[Curriculum Directors] Utah Early Childhood Standards

Cook, Tricia M. Tricia.Cook at schools.utah.gov
Tue Jan 24 16:55:03 MST 2012

Dear Superintendents, Charter School Directors, Curriculum Directors and Specialists,

On January 12, 2012, the Utah State Office of Education presented the Utah Early Childhood Standards (UECS) to the Utah State Board of Education Curriculum Committee. Tiffany Hall, Director of Literacy K-12, presented the Standards to the committee.

We welcome your comments on the Standards, and have an online comment form on the website. The Standards can be found on the USOE Preschool/Kindergarten web site http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/preschoolkindergarten/default.aspx/.

These Standards were created by a committee of more than 30 childhood education experts drawn from districts, universities, private advocacy organizations, and state entities. The UECS articulate Preschool Foundational Standards and Kindergarten Readiness Standards that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards. They are intended for preschool teachers and child care providers in public schools and daycare centers to help improve kindergarten transition, increase readiness, and reduce achievement gaps. These Standards will not be used to exclude students from Kindergarten. They are inclusive of all children, and when implemented, they will guide experiences that build on each child's current strengths, knowledge, and skills.

The Standards are built on some very important assumptions:

*         Parents are a child's first and most influential teachers. Parents provide the foundational role in a child's learning and achievement. When parents are supported by knowledgeable and supportive caregivers and teachers, the child continues to benefit.

*         The UECS will guide caregivers in selecting developmentally appropriate practices that support the natural curiosity and growth of children.

*         The UECS are specific enough to guide learning, but general enough to reflect each child as an individual. They reflect the hope that every child has daily opportunities to participate in optimal and individual learning experiences.

*         And most importantly, children learn best through enjoyable interactions. Children need to explore their world through active play. Learning activities should capitalize on children's natural curiosity and desire to learn.

The Standards are divided into six general learning areas: (1) Language and Literacy, (2) Mathematics, (3) Approaches to Learning and Science, (4) Social Emotional development and Social Studies, (5) Creative Arts, and (6) Physical, Health, and Safety. Each section was designed to scaffold development and support children in being prepared for Kindergarten based on the Utah Common Core for Reading and Mathematics and the Utah Core for the remaining subjects. The "End of Kindergarten" column in each section is the language from the appropriate approved Core documents.

We will continue to expand this document to make it more useful to preschool teachers and caregivers by developing exemplary strategies and activities to support the Standards.

Again, the Standards can be found on the USOE Preschool/Kindergarten web site http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/preschoolkindergarten/default.aspx. Please encourage your early readiness teachers, parents, and other involved stakeholders to review the standards and submit their comments.

Thank you.
Susan J. Okroy
Literacy Tutoring Specialist/Early Childhood Specialist
Utah State Office of Education
250 East 500 South
PO Box 144200
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200
(801) 538-7765
susan.okroy at schools.utah.gov<mailto:susan.okroy at schools.utah.gov>

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