Clayton Early Learning

Clayton Early Learning improves early childhood education through direct services to children and professionals and through research and advocacy so that all children - especially those with limited opportunities - are prepared for success in school and society.

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Preparing young children for success in school.




Infants/Babies (under age 5)
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
At-Risk Populations


Clayton Early Learning is an innovation hub that creates thriving, equitable communities by developing a whole child, whole family approach to the early years, discovering what works, and advancing systems change.Our vision is that every child, with the support of family and community, meets comprehensive child development goals and is positioned to thrive in school and life. With new leadership, key community partners and thoughtful investments, Clayton will be positioned to play a significant leadership role in shaping the future of early childhood development in Colorado and beyond.

We are unique among other early childhood care and education organizations because Clayton Early Learning harnesses the synergy of its dynamic initiatives of Practice, Research, Training and Advocacy to spark improved educational approaches statewide in collaboration with other public and private entities in order to best prepare all children for success in school and life.

We are putting our work into practice. Neuroscientific evidence proves that learning begins very early for a child. In fact, children are born eager and wired to learn. Fulfilling that potential relies heavily on the environments a child encounters and the relationships formed during those pivotal first five years. Recognizing this profound impact, Clayton Early Learning has created a rich learning environment staffed by nurturing professionals to help children grow in linguistic, conceptual, social, emotional and physical skills.

At the Educare Denver School on the historic Clayton Campus, children ages birth-to-five can safely grow, learn, and reach their full potential. We provide a state-of-the-art learning environment so our students, most of whom come from families coping with poverty and related issues, start at kindergarten prepared for academic success. Our practices in the classroom and with families are research-based and outcome-focused to close the achievement gap for the nearly 600 children we serve annually.

Our research is a powerful tool that helps us identify and evaluate the most effective practices for preparing young children for later academic success. In addition to conducting research and evaluation on our own programs, we evaluate other early childhood education programs, and help educators use data to improve program quality and guide their work with children. Clayton Early Learning also serves as a statewide resource to ensure that validated measures of early childhood education environments are used in a scientifically appropriate way.

Colorado's early childhood education community turns to Clayton Early Learning to learn about effective and innovative practices for teaching young children. Our Training Center is a busy hub of training classes, professional and leadership development, and teacher coaching. We are actively raising the bar in creating highly trained early childhood education professionals. At the same time, we gain a better understanding of the links between program quality and teacher preparation, and promote systemic change that improves outcomes for children and families statewide.

In addition to research, training and practice in early childhood education, Clayton Early Learning is a powerful influence in policy and advocacy for children and families in Colorado. By integrating the knowledge and experience we gain through research, practice and professional development, we serve as subject matter experts who help inform policy decisions. We help raise awareness of just how important every child's first five years of life are to their healthy development and long-term prosperity.


Evidence of Program's Success

• The Clayton Educare School is NAEYC accredited & 4-star Colorado Shines rated
• Served on the Kindergarten NOW Coalition that helped pass legislation to fund full-day kindergarten in Colorado beginning in the fall of 2019.
• Successfully advocated in support of the Income Tax Credit for Early Childhood Educators, HB19-1005, which passed in 2019.
• Received a Red Nose Day grant through the Educare Learning Network to strengthen programs for family engagement, support Clayton's Seed to Stomach health and nutrition programs, and engage more fathers in the Fathers Building Futures Committee. The grant is also helping to fund COVID-19 relief efforts at Clayton.
Clayton's EMBRACE program, mindfulness training developed to help early childhood educators reduce stress, expanded to three additional Educare Network (2019).
• The Quality Assessment Services department was established at Clayton to manage assessment contracts for Colorado Shines and the Denver Preschool Program. These contracts further expand Clayton's statewide assessment work, along with expanded professional development, and provide opportunities to continue to demonstrate our strength and leadership in early childhood education (2018).
• 83% of kindergarten-bound Clayton students met or exceeded widely held standards for school readiness across all areas of development and learning (2018).
• Clayton was awarded a Social Innovation Fund grant from Mile High United Way to enhance quality of early learning settings and provide interventions for early literacy in high need neighborhoods (2012-2015).
• The HIPPY home visitation program completed revision of national HIPPY USA curriculum (2012) and achieved accreditation in its inaugural year (2014).
• Hosted a town hall event with the U.S. Secretary of Education, state leaders and 200 stakeholders to discuss the President's Early Learning Proposal (2013).

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