National P-3 Institute

Held every other year, the most recent Institute was held October 2018 in Beaver Creek, CO

The National P-3 Institute provides an intensive professional learning opportunity for collaborative teams to deepen and extend their strategic efforts to implement P-3 approaches that create meaningful change -- specifically, approaches that improve the quality and coherence of learning opportunities for young children, birth through 3rd grade. Unique in design, the Institute combines engagement with national experts, structured team planning time, and cross-pollination of promising practices within a community of leaders from across the country. 

Although there exists a long history of efforts to bridge early care and education (ECE) and K-12 education, the past decade has seen an exponential increase in the number of school districts, communities, states, and national and local organizations focused on the continuum of learning from birth through elementary school (P-3 or 0-8). Despite the abundance of activity and resources devoted to P-3, achievement and opportunity gaps remain stubbornly persistent. To address these ongoing challenges, the National P-3 Institute provides a team-based opportunity to dig deeply into problems of practice and to plan strategically for implementation success.

The Institute is designed for teams of leaders from states, school districts, and community-based organizations. Much more than a traditional conference, the Institute offers the time, space, and professional network to delve into lessons learned from the past decades and to refine strategic action plans for the future. This year’s Institute will highlight issues of equity, ensuring quality and coherence across the full continuum from pre-school through elementary school (i.e., not just PreK), engaged families, and cross-sector collaboration. 

These 4-day learning experiences have been generously supported in the past by the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation and the Foundation for Child Development. In 2018, we are pleased to add the Heising-Simons Foundation to this list. The first Institute was held in 2008 (then called the Harvard PreK-3rd Institute) and has been held bi-annually since. Past National P-3 Institutes have been held in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Seattle, Washington. In 2018, we are excited to offer the Institute in a new geographical location.

Dates:  Four days, retreat-like commitment

Location:  Beaver Creek, Colorado

Program Objectives

  • Examine lessons and promising practices from current research and implementation, with particular emphasis on strategies that improve organizational and system-level coherence in order to ensure high quality learning opportunities for children, birth through 3rd grade
  • Embed a deeper and more robust conceptual and practical understanding of implementation into your existing P-3 strategic plans
  • Refine and strengthen your district/community’s P-3 approach, with an explicit focus on expanding and improving cross-sector alignment and collaboration (0-5 and PreK-12)
  • Ensure that organizational and classroom strategies alike are differentiated in order to ensure that equitable opportunities are provided to an increasingly diverse population of children and families
  • Gain an understanding of how the Framework for Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating P-3 Approaches (and its accompanying toolkit) can support and hone your work
  • Identify the policies, practices, and organizational approaches that enable effective P-3 work to be taken to scale
  • Participate in a vibrant community of like-minded education reformers from across the nation

Who Should Attend

This is a team-based professional education opportunity.  Teams will be selected to attend based on several criteria:

  • Teams should comprise 6-8 members who are actively working together on the implementation of a comprehensive P-3 approach.
  • Appropriate team members include: superintendents, chief academic officers, principals, curriculum and instruction directors, early learning administrators, members of early childhood and/or P–20 advisory councils, leaders from non-profit or community-based early childhood services, and other leaders across the early care and education and K–3 continuum.
  • The intent of this Institute is to strengthen and propel forward implementation of P-3 approaches; the focus is more on how to do P-3 comprehensively and less on what is P-3.
  • Preference will be given to teams that clearly demonstrate a history and a future of working together on implementing a comprehensive P-3 approach.
  • Because alignment among early childhood programs and elementary schools, as well as alignment between administrative levels, is critical to P-3 work, preference will be given to teams with strategically diverse membership that reflects the collaborative nature of P-3 work.

Program Cost:  $750 per person plus travel/lodging (2018 costs)

The per-person program fee of $750 includes tuition, all instructional materials, refreshments during breaks, most meals, and a social event.  Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses (negotiated at the government per diem rate).  Participants will receive a certificate of completion.


The per-person program fee of $750 includes tuition, all instructional materials, refreshments during breaks, most meals, and a social event.  Participants are responsible for their own travel and lodging expenses (negotiated at the government per diem rate).  Participants will receive a certificate of completion.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be submitted via email. Full refunds will be given up to 30 days prior to the start of the program. Due to program demand and pre-institute preparations, cancellations received 29–14 days prior to the start of the program are subject to a fee of 10% of the program tuition. Cancellations received within 13 days prior to the start of the program and no-shows are subject to the full program tuition. Please note: cancellation fees are based upon the date the written request is received.

The National P-3 Center reserves the right to change faculty or cancel programs at its discretion. In the unlikely event of program changes, the National P-3 Center is not responsible for non-refundable travel arrangements or other planning expenses incurred.

For questions or more information about the team-based four-day National P-3 Institute, please contact us at