Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards are grounded in a strong theoretical framework for delivering high-quality educational experiences to young children, emphasizing developmentally appropriate teaching practices and expected learning outcomes for young children.
Developmentally appropriate teaching practices scaffold successful achievement of the preschool standards. Such practice is based on knowledge about how children learn and develop, how children vary in their development, and how best to support children’s learning and development. It is important to note, therefore, that although the preschool domains are presented as discrete areas in this document, the program must be delivered in an integrated manner through the curriculum’s daily routines, activities, and interactions.
Preschool educational experiences are intended to stimulate, assist, support, and sustain emergent skills. Preschools aim to offer experiences that maximize young children’s learning and development, providing each child with a foundation for current and future school success.
Careful planning is needed to ensure the successful inclusion of preschoolers with disabilities in general education programs. The focus should be on identifying individual student needs, linking instruction to the preschool curriculum, providing appropriate supports and program modifications, and regularly evaluating student progress.
Diversity and Multiculturalism
Opportunities for learning are strengthened as connections across home, school, and community are acknowledged and respected. Sensitivity to and support for diversity in culture, ethnicity and learning must be woven into the daily activities of the early childhood education program. A high-quality preschool program embraces the heritages of the families being served.
Culture and Diversity
The preschool program design ensures recognition and respect for culture and diversity. In particular:
Cultural traditions are shared in the classroom and throughout the program (e.g., pictures of specific cultural activities that children participated in are displayed in the classroom).
- Classroom materials reflect the characteristics, values, and practices of diverse cultural groups (e.g., books are available in a variety of languages; artwork reflects a broad spectrum of races, cultures, and ages, both boys and girls, and diverse lifestyles, careers, locations, and climates).
- Cultural and religious practices are acknowledged and respected throughout the year (e.g., absences for religious holidays are allowed, dietary restrictions are respected, culturally driven reasons for nonparticipation in some school activities are honored).
- The uniqueness of each family is recognized and respected by all members of the school community (e.g., language, dress, structure, customs).
- All program information is provided to families in lay terms, in the language most comfortable for each family, and using multiple presentation strategies (e.g., handbooks, videos, email, websites, television, and newspapers).
- Ongoing information concerning program/classroom standards and activities is provided to families and the community (e.g., a regular newsletter, a program website) and includes strategies family members can use to assist their children with specific learning activities or to extend their children’s classroom learning through activities at home and in the community.
- Educational opportunities for family members are based on the needs and interests of children’s families and include information on such topics as child development, supporting learning at home, and positive methods of discipline. Family members play an integral role in developing the family education program.
- Information about the child and family is solicited before enrollment and at regular intervals throughout the school year, using home visits, home-school conferences, informal chats, phone calls, emails, and notes.
- Documentation of each child’s progress is provided for families, and understanding of the documentation is guided by written and verbal communications in the language most comfortable for the family. Instructional staff hold conversations with family members to better understand each family’s goals for their children so that decisions about the most appropriate ways to proceed are made jointly.
- Pertinent information regarding individual children’s progress (e.g., child portfolios, teacher annotations) is provided to receiving schools when children transition from one program to another.
- Registration procedures and documents capture essential information about each child (e.g., family contacts, immunization records, special health needs).
A supportive preschool learning environment promotes the development of critical thinking skills, fosters awareness of diversity and multiculturalism, and supports learning. Such an environment is created through interactions with the indoor and outdoor physical environment, instructional materials, furnishings, and daily routines, as well as through a range of interpersonal relationships (adults with children, adults with adults, and children with children). It is within this supportive environment that each child’s optimal development takes place. The child’s development in each domain (e.g., language, social, physical, cognitive, and social-emotional) is supported, sustained, extended, and enhanced primarily through activities that promote purposeful play within this environment.
An inviting and supportive physical environment
Engaging daily routines:
Include the use of technology, such as computers and smart toys with age-appropriate software, to enhance the development of critical thinking skills.
