Early Learning & Development Research

Marsico Institute partners with educational agencies and institutes on a local and national level. We develop, implement, and evaluate initiatives to study children's development in diverse contexts, enhancing early learning opportunities for children.

  • STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center (STEMI2E2) [In Progress]

    The Marsico Institute is part of the national STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMI2E2) Center in partnership with the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Center is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, US Department of Education. The work of the Center is focused on developing and enhancing the knowledge base for engagement in STEM learning opportunities for young children with disabilities, implementing high-quality technical assistance and professional development to increase engagement for young children with disabilities in STEM opportunities, and engaging partners and stakeholders from diverse disciplines and industry in work to increase the inclusion of young children with disabilities in early high-quality STEM learning experiences. Learn more on their website linked here.

  • Early Childhood Framework [Completed]

    The Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC) led the project to update the Early Childhood Colorado Framework with the help of the Framework Steering Committee. The ECLC was committed to engaging stakeholders with cross domain experience and expertise to ensure the second iteration of the Framework remained a resource and guide for communities and partners across the state. This public-private partnership reflects the ECLC's dedication to advance all components of the Framework: early learning; family support and parent education; and social, emotional, physical, and mental health.

    The Marsico Institute of Early Learning led the research and stakeholder survey component of the project. Marsico worked collaboratively with Early Milestones Colorado and Civic Canopy on all aspects of the project. For more information visit the Colorado Office of Early Childhood.

  • Evaluation of the Northeast Denver Babies Ready for College (BRFC) Program [Completed]

    Mile High Early Learning's Babies Ready for College (BRFC) program was created out of the need to encourage children’s academic success by equipping parents and family, friend, and neighborhood caregivers with the knowledge and expertise to prepare their children academically and socially before they enter preschool. BRFC's goal is to begin planting the seed of expectation for higher education in families living in chronically under-resourced communities, which improves children's long-term educational outcomes through parent and caregiver education and the development of civic leadership among parents and caregivers. The Marsico Institute for Early Learning was commissioned by and partnered with Mile High Early Learning for over three years to conduct annual evaluations of the BRFC Program.

  • Jefferson Prosperity Project (JPP) [Completed]

    Marsico was commissioned to evaluate the Jefferson Prosperity Project (JPP),a major collaboration between local education, business, non-profit, and governmental agencies that seek to tackle poverty in the greater Denver area. Since 2010, the JPP has been changing the way human services and education services are provided to low-income families through their innovative, implementation-ready program that aims to see tangible improvements. Marsico collected data to evaluate the project and provide strategic feedback to maximize the JPP’s positive impact on the local community.

  • Lyrics to Learn (L2L) [Completed]

    Lyrics2learn is a reading supplement that sets reading text to rhythm and music. In 15 minutes, three times a week, L2L addresses over 85% of the Common Core Reading Standards by blending much of the history, science, and writing standards into lessons. 50% of the content is fictional literature, using relatable, real world examples of building character traits such as responsibility, determination, empathy, and perspective. L2L also mirrors and simulates test-taking vocabulary, concepts, strategies and expectations of the Colorado State PARCC exam, preparing students for the rigor and demands of the state’s most significant accountability measurement. Marsico Institute helped L2L evaluate its efficacy in a large school district in Colorado. Final Report Executive Summary


  • National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL) [Completed]

    The Marsico Institute was one of six partners forming the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning (NCECDTL). The Center was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, and Office of Child Care. This five-year grant was aimed at impacting the training and technical assistance needs of Head Start and child care programs and systems across the country. The goal of the NCECDTL was to identify, develop, and promote the implementation of evidence-based practices that are culturally and linguistically responsive and lead to positive child outcomes across birth to five early childhood programs, and to support strong professional development systems. The Marsico Institute team contributed expertise in many areas, including mathematics, social-emotional development, early writing, play, coaching, and other areas.

  • North Dakota Early Care and Education Study [Completed]

    North Dakota’s legislature passed Senate Bill 2229 which required the state to study the development, delivery, and administration of comprehensive early childhood care and early childhood education. The study included: (1) an examination of the availability, quality, and cost of service offered by existing public and private sector providers; (2) a determination of the projected need for services during the coming ten to twenty years; and (3) evaluate the ability of public and private sector providers to address the expansion of facilities or the creation of additional facilities. The Marsico Institute for Early Learning supported the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) in conducting this state-mandated study on the development, delivery, and administration of Comprehensive Early Childhood Care and Early Childhood Education in North Dakota. The Marsico Institute worked closely with the State Advisory Committee to provide insight on early childhood needs; obtain required data; review, analyze and synthesize data; and prepare a report for the legislature’s review.

    Click here to view the full study report.

    Read the North Dakota Early Care and Education Framework

    Read the North Dakota Works for Children and Families report

  • Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central [Completed]

    The Marsico Institute serves as a partner on the Regional Education Laboratory (REL) Central, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences and serves the United States through ten designated regions. The REL Central serves seven states: Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. To address the priorities and interests of these states, REL Central works in partnership with school districts, state departments of education, and others to use data and research to improve academic outcomes for students and to bridge the worlds of education research and education practice. REL Central offers various supports including applied research studies and studies in progress that address partnerships' research questions; training, coaching, and technical support; workshops and coaching that support the use of data and research; and "Ask A REL" annotated bibliographies produced in response to stakeholder research questions. The Marsico Institute provided expertise and created resources in the area of early math education and self-regulation.