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Early Learning

Resources

See below for information on the following kindergarten related resources:


Program Quality

Fostering Learning in the Early Years:

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Elements of High Quality Kindergarten
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Elements of High Quality Elementary Classrooms
These resources were jointly developed by staff from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department), and the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), as well as Early Childhood Coordinators from public school districts across the Commonwealth. While aligned with EEC's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for preschool programs, these documents provide a framework for thinking about how to support elementary students (Kindergarten through Grade 3) in meeting high standards through the provision of developmentally appropriate classroom practices. The documents also provide a melding of evidence-based practices in the early grades by pulling from a number of current resources.

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Self Assessment (Kindergarten)
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Self Assessment (Elementary Classrooms)
These self-assessment documents are companion tools developed for use with Fostering Learning in the Early Years: Elements of High Quality Kindergarten and Elements of High Quality Elementary Classrooms (see above). Specifically, these tools were created to assist districts in reflecting and assessing on the extent to which district, school and classroom practices are aligned with the indicators outlined in the aforementioned documents.

Standards

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MA Preschool and Kindergarten Social and Emotional Learning and Approaches to Play and Learning Standards
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education recently approved Standards for Preschool and Kindergarten in the Domains of Social and Emotional Learning, and Approaches to Play and Learning, for voluntary use by districts and schools. These Standards were developed as a collaborative initiative with the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the University of Massachusetts/Boston with funding from the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant. The standards bring attention to critical areas of development and learning that positively impact student outcomes and can be used to guide efforts to strengthen curriculum, instruction, assessment, professional development and family engagement.

The Social and Emotional Learning Standards focus on the following five areas: Self-Knowledge, Self-Management, Social Knowledge, Relationship Skills, and Responsible Decision-Making. The Approaches to Play and Learning Standards focus on the following eight areas: Initiative, Curiosity, Engagement/Persistence, Creativity, Cooperative Play and Learning, Problem Solving, Organizational Skills, and Memory.

The Standards give the field a framework for supporting the development of these important competencies and should be considered in the context of the larger developmental continuum for these two domains. In moving forward, the Department of Early Education and Care and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education are currently working with a vendor to plan and offer professional development on the Standards in 2016.

The standards are available in multiple languages:
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SEL/APL Standards — Chinese
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SEL/APL Standards — Haitian Creole
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SEL/APL Standards — Portuguese
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SEL/APL Standards — Spanish

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Building Supportive Environments
Supporting children's social and emotional learning and approaches to play and learning should be embedded across all developmental domains and all curriculum areas. "Building Supportive Environments" is a companion document to the Massachusetts' Standards for Preschool and Kindergarten Social and Emotional Learning and Approaches to Play and Learning that provides guidance on creating the conditions for effective use of the Standards.

Curriculum

The Massachusetts Guidelines for Preschool and Kindergarten Learning Experiences (GPKLE) is in the final stages of revision, and will be posted here once available.

Screening, Assessment, and Data

Screening and Assessment Statements

The screening and assessment statements below were jointly developed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Early Learning Team and Early Learning Program Quality Workgroup (PQW) along with staff from the Department of Early Education and Care and the Department of Higher Education. These position statements are designed to be guidance documents only.

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Screening Statement
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Assessment Statement

Data Related

Student Information Management System (SIMS) Early Childhood Data Element (DOE050)

The October 1 SIMS data collection now includes the data element: Early Childhood Education Experience (DOE050). The purpose of including this new data element is to gather information on the number of children who enter kindergarten with an early childhood experience as well as the nature of those experiences. It is expected that these data will be used to inform school districts and the state about the types of experiences with which children in each district enter kindergarten, and to provide greater support for alignment of educational experiences across the birth to grade 3 learning continuum.

Additional guidance and instructions can be found in the SIMS Early Childhood Experience Data Element Training Materials Download Word Document.

Family Surveys:

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Arabic
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Chinese
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English
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Haitian Creole
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Khmer
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Portuguese
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Spanish

Kindergarten Enrollment:

Kindergarten Enrollment Report — This report includes the kindergarten enrollment for students in public schools and charter schools in the state, including part-time, full-time, and tuitioned enrollment.


Newsletters

Use this form to sign up for Prek-3rd Grade Learning Updates.

Recent newsletters:

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June 2018
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October 2018

For copies of previous newsletters, email achievement@doe.mass.edu.


Useful Links and Documents

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Kindergarten Entry Dates, by Massachusetts District
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Quality Standards for Public School Operated School-Age Child Care Programs

Resources and information about Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) are available on the Office of Special Education Planning and Policy's website. ECSE services are designed for young children (aged 3-5) with disabilities who need specially designed instruction or related services and whose disability(ies) causes the children to be unable to participate in developmentally appropriate typical preschool activities. ECSE programs ensure that children with disabilities have a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) that is designed to meet their unique needs and enable them to make progress in acquiring knowledge and skills, including social emotional skills, within the general education program.

A Framework for Planning, Implementing and Evaluating PreK-3rd Grade Approaches is a self assessment tool for communities and/or districts to use in determining their progress and success in PreK-3 efforts (developed by Kauerz and Coffman from the University of Washington). The Framework helps to address key questions facing those who are developing PreK-3rd grade approaches in their school, district, or community.

Organizations and Agencies

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The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care
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The Council of Chief State School Officers' (CCCSO) Early Childhood Assessment Consortium has resources on early childhood standards and assessment.
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Education Commission of the States has information on kindergarten and other elementary school issues including a recent report entitled "K-3 Policymakers' Guide to Action: Making the early years count".
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The National Association of Early Childhood Specialists in State Departments of Education has several position papers available on assessment, standards, and curriculum.
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National Association for the Education of Young Children has information about Accreditation and other early education issues.
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The Foundation for Child Development has a program initiative focused on PK-3: A New Beginning for Publicly Supported Education.
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The National Institute for Early Education Research has online reports that focus on early education research topics, including a report titled "Making the Most of Kindergarten: Present Trends and Future Issues in the Provision of Full-day Programs."


Last Updated: August 22, 2019
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