Getting It Right From the Start: The Principal's Guide to Early Childhood Education

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To ensure that young children are ready to enter kindergarten, elementary schools are becoming increasingly involved in early childhood education (ECE), and more and more principals have to deal with ECE issues. Now this practical manual shows principals what successful ECE programs look like-and how to achieve quality results in their schools and communities.
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Editorial Reviews

Ramona Miller
"Provides administrators with an easy-to-follow, detailed road map for a better understanding of early childhood education. For some quick information for the meeting, check out the Principal’s Role section. It is a superb resource, while the chapter provides the entire substance of developing the program. "
Harriet A. Egertson
"In one relatively small volume, the authors have organized information on just about everything a school leader needs to get a well-designed program off the ground and to make sure it will get better as time goes on. A particular strength of the book is its effectiveness in defining the years of preschool through third grade as a cohesive unit within the school. This is especially evident in the extensive chapter on assessment. The book will have value for both current practitioners and those preparing to become elementary administrators. "
Ginger L. Zierdt
"The day of preschool-aged children fully immersed in the public schools will be as common as kindergarten in the very near future. (And in many states, that day is here!) As principals prepare to embrace and successfully guide the addition of preschool children, families, and staff, they will need support and guidance in their new role as an early childhood/elementary principal. This book provides principals with exceptional support, guidance, and action plans to make their transition seamless. "
Lisa St. Clair
“This book is a tremendous resource for principals. As a former elementary principal, I wish I could have had this book in my hands then to help me better understand and support the preschool classrooms in my building! This book will help principals better understand the components of learning through play, intentional design of classroom environments to foster learning, and the value of partnering with families.”
Christi Roach
"As a former principal, I was informed one year that I would open four 4-year-old classrooms in August of the next year. I understood developmentally appropriate practices and the abiding need to hire terrific early childhood teachers and teaching assistants. What I did not have in my toolbox were the structural components, such as how to create a daily schedule; how and where to provide for students' personal needs (eating, toileting, playing, transporting, etc.); and how to assess student progress and communicate effectively with parents. This guide would have supported my own learning and eased my sense of frustration in not providing adequate leadership for my team. This book offers school leaders a foundational resource of best practices and research that can support an immediate need. "
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412949507
  • Publisher: Corwin Press
  • Publication date: 3/24/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Sales rank: 715,813
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Marjorie J. Kostelnik began her career in early childhood education as a Head Start teacher and has been involved in educating children and teachers ever since. She was on the faculty at Michigan State for 22 years, serving 12 years as program supervisor of the Child Development Laboratories and then as chair of the Department of Family and Child Ecology. During her time in Michigan, she worked with early childhood educators in more than 100 programs developing curriculum, enhancing children’s school readiness, and working with teachers to develop positive child guidance strategies. An author of 16 books, Kostelnik arrived at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2001, where she is now serving as dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. A former vice president of NAEYC, Kostelnik currently serves on the Lincoln Public Schools Community Learning Center Advisory Board and the State of Nebraska Early Childhood Interagency Coordinating Council. She received her master’s degree and doctorate in human development and family studies from Penn State.

Marilyn L. Grady, is professor of educational administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She is the author or coauthor of 23 books, including From Difficult Teachers to Dynamic Teamwork (2009) with Brock, Getting it Right from the Start (2009) with Kostelnik From First Year to First Rate (2007) with Brock, 194 High-Impact Letters for Busy Principals (2006), 20 Biggest Mistakes Principals Make and How to Avoid Them (2004) and Launching Your First Principalship (2004) with Brock. Her research areas include leadership, the principalship, and superintendent-board relations. She has more than 175 publications to her credit. She is the editor of the Journal of Women in Educational Leadership. Her editorial board service has included Educational Administration Quarterly, International Studies in Educational Administration, International Journal of Learning, Rural Educator, Journal of At-Risk Issues, Journal of School Leadership, Advancing Women in Leadership On-Line Journal, Journal for Rural School and Community Renewal, International Journal of Learning, and Journal for a Just and Caring Education. She is the recipient of the Stanley Brzezinski Research Award, NCPEA’s Living Legend Award, the Donald R. and Mary Lee Swanson Award for Teaching Excellence, UNL’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and UNL’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Status of Women.

