From birth, children have daily experiences with people, objects, and places that they store in their memory. Over time, these memories become more complex. This background knowledge is the basis for future learning, and children gain it through their wide and varied interactions with people. Background knowledge includes scientific awareness; cultural norms and expectations; and other information about the world. It expands as children connect new learning to their background knowledge. Explore these resources related to the development of these skills in young children, as well as strategies parents and families can use to support them.
Explore this resource to learn more about background knowledge—an important foundation for young children’s learning. Discover the research around why background knowledge matters and the roles language and culture play. Learn how children develop background knowledge and what it looks like at different stages in their development. Find examples of effective practices to develop children’s background knowledge in various early learning settings.
Discover specific research-based strategies that help infants, toddlers, and preschoolers develop the key skills they need for later reading success. Find examples of how the strategies are used in daily life.
Learn more about background knowledge as “Joan,” a kindergartener, shares her story about the language and literacy skills she has learned since birth. Joan's stories highlight how knowledgeable adults provided quality environments, resources, and intentional and planned instruction that supported her language and literacy learning. Reading Joan's stories are a fun and interesting way to learn about the Big 5.
Last Updated: February 15, 2019