• The ABCs of Prekindergarten Learning

    Key Terms and Concepts: Below is a list of key terms and concepts with definitions. These terms and general concepts are used often in prekindergarten to help families understand the idea of prekindergarten education. This chart aims to ensure that readers have a common understanding of terms.


    Prekindergarten is used generically to include any program serving children the year prior to kindergarten entry, to children who are 4 years old.


    Throughout this website, the terms communicate, communication, and language mean that children can express meaning and understanding by using any language or mode of expression, including use of home language, sign language, or adaptive equipment. 

    Emergent Reader;

    Early Reader

    An emergent reader, including an emergent multilingual reader, is on the path to fluent literacy, before conventional reading and writing skills are developed. One who begins to recognize letter sounds, learned sight words, or
    symbolic representations of words. An early reader has moved beyond the emergent reader stage and is able to apply some reading strategies to interact with texts. An early reader begins to monitor their own reading and self-correct.


    Domain refers to specific aspects of growth and change. When looking at child development, several domains or developmental areas are considered. These Domains include approaches to learning; physical development and health; social and emotional learning; communication, language and literacy; and cognition and knowledge of the world. 

    Learning Standards

    Learning standards are goals for New York State students. The NYSPLS are organized by developmental domains and connected to K-12 academic content areas. Standards should be considered the destination; learning ideally intended to be accomplished by the end of an instructional year. 


    Curriculum is an outline or scope and sequence of the content, concepts, and skills students will learn. Curriculum addresses all domains of learning and all types of learners.


    Instruction includes the ways (approaches, strategies, environments, materials, interactions) educators choose to teach the curriculum, based on the needs of their students. 


    Assessment includes the processes used to learn more about student learning and progress. Assessment guides and informs teaching. 


    * Adapted from the NYS Learning Standards-2019