Grady coordinates an annual conference on women in educational leadership that attracts national attendance and is in its 24th year. She has been an administrator in K-12 schools as well as at the college and university levels. She received her bachelor’s degree in history from Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and her doctorate in educational administration with a specialty in leadership from The Ohio State University.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments ix

About the Authors xi

1 Early Childhood Education: An Expanding Enterprise! 1

Why the Push for Prekindergarten? 2

Increasing Family Demand 2

Early Learning Imperatives 4

The Marvel of Early Brain Development 5

Children at Risk of School Failure 6

Early Childhood Education: A Sound Investment 14

Principals' Roles: Laying the Groundwork 18

2 Quality Makes All the Difference 19

Distinguishing Quality in Early Childhood Settings 19

The Corrosive Impact of Poor Quality 21

High Quality Defined 22

Leadership and High Quality 24

Becoming an Early Childhood Leader 25

One Principal's Experience 25

Using the Early Childhood Administrative Pyramid to Reflect on Your Own Practices 28

Principals' Roles: Achieving High Quality 29

3 Breaking New Ground: Getting Involved in Early Childhood Education 31

What Exactly Is Early Childhood Education? 32

Becoming Familiar With Early Childhood Culture 38

School Principals as Culture Brokers 54

Principals' Roles: Getting Involved in Early Childhood Education 57

4 Early Childhood Education: Stakeholders 59

Identifying the Stakeholders 59

Collaboration 66

Principals' Roles: Working With Stakeholders 70

5 Developmentally Appropriate Practice 71

Fundamental Principles of DAP 72

Developmentally Inappropriate Practice 83

Applying DAP Requires Judgment 85

The Sounds of DAP! 86

Empirical Support for DAP 87

Common Questions About DAP 89

Principals' Roles: Supporting DAP 95

6 What Principals Need to Know About How Young Children Develop and Learn 98

The Essential Nature of Young Children 99

How Young Children Develop 100

How YoungChildren Learn 107

What Young Children Are Learning 121

Principals' Roles: Supporting Development and Learning 124

7 Early Childhood Curriculum 127

What Is the Early Childhood Curriculum? 128

"Goodness of Fit" Between Early Learning and Later Schooling 134

Implementing the Early Childhood Curriculum 138

Activities You Should Expect to See in Early Childhood Classrooms 139

Principals' Roles: Curriculum Development 145

8 Learning Centers and Classroom Routines 147

Typical Learning Centers for Young Children 149

Skills Teachers Need to Run Effective Centers 154

How Classroom Routines Support Curricular Goals 155

A Typical Day for Children 158

Principals' Roles: Centers and Routines 161

9 Assessing Young Children's Learning 162

The Need for Early Childhood Assessment 163

Key Considerations 163

Authentic Assessment 167

Strategies to Guide Learning and Improve Instruction 168

Strategies for Identifying Children's Special Needs 183

Assessing Early Childhood Programs and Learning Contexts 185

Pros and Cons of Standardized Tests in Early Childhood 185

Principals' Roles: Promoting Authentic Assessment 189

10 Early Childhood Education: Family Involvement 191

Through the Eyes of the Families 193

Looking Inside and Looking Outside 196

Suggestions for Families 197

Through the Eyes of Teachers 198

Parents Want Communication With the School 199

Family Roles 200

Principals' Roles: Family Involvement 201

11 Early Childhood Teachers 202

Teachers Matter 203

The Critical Function of Principals 204

Characteristics of "Good" Teachers 204

Formal Teacher Qualifications 206

Translating Teacher Standards Into Practice 207

Principals' Roles: Supporting Early Childhood Teachers 217

12 Finding and Keeping Good Teachers 219

Observing Teacher Candidates With Children 219

Addressing the Shortage of Qualified Early Childhood Teachers 220

Seeking Teachers to Work Effectively With Diverse Children and Families 222

Reducing Staff Turnover 226

Stable Staffing and Adult-to-Child Ratios 231

Principals' Roles: Hiring and Retaining Good Teachers 232

13 Physical Environments That Support Early Learning 233

The Importance of the Physical Environment to Young Children 233

Environmental Competence 234

Environmental Propositions 234

How Physical Environments Influence Child Development and Learning 238

Social-Emotional Development 239

Cognitive Development 242

Language Development 242

Physical Development 243

Fundamentals of Environmental Planning 244

Physical Requirements of Activity-Based Instruction 247

Equipping Early Childhood Classrooms 250

The Great Outdoors! 256

Principals' Roles: Creating Optimal Early Learning Environments 259

14 Early Childhood Education: Funding 261

Funding Sources 262

History of Federal Funding 263

State Funding 265

Local Funding 274

Start-Up Costs 275

Administrator Voices 277

Principals' Roles: Funding 279

15 Action Summary 282

Resources 291

Tool A Learning Center Checklist 291

Tool B Key Instruments Used Nationally for Evaluation of Children in Early Childhood Education Programs 293

Tool C Daily Literacy Checklist: Preschool Through Grade 3 296

Tool D Daily Numeracy Checklist: Preschool Through Grade 3 297

Tool E Guidelines for Structuring Informative On-Site Observations 298

Tool F Sample Interview Questions for Teacher Candidates 300

Tool G Early Childhood Safety and Health Checklist 302

Tool H Physical Requirements of Small-Group Activity Centers 305

Tool I Early Childhood Education Classroom Equipment List 307

Tool J Indoor Environment Checklist 310

References 312

Index 323

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