The PreK-3rd Data Resource Center is an online resource center designed to expand the knowledge base and provide tools for the access and handling of Prekindergarten through Third Grade longitudinal data. The goal of this project is to inform the Foundation for Child Development's PreK-3rd initiative and build the research field by facilitating the analysis of rich, complex, longitudinal datasets that contain a wide range of variables on the child, family, school, and neighborhood. The Web site disseminates datasets and user guides developed to provide researchers with detailed guidance in creating their own extract datasets.
PreK-3rd components are drawn from the literature on effective schools, intervention/prevention, early childhood education, and developmental science. Six PreK-3rd components are: School Organization/Principal Leadership; Qualified Teachers; Classrooms as Learning Environments; Alignment and Coordination; Assessment and Accountability; and Family and Community Engagement. Strong principal leadership, high quality teachers and classroom environments, and coordination of curricular approaches as well as high expectations for all children are widely cited in the effective schools literature. The value-added of a PreK-3rd Approach is starting early (i.e., 3 years old), and a focus on developmentally informed learning experiences from the PK years through at least Third Grade. While we have some knowledge about the effectiveness of high quality PK programs and some K12 research that indicates effective practice in schools, these two literatures have evolved in isolation without the recognition that schooling is an accumulative process that begins in PK and continues into elementary school and beyond. PreK-3rd research aims to address this gap, and inform education practice and policy so that all children's learning opportunities are maximized.
September 13, 2010