New Principals: Early Ed Resource Roundup

January 2015, Volume 38, Issue 5

More and more principals are leading preschool programs—but only one in five new principals feel prepared to do so.

Each month, NAESP surveys the nearly 900-member National Panel of New Principals on the principalship’s most pressing challenges. The findings are summarized in the Rise and Shine brief. The latest brief highlights early childhood education.

According to the panel survey, 53 percent of principals lead preschool programs in their buildings. Some of these are Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Half the principals surveyed report that they are in charge of these programs, while 15 percent have a preschool director who reports to them (and 24 percent have a preschool director who reports to someone else).

Strong early childhood education—which NAESP has long championed—has found a spotlight recently, with President Obama announcing $1 billion in funding for early education programs. But, according to the survey, only one in five new principals feels well-trained in developmentally appropriate early education methods. Panelists say building pre-K and kindergarten teachers’ capacity, too, is a priority. Eight in 10 panelists report that they plan to offer early learning training for teachers through their district this year. Two-thirds are also planning on-site training.

Early Learning Resource Roundup

What do principals need to know to lead a pre-K program? NAESP’s Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice outlines six key skills of strong early learning leaders. They include:

  • Embrace the pre-K-3 early learning curriculum;
  • Ensure developmentally appropriate teaching;
  • Provide personalized learning environments;
  • Use multiple measures of assessment to guide student growth;
  • Build professional capacity across the learning community; and
  • Make school a hub of learning for families.

Read more about the competencies here.

To hone these early learning leadership skills, panelists say these resources are tops:

Blueprint for Early Literacy, curriculum developed by the Children’s Literacy Initiative

Developing Minds, brain-based learning programs developed by Marcia Tate

CGI: Cognitively Guided Instruction (available through multiple sources)

Conscious Discipline training

Daily 5 and CAFÉ, developed by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser

Explicit Instruction: Effective and Efficient Teaching, developed by Anita Archer

Kagan Strategies, developed by Spencer Kagan

LETRS Training: Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling, developed by Louisa Moats (available through multiple sources)

Leveled Literacy Intervention and Guided Reading (LLI), developed by Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell

Reading Recovery training program

Discover more findings in the full Rise and Shine brief.

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