More funding is needed to achieve greater curriculum alignment between preschool and the early school years, so that what students learn in kindergarten through 3rd grade builds on what they learned in preschool, a new study says.
Strong leadership by district officials knowledgeable about quality preschool education is another key to making alignment work, said the study by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE), a nonpartisan research group based at Stanford University, UC Davis and the University of Southern California.
Preschool has increasingly come to be viewed as an essential component of an effective education, particularly for lower-income children; that has spurred widespread discussion about the need to align preschool curricula with that of kindergarten and beyond. But consensus on how to define and establish alignment hasn’t been reached.
An array of California educators whom researchers interviewed for the study – titled “PreK-3 Alignment in California’s Education System: Obstacles and Opportunities” – described alignment as “a continuum” and “having shared goals and expectations across grades.”