P-3 Alignment Discussion and Working Group: The Policy and Issues Behind Linking the Early Years to the Early Grades

Now more than ever, educators understand the significance of early childhood education and the need to support a seamless continuum of learning for children coming from a high-quality early childhood learning setting to the early grades, or from “age three to grade three.” Building successful prekindergarten through grade three (P-3) alignment learning and developmental systems that interface with comprehensive programs and services is an essential investment to ensure that children who are at risk of beginning their primary education years behind their peers have a chance to learn on equal footing.

P-3 alignment can be effectively supported by “linkage” policies that help forge connections between the early childhood community and K-3 systems to address the common goal of closing the readiness gap before it comes an achievement gap, which often persists throughout a child’s learning or academic career. Aligned early childhood care and education systems spanning from prekindergarten through grade three call for myriad programs and services that help children achieve higher levels of social, emotional, and intellectual success, and clear benchmarks for child and student academic outcomes.  Developing and sustaining successful P-3 alignment includes goals and activities that policymakers and practitioners must meet to address:

  • Standards and Assessment
  • Accountability and Quality
  • Teacher and Leader Effectiveness
  • Governance and Data
  • Professional Development

The P-3 Working Group comprised of principals and Title I directors will discuss these issues and establish the principles of an effective P-3 policy framework. After substantive engagement and discussion, staff will draft and release a report to be used by NAESP and the National Title I Association and inform policy and advocacy on successful P-3 alignment. 


A list of of studies, articles, books, and policy documents compiled by the National Title I Association
A column by NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly



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