Programs that Support Early Learning

ED Programs

ED has a history of funding early learning programs. Some of the current investments include:

  • Preschool Development Grants Supports States to (1) build or enhance a preschool program infrastructure that would enable the delivery of high-quality preschool services to children, and (2) expand high-quality preschool programs in targeted communities that would serve as models for expanding preschool to all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.
  • Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge Supports states' efforts to create comprehensive plans to build coordinated early learning and development systems and improve programs so that more children, especially those with high needs, will enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
  • IDEA Part C State Grants for Infants and Toddlers Ensures that appropriate early intervention services are made available to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
  • IDEA Part B Preschool State Grants Provides special education and related services for children with disabilities ages 3 through 5.
  • IDEA Part B State Grants Provides special education and related services for children with disabilities ages 3 through 21.
  • The Title I Program Supports school and community-based preschool and K-3rd grade programs.
  • Promise Neighborhoods Supports planning grants for communities to build on the work of the Harlem Children's Zone.
  • Investing in Innovation (i3) Supports improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices.
  • Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program Develops and supports a comprehensive literacy initiative from birth through grade 12.
  • Ready to Learn Television Supports the development of educational programming and materials to increase school readiness for young children.
  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers Supports community learning centers to provide academic enrichment opportunities during non-school hours for young children, particularly students who attend high-poverty and low-performing schools.
  • Demonstration Grants for Indian Children Supports school readiness projects for three- and four-year-old Indian children.
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program Supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education through the provision of campus-based child care services.

Partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

ED is committed to working closely with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help States create coherent systems of early learning from birth through 3rd grade. The two agencies have been working together on a number of initiatives:

  • Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Program Jointly administered by the two Departments, this program will set a high bar and reward States with the strongest plans to improve the quality of early learning and development programs.
  • Interagency Policy Board (IPB) on Early Learning The IPB's mission is to improve the quality of early learning programs and outcomes for young children; increase the coordination of research, technical assistance and data systems; and advance the effectiveness of the early learning workforce among the major federally funded early learning programs across the two Departments.
  • Administration for Children and Families
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