Update: California Has Preschool Standards for ELLs
California's draft preschool standards for English-language learners that I wrote about back in November have been approved by the state's superintendent of public instruction, and all state-funded preschool programs are expected to abide by them by 2011-12. By that school year, the test that California educators use to assess preschoolers' skills is expected to be aligned with the standards.
California officials call the standards for preschoolers "foundations." The foundations spell out what children ages 3 to 5 should know and be able to do. The foundations in English-language development, which start on page 103 of the 205-page standards document, lay out what second-language learners should know and be able to do in English in "beginning," "middle," and "later" stages of learning the language. The foundations are also organized around the skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
For additional insight on implementation of the "foundations," read the Frequently Asked Questions document that tells about them. I learned, for instance, that California doesn't have an official process for identifying English-language learners at the preschool level. "If a family reports that a preschool child's primary language is other than English, the child is considered an English learner," the FAQ document says.
In my reporting on the draft foundations, I learned that some educators questioned whether they might take some of the joy out of learning for youngsters. See my earlier post, "Standards for Preschool ELLs: It's a Trend."