Instructional Tools

Standards, curricula, and assessments greatly influence the content and nature of children's learning experiences. However, when addressing the full pre-school through 3rd grade continuum, there are multiple, often disjointed, approaches to standards, curricula, and assessments. For example, when considering standards for what children should know and be able to do, at a minimum, there are state early learning guidelines, state-adopted K-12 standards (e.g., Common Core State Standards or other), and the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework that must be negotiated and incorporated into effective teaching strategies.

P-3 Framework Goal:  Standards, curricula, and assessments focus on both academic and social-emotional skills, and are aligned to create instructional coherence, pre-school through 3rd grade.

The following resources highlight and support the importance of aligned, meaningful, developmentally informed instructional tools in comprehensive P-3 approaches:

Literacy

Publication Date: May 2013
Authors:
Nonie Lesaux
Synopsis:

This brief focuses on the importance of developing children's language and reading skills through strong PreK-3rd grade literacy instruction. Lesaux identifies effective literacy instruction as that which spans the early childhood through elementary years; is responsive to the developmental needs of students; combines direct instruction and inquiry-based learning; integrates skills-based and knowledge-based instruction; and is centered on content-based thematic units of study.

Social and Emotional Learning

Publication Date: Nov 2013
Authors:
Katherine M. Zinsser, Roger P. Weissberg, and Linda Dusenbury
Synopsis:

Alignment of standards requires more than just addressing the developmental continuum of specific domains of children's learning, it also requires aligning those domains -- in particular, aligning social and emotional skills with content-based skills. This brief discusses the importance of social and emotional learning (SEL) for children's early and sustained success, as well as key characteristics of high-quality SEL standards that are aligned from preschool through high school.

Publication Date: Mar 2017
Authors:
Stephanie Jones, Katharine Brush, Rebecca Bailey, Gretchen Brion-Meisels, Joseph McIntyre, Jennifer Kahn, Bryan Nelson, and Laura Stickle
Synopsis:

This in-depth guide to 25 evidence-based programs—aimed at elementary schools and out-of-school-time (OST) providers—offers information about curricular content and programmatic features that practitioners can use to make informed choices about their Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) efforts. The guide allows practitioners to compare curricula and methods across top SEL programs. It also explains how programs can be adapted from schools to out-of-school-time settings, such as afterschool and summer programs. 

Overview of Issues

Publication Date: Jan 2009
Authors:
Rebecca New, Sharon Palsha, Sharon Ritchie
Synopsis:

The aim of the FirstSchool curriculum framework is to ensure an effective, essential, and ethical curriculum for all children in PreK-3rd grade. This framework calls for instruction that responds to children's curiosities and respects their lives both inside and out of the classroom; attends carefully to the tentative balance between a rigorous and challenging curriculum, and one that has personal relevance; involves families in children's learning; and utilizes relationships among adults and children to support projects of inquiry.

Publication Date: Jan 2008
Authors:
Washington State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Synopsis:

This guide provides a clear overview of the different purposes for assessing young children from birth through age 8. It also provides a comprehensive compendium of assessment instruments. This guide is intended for use by professional in positions of program-level responsibility for developing comprehensive assessment plans, and selecting and administering assessment instruments. The document can also be used as a resource for designing professional development for program administrators responsible for assessment. Although published by the State of Washington, the guide has direct applicability to administrators in every state and locality.

State-Level Perspectives

Publication Date: Dec 2015
Authors:
Shannon Riley-Ayers, Sharon Ryan
Synopsis:

The First through Third Grade Implementation Guidelines are a resource for primary teachers to empower them to teach in developmentally appropriate ways. These guidelines provide information on early childhood development and developmentally appropriate practice; appropriate learning environments for early learners; early learning content; teaching and instructional strategies; and teacher eveluation and classroom observation measures. 

Publication Date: Jan 2012
Authors:
Washington State Department of Early Learning, State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Thrive by Five Washington
Synopsis:

These early learning guidelines, from the State of Washington's Offices of Early Learning and Office of Public Instruction, provide instruction, resources, and direction on learning goals for children from birth to eight years old. 

Publication Date: Sep 2009
Authors:
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Synopsis:

This guide was designed to be a major resource and tool for early education professionals, using both updated research and long-standing best practices.