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Related Resources – Birth Through Third Grade

Supporting continuous and sustained learning for every child from Birth through Third Grade

State education leaders and early learning policy makers are increasingly working together to coordinate fiscal and human resources to ensure children experience consistently high quality learning experiences before they enter school and into the elementary school years. Early childhood educators and K-3rd grade staff are working together to align standards, curriculum and assessment, as well as promote leadership and professional development, so that all have the skills and knowledge needed to support children’s learning across ages and grades.

Selected Resources and Websites

New! What Works for Third Grade Reading is a collection of 12 working papers that addresses whole-child, birth-to-age-eight factors that support children’s optimal development and offers research-based policy, practice and program options to states and communities working to improve third grade reading proficiency.


Birth Through Third Grade Learning Hub. This website tracks, profiles, and analyzes birth through third grade initiatives with the aim of promoting learning, exchange, and knowledge-building across communities.

Building Core Capabilities for Life: The Science Behind the Skills Adults Need to Succeed in Parenting and in the Workplace is a report from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. It “combines research from the biological and behavioral sciences with practical, on-the-ground knowledge from working with adults and families to provide effective solutions for helping individuals develop more effective skills for coping with adversity.”

Case Studies of Schools Implementing Early Elementary Strategies: Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment and Differentiated Instruction is a study that examines two types of strategies – P-3 alignment and differentiated instruction –  identified as promising practices to support sustained positive effects of preschool. It also offers case studies of five programs using one or both of these strategies.

Common Early Learning and Development Standards Analysis for the North Carolina EAG Consortium – Summary Report. The Common Standards Analysis Project reviewed the early learning and development standards (ELDS) for ten states participating in the K-3 Formative Assessment Consortium and provided concrete data and recommendations to be used in the development of an effective and inclusive kindergarten entry assessment (KEA). The project also compared the states’ ELDS with two national sets of standards, the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework and the Common State Standards for Kindergarten. This executive summary provides details of the cross-state ELDS analysis and recommendations that will be used to inform the KEA development.

Connecting the Steps: State Strategies to Ease the Transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten profiles efforts in four states to smooth the transition process. The states highlighted in the report are Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and West Virginia. The brief describes steps each state and taken and discusses the opportunities and challenges with their various approaches. It concludes with recommendations for states to help facilitate district and school actions.

Coordinated Efficiencies in Monitoring and Oversight of Early Care and Education Programs is a joint statement by the US Departments of Health & Human Services and Agriculture that offers a new vision for monitoring and oversight policy and practice within states that (a) improves the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of oversight with regard to early care and education programs ;(b)creates a culture of health and safety that better supports the healthy development of children; and (c) enables states to be successful in meeting the goals of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, which includes monitoring many more child care providers.

A Different Way of Doing Business: Examples of Pre-K to Third Grade Alignment in Practice examines state and local efforts to bridge gaps in education policy and practice between preschool and K-12 education.  This brief is first in a series of three from the Center on American Progress (CAP) on P-3 alignment.

Early STEM Learning and the Roles of Technologies discusses how the thoughtful use of technology by early childhood teachers and families can enhance the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning of children from birth to age eight and help set the stage for successful lifelong STEM learning. The authors summarize key findings from their work and present evidence-based recommendations that can help ensure technology reaches its potential to improve the quality and equity of early STEM education for all young children. [author abstract]

ED-HHS Statement on Family Engagement is a policy statement on the implementation of effective family engagement practices from the early years to the early grades.

Evaluating Prek-3rd Reforms In this brief from 2012, Julia Coffman and Kristie Kauerz offer a model of how to think about and use evaluation at different stages in the evaluation and development of a Prek-3rd effort.

Family Engagement Inventory. This page from the Administration for Children and Families, US Department of Health and Human Services, provides materials to learn how family engagement is defined and implemented across different fields of practice: early education, education, child welfare, juvenile justice, and behavioral.

The First Eight Years: Giving Kids a Foundation for Lifetime Success This KIDS COUNT policy report details how a child’s early development from birth through age 8 is essential to making an effective transition into elementary school and for long-term academic achievement. To prepare all of America’s children to succeed, this document sets forth broad policy recommendations. This policy report also features data on early childhood development for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation.

Foundation for Child Development FCD provides key resources on making the case for Prek-3rd, financing and implementing, along with preparing and developing teachers and leaders for the full continuum.

From Crawling to Walking: Ranking States on Birth-3rd Grade Policies that Support Strong Readers measures states on a broad set of policy indicators that can help ensure children are on track to read on grade level by the end of third grade. Accompanying the report are a series interactive maps of state progress displayed on New America’s data visualization and policy analysis tool, Atlas.

A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting All Students Reading by Third Grade, is a new publication from the National Governor’s Association. The report discusses the importance of ensuring literacy by the third grade; outlines policy recommendations, and provides leadership suggestions to promote a successful B-3rd grade literacy agenda.

Improving Prekindergarten Attendance: School-Level Strategies for Messaging, Engaging Parents, and Responding to Absences in Four DC Public Schools presents findings from interview with staff and parents at four schools that serve high-needs groups prone to chronic absenteeism but still have high attendance rates and strong attendance practices. Several common barriers and key strategies are identified.

