Report sets forth early learning recommendations

“There must be a culture of shared responsibility among all partners—local, state, and federal [officials], as well as parents—to support a comprehensive continuum of learning from pre-K to grade 3,” noted Anne L. Bryant, executive director of the NSBA, which is spearheading the coalition. “We are asking the federal government to become a true partner with states and local communities to ensure that students receive a high-quality start to learning.”

State and local best practices

States have also begun to adopt a more aligned P-3 approach. For example:

  • In Washington, the State Department of Early Learning Starting and the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction host a two-day conference for teachers, early childhood educators, principals, superintendents, parents, and policy makers, which aims to create a shared understanding of the research and key elements of pre-kindergarten through grade 3 models.
  • New Jersey has created a P-3 teaching credential, which recognizes the unique aspects of early childhood teaching—including child development, early childhood curriculum, developmentally appropriate practice, and philosophical and theoretical foundations of early childhood education. The certification is required of all lead teachers in preschool settings in Abbott school districts, and is a valid certificate for teaching in preschool through third grade in non-Abbott districts.
  • In Virginia, the State Board of Education collaborated with the governor’s office and many key agencies to focus on improving the state’s early education workforce. The effort has aligned P-3 teacher competencies with foundational documents and devised a Curriculum Review Rubric and Planning Tool for early educators, which is being piloted in several preschools.
  • Georgia has developed and implemented the Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (GKIDS), a performance-based assessment intended to provide teachers with information about the level of instructional support needed for students entering kindergarten and first grade. This strategy has promoted the internalization of standards, curriculum, and instruction by P-3 teachers, as well as joint professional development opportunities to advance vertical teaming and transition children from pre-kindergarten into kindergarten and first grade.

The release is the third brief in a series of policy reports by the Pre-K Coalition. Earlier documents include “Framing the Future: Addressing Pre-K in ESEA” and “Ensuring America’s Future.”

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