Applying Psychological Science, Benefiting Society

Follow the Yellow Brick Road: A New Tool to Find Useful Early Childhood Resources

Preschool teacher with several students

By Roseanne Flores, PhD (Member, APA Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education)

Stephanie is an early childhood educator who needs to implement the Early Learning Guidelines (ELGs) in her classroom. ELGs identify the developmental and learning outcomes and goals that children should achieve by the end of pre-school. Most states have adapted some form of ELGs built upon the domains outlined in the Head Start Child Developmental and Early Learning Framework. This year because of the economic downturn in her community, Stephanie has been informed that she may have more children in her classroom who may be experiencing homelessness. Stephanie would like to find resources to assist her work with these children and their families yet she’s finding it difficult to locate them in one place. The Education Director for Stephanie’s program has just returned from a workshop where she heard about wonderful work being done in another state with children and families experiencing homelessness. However, she too is having difficulty helping Stephanie locate the information. Stephanie is also a parent. She has been asked on many occasions by other parents where to find quality early childhood programs in their community so they can decide which program their child should attend. Again she has been stumped in her response.

Are you like Stephanie?

Are you an early childhood educator or administrator looking for resources to support your implementation of ELGs for your state?

Are you a parent who would like to learn more about what it means for your child to attend a quality early childhood program?

Well, look no more. The APA Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education has developed the Early Learning Guideline Toolkit to help those with an interest in early childhood (whether professionals or parents) to navigate through the myriad of available resources.

The Toolkit divides resources for programs and practices for the ELGs into four categories:

  1. Not Researched – Practices that have not been validated by research. They include resources where other early childhood professionals have posted practices they use in their own classrooms as well as practices without any evident research basis. 
  2. Research-Based – Programs/practices developed using “empirical findings derived from systematic analysis of information, guided by purposeful research questions and methods.”[i]
  3. Evidence-Based – These are programs/practices “with demonstrated impact in randomized controlled trials.”[ii]
  4. Directories/Clearinghouses – These are interactive databases or stable documents where programs or strategies relating to the early childhood domains have been researched, evaluated, and categorized based on level of effectiveness.

The Toolkit also links to the Prekindergarten ELGs and resources by state; resources for early childhood educators working with Special Populations; and the list of states receiving Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge funds.

So whether you are a brand new early childhood educator, a seasoned early childhood professional, an administrator, or a parent the Early Learning Guideline Toolkit was designed with you in mind. Use it in your quest along the yellow brick road for early childhood resources that aid in providing a quality education for all young children.

[i] Tseng, V. (2012, p. 10). The uses of research in policy and practice. Social Policy Report, 26(2), 1-16. Retrieved from http://www.wtgrantfoundation.org/news/foundation_news/the-uses-of-research-in-policy-and-practice-social-policy-report

[ii] Tseng, V. (2012, p. 11).

 

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