What is SEEDS?

SEEDS is a Relationship-Based Framework that Supports Early Development.

The quality of the interactions young children experience with the adults in their lives has an indelible impact on them and their developing brain architecture, laying the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. Research shows that high quality early interactions and positive relationships with the adults closest to them help children develop strong social-emotional skills, increasing their likelihood of success in school and in life.

The SEEDS of Learning is based on years of research about child development, brain development, and how trusting adult-child interactions help children learn.

SEEDS is an acronym formed from the words that describe five key types of interactions that lead to positive, supportive relationships with children:

  • S
  • E
  • E
  • D
  • S


nurturing a safe and trusting adult-child relationship by maintain awareness of children’s actions, abilities, thoughts and feelings and responding appropriately to meet their emotional, physical, and academic needs.


providing support and demonstrating empathy in our interactions with children and displaying joy, pleasure, interest, and a desire to understand their behavior, words, and non-verbal cues.


intentionally embedding developmentally-appropriate sensorimotor, social-emotional, and cognitive learning opportunities into all interactions with children. Giving explicit and embedded education to key predictive skills in the Big 5 early literacy skills: vocabulary and meaning, alphabetic knowledge, book and print rules, phonological awareness and memory, and conversation comprehension and oral language.

Development of Skills through Doing

Allowing children the opportunities to explore their world through a multi-sensory approach and hands-on learning. Actively engage children are more likely to enjoy learning and continue on the road to confident and capable learners.

Self-Image Support

using high quality interactions that support children to feel lovable, respected, and capable.


Between 3rd and 4th grade, a child transitions from learning to read, to reading to learn. Without a strong foundation of basic literacy skills, a child falls further behind. 


American fourth graders are not proficient readers


children who read poorly at age 9 will struggle to read for the rest of their lives

Cited by the National Assessment of Educational Programs (NAEP)

SEEDS Foundational Overview

This is how SEEDS and CARES are working together to close the literacy gap:

Comparison and Classification
Geometry and Spatial Sense
Numbers and Operations
Development of Skills Through Doing
Self-Image Support
Oral Language, Conversation and Comprehension
Phonological Memory and Awareness
Book and Print Concepts
Alphabetic Knowledge
Vocabulary and Meaning

These three hands are the foundation of the SEEDS program. The CARES of Learning team provides teachers and parents with fun and meaningful ways to develop and build these skills into daily routines and help children become confident and capable learners.

SEEDS is making a meaningful difference, here's how:

Oakland Children Flourish in SEEDS Classrooms

Research shows the percentage of children in our 2017-18 SEEDS classrooms who progressed to be near, at or above targets for key skills that are predictive of school readiness.

See SEEDS making meaningful change