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PEDAL and EIF to study early childhood education

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13 March 2020

New collaboration between PEDAL and EIF to study early childhood education

PEDAL, the Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development and Learning at the University of Cambridge, and the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) are delighted to announce a new joint project, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, entitled “Common Elements: An innovative approach to improving children’s outcomes in early childhood education”.

This 2 year project, led by Drs Aleisha Clarke (EIF) and Sara Baker (PEDAL), will seek to support the development of children’s skills and capabilities by strengthening the quality of early childhood education in the UK. A multidisciplinary team of experts from the Early Intervention Foundation and PEDAL will use a systematic approach to identify the common elements of the most effective programmes that enhance children’s cognitive and social-emotional development. The team will use this data to develop a guide, in collaboration with early years practitioners, on everyday practices, routines, strategies and behaviours that can support children’s skill development.

Early childhood education has long been recognised as a way to support children’s development and narrow the gap in educational attainment between children from different backgrounds. Despite decades of empirical research on the effectiveness of early childhood education, little work has been carried out on the most commonly used practices across evidence-based programmes.

This ground-breaking approach will identify these practices and has the potential to produce meaningful change in practitioners’ skills, knowledge and interaction with children. It will enable educators to use a set of low-burden practices that directly address children’s cognitive and social-emotional skills, contributing to children’s school readiness and in the longer term, social and academic development.
The outputs from the project will serve as the foundation for further research on the impact of the practitioner guide and the common elements and the support needed to ensure their integration into practice in a sustained manner.

About Early Intervention Foundation

The Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) is an independent charity established in 2013 to champion and support the use of effective early intervention to improve the lives of children and young people at risk of experiencing poor outcomes.

As a member of the government’s What Works Network, EIF has a pivotal role as the go-to source for evidence and advice on effective early intervention for children and young people.

Find out more about EIF here:

To learn more about the project, contact: or

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