Each week in partnership with the Merced County Office of Education we highlight North Valley leaders and programs specializing in early childhood education.

The county’s preschool program has as trick to teaching their students in the best way possible. The California Preschool Learning Foundations is a set of state guidelines for preschool teachers listing milestones for children in nine different areas.

Many teachers are using them to have a little fun in their classrooms.

For Mrs. Taijeron’s class, it’s alphabet sounds with a little boogie — totally normal dance moves in her preschool classroom. 

Dancing is more than just having fun. Behind every move the preschool teacher shows her students physical, social emotional, oral language, and visual arts skills.

“With all of those foundations when we teach as educators we try to make it playful, fun, interactive and engaging,” said the Ada Givens Preschool Teacher.

All of those elements are key components to the foundations. 

“Teachers look at the interests of the children and the foundations. They look a the curriculum. That’s how they write their lesson plans,” said Merced City School District Preschool Program Director Melanie Cole.

She said this process of teaching helps preschool students across the state and county learn and test on a level playing field.

“Then we can see the growth. It also helps teachers notice which children are not meeting those foundations so they can differentiate their teaching,” she said.

Cole said learning is much more than the ABC’s and 123’s.

“We teach the whole child. Learning those social-emotional skills are just as important,” she said.