STRIVE FOR 5! Glossary

Science of Learning – Research on understanding how we learn and using that understanding to optimize learning at home and in the classroom.

Natural Observation – Naturalistic assessments (sometimes identified as informal, authentic or observational) include observations of children at play, work samples, and teacher checklists. The naturalistic type is most helpful to support learning.

Wall Talkers – Helpful posters to place in key areas of the learning environment with reminders of things to do to enhance children’s learning.

Little Things Cards – Easy-to-use cards with playful, engaging and hands-on ideas that blend several learning areas in every activity.

Learning through Play – Children learn best through play…when they’re active and engaged. Play provides active exploration that builds and strengthens brain pathways.

Free Play – Unstructured play where each child chooses the activity and move at his/her own pace.

Guided Play – Teachers follow where the children’s interests are and enhance their learning by asking questions, introducing new concepts and initiating new activities for the child to explore.

Literacy-Rich Environment – A learning environment that focuses on the importance of speaking, reading, and writing. It involves selecting materials, arranging the classroom and guiding instruction that will facilitate language development and positive literacy experiences.

DLL – Dual Language Learner, an active learner of the English language while using their native language. In order to support DLL children in any early learning setting there needs to be a strong focus on language development, social interactions, book reading, and storytelling.

Language & Literacy – Language and literacy standards establish a “staircase” of increasing skills in what students must be able to do to read, write, build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities and broaden their perspective. It includes reading comprehension, vocabulary and grammar, phonics and phonemic awareness and written expression.

Mathematics – Mathematical experiences in early childhood focus on (1) numbers (whole numbers and operations) and (2) geometry, spatial relations, and measurement (National Research Council 2009). This area also includes problem solving and interpretation of data.

Science & Scientific Thinking – Active investigation, observation and experimentation of the natural and man-made world. Children build a foundation for abstract and scientific thought leading to decision making and problem solving skills.

Social Science & Culture – The exploration, understanding and developing knowledge in economics, geography and history. In the early years this begins with children’s personal experiences and their initial understanding of themselves, their families, and school.

Creative Expression – Children develop their imagination and skills to express individual interests, abilities and knowledge through a variety of media.

Physical & Healthy Development – Skill areas of physical development, fine motor skills, healthy habits and sportsmanship. Children’s health and well-being impact learning.

Social & Emotional Development – Children’s social and emotional development is strengthened when they have experiences that promote a sense of autonomy, competence and belonging. This area focuses on emotional development, personal interactions and confidence.

Executive Function – Self-regulation, often called Executive Function, is a core set of skills that includes: Inhibition Control, Working Memory, Planning and Organizing, and Cognitive Flexibility. Early executive function development has a strong association with school readiness and learning.

21st Century Skills – These are the core skills, knowledge and expertise students should master to succeed in work and life in the 21st Century. They cover how a child approaches learning, communicates, collaborates and demonstrates critical thinking.

Technology – The developmentally appropriate use of technology focusing on how to use a variety of tools, how technology supports communication and expression, as well as, safe practices.