The Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H)
For Educators

The Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) is a population-based study that examines children’s development in the context of their early education and care settings.

Early Educator Frequently Asked Questions

For Participating Educators

Please update your contact information and send us your questions. Have you moved or changed your phone number or email address? Do you have questions about the study? Please use the link below to share your new contact information and questions with us. That way, you can continue to be part of our study of how young children learn and grow across Massachusetts.

Contact Us

Need to get in touch with us? Use the phone number and email below. Toll-free ELS@H Line: 1-844-865-2196

The Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H; pronounced “Elsa”) is run by the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It is designed to help us learn more about how the types of places where young children spend time relate to how they learn and grow. ELS@H began in 2017 when we recruited over 3,000 3- and 4-year-olds and their early education and care providers across the state of Massachusetts. As the fifth year of the study approaches, we continue to follow this same group of children as they move through elementary school. We also continue to survey early educators like you. A Massachusetts-based research organization called t Abt Associates is working with Harvard researchers to carry out this work.

The study’s unique features—including its large-scale, longitudinal design and population-based, representative sample—will help answer key questions facing children, families, and educators who work with young children. The study will also help policymakers, program designers, and other decision-makers learn how to best support families and early education and care programs.

Starting in spring 2017, we invited parents and guardians of 3- and 4-year-old children across Massachusetts to participate in ELS@H and asked about their children’s early education and care arrangements. Though these students have gone on to elementary school, early education and care programs that cared for ELS@H children, as well as other programs across the state, are still a key part of the study. Your participation helps us learn more about what it’s like to be an early educator now.

As an early educator in a selected program, you may be asked to complete brief surveys about your experiences, your program, and the families you serve.

Please contact the ELS@H team by email at or by phone, toll-free, at 1-844-865-2196. If the survey is still active, our team will resend the invitation.

No, your participation is voluntary. At any time, you can decide not to participate in parts of the study or to stop participating altogether.

Yes, as a thank you for your time, you will receive gift cards when you complete most study activities.

We are sorry to hear that you’re having an issue using your gift card, and we would like to help! Please contact the ELS@H team by email at or by phone, toll-free, at 1-844-865-2196.

Yes, we will keep all information that we gather about children, families, schools, and educators private to the fullest extent allowed by law. We will never include the names of children, families, schools, or educators in any reports or study findings. Moreover, we will not report any of the data we collect as part of the study to any government agency, and we will never ask about the legal status of anyone in the study. We also won’t share any classroom data with schools or districts. If we learn that a child is in danger, we are required by law to report this information.

The study team is committed to protecting your privacy and the privacy of all participants in the study. We train our team members on data security procedures to keep all study information private and secure. However, participation in a study always includes a small risk that your personal information might be seen by someone outside of the study team. We have developed strict procedures to minimize the chance of this happening.

As findings and reports become available, they are posted here on the ELS@H website. For example, you can find information on the website about the study design, a report on the 2018 household survey, and reports on how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted early educators and families and young children in Massachusetts.

You can reach the ELS@H team toll-free at 1-844-865-2196 or by email at

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