Early Learning

Learning begins in the womb. And, from the moment they are born, children begin interacting with the world around them and building critical skills. What they learn in their first few years of life—and how they learn it—can have long-lasting effects on their health and on their later success in school and in work.

Early learning refers to the skills and concepts that children develop before they reach kindergarten. It is a crucial part of development and can set patterns for both school and adult learning.

By studying early learning, researchers can figure out the best ways for parents and caregivers to encourage children to develop these skills and concepts and to put children on a path to becoming lifetime learners.

NICHD early learning research studies:

  • Early social relationships with family, caretakers, teachers, and peers
  • How children’s environment, including exposure to stress and media, promotes or inhibits learning
  • Ways to improve learning
  • School readiness—effective ways to get children ready to participate and learn in a school classroom environment
  • Long-term impact of early intervention programs
  • How professional development of caretakers impacts learning