falls on the third Thursday of every November, to celebrate the impactful contributions of parents to support student success. 

Of course, such a great initiative should be taking place year long, and not confined to any one day.

Sprig Learning has previously covered this all-important topic of parental involvement. In this special occasion, as a follow-up to the previous blog, four additional ways will be explored in which parents can actively engage in their child’s early literacy journey.

If you have not read the first one, please be sure to do so, as it is one of our most popular blogs. 

It explains the difference between parent engagement and parental involvement, covers 4 categories of parental involvement, and highlights their benefits.

This second blog of the parental involvement series is geared more towards early literacy. It covers more specific acts of parental involvement.

Parenting is a balancing act, and in the realm of early childhood education, every bit of support matters. 

So then, let’s see four more ways in which parents can lend their support in early childhood education, especially to the cause of early literacy success. 


1. Read Together

Read Together

It’s important to encourage a love for reading by making it a shared experience. 

Reading together fosters a strong bond and helps develop language skills. 

A variety of books can be explored, from picture books to early readers, where stories can be discussed together. 

This simple yet impactful activity can lay the foundation for a lifelong appreciation of literature.


Bonding Through Narratives

Reading together fosters emotional bonds. There is research available to show that shared book-reading promotes secure parent-child attachments.


Language Development

Shared reading exposes children to a broader vocabulary, enhancing their language skills. 

Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that early exposure to language-rich environments positively influences a child’s language development.


2. Create a Literacy-Rich Environment

Create a Literacy-Rich Environment

A literacy-rich environment can be created in homes by incorporating books, labels, and print materials. 

A designated reading nook or corner can be established where your child can explore books independently. 

This type of literacy environment increases awareness of print concepts among young learners, and fosters curiosity and exploration.


Print Awareness

A literacy-rich environment cultivates print awareness as well—the understanding of print in the child’s surroundings. 

The National Early Literacy Panel emphasizes the role of print awareness in early literacy development. It is one of the foundational reading skills.


Curiosity and Exploration

Surrounding a child with books stimulates curiosity. 

According to research published in the Journal of Research in Reading, children in print-rich environments show increased interest in reading and exploration.


3. Engage in Interactive Learning Apps

Engage in Interactive Learning Apps

The power of technology to support early literacy should be harnessed. 

Engaging activities aligned with the school curriculum are provided by many apps, allowing parents to actively participate in their child’s educational journey. 

Foundational literacy skills can be enhanced in a fun and accessible way through interactive learning apps.

Engaging with learning apps promotes technology integration and active learning. 


Technology Integration

Leveraging educational apps aligns with the evolving technological landscape. 

There are guiding documents published by the Office of Educational Technology in the US, which suggest that technology-based interventions positively impact early literacy skills.


Active Learning

Interactive apps encourage active engagement by children, contributing to effective learning. 

Play-based learning, whether through classroom center-based activities or by use of technology, is helpful in grasping important early learning concepts.

A report by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center stresses the benefits of interactive media in promoting children’s cognitive skills.


4. Partner with Teachers for Collaborative Learning

Partner with Teachers for Collaborative Learning

Beyond mere communication, collaborative learning with teachers must be actively pursued. 

It’s crucial to work together to understand the curriculum, discuss effective teaching strategies, and explore ways to reinforce classroom lessons at home. 

A cohesive learning experience for the child is created through this collaborative approach, bridging the gap between home and school.

Such a partnership ensures that there is holistic learning support and personalized instruction for every child. 


Holistic Learning Support

Collaborating with teachers creates a holistic learning support system. 

Teachers benefit from understanding what learning opportunities are provided at home, and how to better support the student when they are not at school.

There is plenty of research that emphasizes that parental involvement in education contributes to a child’s academic success and overall well-being.


Personalized Instruction

Partnering with teachers allows for personalized instruction. 

With the viewpoint of learning at home, more insights about a child’s strengths, needs and interests emerge. 

It allows teachers to better differentiate instruction for that student, whether that be in small groups, or individually.

A study in the Journal of School Effectiveness and School Improvement emphasizes the positive impact of collaborative learning on student outcomes.


Parental Involvement is Crucial for Early Literacy

Parental Involvement in Early Literacy

In conclusion, these four evidence-based actions for parental involvement are highly recommended for parents navigating their child’s early literacy journey. 

By embracing these involvement types, parents actively contribute to a child’s cognitive and emotional development, laying the groundwork for a lifelong love of learning.

Upon close observation, these actions are also best-practices inside the classroom. 

Shared reading, literacy-rich classrooms, technology use and collaboration with other roles are hallmarks of modern schools looking to improve early literacy.

When parents also do these four things, their level of involvement skyrockets, making a tremendous difference to their child’s education!

Improve Student Achievement in Early Learning: Learn from 5 Remarkable Case Studies (Looking At 16 Schools)

Student success is often top of mind for educators and administrators. 

Most other early learning outcomes, whether academic, socio-emotional, or more holistic in nature, are intricately connected to the overarching goal of student achievement.

At Sprig Learning, our focus lies in finding effective early learning solutions tailored for teachers instructing preK to Grade 3 children. 

The mission involves facilitating successful learning experiences by presenting proven strategies that have worked for various schools, families and communities.

Sprig has previously presented stories and themes centered around enhancing early learning in school districts. This article covers successful case studies. It sheds light on 5 compelling case studies derived from 16 different schools across the US. 

Each case study is paired with key takeaways, providing valuable insights for both educators and administrators.


Case Study 1. Key Lessons in Closing Achievement Gaps: Insights from Successful Urban School Districts

Case Study 1. Key Lessons in Closing Achievement Gaps- Insights from Successful Urban School Districts

Credit: Google Earth. Charlotte-Mecklenburg School.


