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New Study Shows Seven Core Principles Advance Equity and Promote High-Quality Early Learning

New research from The City College of New York (CUNY) and Teachers College at Columbia University illustrates seven principles of practice that offer an expanded definition for “high-quality early learning.” They recognize the promise and possibility of children's lives, ensuring that the lived experiences of those who have historically been underserved and the growing numbers of multilingual children and children of color in our country are represented in their learning environments.

This research was informed by a cross-disciplinary effort that brings together the study of child development and the science of early learning, culturally responsive/relevant pedagogy, and multilingual development, laying the groundwork for better communication between early childhood educators and child development experts and improving practice as a result.

Researchers Beverly Falk and Mariana Souto-Manning and their team conducted a year-long study of nine prekindergarten classrooms representing three different socioeconomic communities in New York City. Their findings illustrate how putting the seven articulated principles into practice promotes high-quality early learning. In their report, Quality UPK Teaching in Diverse Settings, and an accompanying video (Principles for Advancing Equity in NYC UPKs), practices, behaviors, and attitudes are highlighted that are increasingly important as early childhood classrooms become more diverse and as New York City makes good on its promise that children from all backgrounds receive high-quality learning opportunities.

“As our city, state, and country continue to face the impacts of COVID-19, it is significant to note that the principles were observed as important contributions to children’s development across all the different demographic communities,” says Falk.

This research provides a framework that should be used in professional learning. The authors conclude with several recommendations based on the findings:

  1. Learning is more than academics. It also requires care and support for young children and their families including health care, nutrition, counseling, educational opportunities for families, resources to address food insecurity, homelessness, housing needs, rent, violence prevention, abuse, and fostering. Schools/centers should address these supports.
  2. Ensure that all early childhood educators have child development and depth of preparation in early childhood education. This, alongside salary/benefit parity, will support a high-quality and diverse teaching workforce and retain teachers in community-based centers.
  3. Schools and centers need to recruit and sustain the development of teachers who value and reflect the identities, cultures, languages, and backgrounds of the children they teach; schools/centers need to provide professional development to support developmentally appropriate, culturally relevant/sustaining, and multilingual teaching.

Access the full report here

New Study Shows Seven Core Principles Advance Equity and Promote High-Quality Early Learning