Initiatives from Preschool to Third Grade: A Policymaker’s Guide. This resource by ECS can be used by policymakers and their staff as a reference guide around topics in P-3 approaches. It is organized around two areas: effective strategies to support children with a P-3 approach and the foundations of an effective P-3 approach.

Ladders of Learning: Fighting Fade-Out by Advancing PK-3 Alignment In this issue brief, the New American Foundation examines strategies to support the continuum of learning birth through age eight.

Leading Pre-K-3 Learning Communities: Competencies for Effective Principal Practice. This guide by the National Association of Elementary School Principals defines new competencies, and outlines a practical approach to high-quality early childhood education that is critical to laying a strong foundation for learning for young children from age three to third grade.

The National P-3 Map identifies states, school districts, communities, and organizations across the United States that are working to create a well-aligned, coherent, high-quality continuum of learning from birth through third grade. Because there exists a wide variety of approaches to “doing P-3,” the Map provides a visual way to understand the focus areas of each approach. [author abstract]

Parent Engagement from Preschool through Grade 3: A Guide for Policymakers. This report makes the case that effective parent engagement during the span from preschool through the early grades is a key contributor to children’s positive academic outcomes. It presents research, program, and policy information that can inform state initiatives to strengthen parent engagement during preschool through grade 3, such as promising models designed for culturally diverse, low-income families, examples of state parent engagement initiatives, a summary of research, and recommendations.

Pk-3: What Does it Mean for Instruction? “proposes a  conceptualization of productive continuity in academic instruction, as well as in the social  climate and classroom management practices that might affect children’s social-emotional development. It also considers ways in which schools might seek to achieve continuity in parents’ and children’s experiences. Finally, the report proposes specific state and district policies and school practices that are likely to promote continuous and meaningful learning experiences.”

Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension Policies in Early Childhood Settings (US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Education). This joint US HHS and ED policy statement provides awareness and guidance around expulsion and suspension policies in early childhood settings.

The Power of a Good Idea: How the San Francisco School District is Building a Prek-3 Bridge. This piece tells the story of the district’s transformative shift to a PreK-3rd grade approach in an effort to shrink the achievement gap. In 2008, SFUSD leadership developed a plan to implement a PreK-3rd grade approach in an effort to shrink the district’s stubborn achievement gap. Over the last six years, the SFUSD has been building a bridge between pre-K and third grade, beginning by strengthening its public pre-K program. Doing so generated support among successive superintendents.

PreK-3rd: Challenging Common Myths About Dual Language Learners This updated report from the Foundation for Child Development, authored by Linda M. Espinosa, Ph.D., dispels common misconceptions regarding the development of young Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and offers useful recommendations on how to support young DLLs.

The PreK-3rd Grade National Work Group The work group hosted a free eight-part webinar series entitled Reducing the Achievement Gap by 4th Grade: The PreK-3rd Approach in Action. All recordings can be found on the site.

Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment and Differentiated Instruction: A Literature Review provides a review of policies, programs, and practices that have the potential to help students sustain the positive effects of preschool as they progress from kindergarten through grade 3 (K–3). The U.S. Department of Education’s Policy and Program Studies Service commissioned this systematic literature review, which focuses on two specific approaches: (1) preschool and K–3 alignment, and (2) differentiated instruction in kindergarten and first grade.

Principal’s Corner: Perspectives on Teaching and Learning in PreK-3rd Grade offers a series of briefs from the New America Foundation that explore the role of elementary school principals as early education leaders.

Self-Regulation and Toxic Stress Report 3: A Comprehensive Review of Self-Regulation Interventions from Birth Through Young Adulthood describes results of a comprehensive review of self-regulation interventions from birth through young adulthood and summarizes the level of evidence for different interventions across age groups and outcome domains.

Social and Emotional Skills for Life and Career: Policy Levers that Focus on the Whole Child. This resource from the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders highlights what research says about social and emotional learning and then describes effective policies to integrate social and emotional learning practice.

The State of Afterschool Quality.  The National AfterSchool Association has produced a new series of briefs focusing on quality in after-school programs for children from 4 to 12 years old. They describe why quality mattershow to identify high quality programspromoting professionalismfunding for quality, and a call to action.

State-Level Early Childhood Governance. This report and accompanying webinar (slides available online) examine and analyze approaches to state-level early childhood system governance. The webinar features the authors and leaders of several state early childhood governance offices.

Strengthening the Kindergarten-Third Grade Continuum shares research and state legislation on expanding access to high-quality early care and education to kindergarten through third grade. The information is collected by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Vroom Community Playbook. Vroom “translates ground-breaking science into everyday language and pairs it with accessible, actionable tips that encourage back and forth interaction between parents and children.” This playbook serves as a “how to” for communities that provides printables tips and other materials for free.

Zero To Three This resource from Zero To Three presents fact sheets on all fifty states regarding birth to age three policy and facts in that specific state. The fact sheets provide valuable information on topics such as health, families and early learning experiences to produce a better view on how this vital age group is managed in each state.