Significance of Pre-Kindergarten Standards
A growing body of research has focused on the importance of learning in the early years. Publications such as Eager to Learn, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, and From Neurons to Neighborhoods have detailed research that supports the importance of the early years in future student achievement. The No Child Left Behind legislation focuses on the need for accountability in supporting student achievement for all children. The standards movement in the U.S. has articulated key benchmarks for student achievement at each grade level K-12 in academic content areas. These standards have impacted the quality of educational programs and have improved student achievement across the country. Although there has been a focus on the importance of early learning, the standards movement had not included early education until now. Over the past few years organizations such the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the International Reading Association, and The National Council for the Teachers of Mathematics, have provided forums and policy statements concerning the development of standards for Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) learning. Many states have developed standards, or are in the process of development. Through the No Child Left Behind legislation and the Good Start, Grow Smart Initiative, programs supported through the Child Care and Development Fund and the Department of Education will be linked through the development of standards to be used in preschool programs supported and operated through the Nevada Department of Education as well as child care programs supported through the Child Care and Development Fund.
The attached standards are a joint effort supported by both the Nevada Department of Education's Office of Special Education, Elementary and Secondary Education, and School Improvement Programs, aligning with the Nevada K-12 Content Standards, as well as the State of Nevada, Department of Human Resources, Welfare Division; Child Care Assistance Department and the Child Care and Development Fund. Both of these state agencies have been challenged by the Good Start, Grow Smart initiative to work together to develop standards to be used by all early childhood education programs in Nevada as a guide for child outcomes for preschool. Future federal funding will be contingent on the completion and implementation of the Pre-K Content Standards.
The Nevada Pre-K standards describe appropriate outcomes for children at the end of their preschool experience and entering kindergarten. Therefore, when reading the standards one should think in terms of the child's final learning outcome before entering kindergarten. The standards are guidelines to be used with all children in any early education setting such as childcare centers, family childcare homes, Head Start, preschools and school district Pre-K programs.