Early Learning Lessons for Principals

Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D.

NAESP represents elementary and middle-​level principals and other educational leaders. Implied—but not stated directly in our acronym—is that a cornerstone of our mission is to champion early childhood education and to support pre-K leaders. NAESP believes that early childhood programs and experiences should be available for all children, and that there should be a continuum of learning from early childhood through third grade.

School-based pre-K programs are becoming more common as states and districts capitalize on the lasting benefits that early childhood education brings to students and society. But the benefits are dependent on high-quality experiences—and that’s a challenge when many principals report that they don’t feel prepared to lead learning and development for pre-K students. Compounding the lack of training in aligning early learning experiences is the fact that principals also report that they face obstacles to pursuing professional development.

The feature articles in this issue of Principal magazine are designed to meet principals where they are in their journeys toward leading the elementary and middle grades with an early learning lens. That means connecting the dots between professional standards, early learning leadership competencies, developmentally appropriate practices, and equitable experiences so that students have the foundation to excel and thrive in the middle grades, high school, and beyond.

In this issue, you’ll learn how to strengthen your leadership of early childhood learning communities from your peers. You never know when you will be called to lead learning for our youngest students.

Kaylen Tucker, Ph.D. is editor-in-chief of Principal magazine.

For Print