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


The proving ground for all things early childhood, Clayton Early Learning is Colorado's leading catalyst in providing and improving early care and education to ensure optimal development during the critical prenatal-to-5 period for all children, especially those from backgrounds with limited opportunities. 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 he or she 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-5 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, arrive 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 more than 200 children we serve annually. In partnership with elementary schools, we strive to create and align effective educational practices from birth through third grade to make sure children continue to succeed.

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 can promote systemic change that will improve outcomes for children and families statewide.


Evidence of Program's Success

• Designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a "Center of Excellence" positioning Clayton as a best-practices resource (2010).
• The Clayton Educare School is NAEYC accredited and 4-star Qualistar rated. The School in Far Northeast Denver earned a 3-star rating in its initial Qualistar review and is pursuing NAEYC accreditation (2014).
• The HIPPY home visitation program achieved accreditation in its inaugural year (2014).
• Clayton Early Learning's most recent federal on-site monitoring reviews found the program in full compliance with all Head Start performance standards (2015).
• Serves as the sole coaching provider/ evaluator for the Denver Preschool Program and participant in the Pre-K CLASS Assessment project.
• Completed revision of national HIPPY USA curriculum (2012).
• Led the project through which 88% of Colorado's community college Early Childhood departments earned NAEYC accreditation (2008-12).
• Awarded grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to enhance quality of early learning settings and provide interventions for early literacy in high need neighborhoods (2012).
• Hosted a town hall event with the US Secretary of Education, state leaders, and 100 stakeholders to discuss the President's Early Learning Proposal (2013).
• In partnership with UCD and Red Rocks and Arapahoe community colleges, we are piloting a teacher preparation initiative to increase the knowledge transfer for college coursework to early childhood classroom practice.

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