Our Purpose

The Early Learning Foundation works with schools, community agencies, and parent organizations to help give every child the opportunity to have a successful early learning experience.

We offer training to support every aspect of early development, including language and literacy, numeracy, sensory-motor skills, behavior and self-regulation. Our publications include best-selling children’s books on bullying and empathy, activity books for math and motor skill development, and professional books to support systems change and building an effective early learning initiative.

We offer long-term training contracts to school districts interested in using a competency based learning model for students in preschool through grade three. After training, districts are allowed to use the PK to Grade 3 Essential Skill Inventories with fidelity without additional fees.

New Publication

Bob Sornson’s newest book is Brainless Sameness, the Demise of One-Size-Fits-All Instruction and the Rise of Competency Based Learning. This book is a manifesto for change, away from an age-based and time limited instructional system, to a system that allows students to fall in love with learning for life. It offers an inspired vision of what schools could be, with clear action steps for your school and your community.  You will not look at schools in the same way after reading this compelling new book.

Find your free preview here: http://earlylearningfoundation.com/brainless-sameness-free-preview/

Or purchase using these options:


For a 20% discount use code RLEGEN18 at https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781475844863/Brainless-Sameness-The-Demise-of-One-Size-Fits-All-Instruction-and-the-Rise-of-Competency-Based-Learning


Bob Sornson, Ph.D. is the founder of the Early Learning Foundation. He is a best-selling author and international speaker, trainer, and consultant.


After founding the Early Learning Foundation in 2001, he developed a competency based early learning model. This system differs from age-based one-size-fits-all delivery of instruction.  Rather than tracking “coverage”, a competency system tracks what students learn, and then personalizes instruction, giving each child all the time and instruction needed to develop essential skills.




Among its many activities, the Early Learning Foundation works with:

Preschools and K-3: The foundation trains staff to use a competency based learning model which emphasizes personalized learning pathways to help students develop proficiency for every essential skill and behavior.  We offer a license to use the Essential Skill Inventories as a framework to use systematic formative assessment as children develop the foundation skills needed for success.

Training on the development of behavior, self-regulation, numeracy, sensory-motor skill development, oral language, literacy, phonologic and other key skill areas are available to school and community organizations.

Parent Education:  Projects include long-term parent education series which are described as transformational. Using a four or five part training sequence allows parents to learn, practice, and develop new patterns of behavior in the home.  Single topics trainings are also available.

Community Organizations and Planning: Training and consultation is available to communities interested in developing comprehensive planning to support high-quality early childhood learning, parent education, building community networks of support for young families, considering the needs of single-parent families, and supporting high-quality health care for young children.

Special Projects and Research:

Simpson Central School, Pinola, MS.  This rural school of about 500 students is a Title 1 school serving 20 small surrounding communities, with over 75% eligibility for free or reduced lunch, and a student population of 52% Caucasian and 48% African American.  The school historically demonstrated over 60% of students performing below grade level in reading at the end of third grade, and special education rates above state and national average.  After learning to use the Essential Skill Inventories as a competency framework, and to consistently personalize instruction to help each child build essential skills, proficiency rates on grade 3 state achievement tests increased from 37% in literacy to over 85%, and from 59% in math to over 90% proficiency.  This previously struggling school became an “A” rated school of excellence, in spite of high rates of family poverty.

Corinth-Alcorn-Prentiss Learning Collaborative, MS:  At the beginning of the 2015-16 school year, preschool students in the Corinth-Alcorn-Prentiss Learning Collaborative were tested using the Star Early Literacy assessment as part of a state-wide assessment process.  Only 20.1% of these children scored at or above a standard score of 498, the level associated with readiness for Kindergarten entry.  Staff was given training in the use of the Preschool Essential Skill Inventories, and learned to monitor progress weekly, and know their students’ learning needs more precisely.  By the end of the year, more than 85% of the students showed the literacy skills for K readiness.  This pattern of growth gave this collaborative in Northeast Mississippi the highest rate of kindergarten literacy readiness in the state, along with the second highest rate of scaled score improvement in the state.

Downriver Parenting Institute, Michigan:  Parents are invited to long-term training, focused on a five-part behavior series and/or four-part learning series, which helps parents develop the skills and routines which make parenting more fun and successful.  Facilitators are trained so that the community can sustain the program and make training available in the future, using the lessons and materials made available from the Early Learning Foundation.

Northville Public Schools Early Learning Success Initiative:  By focusing on high-quality early intervention for students and support to teachers, special education rates were reduced from a state average of 14.2% to less than 5.4%, with a resulting annual savings of more than $7.2 million.

On-going projects include public, public charter, and private schools and preschools in North America and Central America.  We are looking for looking for partners who can help bring the application of competency based learning to life in our schools and bring high-quality parenting to our communities. We invite you join us in our mission to help children build the foundation skills which help them become successful learners and citizens for life.     

The Early Learning Foundation is dedicated to helping schools and parents give every child an opportunity to achieve early learning success, which lays the foundation for success in life.
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ELS Initiative
The Early Learning Success Initaive
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Free Resources
A collection of useful resources for parents and educators. Feel free to download and share!
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