This brief identifies important elements of high-quality early childhood education programs as indicated by research and professional standards. These include:
• Early learning standards and curricula that address the whole child, are developmentally appropriate, and are effectively implemented.
• Assessments that consider children’s academic, social-emotional, and physical progress and contribute to instructional and program planning.
• Well-prepared teachers who provide engaging interactions and classroom environments that support learning.
• Ongoing support for teachers, including coaching and mentoring.
• Support for English learners and students with special needs.
• Meaningful family engagement.
• Sufficient learning time.
• Small class sizes with low student teacher ratios.
• Program assessments that measure structural quality and classroom interactions.
• A well-implemented state quality rating and improvement system.
These high-quality building blocks should be at the forefront in revising California’s early childhood education system.