As publicly-funded pre-K programs housed in elementary schools are becoming more common, principals are increasingly expected to supervise and guide pre-K teachers and students.
The Creating Early Childhood Leaders Act, introduced in late October by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Mitt Romney (R-UT), would amend Title II of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in order to enhance leader quality in two ways:
- Higher education programs receiving federal grants must provide pre-service school leaders with techniques to “engage and involve parents, community members, the local educational agency, businesses, providers of early childhood education programs, and other community leaders, to leverage additional resources to improve student academic achievement.”
- It would require leaders to “understand child development, social and emotional development, and effective instructional leadership skills for children from birth through age 8, in order to effectively manage and support developmentally appropriate early childhood education programs.”
According to an article in New America, the techniques new principals would learn under this bill could aid collaboration between local early education programs and the public school system, leading to greater alignment from birth through third grade, and easier pre-K to Kindergarten transitions.
The article points to Illinois’ overhaul of its principal preparation programs in the 2000s as an example of how to better prepare early education leaders.