In the early 2000s, Houston Independent School District, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and Sacramento Unified School District were able to reduce the achievement gap for disadvantaged and minority students. 

They demonstrated an upward trend of overall student achievement for at least three years.

Improvement was consistent and the rate of improvement was higher than in comparison districts. 

All three of these large urban school districts shared commonalities regarding what worked for them in improving student success.

They were able to align curricula with state standards and translate these standards into instructional practice.

In particular, attention was paid to the lowest performing schools to help them with resources, teachers and administrators. 

Data from early and ongoing assessments were provided to educators and principals to help identify both student and teacher weaknesses, so improvements could be made.

Changes began at the elementary level, emphasizing shared accountability between the board and superintendent for student success, with refined joint visions and enduring relationships.


Takeaway: Systematic and Acute Planning for Better Student Results

There were so many critical and important decisions at these three school districts. At the heart of it all was directed planning.  

It was decided from the beginning that the goal would be to improve the assessment scores of those students at the lower end of the achievement distribution.

Every other decision was made in support of this ultimate goal. 

The alignment between the board and the superintendent was ensured from the beginning, to solidify the vision.

The standard of content and instruction were raised that would benefit the students once the changes were made.

On a day-to-day level, the frequent usage of assessment data came into practice, which really helped educators identify students in need of greater support.

From top to bottom, the plan was created and executed to accomplish the set goal of reducing performance disparity.


Case Study 2. Boosting Literacy Skills: Andover Schools’ Success Story

Case Study 2. Boosting Literacy Skills- Andover Schools' Success Story

Credit: Andover Public Schools


Andover Public Schools was able to decrease the share of K–2 students scoring below benchmark on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessment by ten percentage points for the 2018-2019 school year. 

DIBELS is a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of literacy skills. 

In that same school year, there was a 14% decrease in out-of-district placements. An out-of-district placement occurs when it is determined that a student needs more intensive support than can be provided in the district. 

Andover partnered with the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Institute of Health Professions, to develop literacy micro-credentialing coursework throughout the first half of the school year. There were 25 Instructional Assistants from 5 elementary schools that were selected.

The training included ten hours of instruction on leading literacy interventions. It also consisted of structured observations of both advanced and struggling readers.


Takeaway: Training Paraprofessionals Via Collaborations

Andover Public schools realized that their educators needed more support in providing the type of specific interventions that were required to help struggling readers. 

Such help was ensured very smartly through a collaboration with a local institution, so certain members of the early learning workforce could be appropriately upskilled. 

Seeing the success of involving the instructional assistants, Andover will continue to measure students’ growth in literacy over time, to deploy the right resources to services involving paraprofessionals.

It’s important to partner with the right organizations who have the capacity to train specialists who are adept at doing a particular task. They greatly help teachers in assisting those students who demand more attention. 


Case Study 3. Transforming Kindergarten Readiness: Indianola’s Inspiring Success Amid Challenges

Case Study 3. Transforming Kindergarten Readiness- Indianola's Inspiring Success Amid Challenges

Credit: Google Earth. Sunflower County Consolidated School District.


The community in Indianola, Mississippi was able to increase the rate of kindergarten readiness by nearly 25%, despite struggling with lack of access to resources and intergenerational poverty. 

Since 2014, there’s been a consistent rise in the percentage of kindergarten entrants who meet or exceed the assessment threshold predicting third-grade reading proficiency.

This was accomplished by working with the Indianola Promise Community to create better early childhood programs and services in the area and the local school district.

The Early Head Start Child Care Partnership program’s Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®1) scores from different teachers were analyzed to identify teachers making the most gains with their students.

(CLASS®1) is a PreK teacher-child observation instrument used to assess preK children. 

These high-quality teacher-child interactions were studied for modeling purposes. 

The strategic use of data to align early childhood strategies continued into elementary school. 

The Sunflower County Consolidated School District in Indianola had to build the culture of using data at the classroom level. 

The district created a tracker that each teacher, principal, superintendent, school could use.

The data from this tracker was used to identify students who needed extra support. Targeted interventions were subsequently personalized to meet students’ needs. 

The school district also regularly sent data cards home to families and provided activities to help parents interpret the data. 


Takeaway: A Joint Effort Between Early Learning Programs, the School District and Families.

What happened in the community of Indianola is a classic example of involving the whole community to be more child centric. 

By sharing data between the early learning programs, the school district, and the parents, it became easier to track student progress as they moved through the education system.


Case Study 4. Valuable Insights from Chicago Elementary Schools: Strategies for Elevating Standardized Test Gains

Valuable Insights from Chicago Elementary Schools- Strategies for Elevating Standardized Test Gains

Credit: Abc 7 Chicago


The University of Chicago Consortium on School Research conducted a study on 6 elementary schools in Chicago Public Schools. Three of the schools had improving Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) Scores, while three of them had declining or flat ISAT scores. The ISAT (now discontinued) measured achievement in both reading and math from grade 3 to grade 8. 

The schools with improving ISAT scores shared similar traits. The names were anonymized in the case studies. 

The findings provide an insight as to what can be done to achieve higher learning gains on standardized tests.

The lessons congregate around two themes — individualizing student goals and systematizing approach to meeting goals. 


Takeaway 1: Individualizing Student Goals

Differentiating instruction is the first step of the personalization of instruction. It usually refers to differentiating by groups of students. 

For example, in the case studies, the staff identified different tiers of support for student groups. 

Tutoring programs were made available for students who needed extra support. Counseling was made available for students with attendance issues. 

But beyond differentiated group instruction, a culture had been created to support and nurture each and every student at an individual level, without constraining any of the existing resources.

