How Policymakers Can Find ‘Common Ground’: Early Childhood Learning

How Policymakers Can Find ‘Common Ground’: Early Childhood Learning

With the extreme partisanship we see in government and politics today, one area recently emerged where policymakers came together to find common ground: Early childhood learning.

The conferences were hosted by New America, which characterizes itself as “a new kind of think and action tank: a civic platform that connects a research institute, technology lab, solutions network, media hub and public forum.” They took place over the last two years where “more than 30 individuals from top-level research organizations, early learning programs, and advocacy organizations came together at New America to distill years of research on what it takes to provide a quality pre-K experience for three- and four-year-old children.”

Now the outcomes from those conferences have been published, which New America outlines in an overview titled “3 Practices and 3 Policies Indispensable for Quality Pre-K.” These practices and policies are meant “to assist policymakers and political candidates interested in promoting the importance of quality in pre-K, as well as for state education leaders who aim to improve their early learning systems.”

These statements — which were nicknamed  3+3 Indispensables — include:

3 Practices

  • Engage in positive interactions with children and their families, recognizing the strengths and diversity of their backgrounds.
  • Use learning trajectories in subject areas and domains, supported by effective curricula, to help children meet goals in learning and development.
  • Promote children’s social development and self-regulation in ways that reflect an understanding of the multiple biological and environmental factors that affect behavior.

3 Policies

  • Allocate increased, predictable, and sustainable funding to establish the conditions necessary for high-quality teaching and learning.
  • Provide educators with professional learning (pre-service and in-service) based at a minimum on the 3 Indispensable Practices and on in-service opportunities aligned with the definition of professional development in the Every Student Succeeds Act.
  • Use high-quality data to promote continuous quality improvement and better continuity from ages 0–3 to pre-K and pre-K to grades K–3.

For more context and background, “the Alliance for Early Success published Indispensables for Quality Pre-K, a website and downloadable two-pager designed to assist policymakers and political candidates interested in promoting the importance of quality in pre-K, as well as for state education leaders who aim to improve their early learning systems.”