A dozen years after being founded, the early childhood education organization seeks wider distribution of its Parenting Counts materials.

A pioneer in the field of early childhood education, the nonprofit Talaris Research Institute in Seattle has sold most of its assets.

The Apex Foundation in Bellevue, the family foundation of Bruce and Jolene McCaw, started Talaris and provides all its funding. Talaris will keep its name, logo and website, but its primary program and materials now belong to the Maryland-based company Teaching Strategies.

“We decided it was time to partner with an organization that has broader distribution channels and can take these products to scale to get them in the hands of more parents and professionals,” said Jordan McCarren, a program officer for public policy at the Apex Foundation who spent about half his time at Talaris.

“We’re looking at other opportunities for Talaris. It may become a grant-making organization,” he said.

Save 75% on a Digital Subscription Today

Talaris ended 2010 with assets of about $806,000; the Apex Foundation had more than $118 million.

Teaching Strategies, a 24-year-old company focused on early education, has more established relationships with school districts, the military and others, McCarren said.

The deal closed last week, and terms were not disclosed. Talaris’ five employees, including executive director Katie Simons, will leave the organization by the end of February.

Started in 2000, Talaris sought to bridge the gap between what scientists know about early childhood development and what parents practice.

Under founding executive director John Medina, a University of Washington molecular biologist known for his work in brain science, Talaris initially focused on research projects.

In the mid-2000s, it shifted to creating materials for parents and professionals. Its primary project is called Parenting Counts and includes kits with brochures, books, DVDs, puzzles and other tools — many focused on feelings and social development.

Early childhood development is a major topic now partly because of the work Talaris started 12 years ago, McCarren said. “Ten years ago, this was not something people focused on or recognized the importance of,” he said.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @AllisonSeattle.