mation about the effects of typical variations in program quality on the general population of students, (c) studies of programs for English-language learners, (d) exemplary international programs, and (e) studies of interventions for children with disabilities.
Chapter 5 explores curriculum and pedagogy, the what and the how of early childhood education. The analysis integrates recent findings about children’s early learning capabilities (presented in Chapter 2) with research data on the general principles and approaches to early childhood care and education. Chapter 6 deals with assessment, particularly assessment to support learning. A number of assessment approaches are reviewed that hold potential as tools for preschool teachers to use to ascertain the nature of thinking and extent of knowledge for each child. Because of the vulnerability of assessment—and especially standardized tests—to misuse and misinterpretation when used with young children, the discussion emphasizes the need for caution.
Chapters 7 and 8 address the supports needed as the United States moves toward universal preschool attendance. Chapter 7 looks at the preparation of early childhood teachers and caregivers, emphasizing the need for professionalization of the field, including more and better training, to enable them to engage their charges effectively. Chapter 8 analyzes the need for program and practice standards to promote quality in early childhood education.
Our conclusions and recommendations are presented in Chapter 9.