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The Early Childhood Education Playbook

The Early Childhood Education Playbook

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November 2022 | 368 pages | Corwin

Your playbook for truly impactful early childhood education

Early childhood is a uniquely sensitive time when young learners are rapidly developing across multiple domains. Knowing which teaching strategies work best and when can have a significant impact on a child’s development and future success, both in school and beyond.

The Early Childhood Education Playbook examines how the Visible Learning® research can guide our decisions as we plan, teach, document, and partner with families and colleagues so that we can have the greatest possible impact on learning and development of children from birth to age 8. Each of the modules unpacks unique characteristics of early childhood environments as well as coherent practices that form a strong foundation for learning over time. Filled with tools and methods to support a team as they work toward a common goal, this playbook covers:

  • Teacher efficacy, credibility, and clarity
  • Partnerships with families
  • The importance of language
  • Formative assessment and feedback
  • How to ensure equity and inclusion

Using these strategies, teachers will discover how they can collaborate with young learners to encourage high expectations, implement developmentally appropriate practices at the right level of challenge, and focus on explicit success criteria. Get started with this playbook and watch your young learners thrive!

Part 1: Who Before Do
Module 1 Becoming Expert Educators
Module 2 Partnerships with and for Learners
Module 3 Intentional Interactions for Equity and Inclusion
Module 4 Playful learning
Part 2: Communicating Clarity
Module 5 Standards and Integration
Module 6 Learning Progressions
Module 7 Learning Intentions and Success Criteria
Module 8 The 4 Essentials of Communicating Clarity
Part 3: Tasks, Learning Strategies & Scaffolds
Module 9: High-Quality Tasks
Module 10: Intentionally Inclusive Tasks
Module 11: Phases of Learning
Part 4: Formative Evaluation and Feedback
Module 12: Formative Evaluation
Module 13: Effective Feedback
Module 14: Scaffolding Co-Evaluators
Module 15: Know Thy Impact
Module 16: By Design, Not By Chance


The Early Childhood Education Playbook is the epitome of mindfulness! My special education teacher's heart was thrilled to see a focus on the development of learning intentions and success criteria. By setting clear expectations to delineate and verbalize the rationale of a learning target and reinforcing the vital need to develop measurable goals, this playbook helps teachers zero in on the essence of their teaching: Who is this for? What are we going to accomplish today? How will I know that we have reached our goal? More importantly, The Early Childhood Education Playbook can help any teacher rethink their role within the classroom. When teachers stop to listen to what their students are saying, they create an environment where students of all ages can take a more active role in their education. These learning moments are vital, and we need to absorb the information. If you are looking for support or want to revitalize your early education classroom, this book is a must-read! You will feel empowered to define or rethink your teaching mindset while cultivating your visible learners.

Anne Iverson Scott
Special Education Teacher and University Student Teacher Supervisor, University of Virginia

Just as “every child deserves a great teacher, not by chance, but by design” (Fisher, Frey, & Hattie 2016), so does every educator deserve the opportunity to become great. This playbook provides the scaffolds for teachers to build a practice of intentionality where children have agency in their learning and teachers understand the impact of decisions.

Hollins Mills
Early Childhood Educator, Albemarle County Public Schools, VA

"Educators often ask me, 'what does teacher clarity look like for our youngest students?' or “how can I teach early learners how to have agency?' The Early Childhood Education Playbook answers these questions. With ample opportunities for self-assessment, reflection, and practice, this playbook is the perfect professional learning guide for individuals or teams wanting to develop deep learning of our youngest students. Through its practical examples across content areas and levels, the authors illuminate the process for incorporating the strongest research-based levers for intentional, deliberate lesson design that promote equity and foster agency in our youngest visible learners. While many books rely solely on content transmission, this one functions as a coach and mentor by strategically inviting readers to dive in deep and plan alongside the authors in order to strengthen our educational practice and the students we teach."

Kierstan Barbee
Project manager, Assessment for Learning, Dallas, TX

The book is helpful for upper early childhood education and elementary education majors. I used 2 chapters for an introductory course, but the reflective (interactive) aspect of the book is best for upper year students who are working in classrooms. I plan to use the book for that course.

Laura Teichert
Special Education and Literacy Studies Dept, Western Michigan University
June 5, 2023

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