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Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy

Who We Are


Why was the Institute created?

The Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy was created to improve early learning environments and outcomes for the very young through research, policy recommendations, and innovative, research-based solutions to effectively meet challenges in the field of early childhood. Although there are many early childhood researchers committed to taking their work beyond university walls, very few exist in the Rocky Mountain area.

How is the Institute affiliated with the University of Denver?

The Institute is part of the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver. As such, we bring the latest principles, research and practices to its students, thus impacting the quality of the next generation of early childhood professionals. Moreover, through our partnership, the Institute serves as a catalyst for the University's early education agenda.

Is the Institute a teaching facility?

While the Institute does not administer its own degree-granting program , we do work with the Morgridge College of Education faculty to design and revise existing teacher training and early childhood programs. In addition, we offer community learning seminars and lectures, featuring leading national experts on topics of interest to teachers and students of education. Further, the Institute frequently offers work-study opportunities for graduate students seeking to enrich their education with a work experience. We are currently designing training courses and programs for practicing early childhood teachers.

Does the Institute conduct original research?

Yes, the Institute is a hub for early childhood research and policy analysis on a state and national level. We design and evaluate programs, as well as conduct basic science research on how children and teachers learn.

How does the Institute augment/support other organizations working in the field of Early Childhood?

The Institute is non-profit and non-partisan. We collaborate and build partnerships with other community organizations and universities to accomplish our mission. In addition, we provide public access to resources and learning opportunities for all the constituencies within the early childhood community. The Institute also provides consultative services on how to replicate best practices for Colorado's early childhood communities.

How is the Institute funded?

Created in 2008 with a generous gift from the Cydney and Tom Marsico Family Foundation, the Institute receives additional support from the University of Denver as well as other private foundations and philanthropic organizations interested in furthering Colorado's standing in the area early childhood education. In addition, we are also supported through federal research and program grant-making organizations, such as the Administration for Children and Families.

Does the Institute play a role in Colorado's public education system?

We evaluate the impact of public policy decisions that shape important strategic discussion, and work to influence new policies. We use this new information to propose innovative practices and curricula.