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Early Learning Standards
 

Linking Standards to Curriculum and Assessment

Quality early learning environments are essential for preparing children to be successful learners as they go through elementary school. One means of attaining high quality learning environments is to implement curriculum that meets the needs of all children. A curriculum reflects the program's philosophy, goals and objectives for children as well as the guidelines to target children's development in such areas as cognitive, social-emotional, language, and fine and gross motor domains (Freede & Ackerman, 2006). The intent of a curriculum is to provide the framework for what happens within a planned environment to allow for learning and interactions with materials, peers and adults. The curriculum framework also helps to guide the evaluation criteria that are appropriate for the program.
 
The Pennsylvania Learning Standards for Early Childhood are a critical piece for assisting teachers in designing classrooms that meet the developmental needs of children to help them succeed in school. In conjunction with the curriculum, a second equally important piece in an early childhood classroom, is conducting on-going assessments of children. Assessments that are implemented in the classroom and aligned with Pennsylvania's Learning Standards for Early Childhood (birth to 3rd grade) will help inform teachers about designing a curriculum that provides multiple learning opportunities that best suits how each child learns. Developmental assessments allow one to understand a child's competencies and to design learning environments which will help a child grow to his or her developmental potential.
 
Choosing a Curriculum
 
There are many needs to be considered when planning a preschool curriculum. The physical environment should contribute to well -planned activities that can help young learners meet their goals, but it should also allow for spontaneous and unplanned learning to occur.  The following resources from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning helps clarify the fundamentals of assessments in Early Childhood in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The resources advocate and promote the responsible and accurate use of assessments linked with curriculum and Pennsylvania Learning Standards for Early Childhood, so our children’s needs of young learning in an early childhood environment will be met.  
 
Pennsylvania’s guiding principles on early childhood assessments, fundamental knowledge and skills, for educators and professionals
 
  • Guiding principles on early childhood assessments for educators and professionals, birth to age 8 (grade 3)
  • BASICS informational sheets – Basics on assessment systems informs and cultivates success
  • Framework for a comprehensive and aligned assessment system for Pennsylvania
  • Summary tables with common information on each assessment and screening tool examined
Publisher Curricular Alignments to the 2014 Pennsylvania Learning Standards for Early Childhood (in alphabetical order):  Please note the Office of Child Development and Early Learning is not recommending the use of any specific curriculum.
 
Comprehensive Coverage (aligns to ALL domains)
Infant/Toddler
Funshine® Express – Buttercups
HighScope
Kaplan - Learn Every Day
Mother Goose Time
Teaching Strategies® Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers and Twos
5th ed.
Pre-Kindergarten
Funshine® Express – Fireflies
HighScope
Investigator Club®
Pearson – Open the World to Learning (OWL)
Scholastic – Big Day for PreK
Kaplan - Learn Every Day
Teaching Strategies® Creative Curriculum for Preschool
5th ed.
Mother Goose Time
Frog Street Press, Inc. - Frog Street Pre-K
DIG: Develop. Inspire. Grow. ™
Starfall Education – Starfall PreK
Domain Specific Coverage
GrapeSEED - Language and Literacy
I Can Problem Solve (Pre-Kindergarten) - Approaches to Learning through Play, Language and Literacy and Social and Emotional
Children’s Literacy Initiative - Blueprint for Early Literacy (Pre-Kindergarten) Language and Literacy
Investigator Club® (Infant Toddler) - all domains BUT Social Studies
Tools of the Mind - all domains BUT Social Studies
** Please check back often as this listing continues to be updated.
 

Standards Aligned System and ECE 

The Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System (SAS) is a collaborative product of research and good practice that identifies six distinct elements which when utilized together, provide schools and districts a common framework for continuous school and district enhancement and improvement. Much research has been conducted as to what makes a great school. There are many intangible components; however, research supports the notion that great schools and school systems tend to have six common elements that ensure Student Achievement: Clear Standards, Fair Assessments, Curriculum Framework, Instruction, Materials & Resources, and Interventions.
 
Early Childhood professionals in all settings can utilize the Standards and Aligned System to enhance their teaching practice for young children. Experienced teachers will be able to identify their current instructional strategies that incorporate SAS elements and gain greater understanding of how the system offers stronger alignment to the content that children learn as the progress through elementary and secondary school.
 
During 2009, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning created a companion site to the Dept. of Ed Standards Aligned System which offers resources under each SAS element specific to early childhood.
 
Early Learning Professional Community
 
The Office of Child Development and Early Learning has created profession learning community within the PDE SAS portal. This online community provides the opportunity for early childhood practitioners, teachers, and administrators to network and discuss issues related to early childhood education. Anyone who is registered on the PDESAS portal can join the Early Learning PLC through the use of "Teacher Tools."