The Foundation of Our Work

A Century of Improving Child Outcomes

A major proving ground for all things early childhood, Clayton Early Learning is Colorado's leading catalyst in providing and collaborating with others to improve early care and education to ensure optimal development during the critical prenatal-to-5 period for all children, especially those of limited opportunity.  Our unique approach has proved successful in closing achievement gaps for disadvantaged children so they are poised for success in school and life. We harness the synergy of our three dynamic initiatives—family-centered classroom and home-based practices through our school, research and program evaluation, and professional development of teachers and leaders—to discover the best ways to teach and prepare young children for school. Today, as the need for significant education reform on a national scale becomes ever more urgent, Clayton Early Learning continues to prove why a stimulating learning environment during the prenatal–to–5 period is so critical to a child’s later success in school and life.


Clayton Early Learning provides national leadership to advance the field of early childhood education by researching, implementing and disseminating innovative teaching models.  We promote educational equity for young children through family engagement, teacher preparation, and effective early education policy.


We envision a world where all children are prepared for success in school through highly effective early childhood education.


Accountability - We are responsible to children and families for meaningful outcomes.

Collaboration We leverage partnerships to achieve shared vision and goals.

Diversity We celebrate all strengths through inclusive practices and responsive approaches.

Excellence - We achieve the highest standard in everything we do.

Family-Centered - We honor all families as essential partners in education.

Growth - We improve and expand our work as we learn.

Innovation We invent and pilot strategies that promote effective early learning.

Integrity We live our values through our practice.

Stewardship - We ethically manage our resources to best meet our mission.  



RIGHTS - We believe a just culture ensures equal rights for all children and recognizes them as
unique individuals with unlimited potential.

UNIVERSAL ACCESS - We believe all children should have equitable access to affordable,
quality early childhood experiences that start them on a path of success in school and

INVESTMENT - We believe that supporting early learning and development is not only an
investment in children but also an investment in society.

FUNDING - We believe that optimal development is possible for every child when policymakers
at the local, state and federal-level, philanthropic organizations, and advocates work
together to fund a seamlessly integrated system of early childhood supports and services.

POLICY - We believe that early childhood policy, informed by current research and the
knowledge and experience of practitioners and families, should enable the development and
delivery of accessible, high-quality, comprehensive early childhood experiences for all

SYSTEMS - We believe an effective system of education must be a seamless and
comprehensive prenatal through adult continuum that is funded appropriately to support
quality education for each developmental group.

PROFESSIONALISM - We believe that the profession of teaching and caring for young children
is worthy of honor as demonstrated by a well-compensated, educated and respected
workforce capable of creating joyful and enriching early learning experiences.

RESEARCH & EVIDENCE - We believe that evidence-based learning is composed of the wisdom
of practice in partnership with the science of research that provides guidance to a child, a
family or a professional to maximize their potential.

PARENT & FAMILY PARTNERSHIP - We believe that all learning occurs within the context of
the historical, cultural and linguistic traditions of families and that their informed voices are
critical in their children’s education.

SCHOOL READINESS - We believe the foundation of school readiness includes both a desire to
learn and social/emotional competency.