You are here

Sage online ordering services are currently unavailable due to network disruption. We are working to restore service as soon as possible. In the meantime, our books are still available widely via retailers and online. Currently we are only able to supply digital inspection copies. These can be requested via this site, or direct from Vitalsource and Kortext. If you need a print copy, please contact your local Academic Sales Consultant, who will be able to arrange to send this once our systems are back online.

If you need further assistance please visit our Contact us page for further information. Thank you for your patience and we apologise for the inconvenience.

Getting It Right From the Start

Getting It Right From the Start
The Principal’s Guide to Early Childhood Education

June 2009 | 344 pages | Corwin
'In one relatively small volume, the authors have organized information on just about everything a school leader needs to get a well-designed program off the ground and make sure it will get better as time goes on' - Harriet A. Egertson, Early Childhood Consultant

Early Childhood Assessment Consortium, Council of Chief State School Officers

Prepare our youngest students for future learning success with effective ECE programs!

To ensure that young children are ready to enter kindergarten, elementary schools are becoming increasingly involved in early childhood education (ECE), and more and more principals have to deal with ECE issues. Now this practical manual shows principals what successful ECE programs look like—and how to achieve quality results in their schools and communities.

The authors provide an inside view of the field, touching on key areas of operation and discussing ways to avoid common pitfalls. Blending research-based content with practical applications, this accessible guide helps principals and other administrators:

- Gain a foundational understanding of how very young children learn

- Create quality environments and practices for teaching early learners

- Provide the kind of feedback staff need to improve

- Work successfully with ECE agencies and providers

- Easily implement the strategies outlined using reproducible forms, templates, and checklists

This comprehensive resource presents the information principals need to become key players in educating our nation's youngest learners!

About the Authors
1. Early Childhood Education: An Expanding Enterprise!
Increasing Family Demand

Early Learning Imperatives

Children at Risk of School Failure

Reducing the Achievement Gap: Starting Early

Early Childhood Education: A Sound Investment

Principals’ Roles: Laying the Groundwork

2. Quality Makes ALL the Difference
The Corrosive Impact of Poor Quality

High-Quality Defined

Leadership and High Quality

Becoming an Early Childhood Leader

Principals’ Roles: Achieving High Quality

3. Breaking New Ground: Getting Involved in Early Childhood Education
What Exactly Is Early Childhood Education?

Becoming Familiar With Early Childhood Culture

School Principals as Culture Brokers

Principals’ Roles: Getting Involved in Early Childhood Education

4. Early Childhood Education: Stakeholders
Identifying the Stakeholder


Give Voice to Stakeholders

Actions and Considerations

Principals’ Roles: Working With Stakeholders

5. Developmentally Appropriate Practice
Fundamental Principles of DAP

Developmentally Inappropriate Practice (DIP)

Applying DAP Requires Judgment

The Sounds of DAP!

