Ten Elements of Educational Alignment
Educational Alignment Framework for Young Children
Local leaders can bring together key stakeholders to improve early education and strengthen local schools, provide better alignment between community based early education, and school-based learning, and improve transitions as children move from one level to the next.
Ten key elements of this work include:
- Formal partnerships or governance structures to develop common definitions and goals and take joint action to implement a high quality, aligned system with blended or braided funding from a variety of sources.
- Access to quality early education in a variety of settings to ensure that young children enter school prepared to succeed.
- School quality and organization to improve access to full-day kindergarten, support developmentally-appropriate room designs and teaching practices, and promote communication and collaboration among the early grades.
- Alignment of standards, curricula, teaching practices, and assessments (with a focus on both social competence and academic skills) that build on what children have learned and how they have learned it from one level to the next.
- Communication and data sharing to allow parents, early educators, teachers, and service providers access to common information that will improve how each supports the learning and development of the children in their care.
- Qualified teachers and administrators, including efforts to ensure that early educators in all settings have a Bachelors degree and specialized early childhood training, as well as ongoing professional development.
- Parent engagement and family support to develop shared educational goals for children, support parents in their role as a child’s first (and continuing) teacher and help children and parents access the full-range of services, including health and mental health services.
- Programs to facilitate smooth transitions to school by making children and parents feel comfortable and welcome in the new school environment.
- Public awareness of the importance of the early education to increase the value that parents and other members of the community place on high quality education from the earliest years through post-secondary success.
- Funding strategies that help communities generate sufficient resources – in some cases by blending and braiding a variety of funding streams – to meet the needs of young children from birth through age eight.