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Cradle to Kindergarten (C2K)

Cradle to Kindergarten Second Edition

Available Beginning March 10th!

To celebrate the release of the Cradle to Kindergarten Second Edition, our authors will be hosting a series of virtual events to discuss their updated plan to invest in early-childhood education.

Cradle to Kindergarten (C2K) is a team of co-authors - Ajay Chaudry, Taryn Morrissey, Christina Weiland, and Hirokazu Yoshikawa - and research associates. Each of us have decades of experience as research experts and policy professionals working on early childhood care and education. 

The Russell Sage Foundation published Cradle to Kindergarten: A new plan to combat inequality in 2017. With the book, our intention is to help shape the policy and research agenda in this critically important area of underinvestment and support federal, state, and local policy efforts to move toward providing early childhood services to children and families to meet long unmet needs. This book provides a synthesis and analysis of the evidence on the wide gaps in access and quality in early care and education and how these gaps contribute to the large and growing disparities in school readiness and education outcomes. Most of the book is devoted to laying out a detailed, evidence-based, comprehensive and coordinated set of early care and education proposals in four key programs and policies: paid leave; affordable, high-quality child care and education; universal preschool beginning at age three; and a new vision for Head Start. We describe how needed programs can be built to scale to meet the needs of all young children by redesigning, improving and aligning the existing, but underdeveloped and fragmented, systems of services. We also offer estimates of the public investments required for the key policy proposals and of how many young children and families will be served.

Following the publication of the book, the Cradle to Kindergarten authorship team made over 75 presentations to federal, state, and local governments, academic, policy research and advocacy professionals, philanthropies, and professional conferences between 2017 and 2019.

The C2K team has continued to update its analysis and develop cradle-to-kindergarten policy plans, working closely with a range of leaders including from government officials, philanthropies, leading advocacy organizations, and research and policy experts in a handful of states and cities. The project aims for these efforts has been to help shape and define a vision and shared consensus for a policy agenda to expand services and better serve children from prenatal-to-five within the localities' priorities and contexts. All of the cradle-to-kindergarten plans include cost estimates and sequencing strategies for all components of the plan as well as across components. The author team and associates have worked or currently work with Colorado, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington State, on the core policy areas of paid family leave, child care subsidies for working families, universal preschool, state-financed Head Start program services, and a range of birth-to-three supports for at-risk children. The Cradle to Kindergarten team and NYU Global TIES for Children have also worked with UNICEF El Salvador to develop national proposals for early care and education investment for the country.

Who We Are

Learn more about the Cradle to Kindergarten (C2K) team of policy professionals and research experts.

Focus Areas

Our work focuses on three main areas of early childhood care and education. For all areas, we assess the current landscape of services in a city or state and, based on a robust body of research evidence on high-quality early childhood programs, identify the services and estimate the additional investments that are needed to expand and knit together a comprehensive infrastructure to serve children birth through age five.


Read a complete list of the current C2K projects in a variety of states and countries.

Media & Presentations

Watch presentations given by the Cradle to Kindergarten researchers and policy professionals.

Learn More About Cradle to Kindergarten

If you are interested in the Cradle to Kindergarten project, please reach out to our team.

Send Us an Email C2K Book