NEA Teams Up to Promote the K in K-12
NEA is teaming up with five other leading national education organizations to promote the importance of kindergarten and to highlight their organizations' work to influence policy and promote best practices within kindergarten classrooms.
In addition to NEA, the participating partners are the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Education Commission of the States (ECS), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
To begin their collaborative effort, the partners affirmed the following set of research-based principles for identifying the components of excellent kindergarten programs.
At their best, kindergarten programs
- Partner with community early childhood programs to create smooth and effective transitions for kindergarten children and their families
- Prepare to support the learning of all children, whatever their earlier experiences, environments, cultures, languages, abilities, or disabilities
- Are staffed by degreed, certified educators who have high-quality professional preparation and relevant training or experience in the developmental and educational needs of young children
- Are guided by early learning standards that emphasize the concepts and skills appropriate to and important for the kindergarten year
- Maintain class sizes sufficient to facilitate high-quality teaching
- Implement a coherent, research-based curriculum delivered through evidence-based teaching practices that incorporate adult-guided and child-initiated experiences, play, physical activity, and social interaction
- Foster the nurturing relationships and interactions between children and teachers that build the foundations for children's later learning
- Systematically assess children's strengths, needs, and progress with multiple tools that are developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate; analyze results, and use those data to inform teaching
- Create respectful relationships with families to support children's learning as well as work with families to help identify comprehensive services needed to promote kindergartners' positive development and learning
- Promote children's enthusiasm, initiative, persistence, and engagement in learning
- Respond to the unique interests, learning styles, and developmental characteristics of children in their kindergarten year
For more information about this effort and the participating groups, read Why We Care About the K in K-12 prepared by NAEYC that was originally published in the March 2005 issue of Young Children.