As districts budget for the 2022-2023 school year, they’ll have some additional funds to spend thanks to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

To ensure that these funds are well spent and will benefit students, Congress has mandated that 20% of district funds and 5% of state funds must be spent on evidence-based programs to recover from learning loss; plus additional funds for evidence-based enrichment, summer and afterschool programs.

When it comes to early childhood STEM resources, evidence of efficacy is more than just a stamp of approval. Evidence gives confidence that those products will lead to the buzzing environments we want for our youngest students, full of playful learning, collaboration, and the kinds of concrete engagement that come with hands-on manipulatives.

Here, I’ll explain what “evidence-based” means according to ESSER, how to find products that fit the definition, and a couple key benefits common to evidence-based early education solutions.

Jason Innes is director of curriculum, training, and product management at KinderLab Robotics, Inc. He can be reached at jason@kinderlabrobotics.com.

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