ERIC Number: ED448905
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Building Strong Foundations for Early Learning: The U.S. Department of Education's Guide to High-Quality Early Childhood Education Programs.
Dwyer, M. Christine; Chait, Robin; McKee, Patricia
Educators, researchers, and policymakers now acknowledge the importance of early childhood education for all preschool children. Unfortunately, studies have found that while most preschool children spend at least a portion of their days in care outside the home, they are not in settings of sufficient quality to produce later learning outcomes. This guide is an initial step designed to provide information to local, district, and state educators about the hallmarks of high-quality early childhood programs. The guide includes short syntheses of research about the characteristics of early education programs that have the most influence on the development of cognition and learning. Indicators are provided to assess the quality of preschool programs or for use in planning. The guide's introduction provides a rationale for targeting public school and emphasizing cognition and language, and highlights the roles of states and districts in supporting high-quality early childhood programs. Section 2, "Vital Concepts for Planning Early Education Programs," examines seven planning principles, including teacher expertise as a crucial ingredient, the importance of links with families, and the varied pace of children's development. Section 3, "Features of High-Quality Early Childhood Programs that Promote Cognitive and Language Development," addresses six features related to cognition and language, including parent involvement, learning environment, and assessment. Section 4, "Child Outcomes in the Language Domain," provides an assessment checklist that covers aspects of literacy and language acquisition, including oral language and listening, background knowledge and vocabulary, emergent literacy, comprehension, and interest. Section 5 lists related resources and includes 27 endnotes. Section 6 presents a self-assessment tool using the quality indicator statements for the six features of high-quality early childhood programs described in section 3. (HTH)
Descriptors: Check Lists, Cognitive Development, Educational Planning, Educational Quality, Emergent Literacy, Evaluation Methods, Language Acquisition, Outcomes of Education, Preschool Education, Program Development, Program Evaluation, Public Policy
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Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: RMC Research Corp., Arlington, VA.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.