Teacher listening to student


Pre-K Newsletters

The Office of Early Learning has created a newsletter to support pre-k teachers. Each issue includes tips, tricks, and reminders to support the formative assessment process and a spotlight on age-appropriate literacy development for young learners.

Coming Soon! 2024-2025 OEL Pre-K Menu of Support

The Pre-K Menu of Support provides professional learning opportunities for early childhood educators. Topics include transitions to pre-k and kindergarten, assessment, effective practices, and literacy development.  Sessions can be attended virtually by clicking on registration links within the Menu of Pre-K Support.  If you are interested in face-to-face sessions for your community, please contact a consultant in your area or complete the form linked below.



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Overview and Unpacking Guides


NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development describes goals for all children’s development and learning, no matter what program they may be served in, what language they speak, what disabilities they may have, or what family circumstances they are growing up in. The document provides age-appropriate goals and developmental indicators for each age level - infant, toddler, and preschooler. Foundations is also intended to be a guide for teaching – not a curriculum or checklist that is used to assess children’s development and learning, but a resource to define the skills and abilities we want to support in the learning experiences we provide for children.

Foundations outlines the standards for children from birth through age 5. The K-12 Standards webpage has information regarding North Carolina's Standard Course of Study for older students.

The North Carolina Early Learning and Development Progressions: Birth to Five are an expansion of the North Carolina Foundations for Early Learning and Development (2013). Learning progressions were developed for each identified goal in four developmental domains, and show the steps through which children develop skills from birth to five years.

Unpacking Guides

In the Classroom: Foundations Unpacking Guides can be accessed below.  The purpose of the unpacking guides is to provide support for teachers, coaches, and administrators.  Resources include clarification of developmental indicators, support for CORE instruction, and support for formative assessment practices.  Learn more about the unpacking guides by viewing this recorded webinar. Also available are webinar transcript and slides.

Developmental Domain Links to Unpacking Guides
APL- Approaches to Learning

Curiosity, Information-Seeking, and Eagerness (Goals 1-2)

Play and Imagination (Goals 3-4)

Risk-Taking, Problem-Solving, and Flexibility (Goal 5-6)

Attentiveness, Effort, and Persistence (Goal 7-9)

ESD- Emotional Social Development

Developing Sense of Self (Goals 1-2)

Developing a Sense of Self with Others (Goals 3-5)

Learning About Feelings (Goals 6-7)

HPD- Health and Physical Development

Physical Health and Growth (Goals 1-3)

Motor Development (Goals 4-5)

Self-Care (Goals 6-7)

Safety Awareness (Goal 8)

LDC- Language Development and Communication

Learning to Communicate (Goals 1-7)

Foundations for Reading (Goals 8-12)

Foundations for Writing (Goals 13-15)

CD- Cognitive Development

Construction of Knowledge: Thinking and Reasoning (Goals 1-3)

Creative Expression (Goals 4-5)

Social Connections (Goals 6-9)

Mathematical Thinking and Expression (Goals 10-13)

Scientific Exploration and Knowledge (Goals 14-15)


As Paulson and Moats (2018) state, "Early literacy is not about learning to read in preschool; it is about building the important foundations needed for a smooth transition into early reading and writing in the primary grades" (p.1).

Questions and Requests for Support can be made by completing the Pre-K Early Literacy Support Request form.  A member of the Office of Early Learning team will reply to your request.

Resources for Leaders Description
LETRS® Early Childhood Conversations and Classroom Connections (PLC) LETRS® for Little Learners: Conversations and Classroom Connections is a guide for leaders in Early Childhood who are supporting implementation of LETRS professional development. Sessions include: reflective conversations based on knowledge gained through LETRS coursework, application of LETRS coursework to classroom practice, and leveraging documentation and data to inform classroom instruction.
Pre-K Science of Reading (SoR) Alignment Tool

The North Carolina Pre-K Science of Reading Alignment Tool provides guidance regarding the alignment of curricula to the body of research referred to as the science of reading, can be used when selecting a curriculum that specializes in addressing the domains of language and literacy development and/or to evaluate the language and literacy component(s) of a more comprehensive curriculum that addresses whole-child development, and informs stakeholders of the areas in the curriculum that need to be supplemented to achieve optimal alignment.

