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From the Editor: A Creative, Early Start

Principal, September/October 2013

Curiosity, play, collaboration, and problem-solving. The most impactful teaching, which prepares students for college and career, successfully incorporates these elements in a child’s learning. These concepts rose to the top in this issue’s Early Learning theme articles, which explore the power of high-quality early childhood education. These components not only emerged as important markers—along with student-centered choice, culture, and literacy—for successful early learning, but they also are reiterated in the articles featured in the accompanying Champion Creatively Alive Children special supplement, which for the third year is generously sponsored by Crayola.

The Early Learning articles explore structures principals can use to help develop an effective continuum of learning for pre-K-3 students, while the articles on fostering creativity advance arts integration through a schoolwide vision. Taken together, these articles will help you consider the effect of both an aligned early learning curriculum and more significant arts integration on your own student population, especially for children at risk for underachievement. For example, in “It’s Playtime,” Joan Almon connects the dots between early learning and creativity in the context of Common Core State Standards and the call for 21st century skills. She explains that schools are obstructing creativity for early learners, and then, ironically, “trying to restore it in college students.” She further argues that “There is no better way to foster creativity than to keep it alive in early childhood when it is naturally strong and expresses itself through play.”

The other Early Learning articles make the argument for a seamless education experience, discuss methods for fostering early literacy, and provide a case study of a school that uses student-centered learning to integrate pre-K with K-3 learning. To advance your instructional leadership in aligning pre-K-3 at your school, we’ve also included a special resource—Community Early Childhood Leadership E-Kit—compliments of the Gesell Institute.

I also want to bring your attention to this year’s special series on supporting English-language learners (ELLs), Building Bridges. This five-part, yearlong series will address the needs of ELLs, as well as strategies for effective instruction and assessment. The first installment, a Q&A with Maureen Keithley, explores ways that principals can foster collaboration between ESL/bilingual and classroom teachers.

Your comments are always welcome, so send us an email at publications@ to let us know what you think about this issue.

—Kaylen Tucker


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