The staff encouraged students to set their own learning goals. Learning was very personalized where students took ownership over what they learned and met the goals they set for themselves. 

Indeed, activating early learners by getting them to own their learning is one of the suggested best practices of formative assessments, a type of assessment used widely by educators across North America. 

If anyone steered off track with lower grades or missed assignments, teachers met with the students and parents to find out what’s happening. 

There were also homeroom teachers in place to make interventions after observing a student and their behaviors across the different classes. 

In the Sprig Learning platform, it’s possible to filter down to the individual level, where a history of assessments and activities completed can be seen for any student. 


Takeaway 2: Establishing Mechanisms for Ongoing Progress Monitoring

The expectation for schools in the case studies, was for every student to reach high academic levels. 

The staff met in grade level teams to set growth targets in reading, math and attendance for the year. 

Teachers and administrators collaborated to monitor progress towards goals by regularly meeting in grade-level and vertical-planning teams.

Administrators helped educators  break down the data by student, classroom, and grade level. 

The Sprig platform also allows teachers, staff and administrators to filter data by classroom and grade, facilitating grade-level and vertical-planning meetings.

Even where leadership was decentralized and educators were given more freedom to take actions best suited to help their students, there was some sort of mechanism in place to ensure progress was being made.

At regular intervals (every 5 weeks, in one example), the principals or instructional coaches looked at student progress reports to identify trends. In grade-level meetings, teachers are asked to explain their choice of assignments. Coaches would provide feedback to teachers on their assignments.

Teachers would also get together to give each other advice about how to help students. 

Though collaboration time and preparation time were scheduled, teachers would often meet before and after school and during lunch breaks to discuss such matters.

Lack of time for educators is often cited as one of the major challenges in early learning. Even in success stories, it’s seen that teachers have to improvise work hours in order to accomplish everything that they want to. 

It helps to have a platform that keeps all student data in one place, and makes that platform available to all educators and professionals who consult on a certain student’s learning. 

It certainly speeds up things in getting everyone on the same page when it’s time to discuss learning needs, thereby saving valuable time for all educators involved. 


Case Study 5. Unveiling Success: Key Insights from Maryland’s High-Performing Schools

Case Study 5. Unveiling Success- Key Insights from Maryland's High-Performing Schools

The Maryland State Department of Education did a cross case analysis of some of its schools that were classified as high-performing or high-growth for disadvantaged student groups, such as students from low-income families, minority students, and English language learners. 

The performance or growth of such performance, was measured using the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced on the Maryland School Assessments. 

Looking at five elementary schools (Chillum, Bel Air, Chadwick, James. H Harrison and North Frederick) from four different counties, many common characteristics were identified. 


Takeaway: Empowering Education Through Data-Informed Strategies and Collaborative Cultures

Schools that integrated ongoing data analysis into their teaching practices demonstrated a commitment to understanding their current situation and progress.

This involved regular meetings among teachers and instructional staff to discuss data and adjust instruction based on insights gained. This foundation of data-driven decision-making enabled schools to identify areas of improvement and set up practices to address them effectively.

Additionally, revising curriculum, adopting new instructional materials, offering multiple interventions like tutoring and extended day academic help, and implementing summer school programming played pivotal roles in raising education quality. These multifaceted interventions catered to the diverse needs of students, offering targeted support to those who needed it most.

By zooming out to the entire class, schools could explore innovative instructional approaches and materials that aligned with both rigorous standards and individual learning styles. 

Ultimately, these strategies created a holistic educational experience, closing the loop on the data-driven cycle and fostering a collaborative culture that propelled student achievement.


Improving Student Achievement– Replicating Early Learning Student Successes 

Improving Student Achievement– Replicating Early Learning Student Successes

Having read all of these case studies, one notices that they each have slightly different goals. Some specifically wanted to reduce the success gap between groups of students, others catered more towards kindergarten preparedness, while others focused on raising performance on tests. 

All are however related to improving student achievement, which remains a topmost priority for all school districts and schools in North America. 

Whether it’s creating the right vision for early learning, or writing a high-performing school improvement plan, Sprig likes to present what works for schools with articles such as these.

The findings from these five case studies provide invaluable insight. They demonstrate that it is indeed possible to ensure school readiness, achieve greater scores and reduce the performance gap by taking the right actions. 

Hopefully, these shared experiences from school districts across the continent are useful to you. To explore solutions that help to replicate such early learning student success, please see our homepage.

Mastering Time: Essential Elements of an Early Childhood Teacher Schedule

Education administrators face multiple considerations when strategizing and planning for the school year. 

They must balance operational needs, such as personnel and infrastructure maintenance, with innovations aimed at enhancing student outcomes and engaging the broader learning community. 

These improvements not only save costs but also elevate the quality of education. Amidst all these priorities, one group stands out as the driving force behind our education system.


Despite the many challenges and obstacles facing teachers, they remain eager for ongoing improvements that can address the growing challenges facing students, families, and schools. Equipping them with the right tools is crucial in this regard. 

When combined with necessary professional development (PD), teachers gain the capacity to effectively manage their classrooms. It is essential to leverage the experience and knowledge of educators to ensure that new solutions align with established classroom routines. 

Sprig Reading exemplifies such a solution, developed in partnership with educators to provide flexibility and seamlessly integrate into any daily schedule.

In this article, we delve into the essentials of an early childhood teacher’s schedule, enabling educators to deliver the highest quality education within their available time at school.


Daily Teacher Schedule

Daily Teacher Schedule

Primary Sources surveyed over 10,000 teachers and determined they worked an average of 10 hours and 40 minutes a day. 

