Pre-K/Elementary School

prek elementary

Pre-K/Elementary School, the start of children’s formal education, is the springboard for future academic engagement and success.

Early experiences, including early relationships and learning environments, serve as the foundation for later educational and life outcomes. As noted by Plato, "the beginning is the most important part." Successful Pre-K/elementary school experiences are affected by contextual factors unique to each child and family, as well as the design of the child's learning environment. For that reason, Pre-K/elementary school programming is closely aligned with the core principles of safe, supportive learning environments and serves as a model for other education levels.


Featured Resources

Today’s educators are in a unique position to talk with youth who may be vulnerable to human trafficking and exploitation. They see young people every day in their schools, learn about their lives, and can provide safe spaces for students who need help. This resource offers strategies K–12 educators can use to talk with youth about human trafficking and exploitation.

Provides some tips for creating resolutions that prioritize your mental well-being.

Presents a definition of school-based law enforcement and summarizes some of the relevant research about its effects on students and schools

Provides a simple roadmap for incorporating social and emotional learning across the curriculum with equity in mind

Helps state leaders understand their role, as well as the urgency, in addressing student mental health needs with specific recommendations and state examples

Provides a roadmap for how to properly address challenges schools encounter with communicating to their communities what their SEL programs actually teach, designing social-emotional learning strategies that are tailored to the specific needs of their communities, and evaluating the effectiveness of those strategies

Lists external and individual resources to support schools in advancing racial justice and creating more equitable systems.

Presents an overview of sextortion, actions steps, red flags, statistics, and current approaches for reporting, victim support, and prevention education

Presents six CI4E process stages and guided pathways to ensure equity is centered within every component of continuous improvement efforts for education teams, schools, and school systems.

Presents facts and tips to help the reader identify child sex abuse.

Provides evidence on the impact of high schools on the experiences and trajectories of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) students, many of whom are members of historically marginalized communities.

Guiding Principles for Creating Safe, Inclusive, Supportive, and Fair School Climates

Identifies five guiding principles and suggests actions schools and school districts can take to create inclusive, safe, supportive, and fair learning environments. 

U.S. Department of Education Issues Dear Colleague Letter Calling for End to Corporal Punishment in Schools and Guiding Principles on School Discipline

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona wrote to Governors, Chief State School Officers, and School District and School Leaders and urged them to end corporal punishment in schools—the practice of paddling, spanking, or otherwise imposing physical punishment on students. 

Logo for the U.S. Department of Education

States that the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education have withdrawn statements of policy and guidance regarding the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline, dated January 8, 2014, and related documents dated 2014, including the Guiding Principles. (Note: Previously posted School Discipline Guidance Package related materials posted on the former SSDCoP website are being revisited; the website will be updated on an ongoing basis.)

Using Developmental Science to Transform Children’s Early School Experiences report cover

Reviews four foundations for young children's development that appear to underlie children's competence and predict success in school from Prekindergarten through Third Grade: self-regulation, representation, memory, and attachment.

Cover image of Using Data for R2 Accountability and Improvement

Reviews four key categories of data collected in early childhood settings, clarifies the information each provides, and illustrates how the data are meant to be used to improve practice and quality.

Social-emotional Development in Early Childhood: What Every Policymaker Should Know cover page

Outlines the risks faced by young children with social, emotional, and behavioral problems, as well as barriers to eligibility, access to services, and service utilization. The authors conclude by recommending policy improvements needed by young children and their families. 

School-Family Partnership Strategies to Enhance Children's Social, Emotional, and Academic Growth cover page

Provides educators with an overview of social and emotional learning (SEL) and school-family partnerships (SFPs), a discussion of the important relationship of SFPs and SEL, and strategies to promote children's social, emotional, and academic development using school-family partnerships.

Student thining with map in background

Showcases a series of clues for students to follow about location—including landmarks, weather, and population. Utilizes a U.S. Census Bureau data tool called “State Facts for Students” to answer questions leading students steps closer to finding their answers.

Protecting America's Schools: A U.S. Secret Service Analysis of Targeted School Violence

Dives deep into nine years of school tragedies, and it advocates for schools to establish comprehensive targeted violence prevention programs. Provides prevention measures to identify students of concern and assess their potential risk for engaging in violence or other harmful activities.

Student writing calculations on a board

Resource for teaching and learning to use real-life Census Bureau data through school visits and other modes of outreach. The program is broken out into five core subjects: math, geography, sociology, English and history. Each of these subjects are clearly designated for K-12 grade-level appropriateness.

Cover image of Four Important Things to Know About the Transition to School

Defines transition as a process—not just a one-time event—that begins during children’s preschool years and continues into and through 3rd grade. This transition is also a time when children begin to take part in an increasing number of learning settings, both in and out of school. The article highlights four important things research indicates about the transition to school,  equity issues, smooth transitions to school, the role of families, and partnerships among families, schools and communities.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 report cover

Outlines position statement of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Includes literature, guidelines, and recommendations for creating developmentally appropriate practices targeted to this age group.

American Institutes for Research

U.S. Department of Education

The contents of the National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments Web site were assembled under contracts from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Supportive Schools to the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Contract Number  91990021A0020.

This Web site is operated and maintained by AIR. The contents of this Web site do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the U.S. Department of Education nor do they imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.

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