- Encourage the development of self-confidence by offering children multiple opportunities to make choices, such as deciding projects, selecting centers, or inviting classmates to be a part of an activity.
- Provide opportunities for conversation and self-expression in English.
- Encourage curiosity, problem-solving, and the generation of ideas and fantasy through exploration.
- Are implemented flexibly to meet individual needs and provide opportunities for the success of all children (e.g., younger children with short attention spans are not forced to remain for long periods of time in a whole-group activity).
- Provide opportunities for conversation and self-expression in English and in the child’s home language, if other languages are spoken at home.
- Encourage and model the use of language in different social groups and situations.
- Stimulate questioning and discussion during all activities.
THE DOCUMENTATION/ASSESSMENT PROCESS
Assessment of young children is an ongoing process which includes identifying, collecting, describing, interpreting, and applying classroom-based evidence of early learning in order to make informed instructional decisions. This evidence may include records of children’s conversations, their drawings and constructions, as well as photographs of and anecdotal notes describing their behaviors.
Careful documentation and assessment can increase the teacher’s understanding of child development, assist in understanding the needs of the children in a specific class, and enhance the teacher’s ability to reflect on the instructional program. Such reflections also assist teachers in articulating assessment purposes with appropriate community members and communicating assessment results with parents.
Purpose of Assessment in Early Childhood
The primary purpose of the assessment of young children is to help educators determine appropriate classroom activities for individuals and groups of children.
The documentation/assessment process should:
- Build on multiple forms of evidence of the child’s learning.
- Take place over a period of time.
- Reflect the understanding of groups, as well as of individual children.
Assessment Record is the collection of significant samples of each child’s work, together with the teacher’s comments on how the work samples and records of language serve as evidence of the child’s movement toward established learning goals. The record clearly indicates the learning goals, should illustrate and document each child’s development over a period of time, should actively involve children, and should reflect each child’s individual development.
Some Quotes from educators
Education is the great engine to personal development.
From the moment your baby arrives in this world he or she is beginning to learn.
Gabby Bugwadia(Educator/Counselor) :It has rightly been said that “The way a twig is bent, a tree is inclined.” The importance of early childhood education cannot be undermined; the formative years, 0-5 in children are the most significant years in child-development. What a child learns at this stage can greatly enhance his overall educational process and plays a vital role in the successful progression of all his future education endeavors.
In today’s competitive era, academic success is the corner stone of personal development. However, studies indicate that the early years are the most receptive years of a child’s life. Marie Montessori aptly refers the mind of the child during this period as the “absorbent mind.” It is for this very reason that the early childhood years are the most exciting years of building up the foundations of human intelligence.
The lessons learned and the habits formed at this delicate stage of early childhood, have more to do with the formation of character and direction of life than all the educational training of after years. A child acquires much more of his reasoning ability, feelings, will and character at this juncture, than it does at any other time of his life. Hence it is of utmost importance for teachers and care-givers to be trained in the art, skills and techniques of early childhood education.
Having dealt closely with a vast array of children from all walks of life, from different stratas of society in a variety of diverse settings, I have come to an irrevocable conclusion that a good teacher plays a dynamic role in this wondrous process of molding the minds and hearts of children. A good teacher, irrespective of her training, constantly endeavors to perfect her teaching techniques, improve her skills and imbibe the latest time-tested techniques to enable her to increase her effectivenesswith children.
It is of prime importance that administrators, educationists, schools, social workers and above all parents, recognize the phenomenal importance of early childhood education. It is in the children’s best interest to harness the best available resources; doing so, would ensure that every child of our future generation becomes a recipient of this quality learning-an exclusive brand of education that could leave an impressionable impact on all the children who are privileged to receive it.
Indeed, the power of a good early childhood education teacher is unparallel.
"Then, oh what tribute can we give you
O wondrous sculptor of the human mind!
Yours is the privilege teacher, yours the power
To mold the minds and lives of all mankind!" Anon
Source: Teaching without Tears by Arty Periera