How teachers spend this time differs from person to person. The amount of variation between teachers that exists in how they set their schedules is truly mind-boggling, and an indication of the incredible innovation and creativity of teachers!

However, setting a schedule (whatever it may be) is extremely important for teachers, administrators, and most importantly the students. 

There are common themes that we see in all schedules. These are covered in the following sections. 

But first a foreword of what a teacher schedule is not.


A Teacher Planner is Not a Schedule

A teacher planner is a resource that contains many things that help teachers plan their day. 

A teacher planner contains things like student birthdays, notes of interactions with each student, parent contact information, etc. In addition to all these things, the planner may also contain a schedule. However, it is not a schedule. 

The teacher planner is an amazing resource! It has been heavily commoditized (and for good reason) as it’s so popular amongst early grade teachers to keep track of all lessons, grades, and meetings.

A schedule is not something that can be commoditized. They are often perfected over time through the knowledge, experience and loving effort from educators. 

The following themes are common in teacher-made schedules. These are the essentials.


Common Themes in Teacher Schedules

Pacing is very important when teachers instruct their class of diverse early learners. Energy is needed to keep everyone active and engaged, but too much of it can exhaust students as well. 

The following themes thus correspond to the state of energy that both educators and students have throughout the school day.


Preparation/Morning Circle (Rise)

Teacher Preparation Time

The first period of any schedule is so important as it provides that predictability and transition for young children. 

Preparation is the first thing on many of the kindergarten and elementary teachers’s schedules. 

Some type of morning group activity such as circle time is usually bundled in during this phase. 


This phase of the schedule serves four purposes. 

1. It allows the educator and students to discuss all the formalities (if any) the school requires. It could be reciting a mission statement, singing the anthem, etc. 

2. It allows the educator to greet every child, and allows students to settle in and unpack their school bags. 

3. Some type of group activity is often done here to start off the day, such as singing songs in a circle, reading with a partner, exchanging smiles with each other, picking lunch options, etc.  

4. Lastly, it allows the educator to outline the day ahead together with the students. 


As mentioned before, it’s important to get new students accustomed to the different lessons throughout the day. 

With Sprig Reading, an educator is able to take a quick glance at their student dashboard to identify what skills and activities they should focus on for the day and week. 

This is individualized learning, in the truest sense of the word, that is learning customized for one student. 

Differentiated instruction is the process of tailoring instruction to meet the individual needs, strengths and interests of students.  


How to Plan Differentiated Reading Instruction

In many schools, there are specific blocks set for interventions, or a set time to deliver effective additional support to students struggling in certain areas of learning.

Certain time periods can be set aside to administer such interventions, or they may be also incorporated within flexible teacher routines, that have in-built capacity to add such blocks as per need. Such intervention blocks can also be tiered, based on the level of additional support that is needed.

Regardless of how and when differentiated reading instruction is scheduled, it is crucial to have an assessment, monitoring and instruction strategy in place which facilitates such intervention sessions. 

With Sprig Reading, students’ level of understanding  and progress on all important literacy concepts can be quickly documented at any given time by use of circle charts

Such ongoing and frequent assessments provide teachers with a record of what skills students have mastered and the skills that students need more practice or explicit support.

These assessments and benchmarks should be aligned with grade-level expectations and address individual areas of improvement. 

Sprig Reading is very intuitive to the teaching experience because it provides a framework for all of the foundational reading skills which need to be monitored and tracked in order to achieve reading mastery.  

There is support on how to instruct and assess each of the foundational skill sets, which helps teachers to plan instruction for each student.


Block Schedule (Sustain Energy)

Block Schedule

Block scheduling is a very popular teaching strategy adopted by early learning educators. 

The actual lessons are administered in blocks of time, designated to teach a certain topic. 

It’s a time to focus on particular subjects, such as reading, writing, math and science. 

These blocks contain direct instruction, games, hands-on activities, mini-lessons, workshops, etc!

The number of ideas for activities are endless, but it’s important that these learning activities teach the skills and outcomes identified in the curriculum or standards. 

This is the challenging part where additional support can be useful for educators.

Sprig Learning’s early literacy and numeracy programs contain hundreds of learning activities that map to specific curricular outcomes. These include individual, group and whole class activities. 

Literacy blocks are the most common and usually take the largest chunk of time out of all the learning blocks. It is recommended that the 5 fundamental early literacy components are covered.

When educators set up learning centers and rotate groups of students, there are certain activities that are more suitable for this purpose. The learning materials from the Sprig Store help provide classroom resources to compliment and drive instruction for these learning centers. 


How to Plan for Playful Reading Instruction

In some teacher schedules, there is the concept of free play and exploration, which uses unstructured playtime where students can engage in imaginative play and develop social skills through peer interactions. 

But as play is so important in early learning, it can also be incorporated in a learning center, where foundational reading skills are taught in the most fun and joyful way, where all of the senses are engaged by setting up the right environment with the right learning materials. 

When teachers actively participate in these playful interactions, they are able to teach essential learning concepts to their class more efficiently.

Of course, adjustments need to be made, to reflect changing learning needs, to meet new learning objectives for groups of students or individuals, and also to keep things fresh that inspire continued motivation to achieve all the required learning outcomes. 


Going Home/Dismissal (Unwind)

Going Home Dismissal

​​Learning truly never stops in the early years. 

It happens both inside and outside the classroom, at the home, and in the larger community. 

Armed with the holistic insights, educators are in a better position to understand what the learning environment for f the student looks like outside the classroom. 

With Sprig Learning programs, parents and other caregivers contribute to this understanding by completing surveys about the opportunities for learning at home.

If teachers want to reflect what was learned during the day, there are activities in Sprig Reading that allow them to do so with their students. 

