The field of early childhood education formally embraces programs and practices for children from birth through age 8, or third grade. Research-based knowledge about how young children develop and learn makes a convincing case for capturing the early elementary grades within the birth through age 8 programming continuum. As Jack P. Shonkoff and Deborah A. Phillips have observed in their research on child development, the ages of 6 through 8 years are a critical period for children’s brain development. As is true for younger children, primary-grade children’s development and learning are inextricably interrelated across multiple domains. Indeed, there is a growing body of research to support the conclusion that progressions of learning and development that begin in children’s earliest years extend through the primary grades. ...

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