Lately, you may have noticed much attention being paid to the value of preschool programs. In part, this is due to the substantial research on the benefits of preschool for all children but especially those coming from low-income or ELL backgrounds. The key to this success is the quality of the programs – they must be “high-quality” programs provide the most benefit.
What makes a preschool program high quality? The research points to 10 areas that produce programs with the most positive results. While some of these 10 building blocks are larger initiatives dealing with class-size, full day preschool, quality rating and comprehensive program assessments, many of the others can be incorporated into your classroom now.
Comprehensive early learning standards and curricula – High-quality programs have curricula that are based on comprehensive early learning standards, address the whole child, are developmentally appropriate, and are effectively implemented. The Literacy, Language and Math Through Music and Movement program has each song aligned to early childhood standards of many states, Head Start and popular themes. This series of easy-to-implement CDs is developmentally appropriate and encourages active learning.
Appropriate child assessments – High-quality early childhood education programs assess the whole child. Observational data, ranging from children’s physical and social-emotional development to their literacy and math skills, are suggested. There are CDs available that target social and emotional learning as well as physical development and health.
Professional knowledge and skill and ongoing support for teachers – In highly successful programs, lead teachers have bachelor’s degrees with a specialization in early childhood education. Coaching and mentoring can improve teaching quality. Specially designed professional development DVD programs help coaches illustrate best practices to support children’s learning.
Support for Diverse Learners – High-quality early learning programs meet the needs of all students, including English language learners (ELLs) and students with special needs. Many ELL and special education CDs support the learning of all children, no matter what their language or skills, with songs that help develop vocabulary, strengthen their physical abilities and provide an environment where all children can succeed.
Meaningful family engagement – High-quality programs engage families in meaningful ways. This Parental Involvement Curriculum DVD Series demonstrates how parents can support their children’s success in school. The program demonstrates simple low cost/no cost activities that parents of all backgrounds can provide for their children.
Wanting our children to succeed in life is a goal that all teachers have. Putting together a program to help them along the way shouldn’t be financially difficult. These cost-effective solutions are a wonderful way to get them started.
Source: The Building Blocks of High-Quality Early Childhood Education Programs By Marjorie Wechsler, Hanna Melnick, Anna Maier, and Joseph Bishop