The Preschool Research and Technical Assistance Project, supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation from 2007-2012, provided the foundation for much of AIR’s work offering research-based technical assistance to state and local entities on how to phase in access to high-quality preschool to all children in California, beginning in the neighborhoods with the greatest unmet need. The project has helped state and local planners as well as grant applicants determine priority areas for preschool expansion as new resources become available.
Signature contributions include a repository of practical tools, resources, and methodologies intended to assist policymakers and state, county, and city planners with designing, implementing, and evaluating preschool and other school readiness programs.
One such resource is the Early Learning Needs Assessment Tool (ELNAT), for which AIR has compiled early care and education data at the zip code and county level. Each county needs assessment includes population factors that impact the need for early care and education as well as on the licensed supply and enrollment in publicly supported programs (e.g., State Preschool, Head Start, General Child Care, Early Head Start, Transitional Kindergarten, etc.).
Packard Foundation support also made possible several policy briefs, such as Preschool Supply and Demand in the State of California: An Assessment of Preschool Enrollment in Publicly Contracted and Privately Operated Preschool Programs and First 5 Power of Preschool: Lessons from an Experiment in Tiered Reimbursement.