Teachers provide parents with simple, everyday learning activities that are designed specifically for their child. Parents are able to better support their child at home, working on areas that complement the curriculum taught in school. 


Keeping it Simple. Doing the Essentials Right.

Teacher Schedule Essentials

Creating and refining an early childhood teacher schedule is a significant task, requiring careful thought and adjustments along the way. 

Instead of discarding a well-crafted schedule, it is better to provide teachers with the necessary tools and resources to support their vision and make their job easier.

Think of it as painting a wall.

From deciding to paint, to finishing painting a wall, it is a process. 

If you have done this sort of thing before, you know you will have to select the right type of paint, ensure you have the right tools such as a brush, and make sure the coating dries after the job is done. 

There is no need to reinvent the process. Experience is sufficient in ensuring that it gets done. 

But at each step, it’s okay to use aids that make the job easier. 

That is, using a colour visualizer to make the choice of paint, a roller brush to apply more consistent strokes, or a dehumidifier to dry the paint faster. 

Sprig Learning is here to help educators every step of the way, whether it is creating a schedule, implementing a schedule, or perfecting a schedule. Get in touch with us to learn more.

The Interactive Map of Holistic Learning in Canada [Updated for 2023-2024 Education Budgets]

Sprig Learning creates holistic early literacy and numeracy programs for preschools, kindergarten and the early elementary grades. Given that holistic early learning is Sprig’s speciality, it’s useful to look at the early learning landscape across the world, but more particularly in North America, and particularly in Canada, where Sprig is based. 

It’s important to create resources that support all those in early childhood education. Holistic learning is not a new concept, but it has re-emerged in recent years to be a major driving force in innovating the early years education system.

This interactive map of Canada will be regularly updated to show how a specific vision, policy, or framework aligns to the principles of holistic learning, in different parts of the country.

Click on your province/territory to understand what efforts are underway to implement holistic education for students in their early years.



42 Key Figures Today in Early Childhood Education in North America

Sprig Learning is indebted to all educators who continuously think about ways to improve the quality of education in preschools, kindergartens and elementary schools. 

It is great motivation for continued innovation in the holistic approach to lifelong learning and creating evidence-based platforms that will improve early academic outcomes. 

Early childhood education (ECE) has come a long way. Many important thinkers have left their imprint on how to educate children. 

This article is being updated to double the number of key early childhood education influencers who are leaving their mark, from 21 key figures to 42 key figures.

These 42 people have made a difference in ECE and continue to do so.

Five themes of influencers can be identified. 

From the last time this article was published, two new categories of influencers have emerged: organization influencers and structured literacy influencers. 

We comment on the five themes and then cover the 42 figures. 

Each personality brings something different to the table. 


The Five Themes of Influencers

5 Themes of Early Childhood Education Influencers


Resource Focus

These influencers fill a specific need in the market for educational materials which offers lots of room for innovation. In almost all of the cases they are educators, using their years of experience in teaching to speak to fellow educators. Educators tend to rely on each other for creative early learning materials and resources, which have stood the test of time and delivered results. 

The influencers tend to support their websites with a strong social media presence, which act as great vehicles to reach more like-minded individuals interested in bettering early learning in classrooms. 


Knowledge Focus

These influencers take a more academic approach to bringing forth new ideas and theories that can be applied to education. In almost all of the cases, they hold a teaching position in universities or colleges, where they do research on early childhood education.

Such influencers publish books or papers to impact early learning. Their social media reach is not comparable to the more traditional active early learning educators who operate businesses, but they do generate good publicity from book releases and presenting at conferences. 


Activism Focus

These influencers are relatively low in number compared to the commercial and knowledge influencers. They dabble in a bit of both where they teach young students currently, but don’t really have websites promoting any products or displaying original research.

But they do hold influence, because they are agents of change. They notice trends in early childhood education and fight for their viewpoints to be heard in the public dialogue about how to best educate early learners. 


Structured Literacy Focus

These influencers can be described as a subcategory of knowledge focused influencers. They too produce new knowledge that can be applied to ECE, but particularly on the topic of evidence-based structured literacy. 

Literacy equity has emerged as a top issue in ECE, thus Sprig is committed to advancing the cause towards achieving literacy for all and promoting those figures who have been the vanguard of the movement. 


Organization Focus

These influencers are leaders of organizations. Both individuals and organizations are powerful when it comes to wielding influence in early learning. While educators, professors and activists can garner a big name by filling a gap that exists for resources, knowledge and change, there are influential organizations that are  led by individuals as well. 

There is another category of influencers, notably those who head current institutions that have made a significant impact on early childhood education in North America.


Key Early Learning Influencers in North America

Key Early Learning Influencers in North America


Resource Focused Influencers


Anya Garcia

Anya is an attorney by training, and the founder of Montessori From the Heart in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She is an author and an educational coach. 

Contribution: She helps educators and parents use the Montessori path to unlock the early learner’s fullest potential. Her work talks about the value of intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation in sparking the learning curiosity of every child.


Caley O’Connor Nunnally

Caley is a speech language pathologist at Aveanna Healthcare in Richmond, Virginia. She is also a part-time therapist providing speech and language services to a local preschool. 

Contribution: She runs Learn With Chatterboxes where she offers tips for play-based learning for enhancing language development. Her work involves educating the parent on how to educate their child, in what is a whole-family approach. 


Deanna Jump

Deanna is a Florida-based, award-winning kindergarten teacher who runs two popular blogs that contain resources and advice for other ECE educators. Namely: Mrs. Jump’s Class and Get Your Teach On.

