Lifelong Learning Practices Standards for 4-Year-Olds
Lifelong Learning Practices are key to student success and include skills to foster children’s social and academic interactions as well as support a child’s desire for learning. Approaches to Learning includes the concepts of curiosity, engagement, interest in learning, independence, flexibility, perseverance, imagination, and problem-solving. Social development includes self-awareness, regulation and recognition of emotions, emotional responsiveness, and the ability to interact with others effectively in social settings. These foundational skills are essential for learning success. Early childhood is a sensitive time period to acquire these lifelong learning skills (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2007).
“There is abundant evidence that when districts and schools explicitly and meaningfully commit to focusing on the students’ comprehensive development as a central part of their academic growth, the academic success and the welfare of students rise powerfully together” (National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development, 2019). When children are actively engaged through play, exploration, and inquiry, it supports the social, emotional, physical, and academic needs of the whole child.
Learning occurs naturally through play and has many benefits for children to enhance their overall development. Play promotes joyful learning that fosters self-regulation, language, cognitive, and social competencies as well as content knowledge across disciplines and is essential for all children, birth through age 8 (Yogman, et al. (2018). All young children need daily sustained opportunities for play, both indoors and outdoors. In all its forms—including physical play, object play, pretend or dramatic play, constructive play, and games with rules—play supports children’s learning (National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC] 2020).
Promoting fundamental approaches to learning and healthy social interaction prepares the architecture and development of the brain. These skills provide a foundation for optimal learning.
The Early Learning Standards support the Utah State Board of Education’s aspirations for Lifelong Learning Practices identified in Utah’s Portrait of a Graduate (2019). In the Early Learning Standards, two areas of Lifelong Learning Practices are addressed: Approaches to Learning and Social Interaction and Development.
Approaches to Learning describes the underlying processes involved in effective learning in the early childhood years (Vitiello & Greenfield, 2017) and throughout life (McCoy et al., 2019). Engaging in learning opportunities that challenge children to advance their knowledge and skill promotes learning motivation and persistence. As children are given opportunities to joyfully engage and explore, they develop a lifelong love of learning (Hyson, 2008). As children grow, they develop increasingly organized and complex strategies for engaging and focusing attention on learning experiences, processing information, regulating behavior, and coordinating these processes to construct new knowledge (National Research Council, 2000).
The Approaches to Learning Standards provide opportunities for children to develop initiative and persistence, creativity and curiosity, and effective strategies for self-regulation.
The Social Interaction and Development Standards are essential for children’s learning success. Ho and Funk (2018) identify research suggesting that children with healthy social emotional skills “tend to be happier, show greater motivation to learn, have a more positive attitude toward school, more eagerly participate in class activities, and demonstrate higher academic performance than less mentally healthy peers.” For many children, preschool may be their first experience in a nonfamilial structured social environment. They are beginning to acquire those abilities which will allow them to become self-aware, recognize and regulate emotions, build relationships, develop social engagement, and practice conflict resolution. Although many of these skills will be learned and refined by interacting with peers, children benefit from the guidance of knowledgeable and caring adults to develop a sense of belonging.
ADULTS SUPPORT LIFELONG LEARNING WHEN THEY:
Core Standards of the Course
Strand 1: SELF-REGULATION AND EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING
Self-Regulation, which is the ability to regulate one’s own behavior while engaging with others and in the learning environment, is a key developmental task of the preschool years. Executive Functioning includes the essential learning skills of attention focusing, working memory, information processing, and reflection.
Standard LLP 4 yr.1.1
With prompting and support, display increasing ability to self-regulate external behaviors (for example, follow simple directions, wait for turns, and transition between activities).
Standard LLP 4 yr.1.2
With prompting and support, display increasing ability to focus attention on key, meaningful components of an object or task (Attention focusing, for example, sort and classify objects into categories and provide on-topic responses).
Standard LLP 4 yr.1.3
With prompting and support, develop increasingly effective strategies to connect and remember information (Working memory and information processing, for example, use self-talk, tell others the events of the day).
