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California Preschool Learning Foundations. California Department of Education Child Development Division.

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california preschool learning foundations

California Preschool Learning Foundations

California Department of Education

Child Development Division


On January 22, 2008, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell formally released the foundations during the California State of Education address.With a goal of ensuring that all preschools offer high-quality programs, the California Department of Education developed these preschool learning foundations.


Preschool Learning Foundations ~Domains~

English- Language Development

Social-Emotional Development

Language and Literacy


key findings of the rand study
Key Findings of the Rand Study
  • Children who attend pre-k score higher on school readiness measures at kindergarten entry.
  • Effective pre-k improves children’s K-12 academic performance.
  • Effective pre-k has long-term benefits.


The purpose of the foundations is to promote understanding of preschool children’s learning and to guide instructional practice.

the foundations

are for all children, including children learning English and children with disabilities. They describe the knowledge and skills that young children typically exhibit:

  • at around 48 and 60 months of age;
  • as they complete their first or second year of preschool;
  • with appropriate support; and
  • when attending a high-quality preschool program.
high quality programs include

High-Quality Programs Include

environments and experiences that encourage active, playful exploration and experimentation

purposeful teaching to help children gain knowledge and skills

specific support for children learning English

specific accommodations and adaptations for children with special needs


Foundations are based on…

…and enhanced with expert practitioners’ suggestions and examples.

cde web site
CDE Web site
  • At the Web address, the underlined Preschool Learning Foundations link takes you to the publication. There you will have easy access to the chapters and sections within the 192 page publication.
  • The Appendix, on pages 173-192, provides a summary list of the foundations.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are posted on the website. Questions can be sent to
to purchase
To Purchase
  • The Preschool Learning Foundations publication is available for purchase from the CDE Press for $19.95.
  • Ordering information can be found at the CDE Web site or by calling 800-995-4099.
what is next
What is next?
  • Curriculum framework
  • DRDP-R
  • Other foundation domains
professional development opportunities
Professional DevelopmentOpportunities
  • The California Preschool Instructional Network will provide training opportunities. Check the CPIN Web site at for upcoming training dates.
  • The Faculty Initiative Project will hold seminars for college faculty. Visit for more information.