The Building Blocks of High-Quality Early Childhood Education Programs

This brief identifies important elements of high-quality early childhood education programs as indicated by research and professional standards. These include:
  • Early learning standards and curricula that address the whole child, are developmentally appropriate, and are effectively implemented.
  • Assessments that consider children’s academic, social-emotional, and physical progress and contribute to instructional and program planning.
  • Well-prepared teachers who provide engaging interactions and classroom environments that support learning.
  • Ongoing support for teachers, including coaching and mentoring.
  • Support for English learners and students with special needs.
  • Meaningful family engagement.
  • Sufficient learning time.
  • Small class sizes with low studentteacher ratios.
  • Program assessments that measure structural quality and classroom interactions.
  • A well-implemented state quality rating and improvement system.
These high-quality building blocks should be at the forefront in revising California’s early childhood education system.