Standard LLP 4 yr.1.4
With prompting and support, develop the ability to recognize and show awareness of thinking processes (Reflection, for example, the child explains what strategies are used to build in blocks).
Strand 2: LEARNING ENGAGEMENT (INITIATIVE AND PERSISTENCE)
Learning Engagement is the way children continue to develop the ability to actively explore and participate in the learning environment. This engagement involves supporting the child as the child develops self-directed, goal-oriented exploration and discovery.
Standard LLP 4 yr.2.2
Display an increasing ability to investigate their immediate environment by using a variety of tools, questions, and strategies to better understand their interests and experiences (for example, discover why worms come out of the ground after it rains).
Standard LLP 4 yr.2.3
Develop an increasing ability to connect new information or experiences with previous knowledge through interactions with teachers, peers, and the environment (for example, help develop classroom rules using the previous experience with rules in the classroom or home).
Persistence describes the child’s ability to focus on engagement with learning materials and activities for increasing periods of time. Teachers support children as they learn that making mistakes and trying different strategies are part of the learning process. Teachers support persistence as they assist children to recognize their ability to complete challenging or difficult tasks.
Standard LLP 4 yr.2.4
Develop an increasing ability and willingness to continue with a task through challenges or difficulties (for example, continue to build in the block area even when the child has difficulty finding a piece they need).
Strand 3: CREATIVITY AND CURIOSITY
The creativity and curiosity strand focuses on supporting children’s natural curiosity and creativity as they explore and learn about the world around them. Adults encourage children to develop flexibility and originality as they use materials and activities to investigate their immediate environments.
Standard LLP 4 yr.3.1
Ask and answer questions to seek additional information about materials, challenges, and activities they experience in their immediate environment to expand their knowledge and skills.
Standard LLP 4 yr.3.2
With prompting and support, display an increasing ability to engage in a variety of problem-solving strategies (for example, recognize cause and effect, use trial and error, make predictions, and identify steps for problem solving).
Standard LLP 4 yr.4.1
Demonstrate awareness of one’s own identity, including personal information, characteristics, preferences, and abilities (for example, name, age, parent/caregiver, family members, gender, physical attributes, likes/dislikes) and participate in respectful discussions about similarities and differences with others.
Strand 5: EMOTIONS
Children identify and regulate their emotions, manage stress, and show self-discipline as well as recognize the emotional experiences of others. Emotions are included in the Health Education Standards and are imperative to Lifelong Learning Practices. The Emotional Health Standards found in Health Education Strand 3 are incorporated below.
Standard HE 4 yr.3.1
Express, identify, and label emotions of self and others (for example, happy, sad, angry, afraid, frustrated, bored) and feelings (for example, thirsty, hungry, hot, cold, tired).
Standard HE 4 yr.3.3
With prompting and support, develop and practice self-control by regulating one’s own impulses and feelings, following simple directions, waiting for turns, transitioning between activities, and complying with limitations.
Communication begins with awareness of others, learning social cues and building relationships. Healthy relationships are included in the Health Education Standards and are imperative to Lifelong Learning Practices. The Relationship Standards found in Health Education Strand 2 are incorporated below.
Sub-strand: SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT
Children build appropriate social skills as they learn to negotiate friendships, join in play, and interact cooperatively. Healthy relationships are included in the Health Education Standards and are imperative to Lifelong Learning Practices. The Relationship Standards found in Health Education Strand 2 are incorporated below.
Standard LLP 4 yr.6.6
Use appropriate communication or actions when social problems arise to identify the problem and explore basic solutions (for example, how to gain someone’s attention appropriately, how to express frustration appropriately, how to seek help from an adult).
http://www.uen.org - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE). Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Jessica Mackley and see the Early Learning website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - Jennifer Throndsen. These materials have been produced by and for the teachers of the State of Utah. Copies of these materials may be freely reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit should be given to Utah State Board of Education. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of the Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, PO Box 144200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200.