Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

California Preschool Learning Foundations


The California Preschool Learning Foundations outline key knowledge and skills that most children can achieve when provided with the kinds of interactions, instruction, and environments that research has shown to promote early learning and development. The foundations can provide early childhood educators, parents, and the public with a clear understanding of the wide range of knowledge and skills that preschool children typically attain when given the benefits of a high-quality preschool program.

The foundations were developed using an inclusive and deliberative input process, including statewide stakeholder meetings, public input sessions held throughout the state, public hearings, and public comment. Input from the various review opportunities was considered and incorporated as appropriate.

California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1

On January 22, 2008, the California Department of Education released the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1. (PDF; 5MB) Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell stated that these foundations offer our early childhood educators a clear understanding of what our youngest learners should know before entering kindergarten.

Volume 1 of the California Preschool Learning Foundations focuses on the domains of social-emotional development, language and literacy, English-language development, and mathematics. They provide a comprehensive understanding of what children learn in these four domains.

In an effort to partner with parents in the education of their preschool children, key sections of the publication are available and have been translated to support parents' understanding of the preschool learning foundations, their purpose, and what they describe as the knowledge and skills that children typically attain at 48 and 60 months of age. The translations include traditional Chinese, simplified Chinese, Hmong, Korean, Pilipino (Tagalog), Spanish, and Vietnamese, and are based on the prevalent non-English languages spoken by parents of preschool children in California.

Foreword by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell
Available Translations of the Foreword by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell

Introduction to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1
Available Translations of the Introduction to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1

Appendix to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1 (DOC)
Available Translations of the Appendix to the Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1

The California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1, can be purchased from CDE Press by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-995-4099, or by ordering through the CDE Press Catalog Listings of Publications (Item Number 001681). The price of the publication is $21.95.

Fundamentos del Aprendizaje Preescolar de California, Volumen 1 (PDF)
Spanish translation of the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1

California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2

The California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2 (PDF; 1MB) covers the skills and knowledge that children attain at around 36 months and 48 months in the domain areas of visual and performing arts, physical development, and health.

Foreword by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell
Available Translations of the Foreword by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell

Introduction to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2
Available Translations of the Introduction to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2

Appendixes to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2

The California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2, can be purchased from CDE Press by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-995-4099, or by ordering through the CDE Press Catalog Listings of Publications (Item Number 001708). The price of the publication is $21.95.

California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 3

The California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 3 (PDF; 1MB) covers the skills and knowledge that children attain at around 36 months and 48 months in the domain areas of history–social science and science. This edition features a special abbreviated version of the Alignment Document (PDF) (The Alignment of the California Preschool Learning Foundations with Key Early Education Resources) in the appendix.

Foreword by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson
Available Translations of the Foreword by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson

Introduction to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 3
Available Translations of the Introduction to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 3

Appendix A to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 3
Available Translations of Appendix A to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 3

The California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 3, can be purchased from CDE Press by calling the toll-free number at 1-800-995-4099, or by ordering through the CDE Press Catalog Listings of Publications (Item Number 001727). The price of the publication is $21.95.

Additional Resources

Further information about the Preschool Learning Foundations is provided in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document clarifying key issues for early childhood educators, administrators, and stakeholders. For information about some professional development opportunities, please refer to the California Preschool Instructional Network (CPIN) External link opens in new window or tab. .

Return to Publications

Questions:   Early Education and Support Division | psfoundations@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Monday, November 21, 2016
Related Content
  • California Preschool Curriculum Frameworks
    Companion volumes to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, the frameworks present strategies for early childhood educators that enrich learning and development opportunities for all California preschool children.
Recently Posted in Child Development
  • Minimum Wage Brochure (PDF) (added 21-Feb-2017)
    A summarization of the findings and recommendations from the Minimum Wage Task Force regarding the minimum wage increase's effects on child care and development programs and families.
  • Management Bulletin 17-03 (added 14-Feb-2017)
    Management Bulletin 17-03 informs child care contractors and providers that a digital signature is considered a type of electronic signature.
  • Management Bulletin 17-04 (added 14-Feb-2017)
    Management Bulletin 17-04 informs child care contractors they are authorized to use digital signatures.
  • Plumas County LPC Priorities (XLS) (added 09-Feb-2017)
    Plumas County Local Planning Council Priorities Submission Form.
  • Electronic Submission of LPC Priorities (added 09-Feb-2017)
    Local Planning Councils (LPCs) are required to identify local priority areas for child care services by submitting priorities electronically.

  • Certification of LPC Priority E-Submission (PDF) (added 09-Feb-2017)
    Local Planning Councils (LPCs) are required to certify the accuracy of electronically submitted priorities for child care services with this document.
  • State Plan FFY 2016-18 CAP Approval Letter (PDF) (added 19-Jan-2017)
    A letter received on December 18, 2016 from the Administration of Children and Families that approves the California Department of Education's plan for corrective action.
  • CCDF State Plan FFY 2016-18 Corrective Action Plan (PDF) (added 19-Jan-2017)
    California's Corrective Action Plan for the Child Care and Development Fund Fiscal Year 2016-18 State Plan submitted by the California Department of Education on September 8, 2016.
  • CA-QRIS Certification Grant Webinar (added 18-Jan-2017)
    December 13, 2016, Guidance Webinar on the CA-QRIS 2016-17 Certification Grant.
  • CCDBG Stakeholder Input Session (added 12-Jan-2017)
    Webinar presented on November 1, 2016, of a topical input session to receive public and stakeholder input regarding development of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) 2017–18 Quality Improvement Expenditure Plan.