Teaching Practices

Preschool Teaching Practices

Education staff use effective teaching practices to:

  • Establish strong relationships with children and their families
  • Create content-rich learning environments and activities that foster children’s curiosity and extends their learning based upon their interests and development
  • Support and extend children’s learning in culturally and linguistically responsive ways

Use the resources on this page to strengthen preschool teaching practices.

Effective Practice Guides

The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) Effective Practice Guides provide information about domain-specific teaching practices that support children’s development. The guides show what these practices look like in early learning settings and help staff reflect on and improve their teaching practices.

Standards in Action: Promoting Learning Through Approaches to Rest, Meals, Routines, and Physical Activity

This vignette looks at Head Start Program Performance Standard (HSPPS) Teaching and the learning environment, 45 CFR § 1302.31, which promotes learning through approaches to rest, meals, routines, and physical activity. The vignette features a fictional grantee and highlights how program leaders work with others to meet the standards.


Text4Teachers supports Head Start and Early Head Start teachers, staff, and others who care for and teach young children in center-based and family child care settings. Sign up to receive two free text messages per month with information, tips, research, and resources to strengthen and support your teaching practices.

ELOF2GO Mobile App

ELOF2GO is a mobile application (app) resource for teachers who want on-the-go access to the ELOF goals for children and effective teaching practices in support of those goals. It is designed for teachers, family child care providers, and home visitors. Download it now for your Apple or Android device.

Framework for Effective Practice

The Framework for Effective Practice uses a house to represent the five integral elements of quality teaching and learning for children ages birth to 5 in all program options. When these elements are connected, they form a single structure that surrounds the family in the center. The family is at the heart of the house because each house element is implemented in partnership with parents and families in their cultural and community context.

Engaging Interactions and Environments

These 15-minute in-service suites are a professional development resource for staff in busy, active early childhood centers and programs. They are organized around one topic or big idea and address effective teaching and assessment practices. Sub-topics include building relationships, interest-based learning, behavior guidance, engaging interactions, and language modeling and conversations.

Teacher Time: Preschool Series

The premiere season of Teacher Time was designed for Head Start preschool teachers in a classroom setting. Each month, the hosts spoke with a special guest, a Head Start teacher, or a researcher in the field about the joys and challenges of teaching young children. Watch the series on-demand to discover how to build curricula and instructional decision-making around preschool children's knowledge, skills, and interests.

Last Updated: October 24, 2018