Empirical Support for DAP

Common Questions About DAP

Principals’ Roles: Supporting DAP

6. The Principal’s Guide to How Young Children Develop and Learn
The Essential Nature of Young Children

How Young Children Develop

How Young Children Learn

What Children Are Learning

Principals’ Roles: Supporting Child Development and Learning

7. Early Childhood Curriculum
What Constitutes the Early Childhood Curriculum?

‘Goodness of Fit’ Between Early Education and Later Schooling

Implementing the Early Childhood Curriculum

Activities to Look for in Early Childhood Classrooms

Principal’s Roles: Curriculum

8. Learning Centers & Classroom Routines
Typical Learning Centers for Young Children

Skills Teachers Need to Run Effective Centers

How Classroom Routines Support Curricular Goals

A Typical Day for Children

Principals’ Roles: Centers and Routines

9. Early Childhood Assessment
Key Considerations

Authentic Assessment

Strategies to Guide Learning and Improve Instruction

Strategies for Identifying Children’s Special Needs

Assessing Early Childhood Programs and Learning Contexts

Pros and Cons of Standardized Assessment

The Principals’ Roles: Promoting Authentic Assessment

10. Early Childhood Education: Family Involvement
Through the Eyes of the Families

Looking Inside and Looking Outside

Suggestions for Families

Through the Eyes of Teachers

Parents Want Communication With the School

Family Roles

Principals’ Roles: Family Involvement

11. Early Childhood Teachers
Teachers Matter

The Critical Function of Principals

Characteristics of ‘Good’ Teachers

Formal Teacher Qualifications

Translating Teacher Standards Into Practice

Principals’ Roles: Supporting Early Childhood Teachers

12. Finding and Keeping Good Teachers
Shortage of Qualified Early Childhood Teachers

Looking for Teachers to Support Diverse Children and Families

Reducing Staff Turnover

Principals’ Roles: Hiring and Retaining Good Teachers

13. Physical Environments That Support Early Learning
Environmental Propositions

How Physical Environments Influence Child Development and Learning

Fundamentals of Environmental Planning

Physical Requirements of Activity-Based Instruction

Equipping Early Childhood Classrooms

The Great Outdoors!

Principals’ Roles: Creating Optimal Early Learning Environments

14. Early Childhood Education: Funding
Funding Sources

History of Federal Funding

State Funding

Local Funding

Start-Up Costs

Administrator Voices

Principals’ Roles: Funding

15. Action Summary
Tool A. Learning Center Checklist

Tool B. Key Instruments Used Nationally for Evaluation of Children in ECE Programs

Tool C. Daily Literacy Checklist P3

Tool D. Daily Numeracy Checklist P3

Tool E. Guidelines for Structuring Informative On-Site Observations

Tool F. Sample Interview Questions for Teacher Candidates

Tool G. Early Childhood Safety & Health Checklist

Tool H. Physical Requirements of Small Group Activity Centers

Tool I. ECE Classroom Equipment List

Tool J. Indoor Environment Checklist


"In one relatively small volume, the authors have organized information on just about everything a school leader needs to get a well-designed program off the ground and to make sure it will get better as time goes on. A particular strength of the book is its effectiveness in defining the years of preschool through third grade as a cohesive unit within the school. This is especially evident in the extensive chapter on assessment. The book will have value for both current practitioners and those preparing to become elementary administrators."

Harriet A. Egertson, Early Childhood Consultant
Early Childhood Assessment Consortium, Council of Chief State School Officers

"The day of preschool-aged children fully immersed in the public schools will be as common as kindergarten in the very near future. (And in many states, that day is here!) As principals prepare to embrace and successfully guide the addition of preschool children, families, and staff, they will need support and guidance in their new role as an early childhood/elementary principal. This book provides principals with exceptional support, guidance, and action plans to make their transition seamless."

Ginger L. Zierdt, Director, Center for School-University Partnerships
Minnesota State University, Mankato

“This book is a tremendous resource for principals. As a former elementary principal, I wish I could have had this book in my hands then to help me better understand and support the preschool classrooms in my building! This book will help principals better understand the components of learning through play, intentional design of classroom environments to foster learning, and the value of partnering with families.”

Lisa St. Clair, Nebraska PIRC Director and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center

"Provides administrators with an easy-to-follow, detailed road map for a better understanding of early childhood education. For some quick information for the meeting, check out the Principal’s Role section. It is a superb resource, while the chapter provides the entire substance of developing the program."

Ramona Miller, Principal
Mahnomen Elementary School, MN

"As a former principal, I was informed one year that I would open four 4-year-old classrooms in August of the next year. I understood developmentally appropriate practices and the abiding need to hire terrific early childhood teachers and teaching assistants. What I did not have in my toolbox were the structural components, such as how to create a daily schedule; how and where to provide for students' personal needs (eating, toileting, playing, transporting, etc.); and how to assess student progress and communicate effectively with parents. This guide would have supported my own learning and eased my sense of frustration in not providing adequate leadership for my team. This book offers school leaders a foundational resource of best practices and research that can support an immediate need."

Christi Roach, Executive Director
Oklahoma Association of Elementary School Principals

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter 1

For instructors

Please contact your Academic Consultant to check inspection copy availability for your course.

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9781412949507