Brief Intro Video

LETRS® Support for Pre-K Leaders Webinar Series The LETRS Support for Pre-K Leaders Series will provide an overview of the Science of Reading while addressing the essential components of literacy instruction: oral language, phonological & phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. The goal of each session is to increase background knowledge of early literacy development by sharing effective instructional practices and resources.

LETRS® for Little Learners Webinar Part 1

LETRS® for Little Learners Webinar Part 2

Part 1 Notecatcher and Slide Deck

Part 2 Notecatcher and Slide Deck

Resources for Teachers Description
OEL Pre-K Newsletter This newsletter has been created to support prekindergarten teachers.  Each issue contains tips, tricks, and reminders for the formative assessment process and a spotlight on age-appropriate literacy development for young learners. 
NC Pre-K Crosswalk Document The crosswalk shows alignment among skilled reading strands from Scarborough’s Rope, NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development, Teaching Strategies GOLD® objectives and dimensions, and Kindergarten standards that are supported with early literacy instruction.
In the Classroom: Foundations Unpacking Guides for Language Development and Communication This resource unpacks NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development indicators for Language Development and Communication. Unpacking Guides are available for three subdomains: Learning to Communicate, Foundations for Reading, and Foundations for Writing.
Early Childhood Education and the Science of Reading: Recipes to Last a Lifetime This blog post by Lucy Hart Paulson, author of LETRS for Early Childhood Educators, describes recipes for learning to read, oral language development, optimal learning, and learning through play. 
PlaytoRead: Activities for Literacy Development in the Pre-K Classroom This resource is intended to support teachers as they intentionally support children’s development of literacy concepts and skills that are aligned to the Science of Reading. Similar activities should occur throughout the learning environment, providing multiple opportunities for children to authentically practice literacy skills.
PlaytoRead: Supporting Letter Knowledge

This resource provide examples of embedded and engaging ways to incorporate meaningful instruction, intentional practice, and formative assessment beyond direct instruction. Letter knowledge instruction includes name, shape, sound, and how the mouth is shaped to produce the represented sound. 

Recorded Webinar: Letter Knowledge Throughout the Day

Phonological Awareness Throughout the Day

This resource provides many ways to incorporate activities that support phonological awareness during play, transitions, mealtimes, and more.

Recorded Webinar: Phonological Awareness Throughout the Day

Vocabulary Throughout the Day This blogpost from Dr. Timothy Shanahan provides "Five Things Every Teacher Should Know about Vocabulary Instruction". Consider how they can be implemented in a pre-k classroom.  Read Aloud is a great way to increase young children's vocabulary as well. See "Read Aloud Support" below.
Pre-K Literacy Instruction Standards (LIS) The LIS provide guidance to early childhood educators on essential, evidence-based early language and literacy practices that lead to improved literacy outcomes. It is widely recognized that early language and literacy skills developed during the preschool years build the foundation for later literacy success and can mitigate disparities in achievement. The LIS are designed to build consistency in effective classroom practices across the state that are grounded in both developmentally appropriate practice and the latest research in the Science of Reading. The LIS are written as core practices that teachers will intentionally integrate into their daily
instructional plan. Children require opportunities to engage in high-quality early literacy experiences every day.
Read Aloud Support 

Intentional planning for read alouds is essential. Templates and completed examples below demonstrate how each reading of a book focuses on specific literacy skills.

