Early Childhood Education

Research shows that children who begin kindergarten at the lowest academic and social skill levels are at a high risk of future poor academic performance and negative experiences later in life. The transition to kindergarten similarly plays an important role in children’s likelihood to succeed in school. At Education Northwest, we partner with stakeholders to align preschool and the early elementary experience, improve program and instruction, and answer critical questions through evaluation, applied research and professional development.



Evaluation is essential to help early childhood education programs identify promising practices and improve programs and services. We partner with our clients to ensure that program evaluations meet the needs of all stakeholders and contribute to improving programs' everyday decision-making and ongoing practice.


We partner with clients to ensure a well-rounded approach to professional development through coaching and consultation on topics ranging from prekindergarten to early elementary school alignment. Our expert staff covers areas that include strategic planning, data systems development, logic modeling, protocol development, evaluation planning and data messaging.

Applied Research

Through research-practice partnerships and other approaches, our researchers help early childhood education programs answer important questions that can inform improvement efforts. Findings from our applied research have an impact on national early learning practice and policy via publications, conferences and other channels.


Contact - Fiona Helsel

Photograph of Fiona Helsel

Fiona develops institutional capacity to support early childhood education projects. She also manages multiple research and evaluation projects, leads the evaluation of the Northwest Comprehensive Center and serves as director of REL Northwest.
Fiona Helsel; Director - REL Northwest
Contact Fiona