The impact of high-quality early learning experiences is well established, particularly for children at risk for underachievement. Yet there have only been marginal strides in creating and supporting an infrastructure that provides all children and families with access to these crucial early learning opportunities that are so vital to our nation’s education, civic, and economic prosperity.
“Building and Supporting an Aligned System: A Vision for Transforming Education Across the Pre-K-Grade Three Years,” an NAESP Foundation Task Force on Early Learning report that was commissioned by the NAESP Foundation with generous support from the ING Foundation, describes a standards-based pre-K-grade three system in which:
All children and families have access to high-quality learning and care;
Programs are based upon evidence and data;
Teachers and leaders are well-trained, suitably compensated, and supported in the classroom; and
Children’s learning and development are assessed and fostered in a truly comprehensive fashion to capture all the ingredients that contribute to their success in school and in life.
To achieve this vision, the report recommends 10 action steps—that address funding, federal and state policy integration, workforce development, and standards and assessments for young children—to guide the hard work involved in aligning early childhood and elementary education.