Contribution: She is an early literacy and reading specialist who was the #1 seller on, a website where educators buy and sell original teaching materials. Her vast archive of learning materials covers creative ideas such as stage play, where items can be set up to explore a thematic lesson. Her resources are also organized into a curriculum making them very easy to use. 


Deborah J. Stewart

Deborah is a preschool teacher and the owner of Teach Preschool Children’s Studio in Noblesville, Indiana. 

Contribution: She connects preschool teachers to resources in her blog Teach Preschool, which is based on the interactions and observations of her students at the Teach Preschool Children’s Studio. She is an advocate of fostering the love of learning in young students by giving them the confidence to try learning for themselves.


Ellen Galinsky

Ellen is an early education consultant, author and the founder and executive director of Mind In the Making.

Contribution: She reviewed more than 2,000 studies and conducted extensive interviews with leading researchers who study children’s development and learning. Her life’s work focuses on identifying critical emerging societal questions, from which she developed a framework of the 7 Essential Life Skills every child needs.


Holly Homer

Holly is an experienced blogger, marketer and speaker from Dallas, Texas. She runs the website and the Facebook page Quirky Momma. 

Contribution: She has many innovative learning resources on her website that cover specific event themes and subjects such as science and history. She recommends activities for children at all stages of their development, from babies to elementary school students and beyond. 


Jackie Currie

Jackie is the owner and founder of Happy Hooligans based out of Ontario, Canada. She writes about her creative daycare ideas that are successful in engaging early learners. 

Contribution: Jackie’s blog is an international resource for kid’s art, craft and play ideas. She is a big believer in creating a strong support network for early childhood carers, who play a very important role just as teachers and parents do. She also runs a Facebook group that provides inspiration and support to ECE professionals. 


Jamie Reimer

Jamie is a blogger and stay at home mom. She runs the website Hands On As We Grow® that teaches parents to do hands-on activities with kids.

Contribution: Activities are sorted by age on Hands On As We Grow® and there is a particular focus on gross and fine-motor skills. Using her experience in teaching her three young boys, she recommends many useful hands-on activities that can be used as learning opportunities. 


Marsha McGuire

Marsha is a kindergarten teacher and author at Differentiated Kindergarten. Differentiated Kindergarten commits to the creation of differentiated classrooms for early learners. 

Contribution: It’s Marsha’s goal to meet the needs of her students through fun and developmentally appropriate activities. She is a big supporter of differentiated instruction for early learners. 


Karen Cox

Karen is the owner at in Albany, Georgia, a blog she founded to share ideas with her fellow PreK educators. 

Contribution: She believes in classroom-tested lessons. Her website has tons of teaching advice for preschool and kindergarten teachers who have a tight budget to pick the right resources. 


Kristin Yann

Kristin is a math-intervention teacher and a literacy coach at Fulton County Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. She runs the blog School and the City where she shares advice with fellow early education educators. 

Contribution: She is a big proponent of personalized learning. There are great choice boards in the School and the City which are her preferred methods of assessments. She has developed such choice boards that allow students to showcase their unique talents. 


Susan Stacey

Susan is an author, educator and early education consultant based in Halifax, Canada. She wrote the very popular books Emergent Curriculum in Early Childhood Settings, and later, Unscripted: Emergent Curriculum in Action.

Contribution: Susan is a proponent of exploring emergency curriculum and inquiry-based practices. She believes that a dynamic curriculum emerges out of collaboration between teachers and students. 


Sheryl Cooper

Sheryl, based out of Portland, Oregon, is an early childhood educator and owner of the website Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds.

Contribution: She lists preschool literacy activities on her website to make learning fun and meaningful for young children. She is a big supporter of play-based learning, which features heavily in her lesson plans for toddlers and preschoolers. 


Knowledge Focused Influencers


Dr. Janet N. Mort

Dr.  Mort is an internationally acclaimed innovative literacy expert, author and former superintendent. Upon retirement, she obtained a PhD in language and literacy and developed her Joyful Literacy Interventions program, which has been successful in improving the reading skills of countless young students and is now available digitally via Sprig Reading.

Contribution: She has facilitated and spoken at educational summits, authored multiple groundbreaking books on literacy interventions, and provided mentorship and professional development to teachers in Canada and internationally.


Dr. John Nimmo

Dr. Nimmo is an associate professor of early childhood education at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. He is an acclaimed scholar and author in this field, having presented his work in several renowned institutions. 

Contribution: His publications include Loris Malaguzzi and the Teachers, Leading Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs and Emergent Curriculum with many distinguished co-authors. He is very passionate about recognizing and mitigating bias in the early years. 


Dr. Marie Battiste

Dr. Battiste is an author and educator, and a member of the Potlotek First Nation in Nova Scotia. She has authored many books such as Decolonizing Education: Nourishing the Learning Spirit and received numerous awards for her work in Indigenous education in Canada.

Contribution: Her lifelong work centers on the revitalization of certain Indigenous languages and promoting postcolonial educational approaches that better reflect the cultural diversity of Canada.


Dr. Miriam Beloglovsky

Dr. Beloglovsky is a professor of early childhood education at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento, California. She is the founder and CEO of Playful Transformation, and co-author of the award-winning Loose Parts Inspiring Play book series.

Contribution: It’s Miriam’s mission to enhance play opportunities for young children and educators. Her work shows how play can be transformational in building a more equitable society.


Dr. Pamela Toulouse

Dr. Toulouse is an education consultant, prolific researcher and former professor of education at Laurentian University, in Sudbury, Ontario. Originally from the Sagamok First Nation, she is an advocate for education equity.

Contribution: She is known for her work on the Indigenous approach to quality learning environments and the role of education in truth and reconciliation in Canada.  She has authored many important papers on inclusive education, assessments, differentiated instruction and Indigenous education in the realm of early learning.


