Foundations for learning

Our aim is to improve understanding about language, learning and development in early childhood (from birth to around eight years of age).

Children begin their schooling with wide variations in cognitive abilities, social skills, emotional resources, and readiness to learn. These variations contribute to the large gaps that open up in educational and other outcomes between different groups of children.

As many as one in ten children have some level of persistent special needs in speech, language and communication. Over the past decade, we have supported a range of research projects on these specific speech and language delays and disorders.

Several of these projects focus on impairments and interventions. Others focus on the specific needs of a group of children, for example deaf children and their education

We have been broadening our work on early years education and development. You can see our priorities for funding in this area in the apply for funding section.

Recent projects in this area include a longitudinal study to examine the relationship between the use of mobile phone slang and grammatical development, a review of the international evidence on parental involvement interventions, and a study of the impact of month of birth on child development.

See also

Foundations for learning

Children and Families 

See how we support young children though our Children and Families programme