Early-In Special Education Preschool Program

Foundations: Strategies for Parents

Approaches to Learning/Emotional & Social Development / Health & Physical Development /Language Development & Communication / Cognitive Development
Foundations is the Early Learning Standards developed by the State of North Carolina Department of Public Instruction that guide teachers in the planning and implementation of developmentally appropriate practices and successful learning experiences for young children. In other words, it is a guide to assist teachers in planning quality lessons and classroom activities.

For children to reach their full potential during these early years, adults around them must provide an environment and experiences that promote growth and learning. Foundations is designed to help early educators, parents, and others do just that by describing the particular skills and abilities that are important for children’s success and providing ideas for fostering their development.

Development occurs in predictable patterns. These “Widely Held Expectations” are based on our best knowledge of how children develop, with the understanding that these are broad descriptions and that children will vary. Children with disabilities may exhibit even greater variation in the achievement of developmental milestones.

Children need hands-on learning experiences to develop the skills and knowledge described in the Widely Held Expectations. They learn by doing, and they need time to practice what they are learning, to ask questions, to investigate, and to use what they are learning in their everyday activities.

Families are the first and most consistent teachers children experience in their lives. It is the responsibility of the adults in their lives to provide the environment and experiences needed to develop the characteristics described in the Widely Held Expectations. Children will make the most progress when early educators and families work together. Therefore, each of the developmental domains in this book includes strategies specifically written for parents.

Each of the five developmental domains are listed below. Please follow the links below to read more about various strategies you can use as a parent to help your child learn and grow.

Approaches to Learning-Pondering –Processing, and Applying Experiences

Risk Taking, Problem Solving, and Flexibility

“Widely Held Expectations”

Pondering, Processing, and Applying Experiences: This aspect includes forming ideas, reflecting on past events, posing theories about the future, and acting on knowledge of the real world.

Curiosity, Information seeking, and Eagerness: This aspect includes expressing interest in the world, asking questions to find answers, and experimenting with materials.

Risk Taking, Problem Solving, and Flexibility: This aspect includes independent thinking, recognizing problems and trying to solve them in a variety of ways, and a willingness to try new things and collaborate with others.

Persistence, Attentiveness, and Responsibility: This aspect refers to the ability to sustain attention, pursue diffi cult tasks, cope successfully with trying situations, and take responsibility for one’s own learning.

Imagination, Creativity, and Invention: This aspect includes originality, playfulness, and having multiple interests.

Aesthetic Sensibility: This aspect includes appreciation and enjoyment of culture and beauty in its many forms, including music, art, humor, dance, drama, nature, and photography.

Emotional & Social Development

“Widely Held Expectations”

Developing a Sense of Self: This aspect refers to children’s feelings about themselves and their relationships with others. These areas of development are influenced by maturation, temperament, cultural expectations, and experiences.

Developing a Sense of Self with Others: Critical conditions of emotional and social development include emotional support and secure relationships that foster a child’s self confidence and self-esteem. A child who is securely attached to family and culture develops a healthy sense of identity.

Health & Physical Development

“Widely Held Expectations”

Self-Care: Self-care refers to the development and use of eating, dressing, and hygiene skills, and other indications such as taking responsibility for possessions.

Safety Awareness: Safety awareness refers to development of the ability to identify potential risks and use safe practices to protect oneself and others.

Motor Skills: Fine motor refers to movement of the small muscles of the hand and arm that control the ability to scribble, write, draw, tie shoes, use a keyboard, and many other activities requiring finger, hand, and hand-eye coordination. Gross motor refers to movement of the large muscles in the upper and lower body that control the ability to walk, run, dance, jump, and other skills relating to body strength and stamina.

Physical Health & Growth: Physical health and growth focuses on dietary habits and nutrition awareness, the development of healthy exercise habits, and attention to other wellness issues.

Language Development & Communication

“Widely Held Expectations”

Receptive Language: Receptive language traditionally refers to a listening vocabulary, knowledge of spoken words, and understanding connected speech. Here it also refers to understanding non-verbal language such as signs, gestures, and picture symbols, and includes expectations that reflect the needs of children using non-verbal communication.

Expressive Language: Expressive language includes speaking and other means of communication such as sign language and use of communication devices.

Foundations for Reading: Foundations for reading involves developing knowledge and skills in oral language, vocabulary used in understanding the world, concepts of print, the alphabetic principle, and phonology.

Foundations for Writing: Foundations for writing involves a progression of developing skills, beginning with using symbols with meaning, then writing scribbles that have meaning and attempting to make letters.

Cognitive Development

“Widely Held Expectations”

Mathematical Thinking & Expression: An early knowledge of mathematical concepts forms the basis for later learning, not just in mathematics but in other domains as well.

Scientific Thinking & Invention: Scientific thinking and invention refers to the ways in which children use the process of inquiry and thinking to form ideas about the way things are.

Social Connections: Social connections refers to the ability to recognize another’s perspective and respond appropriately.

Creative Expression: Creative expression encompasses self expression, originality, risk-taking, divergent thinking, and appreciation of cultural diversity.

Published by Shonda Virgil on October 7, 2019

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