In-Depth Interactive Read Aloud Guide (template)

Read Aloud Example (Fiction)

Read Aloud Example (Nonfiction)

Abbreviated Interactive Read Aloud Guide and Planner (template)

Literacy Foundations with Familes This resource set includes a recorded webinar for educators and a family-facing slide deck with speaker notes that educators can use when encouraging literacy and language development beyond the classroom.
Early Literacy in Pre-K Sway This resource provides Pre-K teachers support with the implementation of evidence-based language and literacy strategies in print knowledge, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and oral language.
Resources for Families Description
PlaytoRead: Activities for Literacy Development with a Caregiver This resource is intended to support caregivers as they support literacy development while engaging with young children. Teachers are encouraged to share the resource with caregivers and then highlight particular activities as the skills align to classroom activities. Teachers are invited to create more activities based on needs/interests in their classroom.
Literacy at Home: Digital Children’s Reading Initiative This digital resource provides literacy activities at each grade level, pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. Families and communities may access this resource for activities that specifically target the literacy skills of phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and oral language. When children grow in each of these foundational areas they are well on their way to becoming proficient readers.


Are You Preparing a Child for Kindergarten?

Let's Get Ready! Guide

When families and caregivers are empowered with developmental knowledge and strategies to support the growth of young children, they can enhance the early learning experience. This will help the child more easily transition to kindergarten. The only requirement for kindergarten entry is that the child turns 5 on or before August 31 of the current year.

The Let's Get Ready! Guide’s intended use is not to determine if a child “is" or "is not” ready for kindergarten, rather this guide provides family-friendly resources on age-appropriate developmental skills, support tips, and at-home activities where adult/child interactions are the central focus. Let's Get Ready! is based on the Older Preschooler Developmental Indicators from The NC Foundations for Early Learning and Development (2013) and addresses all five developmental domains. A Transition Timeline provides consideration for the logistical steps a family may experience the year prior to kindergarten. Resources that focus on younger developmental skills, milestone tracking, kindergarten standards, and digital access to early literature can be found through QR codes on the back cover. To learn more, watch the Let's Get Ready Recorded Overview and view Detailed Descriptions of the "I Can Statements”.

Printing & Purchase Options: 

Black & white versionSpanish version | Spanish black & white version

The guide is available for purchase from NC DPI Publications Catalog in full-color ($5.00/copy) or black and white with color covers ($3.00/copy).

Resources for Community Transition Plans

Guiding Principles & Practices

Benchmarks of Quality

Transition Planning Template

Crosswalk of Requirements

What are Title I Preschool Programs?

Title I preschool programs are designed to improve cognitive, health and social-emotional outcomes for eligible children below the grade at which an LEA (Local Education Agency) provides a free public elementary education. Children enrolled are provided with opportunities to prepare them with the prerequisite skills and dispositions for learning that will enable them to benefit from later school experiences. Although Title I allows preschool programs to serve children from birth up to age five, most North Carolina Title I preschools serve four-year-olds. Children must be age eligible by August 31 of the new school year. No child who is age eligible (5 years old on or before August 31 of the new school year) for kindergarten may be enrolled. Title I preschool programs usually follow the school calendar and school day, and are staffed with both a licensed teacher and qualified teacher assistant. 

Curricula used in Title I preschools must be comprehensive, research-based, and aligned with North Carolina's early learning standards. The learning experiences offered in a Title I preschool promote growth in all developmental domains. Children’s progress is monitored by teachers in an ongoing manner. This process of formative assessment includes multiple means such as observing, collecting work samples, and talking with families, which provides a picture of the whole child. Teachers use this data to guide teaching and learning in order to meet the individual needs of every child. Family engagement is an integral component of all Title I preschool programs. Communication between home and school strengthens the family's knowledge and understanding of their child's development and allows parents and teachers to work together to plan appropriate learning experiences. Teachers use a variety of methods to involve parents in the education of their child, including home visits, conferences, and written/electronic communication.


Children living within the local program's designated attendance area are eligible to apply for enrollment in the Title I preschool program. Selection is based on academic need. To identify those with the greatest need, local programs design a selection process that utilizes multiple criteria, such as parent interviews, teacher observations, and developmentally appropriate measures of child development (developmentally appropriate measures of child development – the most commonly used in NC are the Brigance Early Childhood Screen or DIAL- Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning). Family income may also be used to determine eligibility, but not as the sole determinant.



Getting Ready for Kindergarten

Do you have a child getting ready to attend Kindergarten?  Check out our "Let's Get Ready" guide and accompanying resources on the Early Learning Info for Families page.

Let's Get Ready