Dr. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff

Dr. Golnikoff is a professor and scientist who leads the Child’s Play, Learning, and Development laboratory at the University of Delaware. Her work at the intersection of education and psychology has garnered many awards from various learning institutions. 

Contribution: She has written papers on language development, the benefits of playful learning, the effects of media on children, and early spatial development. Her primary goal is to raise awareness on the importance of language development for children’s academic, social, and occupational success.  


Activism Focused Influencers


Ann Pelo

Ann is a Seattle-based educator, program consultant, and author whose work focuses on reflective pedagogical practice, ecological teaching and mentoring. 

Contribution: She is the author of several books including the first edition of The Language of Art and co-author of That’s Not Fair: A Teacher’s Guide to Activism with Young Children. She is an advocate of fostering an ecological identity in young learners. 


Tom Hobson

Tom is a preschool teacher, author and blogger in Seattle, Washington, who runs the popular website Teacher Tom’s World. 

Contribution: Tom is a leading proponent of progressive play-based curriculum and supporting public policies that focus on the whole child. He shares his play-based pedagogy through online e-courses.


Structured Literacy Focused Influencers


Dr. Maryanne Wolf

Dr. Wolf is the Director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at UCLA. She is also the author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain”, a seminal work in the field of cognitive neuroscience of reading.

Contribution: She has advocated for systematic, explicit, and evidence-based literacy instruction, particularly for children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. She has emphasized the importance of addressing individual differences in learning.


Dr. David Kilpatrick

Dr. Kilpatrick is the author of “Equipped for Reading Success” and expert in reading assessment and instruction. He has conducted extensive research on reading and dyslexia and is a sought-after speaker on these topics.

Contribution: He has worked on establishing the importance of phonological awareness, phonics, and fluency instruction in his work. He has advocated for a structured literacy approach to reading instruction that is tailored to the needs of individual learners.


Dr. Mark Seidenberg

Dr. Seidenberg is the author of “Language at the Speed of Sight” and an expert in the cognitive science of reading. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and has received numerous awards for his contributions to the field of reading science.

Contribution:He has stressed the need for understanding the cognitive and neural processes underlying reading and language. He has advocated for a structured literacy approach that is grounded in scientific evidence and is appropriate for all learners.


Dr. Susan Neuman

Dr. Neuman is an early literacy expert and Professor of Childhood and Literacy Education at NYU. She has served as a consultant to Sesame Street and has written over 100 articles and authored or co-authored 15 books on early literacy.

Contribution: She has worked to improve literacy outcomes for disadvantaged children and has emphasized the importance of explicit and systematic instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. She has also championed the use of authentic literature to engage children in reading.


Dr. Linda Siegel 

Dr. Siegel is the author of “Understanding Dyslexia and Other Learning Disabilities” and an expert in reading and language disabilities. She has received numerous awards for her research on reading and language disabilities and has served as an expert witness in legal cases involving dyslexia.

Contribution: She has conducted extensive research on dyslexia and reading disabilities and has emphasized the need for structured literacy instruction that addresses the specific needs of struggling readers. She has also advocated for early identification and intervention.


Dr. Sally Shaywitz

Dr. Shaywitz is a co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity and author of “Overcoming Dyslexia”. She is a neurologist and has conducted extensive research on the neural basis of reading, which has led to significant advances in understanding and treating dyslexia.

Contribution: She has been a leading advocate for early identification and evidence-based intervention for children with dyslexia, and has emphasized the importance of structured literacy instruction that is tailored to the needs of individual learners. She has also supported the building of self-esteem and motivation in the quest towards literacy. 


Dr. Reid Lyon

Dr. Reid Lyon is the former Chief of the Child Development and Behavior Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and expert in reading development and disabilities. He has served as an advisor to multiple U.S. Presidents and has played a key role in shaping national policies on reading instruction and research.

Contribution: He has conducted extensive research on reading development and disabilities, and has been a strong advocate for evidence-based literacy instruction that is tailored to the needs of individual learners. He has also stressed the importance of building oral language skills.


Dr. Susan Hall

Dr. Hall is the Co-founder of the 95 Percent Group Inc. and expert in literacy instruction. She has developed numerous evidence-based literacy programs and materials that are widely used in schools across the country.

Contribution: She has developed evidence-based instructional materials and strategies for teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and comprehension, and has been a strong advocate for structured literacy instruction. She has also spoken on the importance of addressing students’ emotional needs.


Dr. Timothy Shanahan

Dr. Shanahan is the Former Director of Reading for the Chicago Public Schools and expert in literacy instruction and policy. He has written over 200 publications on literacy instruction and policy, and is a recipient of the William S. Gray Citation of Merit from the International Literacy Association.

Contribution: He has put a spotlight on the importance of evidence-based instruction and has advocated for a balanced approach to literacy instruction that includes phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency. He has also worked to bridge the gap between research and practice.


Dr. Elfrieda Hiebert 

Dr. Hiebert is the Founder of TextProject Inc. and expert in vocabulary and reading comprehension. She has developed several widely-used measures of reading ability and is a leading expert on the role of vocabulary in reading comprehension.

Contribution: She has developed research-based instructional materials and strategies for vocabulary and comprehension instruction, and has emphasized the importance of a structured literacy approach to reading instruction that is appropriate for all learners. She has also advocated for building background knowledge.


Organization Focused Influencers


Ron Spreeuwenberg

An engineer by trade, Ron is the founder of HiMama in Toronto, Ontario. HiMama is a childcare app that helps childcare programs and parents share and record important childcare activities.

