Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

Implementation Process

ECTA Staff who contributed to the development of these resources: Barbara Smith, Evelyn Shaw, Kathy Whaley and Mary Peters; and former staff Joicey Hurth, Lynda Pletcher, and Glen Dunlap.


Improving child and family outcomes is a cornerstone of early childhood education and in particular the IDEA Part C and Part B, Section 619 Preschool programs. To improve outcomes, an evidence-based practice or innovation must be selected and the process of implementing that practice or innovation must be effective. Implementation science is the study of the processes needed to bring new practices into widespread use.

This guide is based on a PDF: review of the literature of implementation science (Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, & Wallace, 2005) and the collective experiences of federally funded national centers in conducting state-wide system change initiatives. These centers include the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC, now the ECTA Center), Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI), Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL), National Implementation Research Network (NIRN) and the State Implementation of Scaling-Up Evidence-based Practices (SISEP). More resources on Implementation Science can be found at the SISEP and NIRN Active Implementation Hub, including the 5-minute Quick Start.

ECTA Center was assisted in the development of the resources on this page by a PDF: Technical Work Group.

Online Guide to the Implementation Process: Stages, Steps and Activities

Go to: a Guide to the Implementation Process: Stages, Steps & Activities

This Online Guide includes highlighted terms which link to an online Glossary Terms of definitions. You may also download a print-friendly edition of PDF: A Guide to the Implementation Process: Stages, Steps and Activities

  • IDEAs that Work: Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P170001 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

Project Officer: Julia Martin Eile     © 2012-2019 ECTA Center

  • UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute