Ashland Head Start/ KY State Preschool utilizes Creative Curriculum a high quality research based curriculum that promotes measureable progress towards children’s development. The content and learning outcomes of the curriculum align with The Head Start Early learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) and the KY Early Childhood Preschool Standards. It provides guidance on what (content) and how (learning experiences and teaching practices) to teach. Content is drawn from current child development science, the interests and ideas of the children, family input and the values of the community. Creative curriculum also provides ways to create nurturing and responsive practices, interactions, and learning environments that foster trust and emotional security. It helps families to actively engage in their child’s education. Staff use what they know about each child’s strengths and needs and each family’s goals to plan their use of the curriculum.
Screening and assessments provide valuable information about the child’s interest, strengths, and needs. The Brigance screen gives a snapshot of whether the child’s development is on track. Gold Plus assessment is an ongoing assessment that includes observation and provides information about development over time. Systematic, ongoing child assessment provides information on children’s development and learning. It helps inform curriculum planning, teaching, and individualizing for each child across all Head Start Learning Outcomes Framework domains and KY standards.
Young children vary in their skills, knowledge, backgrounds, and abilities. Effective teaching requires individualized teaching and chances to learn for all children to access, participate, and thrive in early learning settings. Individualizing for children who need more support helps ensure effective teaching for children with disabilities and other special needs across all the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework domains and KY Standards. Using children’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals is part of effective teaching, individualizing and creating inclusive environments to support children’s positive outcomes.
Effective, nurturing and responsive teaching practices and interactions are key for all learning at Ashland Head Start and KY State Preschool. They foster trust and emotional security; are communication and language rich; and promote critical thinking and problem-solving. They also support social, emotional, behavioral and language development; provide supportive feedback for learning; and motivate continued effort. Teaching practices and interactions are responsive to and build on each child’s pattern of development and learning. They can be measured by the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) and the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS-3). These observations may then be used to support professional development. Teaching practices also include how schedules and routines are carried out, how settings are managed, and how children’s challenging behaviors are addressed.
Children experience many transitions including from home to preschool and from preschool to kindergarten. Supporting these transitions is critically important. How the foundation for positive transitions is laid across all levels of the system can have far-reaching effects on children’s well-being and academic success. Staff consider the long-term process of building and maintaining the capacity to support children and families at all levels. They also look at ways to improve how they connect and communicate within systems during transitions.
School readiness is fundamental across all systems and programs at Ashland Head Start and KY State Preschool. It means children are ready for school, families are ready to support their children’s learning and schools are ready for children. Ashland Head Start and KY State Preschool views readiness as children the skills knowledge and attitudes necessary for success in school for later learning and life. Physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development are all essential ingredients of school readiness.