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California PTKLF

The California Preschool/Transitional Kindergarten Learning Foundations (PTKLF) describe the learning and development of most children ages three to five and a half years old in high-quality early education programs.

The California Preschool/Transitional Kindergarten Learning Foundations (PTKLF) outline key knowledge and skills that most children ages three to five and a half years old 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 preschool and transitional kindergarten (TK) educators, parents, and the public with a clear understanding of the wide range of knowledge and skills that children typically attain when given the benefits of a high-quality preschool program, whether it be in center-based, home-based, or TK settings.

The Preschool Learning Foundations (PLF) were originally released by the California Department of Education (CDE) in January 2008 (Volume 1), 2010 (Volume 2), and 2012 (Volume 3). In the 2021 Budget Bill, the CDE was given the authority to revise the PLF to reflect recent research in child development in all domains: Math, Language and Literacy, Science, Social-Emotional Development, History Social-Science, Health, Visual Performing Arts, and Physical Development.

Key changes to the publication include:

  • A greater emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion with more examples of children from different cultural backgrounds, children communicating in different languages, and children with disabilities.
  • The "Later Foundation" is now more inclusive of TK and provides a developmentally appropriate stepping stone towards the Kindergarten Common Core State Standards.
  • A new Approaches to Learning Domain which captures aspects of motivation, executive functioning, and goal-directed learning.
  • A Language and Literacy Domain with two sub-domains: Foundational Language Development (FLD) and English Language Development (ELD).
    • FLD describes the knowledge and skills in language and literacy for children in their home language (whether it be English or another language) - with examples of child speech in over 15 languages. ELD describes the trajectory of English language and literacy development for children who are English language learners.
  • Alignment between more examples in the "Early" and "Later" foundation skills to demonstrate the development progression.

California PTKLF Domains

The foundations can provide early childhood educators, parents, and the public with a clear understandind fo 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 revised using an inclusive and deliberative input process, including statewide educator focus groups, interest holder input sessions, and review by subject matter experts.

Presentations

Pre-recorded presentations that provide an overview of each domain can be found on the CDE YouTube channel.

  • High-level Revisions to the PTKLF Presentation on the CDE YouTube channel CDE YouTube channel External link opens in new window or tab. (Video; 18:06).
  • Introduction to the PTKLF Presentations
  • Approaches to Learning Presentation
  • Language and Literacy - Foundational Language Development Presentation
  • Mathematics Presentation
  • Social and Emotional Development Presentation

For reference to the PLF, see below:

California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1

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.

On January 22, 2008, the California Department of Education (CDE) 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, 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) External link opens in new window or tab.. 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) External link opens in new window or tab.. The price of the publication is $21.95.

Fundamentos del Aprendizaje Preescolar de California, Volumen 2 (PDF)
Spanish translation of the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2

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.

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) External link opens in new window or tab.. The price of the publication is $21.95.

Fundamentos del Aprendizaje Preescolar de California, Volumen 3 (PDF)
Spanish translation of the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 3

Questions:   Early Education Division | UPK@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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