The field of low-mass star formation and early evolution has made rapid progress in recent years, thanks in particular to observations in the IR and mm ranges. The current evolutionary scheme calls for two main stages, themselves divided into two substages (e.g., André & Montmerle 1994): (i) protostars, comprizing the newly discovered so-called “Class 0 sources”, detected mostly or only in the mm range, which are young protostars with estimated ages ~ 104 yrs, and “Class I sources”, visible in the near- to mid-IR, which are evolved protostars with estimated ages ~ 105 yrs; (ii) T Tauri stars, which are visible in the IR but also in the optical, the younger being the “classical” T Tauri stars (called “Class II” in the IR), and the “weak-line” T Tauri stars (“Class III” in the IR), with a large age spread of ~ 106 – 107 yrs. According to current models (e.g., Shu et al. 1987), protostars consist of a forming star surrounded by an extended envelope (up to ~ 10,000 AU in radius); the star forms via an accretion disk inside a cavity ~ several 100 AU in radius. The disk probably plays an important role in generating molecular outflows, running through the envelope. Classical T Tauri stars are only surrounded by a disk, which disappears at the weak-line T Tauri stage.