Texas Pre-Kindergarten Classrooms Will Be More Rigorous

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New research shows college and career readiness starts with math in Pre-K; Top Texas education officials recently voted to recommend Pearson Scott Foresman's Opening the World of Learning to schools statewide

School children in Texas' pre-Kindergarten classrooms will learn from new, more rigorous digital and print instructional materials next school year after the Texas State Board of Education's recent decision to make Pearson's Opening the World of Learning (OWL) program available statewide.

Pearson's pre-K program, heavily integrated with math, was developed by early childhood education experts as compelling new research* shows early exposure to math is an even more "powerful predictor of later learning" affecting students' chances of going to college.

Texas schools have been using their current pre-K materials since 2003. Following the recent Board approval of Texas Education Agency's recommendation, Pearson Scott Foresman's Opening the World of Learning or OWL will be available in the fall of 2011 to help teachers effectively introduce math concepts as early as pre-K and set children on a path to college readiness.

Dr. Juanita Copley is the authority on using math in the classroom to prepare pre-Kindergarten students for success in Kindergarten and beyond. Dr. Copley, was instrumental in the development of OWL, a comprehensive Pre-K curriculum designed for Texas classrooms. OWL integrates math and science along with language development and other critical skills for students throughout its lessons.

"The research is clear. A child's exposure to math in pre-Kindergarten is indicative of later school success. Preschool-age children are natural learners and capable of understanding much more than we often credit them," said Dr. Copley, a veteran teacher of nearly 40 years and professor emeritus of education at the University of Houston. "Integrating math and science substantively into the daily routine gives young children a solid academic base from which to grow as students. Inviting young children to become scientists - exploring, hypothesizing, measuring and experimenting - sets them up not only to understand their physical world, but to continue to be fascinated by their own ability to learn and discover throughout their school years."

The state's decision will help immerse pre-Kindergarten classrooms with math as the new instructional materials go into Texas classrooms beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.

Aligned to the state's Pre-K curriculum guidelines, OWL provides an exhaustive list of resources to help children, whether English-speakers or not, develop English vocabulary at an amazing rate of 3,000-4,000 words, which research shows is critical to best prepare children for Kindergarten and long-term school success. Math and science are embedded into OWL's vocabulary, reading and other instruction.    

"Teachers must recognize that early math instruction is not limited to a specific period or time of day in preschool. Instead it is a natural part of any quality preschool learning environment," the Texas Education Agency's Prekindergarten Guidelines state.

OWL also provides regular assessments to help teachers closely monitor individual student progress. The program provides guides for teachers to differentiate instruction for each student based on his or her understanding of the lessons.

From its rigorous curriculum in both English and Spanish to engaging digital animations and close monitoring of student progress, Pearson's pre-Kindergarten instructional materials are scientifically researched and proven to be effective in the classroom by providing the following:

  • Rigorous content in critical subjects like math and English language development to help better prepare Texas school children for success in Kindergarten on their path to college;
  • Equitable resources for English language learners, including materials with tips and step-by-step instructions for teachers to help with special accommodations for the hundreds of thousands of ELL students in Texas classrooms;
  • Comprehensive assessment tools that determine what level each student is performing to help teachers quickly identify academic strengths and weaknesses and differentiate instruction and intervene, as needed;
  • Programs developed specifically to teach Texas' Pre-K curriculum guidelines, commonly known as Pre-K Outcomes;
  • Great selection of literature from classics like Corduroy by Don Freeman to popular storybooks like Trucktown Helpers by Jon Scieszka.
  • A rich blend of print, CD/DVD, online resources, and manipulatives like musical instruments for teachers to choose from and easily customize their instruction for students' individual learning needs.

More information about Pearson's OWL program can be found at http://www.texasowl.com and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXANO8tl7B4.

About Pearson and Texas
Pearson (NYSE:PSO) is Texas' leading provider of technology in the classroom and has been supplying education materials to Texas schools as far back as the 1800s. You may know us individually as Scott Foresman, Prentice Hall, Longman, SuccessMaker, NovaNet, PowerSchool, Educational Measurement, Educational Assessment, SuccessNet, Learning Teams, and so many more - names in the world of education that are recognized and respected across the State and the globe. In fact, most teachers in Texas have learned their profession by studying with Pearson's Merrill or Allyn & Bacon textbooks, and many have benefited from our professional development programs. We provide education and testing materials from birth through professional learning as well as the school systems that maintain student information data for thousands of schools. Our business offices are located in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio, but our 2,000 Pearson people are living and working in every school district across the State. For more information, go to

*Duncan, G., Claessens, A., Huston, Al., Pagani, L., Engel, M., Sexton, H., Dowsett, C., Magnuson, K., Klebanov, P., Feinstein, L., Brooks-Gunn, J., Duckworth, K., Japel, C., School Readiness and Later Achievement. Developmental Psychology, 2007, Vol 43, No. 6., 1428-1446.

National Research Council. (2009). Mathematics Learning in Early Childhood: Paths Toward Excellence and Equity. Committee on Early Childhood Mathematics, Christopher T. Cross, Taniesha A.Woods, and Heidi Schweingruber, Editors, Center for Education, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Kate Miller


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