Contribution: He loves designing and creating new businesses that have a positive social impact. He also hosts The Preschool Podcast, where he interviews early childhood education experts to bring more light to the industry. 


Brenda Potter

Brenda is the Director of the Center of Early Learning Professionals at Warwick, Rhode Island. The Center is operated by Education Development Center (EDC), a global nonprofit organization. EDC is known for supporting the work of early childhood professionals in the US.

Contribution: Brenda is an expert on early education and childhood development. She and her team have supported thousands of administrators and educators to create preK-Grade 3 systems and improve early science, mathematics, and literacy learning. 


Diana Rauner

Dr. Rauner is the president of Start Early, a public-private partnership for the advancement of quality early learning and care for families with children in their early formative years. It is the parent organization of the First Five Years Fund, an advocacy group that aims to be a harbinger of equity in education for all children from birth through age five.

Contribution: Dr. Rauner leads efforts to develop center-based and home-based programs and services for children and families, provide professional development tools to scale best practices within the field, and innovate new solutions for continuous quality improvement.


Don Giesbrecht

Don is the CEO of the Canadian Child Care Federation (CCCF), which is a community of professionals and practitioners in early learning advocating for affordable, accessible, high-quality child care and education for all Canadian children. 

Contribution: Don is motivated by the need for advocacy for the importance of quality early learning and child care (ELCC) to Canada’s federal government. He is a big believer in influencing positive systemic change. The CCCF develops models, standards and guidelines for quality ELCC, professional development and organizational design.


Judy Braus

Judy is the executive director at the Natural Start Alliance, which promotes hands-on experiences in early education that connects young learners with nature and the local environment. 

Contribution: Judy has led Natural Start Alliance’s efforts in building a foundation for lifelong environmental literacy. She has been a strong advocate of using school grounds for outdoor classroom spaces during the pandemic. She has always promoted the expertise of environmental educators in teaching young students.


Linda Darling-Hammond

Dr. Darling-Hammond is the president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and the Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education Emeritus at Stanford University. The Learning Policy Institute conducts high quality independent research seeking to improve education policy and practice.

Contribution: Her work focuses on achieving equitable and empowering education for all children through a focus on meaningful learning, educator quality, and sufficient resources. On early childhood education, the Learning Policy Institute recommends actions to ensure that all children have access to the early learning experiences they need to succeed.


Mike DeGagne

Mike is the president and CEO of Indspire, Canada’s largest Indigenous charity, supporting Indigenous students, education, and excellence.

Contribution: Mike’s lifelong work is in Indigenous health and education. His objective is to ensure that every Indigenous student graduates school within a generation. He uses his federal program management experience to spearhead Indispire’s mission to educate, connect, and invest in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students so they will achieve their highest potential.


Rebecca Moskowitz

Rebecca is the Executive Director of Advancement of Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA). The principles of Waldorf education address the needs of the growing child, what can be best described as holistic learning

Contribution: Rebecca represents Waldorf education to the broader community. An educator herself for over two decades, she has great insights regarding diversity and inclusion. Waldorf students cultivate their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual capacities to be of service to the world. 


Rhian Evans Allvin

Rhian is the CEO of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). NAEYC promotes high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age eight, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. 

Contribution: Under Rhian’s leadership, NAEYC has streamlined the early childhood program accreditation system and developed a unifying framework to create an aligned professional field of practice for early childhood educators. She will leave a strong legacy behind, as she announced her planned departure earlier this year. 


Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson

Dr. Wilson is president & CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), which has a mission of ensuring every child a healthy, safe, and fair start to life as they transition to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. 

Contribution: Dr. Wilson brings his progressive experience and transformational leadership in social sector missions for uplifting the community to the CDF. The CDF works to ensure the rights of all children, so they receive the proper education they need and are not neglected by the system. 


Yasmina Vinci

Yasmina is the executive director of the National Head Start Association(NHSA). NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 275,000 staff members, and 1,600 grant recipients in the US. Its mission is to ensure that every child has access to high-quality early education despite their situation. 

Contribution: Yasmina has a great deal of experience in both executive and policy roles and has impacted early childhood education at the national, state and local levels as a consultant and an advisor. She has defended the values of the Head Start program and early education in general, on multiple interviews such as this one. 

Steven Barnett

Dr. Barnett is the founder and co-director of the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. The NIEER provides nonpartisan independent research-based analysis and technical assistance to inform and support policy on high-quality education for early learners.

Contribution: NIEER encourages policies and practices promoting the physical, cognitive and social-emotional development of children. Apart from leading NIEER, Dr. Barnett has authored over 200 publications on topics such as the economics of early care and education and the long-term effects of preschool programs on children’s learning and development.


Key Learnings & Continuation of Series

Key Learnings and Continuation of Series

Studying the teaching expertise, philosophies and research areas of active early learning educators, professors and scientists alike, there are some recurring subjects.

  • Play-based learning.
  • Activity-based learning.
  • Learning that is focused on the community.
  • Learning that is focused on scholarly evidence.
  • Supporting educators with resources that help instill skills and concepts.


Sprig’s holistic approach supports evidence-based learning practices that can be done in the classroom, in one’s home and in the greater community. To learn more about the type of resources that are available for such holistic programs, visit our Sprig Store.

The research from these leading early learning key figures and organizations point to the need for inclusive education that focuses not only on academic development, but other types of development as well, such as physical, emotional, and even spiritual. 

It further supports attaining such growth by focusing more on teaching the basic aspects of core subjects, that is, creating a solid foundation. 

This series on key figures of early childhood education is by no means exhaustive. There are many other key individuals Sprig hopes to capture in a future update, or by publishing a part two of the blog. 

Stay tuned and thank you for your interest in improving high-quality early childhood education.