Top 10 High-Quality PreK Resources of 2017

We started the VPI+ Administrator Blog in May 2017 with the goal of providing administrators and their teaching teams with the best content and resources on high-quality PreK.

To start 2018, we’ve curated a list of top 10 resources demonstrating what “high-quality PreK” practices look like and how administrators can effectively lead improvements!

Block pyramid
Source: istock.com/plufflyman

#1 To see what quality PreK instruction looks like

The searchable VPI+ Video Clip Directory—with over 150 video clips—includes great examples of effective PreK math, literacy, science, and social-emotional instruction with diverse young learners.

As you’ll see in these clips—like the excellent ones from Erikson Early Math Collaborative— effective instruction is more than just exposing children to content—it boils down to how content is delivered through teacher-child interactions that support engagement, build knowledge, and expand thinking skills. You can check out our 3-part series on “Rigor in PreK” (June, July, August blogs) to learn more.

#2 To promote high-quality interactions, which are the foundation of high-quality PreK (and K-12+) instruction…

The Head Start 15-minute In-service Suites (online modules) provide videos and other resources for administrators/supervisors, coaches/trainers, and teachers to improve interactions. We selected some of best, most in-demand modules for you below. Many we shared in blogs—with a few bonuses*. (Tip: Remember to scroll down and look under the heading “Supporting Materials”):

Social and Emotional Support 1) *Following Children’s Lead  
2) Being Aware of Children’s Needs
3) Creating a Caring Community
Well-Organized Classrooms 1) Creating Classroom Rules
2) *Classroom Transitions
3) *Redirecting Behavior
Instructional Interactions 1) Asking Questions
2) Fostering Children’s Thinking Skills
3) Providing Feedback

#3 To observe & promote children’s engagement, a necessary element for all learning…

Our Administrator Checklist for Observing Active Engagement is a simple checklist designed to help administrators systematically gather information about how young children are actively engaged within/across PreK settings and use this information to plan with teachers. See examples of highly engaging PreK activities in our July blog.

#4 To promote children’s literacy skills

The PALS office has great resources for administrators and teachers seeking effective literacy activities for PreK, including these two: This searchable directory of PALS Activities and this 1-page “Teacher Checklist of Literacy Practices” overviews literacy practices to consistently implement.

Key point from the October blog: Encourage activities that are explicit, playful and meaningful, across the day (during book reading, learning centers, and routines) and discourage more rote, de-contextualized activities (worksheets, flashcards, or letter-of-the-day).

#5 To promote children’s self-regulation skills (and reduce challenging behaviors)…

This Self-Regulation resource from the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program provides free guides to implement 6 evidence-based strategies, including: Playing Games, Using Cues and Visuals, and Modifying Activities & Environments.

Key point from the December blog: self-regulation should be taught and supported to both build these critical skills class-wide and as a proactive way to reduce challenging behaviors of individual children.

#6 To promote children’s social-emotional skills (and reduce challenging behaviors)…

The TACSEI Teaching Tools for Young Children has a set of resources for school and home use including: the “Turtle Technique” to teach children emotion regulation and Visual Strategies (like schedules, cue cards, etc.) to teach expected behaviors. You’ve Got to Have Friends is a brief article from CSEFEL that provides evidence-based strategies for teaching social skills (like using a buddy system).

#7 To use classroom interactions data (CLASS) to guide PreK quality improvements…

If you are an administrator in VPI+ classrooms with CLASS-PreK observation data (or in Head Start and other programs around the country who have this data), this Head Start guide on using CLASS-PreK for program improvement will give you a helpful introduction and step-by-step approach.

#8 To use child Kindergarten Readiness data to assess PreK program outcomes & promote learning in Kindergarten…

Dr. Amanda Williford’s November post outlines ways that leaders and teachers can use the data provided by the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program. To learn more, a recent Ounce of Prevention Fund report, “Uses and Misuses of Kindergarten Readiness Assessments,” provides helpful information about the Do’s and Don’ts for using kindergarten readiness assessment (KRA) data.

#9 To reflect on the balance of play and explicit instruction in early childhood…

This EdWeek article by Dr. Daphna Bassok delineates how Kindergarten can—and should—be both developmentally appropriate and focused on rigorous instruction. It’s not an “either/or” scenario – it should be “both/and.”

#10 To reflect & plan for your critical role for instructional leadership (PreK-3)…

This Foundation for Child Development Principal’s Brief titled “PreK-3rd: Principals as Crucial Instructional Leaders” explains how you can guide improvements that will maximize impacts for all students in your school (including those 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders!).

Our Top 9 above support many of their recommendations! Administrators need to know: what high-quality PreK looks like, how children learn key skills (like literacy, self-regulation, social-emotional), how to support teaching practices, and how to use data effectively to guide program improvements.


We hope this “Best Of” helps you quickly find resources most needed — now & for future reference!

In 2018, we hope to bring you more of the content that’s most useful to you! Please share your feedback in this mini- survey!

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