I was sitting in a meeting recently with a group educators and we were talking about the impact of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) on early childhood. I mentioned that I had spent the summer on a state committee looking at our preschool language arts standards and making sure they are preparing a child for success in meeting the new standards when she attends kindergarten. Our committee discovered that our preschool standards were very strong in preparing a child for that success. We also discovered, however, that we did need to change some terminology and begin to help educators make that smooth transition from preschool to the CCSS in kindergarten. We also learned that it will be good practice to begin to talk more about fiction, non-fiction and the writing process, which in preschool is drawing and responding to stories and texts. The CCSS is a different direction, but in my opinion, a good direction. Through those standards we can help children delve more into the reading and writing process and more thoroughly understand the printed word. I hope early childhood educators will help children in this learning process and realize that remaining developmentally appropriate will help children be successful with these new standards.
I am currently working on a committee for my state to see how closely our preschool standards are aligned in preparing children for the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for kindergarten. It is always delightful to work with a group that is in tune with what is developmentally appropriate for early childhood children. A number of times during our meetings we have come to the conclusion that it is most appropriate for a certain skill to begin in kindergarten, not preschool. It has also been a pleasant discovery to find that our state preschool standards are providing adequate preparation for most kindergarten skills that are in the CCSS.
While serving on this committee, I have expressed my desire that we provide a usable document that an early childhood teacher can use “at a glance” to prepare her lesson plans. Sometimes we create large documents that many teachers do not take the time to read completely or we use terminology that is not always easy to understand. While I think it is critical for us to create a solid complete document, I also think it is important to have a simpler road map for teachers to use on a daily basis. Unfortunately, teachers don’t always have access to complete professional development to help them ‘decipher the code’ of a government document. Hence, my request that we make a document usable for the masses. We must do that if we want the standards taught regularly in the classroom.