According to a recent report from New America, the Boston Public Schools have improved learning outcomes among students in pre-k through second grade by developing a curriculum that connects seamlessly from one year to the next. As pre-k teachers researched and developed plans to provide "equitable learning opportunities, culturally sustaining practices, and high expectations for what young children can learn," they realized that whatever skills the children learned would be lost unless their plans were implemented and sustained in kindergarten, first and second grades.
The teachers understood that for these plans to continually improve, they needed to included data from teachers, parents and instructional coaches. With the plans' emphasis on the interactions between students and teachers, it was important to provide guided professional development. Thus, the Boston school system has been bringing teachers together during the summer to discuss the needs and learning styles of their students.
In time, these newly developed plans for improved learning earned the titles, Focus on K2, Focus on First, and Focus on Second, each using a similar format as that used in the pre-K classroom and all aligned from kindergarten through second grade whereby skills build upon each other from the previous year. The current programs give students opportunities to engage in a variety of activities involving peer collaboration, using independent literacy stations and telling stories that are then acted out. In addition, students practice a "Thinking and Feedback Protocol," an activity that encourages active listening, sharing and caring about others through peer evaluation of student projects.
The New America report mentions that Boston, as well as other districts, still need to garner support from principals. In order for these plans for improved learning to succeed, principals need to become more knowledgeable about the importance of early childhood education.
Focus on K2 is a comprehensive, integrated curriculum that combines the most current research on teaching and learning and supports the high standards for achievement put forth in the Common Core State Standards. To learn more about his curriculum visit https://www.bpsearlylearning.org/focus-on-k2/.
Visit http://correlation.edgate.com/ to learn more about Common Core Standards and EdGate's continually updated repository of Early Childhood Education standards, which includes all U.S. States, Washington D.C. and Head Start for students ages 0 to 5.
By: Alex Alo