Preschool Teachers' Sensitivity to Early Literacy Milestones in Play


  • Rebecca Payne Jordan Salem College
  • Teressa Sumrall



early childhood, teacher knowledge, early learning and development standards, play-based learning


Teachers must be attuned to the way play supports children’s progress towards meeting developmental milestones, such as those described in Early Learning and Developmental Standards (ELDS), given that play is a primary vehicle for learning in early childhood classrooms. Using a semi-structured interview protocol, eight early childhood educators were shown two vignettes of children at play, asked to identify evidences of literacy development, and asked which ELDS those evidences indicated. Teachers were also asked to develop an instructional extension based on the achievement and needs noted in the vignettes. Teachers were largely able to identify evidence of literacy development using vignettes and envision evidence-based pedagogical extensions to advance children’s learning, though this was most evident in the areas of phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge and least evident in areas related to engagement and comprehension. Implications for teacher education and professional development are provided.






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