The value of early education is imperative to the future academic success and the growth of children’s intellectual development. Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning: Comprehensive Standards for Four-Year-Olds provides a measurable range of skills and knowledge essential for four-year-olds to be successful in kindergarten.
The purpose of this document is to provide early childhood educators a set of minimum standards in literacy, mathematics, science. history and social science, health and physical development, personal and social development. music. and the visual arts, with indicators of success for entering kindergarten that are derived from scientifically-based research. The standards reflect a consensus of children’s conceptual learning. acquisition of basic knowledge. and participation in meaningful and relevant learning experiences. The standards are aligned with Virginia’s Kindergarten Standards of Learning (SOL) and Virginia’s Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS).
The material is organized for use as a tool for early childhood educators in developing curriculum and meaningful classroom activities for every child. Observant and responsive teachers adapt the curriculum. learning environment. and materials and equipment to meet the needs of children with disabilities and developmental delays. with special
health care needs, children who are homeless, children who are English Language Learners, and children who are gifted. The type of instructional activities typically present in early childhood programs facilitate this development . Some examples of such activities are: using real-life. hands-on activities. repetition. visual representation. and experiential activities. All of these activities provide a context for meaningful learning necessary for all children. but especially critical for English Language Learners and children with special needs.
Each Foundation Block is in box format and is organized to build towards the Virginia Kindergarten Standards of Learning. Following the boxes are expectation indicators for the Foundation Blocks. Sample teaching activities are included to assist teachers in the planning of meaningful classroom activities. Helpful definitions and references to national consensus documents and resources are listed in the back of this document.
Although subject area blocks are presented separately, teachers should emphasize integration of learning across subjects. Many of the sample activities show how teachers can integrate experiences for young children across subject areas effectively. For example. supporting enriched language experiences within science and social
studies can provide children with the opportunity to increase vocabulary development through meaningful conversation. Curriculum integration enables preschool teachers to identify the connections within and among the content areas. and to provide a relevant context for children’s engagement in learning.
Self-regulation is emerging as a strong predictor of school achievement and is a priority focus area along with literacy and mathematics. Social development is supported when children participate in small and large group learning activities and engage in positive interactions with teachers and peers. The priority is to encourage growing independence through a broad range of activities and experiences that promote children’s developing competence . The Foundation
Blocks provide practical application within and across content areas to promote quality teaching and learning.