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The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Demonstration programs lead by modeling, sharing, promoting, and articulating best practices around effective learning environments, curricula, assessment, and instructional practices to ensure optimal learning and development for all children. NCDPI's Office of Early Learning understands the importance of the early years and is dedicated to supporting prekindergarten and kindergarten educators across the state as they strive to provide the most engaging and appropriate early learning experiences for its youngest citizens.

Why is it important?
Research over the last two decades has shown that learning begins early, that brains develop most rapidly in the earliest years, and that early learning experiences are critical for the long-term success of children.  The National Research Council Report From Neurons to Neighborhoods (Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000) makes the compelling case that the earliest years – birth through the primary grades – are critical to the long-term educational and life success of all children

Although there are multiple opportunities for educators to learn about best practice, research, and quality environments for children in early childhood education settings, what is often missing is the occasion to see best practice in action and have meaningful opportunities for reflection and discussion.  “Providing professional development that is individualized, classroom practice based, and ongoing is critical to changing teaching practices”. (Stuhlman et al. University of VA 2014) 

What are we modeling, sharing, promoting, and articulating?

  • Evidence-Based Practices (The Guide, DAP, SEFEL)
    • Teaching standards (Instructional & Resource Manual for Administrators- use of data to guide and inform practice)
    • Program standards (staff-child ratio, space, health and safety)
    • Leveraging quality of environment to enhance instruction
    • Learning standards (Common Core, Foundations, NC Essential Standards)
    • Practices based on Developmental Science and Brain Research
    • Support for statewide implementation and effective use of the Kindergarten Entry Assessment (KEA), formative assessment process, and Construct Progressions
    • Support for NC Early Learning and Development Progressions Birth - Five
    • NC Kindergarten Position Statement and NAEYC’s Developmentally Appropriate Practice Position Statement
    • Growth Mind Set
    • Educators actively construct professional knowledge through treating their schools and classrooms as places for investigating
    • Active process of engaging with peers to identify common challenges, analyze relevant data, and test out instructional approaches
    • Admitting we are not perfect
    • Viewing mistakes as opportunities
    • Reflecting upon practice
    • Developing the inquiring mind

How do we work?

  • Tiered Professional Development Model
    • CLASS and EduSnap data for each demo classroom determines direction for professional development
    • Professional development aimed at increasing  teacher effectiveness in demo classrooms
    • Demo classrooms serve as models for effective and reflective practice
  • Guided Observations
    • Authentic opportunities to observe best practice in action, engage in meaningful dialogue about practice, and participate in follow up visits
  • Relationship building
  • Networking
  • Demo teacher connections to professional organizations
  • Demo teacher support for Preschool through Grade 3 local, state, and national projects and initiatives
  • Engagement in collective efforts to sustain one another

Who do we serve?
State and local Pre-K (public and community) and K teachers, teacher assistants, principals, central office administrators, and institutes of higher education

What are our expectations?

  • Empower teachers to effect change
    • Reflect upon and respond to current research
    • Impact teacher effectiveness statewide to improve classroom practices
    • Promote practices that address the needs of the whole child
    • Ensure smooth and efficient seamless transitions (Pre-K – K entry and exit)
    • Promote collaboration  within the  Pre-K/K community
  • Increase administrator participation, knowledge, and support
  • Promote a culture of collaborative inquiry and a mindset of continuous improvement
  • Contribute to DPI statewide system of support
  • Advocate for developmentally appropriate practice
  • Impact child outcomes across all developmental domains by increasing children's exposure to research based practices that are predictive of positive 3rd grade success