The Research Behind AEII

AEII focuses on three key ingredients — curricula, teacher-child interactions, and instruction — that research shows are critical in promoting high-quality early learning experiences.

Teacher and toddler boy playing with vintage blue phone at preschool

What Matters Most

High-quality birth-to-five education experiences have been shown to impact a range of future life successes, from an individual’s health and happiness to their future employment opportunities. But it’s not just about individual success. Economic research makes it clear that investments in early childhood education pay off for everyone. In the long term, we see better outcomes in education, health, economic productivity, and safer communities.

AEII focuses on three key ingredients — curricula, teacher-child interactions, and instruction— that research has shown are critical in promoting high-quality early learning experiences: Teacher-child interactions, curricula, and instruction. Through a collaborative approach, AEII supports school leadership to assess how each of these ingredients is working and identify the types of professional development and resources that are needed to best equip teachers in supporting school readiness.

A conceptual model that highlights how teacher professional development can support better curriculum, teacher-child interactions, and instruction, leading to school readiness for young children.
This model highlights how targeted teacher professional development can support curricula implementation, teacher-child interactions, and instruction – supporting children’s learning and school readiness.
A teacher looking on as a girl feels good about putting together a puzzle.

Three Key Ingredients

Teacher-Child Interactions

Teacher-child interactions that are effective, engaging, and supportive serve as the foundation for learning in early childhood. Children who experience high-quality teacher-child interactions show higher levels of social-emotional and academic development.

Evidence-Based Curricula

Using effective, evidence-based curricula helps ensure that children are afforded the opportunities, activities, and interactions within the classroom that support their learning in a developmentally appropriate way.

High-Quality Instruction

High-quality instructional practices focused on key content areas, such as early literacy, mathematics, and social-emotional learning, help children develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. And, they are important for ensuring children are kindergarten ready.

A Focus on Professional Development

AEII works with education leadership to identify professional development needs, so teachers have the training and resources they need to thrive.

There is no shortage of evidence that high-quality, targeted professional development experiences for teachers can improve classroom interactions, including the ways that teachers encourage children’s thinking, provide feedback, and develop children’s growing language skills.

But, it’s not just about children’s experiences. We know that when teachers have the resources, knowledge, and training they need, they’re more likely to excel at their work, feel connected to their students, and be motivated to stay in the field. See how AEII works to help schools provide teachers with the training and resources they need to thrive!

When we make an investment in Virginia’s early childhood classrooms – in our teachers, our children, and our curriculum – everyone benefits.