As children near school age, it’s important for their caregivers and teachers to have a plan in place to ensure that they will be set up for success at the beginning of their academic careers. Preschool, in particular, is an important milestone because it is the last step before children enter kindergarten. So, preschool teachers are uniquely tasked with creating curriculums that will help children transition to school successfully.
To make sure this happens, more and more teachers are implementing preschool common core standards into their lesson plans. In this article, we’re going to discuss what common core standards are, why they were created, and how teachers can use preschool common core standards to set a strong educational foundation for the children in their care.
What are common core standards?
Common core standards are a set of benchmarks outlining what children should reasonably know in mathematics and language arts at each grade level between kindergarten and 12th grade. There are certain things that children need to know to graduate from high school and enter the workforce or pursue higher education. To ensure that every child is learning at a relatively similar rate, common core standards break down these teachings and apply specific educational benchmarks to each grade to set expectations for what children need to know by the end of each school year.
Why were the common core standards created?
For most of the United States history, there hasn’t been a consistent, repeatable standard for what or how children learn. Essentially, government bodies at the state level set their educational standards independently of other states, making curriculums—and the quality of those curriculums—vary widely. And, even in light of mandates like the No Child Left Behind Act, the proficiency standards children were tested against were still vastly different. Because of this, children in the same grade weren’t always guaranteed to have the same access to the knowledge they needed.
Educational stakeholders, like the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association, came together to create a new educational framework that helped set appropriate educational standards that states could adopt to help create better outcomes for children.
How are children evaluated on the common core?
Throughout their education, children are given standardized tests that measure how well they’ve learned and retained what they were taught. The majority of states have created their own testing standards, but others have adopted testing standards from federal nonprofits like the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
How many states use common core standards?
Forty-one states, the District of Columbia, and four territories are currently using common core standards in schools. Though common core standards were originally universally adopted by all states when it was introduced in 2010, since then, several states have repealed the practice.
Why are common core standards important?
Common core initiatives are important because they create consistency. When initially founded, common core standards served to raise the bar for educational standards to create higher education outcomes and establish a firm benchmark that children can be measured against. This ensures that children are learning at a rate that sets them up for future success once they graduate.
The consistency that common care standards create is also important for other real-world-use cases. For example, when a child moves between states, they are not significantly ahead or behind their classmates. This helps them transition more seamlessly and confidently into their new environment.
Preschool common core standards
Early childhood education is the key to future academic success. When children are properly prepared to enter kindergarten, they can make the transition into school confidently. And, this confidence will follow them throughout their academic career.
Preschool is one of the most important parts of early childhood education because it can more actionably prepare children for kindergarten. If your preschool operates in a state that has adopted common core standards, you may want to consider how incorporating preschool common core standards into your lessons can benefit the children in your care.
Although there aren’t standards set specifically for preschools, there are still several things teachers and administrators can do to prepare the children in their care to meet the standards in place at the schools they will enter after preschool.
Read up on the early learning standards for your state
Early learning standards are frameworks for defining children’s developmental goals at certain milestones. During preschool, children hit a ton of milestones, and these standards are important because they help teachers promote holistic growth for the children in the classroom and recommend educational approaches that will ensure that children are prepared to enter kindergarten. Each state has set standards for what teachers should look for in preschoolers, so make sure you know what standards your state mandates.
Promote learning across developmental domains
As children develop, their progress is often measured across four main developmental domains: physical, cognitive, language, and social-emotional. Even though each child will develop at their own unique pace, educators can create lessons and activities that promote learning across all developmental domains and regularly observe and monitor each child’s growth in each area. It’s important for educators to have an understanding of each domain so they can identify any areas where a child might need extra support and watch out for any potential developmental delays. Resources like the Ages and Stages Questionnaire® (ASQ) or a milestone checklist can be used by teachers to track children’s behaviors and detect any delays or concerns early.
Continuously familiarize yourself with common core standards
As you’re teaching your preschoolers, it’s important that you know the current common core standards for kindergarteners in your state. If they shift or change, you’ll be able to shift your curriculum accordingly. You’ll also be able to compare new standards to your children’s development to better assess if they are ready to take the next step in their learning career.
Common core standards have created a necessary framework for consistent, rigorous benchmarks teachers can base their curriculums on. To maximize the effectiveness of the preschool common core standards you create for your classroom, it’s important to understand where your children are developmentally and create lesson plans that work toward those benchmarks. That way, your preschoolers will be equipped to succeed when they enter school.