A Solid Literacy Foundation: The Critical Importance of the Early Childhood Years

Kai-leé Berke
Early Childhood Curriculum and Assessment Author

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High-quality early childhood education lays a solid foundation for all future learning. The early childhood years are when all children should both experience the power and pleasure of literacy and be thoughtfully and purposefully taught the skills they’ll need to be lifelong literacy learners. Through intentional use of instructional and assessment practices, teachers: build foundational knowledge, skills, and abilities; identify areas for early intervention, and identify areas for further evaluation. In this session, we will:

  • Discuss the essential skills, knowledge, and understandings that all young children need in order to become competent and confident literacy learners;

  • Describe best practices in the curriculum for early childhood literacy learning and explore the components of literacy learning in early education, including what the elements of structured literacy look like in preschool and Kindergarten classrooms;

  • Explore the relationship between literacy learning, critical approaches to learning and executive function skills; and

  • Explore the role of assessment data in early childhood and how information about whole child development can be used to identify learners in need of further evaluation.

About the Presenter

Kai-leé Berke is a Senior Advisor with Promise Venture Studio, a nonprofit that attracts, supports, and connects promising entrepreneurial talent, capital and stakeholders to pave the way for the sustainable growth and impact of social entrepreneurship in early childhood development. She is also the Vice-Chair of the Board and former CEO of Teaching Strategies, the pioneering developer of early childhood technology resources and solutions. Prior to her appointment as CEO, she held roles as Teaching Strategies’ Vice President of Curriculum and Assessment, Chief Product Officer and Chief Academic Officer, during which time she authored and developed the company’s most impactful solutions including the GOLD® assessment system and all editions of The Creative Curriculum®. She is a lifelong early childhood educator and administrator, having taught and cared for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and Kindergarteners in public, private and Department of Defense programs and is a mother of two.

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