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Early Learning

Resources

See below for information on the following kindergarten related resources:

Program Quality

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Fostering Learning in the Early Years: Elements of High Quality Kindergarten
Fostering Learning in the Early Years: Elements of High Quality Kindergarten is a resource that was jointly developed by staff from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (Department), the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), and Early Childhood Coordinators from public school districts across the Commonwealth. While aligned with EEC's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) for preschool programs, this document provides a framework for thinking about how to support kindergarten students (primarily 5 and 6-year olds) in meeting high standards through the provision of developmentally appropriate classroom practices. This document provides a melding of evidence-based practices in the early grades by pulling from a number of different current resources.

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Self Assessment — Elements of High Quality Kindergarten
Self Assessment — Elements of High Quality Kindergarten is is a companion tool that was developed for use with Fostering in the Early Years: Elements of High Quality Kindergarten (see above). Specifically, this tool was created to assist districts in reflecting and assessing on the extent to which district, school and classroom kindergarten practices are aligned with the indicators outlined in the aforementioned Elements of High Quality Kindergarten document.

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 PreK and Kindergarten Learning Experiences documents are currently under revision and will be piloted during the 2017-18 school year. If you would like to receive updates on this work, please sign up for the Early Learning Newsletter (look for Prek-grade 3 learning on the list).

Newsletters

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September 2017
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January 2017
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January 2016
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January 2015
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May 2014
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December 2013
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December 2013
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Spring 2013
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Spring 2012
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December 2011
For copies of previous newsletters, email achievement@doe.mass.edu.

Pre-Kindergarten (PK) through Grade 3 Alignment

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PK-3 Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Alignment Project - Final Report
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education funded the PK-3: Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Alignment Grant initiative in Fiscal Years 2009, 2010, and 2011. The purpose of the grant was to provide districts with an opportunity to take an in-depth look at the extent to which alignment exists within its services and supports for young children, preschool up to grade 3, in the areas of: curriculum, instruction, assessment, leadership and professional development, learning environments, social-emotional development, inclusion, transition, and family engagement.

These documents are based on the learning standards from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. These documents help show how the learning standards might look in a kindergarten curriculum that would lead most children to meet the standards at the expected time; they include examples of learning activities.

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: October 23, 2017
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