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Early Childhood Development

Valhalla’s goal is to dramatically improve kindergarten readiness in the U.S., so that all children—and particularly low-income children and children of color—get off to a strong start in learning and life.

Too many of our nation’s children, and particularly low-income children and children of color, start kindergarten behind where they need to be to learn and thrive. A study by the Brookings Institute concluded than only half (48%) of low-income children are ready for school at age five, compared to 75% of children from families with moderate and high income, a 27-percentage-point gap.


of low-income children are ready for school at age five


compared to 75% of children from families with moderate and high income

Valhalla Foundation funds proven solutions, research, and field-building efforts that aim to close these gaps and help all children enter kindergarten ready to learn.


We fund solutions that meaningfully improve outcomes that matter for kindergarten readiness, proven in rigorous studies with a control group, and that are scalable such that they can grow to impact hundreds of thousands of children in need with credible sources of sustainable revenue. See our grantee spotlights on Waterford Upstart, Centering Healthcare Institute, and Family Connects for examples.


We fund research efforts that increase knowledge of what works to improve kindergarten readiness – so that practitioners and policy-makers can adopt those solutions. Examples include the CAPER Study at the University of Chicago’s Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab and Baby’s First Years.

Field-building efforts

We fund field-building efforts that develop tools and resources needed to remove barriers and to build the field’s capacity to improve kindergarten readiness. Examples include Promise Venture Studio, the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and the IMPACT Measures Tool at the University of Oregon.

"The early childhood investments we make today in disadvantaged young children promote social mobility, create opportunity, and foster a vibrant, healthy, and inclusive society and economy."

James J. Heckman, Nobel Laureate in Economics

Grantee Spotlights

Waterford Upstart

Helping all children develop the foundational literacy and math skills they need to be ready for kindergarten.

Centering Healthcare Institute

Improving parenting behaviors and child outcomes through its group-based approach to prenatal and pediatric care.

Family Connects

Strengthening health outcomes and community connections for newborns and their families through postpartum nurse home visits.

Our Early Childhood Development Portfolio

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