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The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.

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Anatole France

Our Story

Like all good stories, Robert-Leslie Publishing, The Early Childhood Company™ is made up of a series of compelling chapters about people, their origins and motivation, the relationships they build, the values and principles they embrace, and the legacy that moves their mission forward into the universe. In real life stories, there is no ending, because the decisions, disruptions, and actions people encounter or embrace have the power of change, which impacts lives for generations.

Robert-Leslie Publishing is a small business that was established as a limited liability company in 2005. The company’s founding mission was to create research-based early childhood programs that would inspire ALL young children to investigate their world. Our goal was to spark a love of learning, creativity, and critical thinking ignited by children’s natural curiosity and the human desire to learn and achieve.

We will always be driven by our vision to help every young child experience the comfort of belonging, the satisfaction of accomplishment, the discovery of their own super powers, and the confidence and control to become directors of their own lives.

Jamie and Judi Coffey (CEO) began this mission by assembling a powerful team of early childhood researchers, educational leaders, teachers, and publishing professionals. Drs. Craig and Sharon Landesman Ramey, founding directors of the Georgetown University Center on Health and Education, developed the research base and theory for The InvestiGator Club®. Dr. Craig Ramey was the principal investigator of the Abecedarian Preschool Study, which today sets the national standard for high-quality preschool. Dr. Timothy Shanahan, chairman of the National Early Literacy Panel and author of its landmark report, guided literacy, vocabulary, and assessment strategies throughout the curriculum. These scientists validated our premises and independent research, which concluded that children learn best in a supportive environment, through the processes of inquiry and investigation.

Our authorship team includes two shining stars in early childhood education and media. Both have extensive backgrounds as educators and have written hundreds of children’s books and educational programs. Beth Wise was a valued member of the Disney publishing team, and Joellyn Cicciarelli was Fred Rogers’ personal editor. If you look and listen carefully, you’ll notice our deep roots in the magic of Disney and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood — in our songs, our stories and characters, our celebration of wonder, and the social and emotional development at the heart of The InvestiGator Club®.

Hundreds of early childhood teachers, consultants, administrators, authors, parents, and other professionals have contributed to our programs and continue to make our vision and our goals clearer and stronger every day.

Rainbow Educational Concepts manages the creative and development process for The InvestiGator Club® and collaborated with the authors and researchers to build the original framework, components, and structure of the curriculum. The Rainbow team continues to play an important role in the development of new products and ideas for Robert-Leslie Publishing.

Rainbow is a woman-owned small business co-founded in 1985, by Jamie Coffey and Judi Coffey, a former early childhood and special education teacher. Known by their clients as boutique content developers, the team of educational writers and editors, designers, musicians, and artists, has produced thousands of research-based print and digital educational programs for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, Scholastic, Pearson, National Geographic, and others. Tens of millions of students around the world have grown up with and learned with the award-winning curricula that Rainbow has helped to create.

Hundreds of thousands of little investigators™ have been playing, dancing, and exploring their way through InvestiGator Club® classrooms for over ten years, consistently showing remarkable growth and success. We hear from delighted teachers, administrators, and parents frequently about the excitement and progress in their classrooms and homes with The InvestiGator Club®.

The InvestiGator Club® is more than a curriculum. The engaging characters, songs, and stories make kids happy. It’s fun! Investigations™ help kids play and work together to develop friendships, social skills, and confidence; and the program creates a structurally solid bridge from classroom to home to community.

An independent research study conducted by Educational Research Institute of America showed significant learning improvements for 500 preschool students from the beginning to the end of the pre-K school year, as measured by the same pre- and posttests. The positive results were demonstrated across 100 key skills in ten learning domains, including social and emotional development, and in every demographic subgroup of students.

Further research and numerous awards, including the AAP Golden Lamp REVERE Award for best curriculum have continued to validate these results. InvestiGator Club® was a Cool Tool Finalist in the 2023 EdTech Awards for the Curriculum and Instruction.

At Robert-Leslie Publishing, the story is just beginning. Since the launch of The InvestiGator Club® Prekindergarten Learning System in 2006, we have gone on to produce supplements and new curricula for every age, birth to 5.

Our products include Little InvestiGators™, a responsive play and grow program for infants, toddlers, and twos; Just for Threes; Prekindergarten Learning System; and Transitional Kindergarten. Our preschool curricula are provided in English and in Spanish. We offer solutions for special needs, dual language learners, faith-based settings, advanced learners, and summer school.

Our newest product line, Dilly’s Tree House™ offers a robust family engagement series to further bridge learning from school to home. This innovative product has won multiple awards — AAP REVERE Award, Teacher Choice, and Creative Child.

The future for young children is bright and hopeful. Robert-Leslie’s plans are in the works — for new products, new professional development, new ways to inspire learning through play and investigation, and new tools to engage families and communities.

We appreciate our partnerships with teachers and administrators, professionals, businesses, and organizations that work together to create the best possible outcomes for every young child. Robert-Leslie Publishing and Rainbow Concepts enjoy exciting new collaborations with stakeholders to create proprietary and customized curriculum and digital solutions.

One of the first questions we are asked in presentations is, “What does the name Robert-Leslie mean? Where does it come from?”

So here at last is the story behind the name:

We (Jamie and Judi) searched for months to find a name for our new company – a name that would embrace our vision and passion; a name that was inspiring, but also told a story. We thought and shared ideas, made lists, had meetings, and researched trademarks. We discarded every name we thought might work.

The answer was in our DNA. We realized that for both of us, our fathers had been our greatest role models and heroes. Both led simple, good, and honest lives – one in a rural southern town, one in Chicago. They had strong work ethics and loved their families and were guided by values of integrity, generosity, kindness, and fairness. Their names were Robert and Leslie. This company is their legacy.