Study Guide

Early Childhood Education
Sample Questions

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Competency 0001
Understand early childhood development from birth through grade three and factors that influence young children's development and learning.

1. In his theory of development, Jean Piaget sought to explain:

  1. how maturation, activity, and interpersonal experiences interact to influence cognitive development.
  2. how caregiver responsiveness influences social and emotional development.
  3. how internal needs, desires, and conflicts interact to influence personality development.
  4. how guidance from knowledgeable others influences intellectual development.
Enter to expand or collapse answer.Answer expanded
Correct Response: A. Jean Piaget theorized that as children mature, they progress through four stages of cognitive development and that, at each stage, their experiences are filtered through the cognitive structure characteristic of that stage. He further argued that, as children act on the world and interact with other people, they progressively adjust their thinking, constructing new knowledge to fit new situations.

Competency 0002
Understand the goals, benefits, types, and uses of assessment to support young children and families.

2. Which of the following informal assessment tools would be most useful for documenting a preschool child's ability to perform specific skills?

  1. an interview
  2. a rating scale
  3. a worksheet
  4. a running record
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Correct Response: B. Although more subjective than various other assessments, a rating scale is a quick, efficient way to gather information without disrupting learning. Using a rating scale over time would allow the teacher to monitor and document a child's performance of specific skills and to provide timely intervention as necessary.

Competency 0003
Understand how to create and manage positive learning environments for children from birth through grade three.

3. Which of the following would be a second-grade teacher's best strategy for promoting all students' sense of competence and motivation to learn?

  1. emphasizing homogeneous grouping to minimize comparisons between students who perform at different levels
  2. differentiating instruction to present each student with tasks that can be achieved with persistence
  3. creating frequent opportunities for friendly competitions such as spelling bees and math bees
  4. offering praise for the completion of work regardless of a student's level of effort or the quality of the final product
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Correct Response: B. Research has shown that children are motivated by high but realistic learning expectations. Differentiating instruction allows teachers to set learning expectations at the appropriate level for each student. Students who believe that they can achieve success through effort and persistence become self-confident, motivated learners.

Competency 0004
Understand oral language development and how to promote listening and speaking skills in children from birth through grade three.

4. As part of the regular daily schedule, a second-grade teacher reads a story aloud and discusses it with the class. Several students are English language learners, and the teacher wants to use the discussions to promote and extend these students' oral language skills. Which of the following would be the teacher's best strategy for achieving this goal?

  1. meeting with the English language learners beforehand to pre-teach key vocabulary and make connections to their prior knowledge
  2. asking the English language learners to repeat the teacher's questions in statement form as a preface to their responses
  3. holding the discussions in two sessions, one for the English language learners and the other for native English speakers
  4. using the discussions as a regular opportunity to give feedback on the English language learners' progress in English language production
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Correct Response: A. If English language learners are unfamiliar with key words and concepts in a story, they will be unable to participate fully in a discussion about it. Conducting a pre-reading activity to explain the story's vocabulary and link the content to the children's existing knowledge will facilitate comprehension of the story, deepen understanding of key vocabulary, and, thus, support their active oral participation in class discussions.

Competency 0005
Understand the foundations of literacy development in children from birth through grade three.

5. Four-year-old Kima draws a picture of a girl. She then writes the letter K all around the edges of the paper, remarking, "This is my name. It says Kima." This behavior suggests that Kima has attained some understanding of:

  1. the function of print.
  2. how to decode words.
  3. the alphabetic principle.
  4. how to track print.
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Correct Response: A. Kima's behaviors indicate that she is beginning to understand foundational concepts about print. She makes a distinction between letters and pictures and, further, she recognizes that letters are used to represent spoken language.

Competency 0006
Understand research-based reading instruction for children from birth through grade three.

6. Which of the following would be the most effective way for a third-grade teacher to promote students' comprehension of a new chapter they are about to begin reading in their science textbook?

  1. having students skim the chapter, write down any unfamiliar words, and look up the words in a dictionary
  2. assigning students to small groups in which the members take turns reading sections of the text out loud
  3. holding a brief discussion of the word identification strategies the students have learned and listing the strategies on the board
  4. helping the students generate a chart of what they know about the subject and what they would like to learn
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Correct Response: D. Research indicates that students who are actively engaged when reading show greater comprehension of informational text than students who are not. Involving students in creating a chart of what they know about a topic and what they would like to learn promotes active thinking during the reading process by encouraging questioning, providing specific things to look for, and prompting reflection.

Competency 0007
Understand writing processes and strategies for developing children's writing competence.

7. In a class of three-year-olds, which of the following would be the teacher's best strategy for fostering the development of the fine-motor skills prerequisite for writing?

  1. providing children with thick pencils to use to trace the outlines of letters and shapes
  2. engaging children in activities such as doing finger-plays and playing with interlocking blocks and beads
  3. involving children in singing activities in which they clap the rhythms of the songs
  4. engaging children in art activities such as finger painting and making prints of their hands in plaster
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Correct Response: B. The development of the fine-motor skills required for writing starts in infancy, when children use a pincer grasp to pick up objects of interest. Preschool teachers can build on these skills by providing appealing activities with manipulative materials that support the further development of fine-motor strength and control.

Competency 0008
Understand music, drama, creative movement, dance, and visual arts and how to facilitate arts learning for children from birth through grade three.

8. A first-grade teacher is planning an art activity in which students will explore texture. Which of the following activities would best foster students' understanding of this visual art concept?

  1. easel painting
  2. sketching
  3. crayon rubbing
  4. cutting and pasting
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Correct Response: C. Crayon rubbing is a process in which a sheet of paper is placed over a textured material (e.g., tree bark, a piece of screening). The surface of the paper is then rubbed with a crayon, and the resulting image captures the textural qualities of the material beneath.

Competency 0009
Understand physical development, health, and safety and how to facilitate learning about health and safety and participation in physical activities for children from birth through grade three.

9. In terms of student safety, which of the following features of a school playground should a kindergarten teacher be most concerned about?

  1. The swings do not provide back support or seat belts.
  2. The surface below the climbing structure consists of packed earth.
  3. The platform at the top of the slide is 5-feet high.
  4. The playing area includes a blacktop made of asphalt.
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Correct Response: B. To minimize the potential for injury from a fall, the surface beneath playground climbing structures should consist of a material that will absorb an impact. Wood chips or rubberized materials have been proven effective for this purpose, while nonabsorptive surfaces, such as packed earth, statistically increase the chance of serious injury.

Competency 0010
Understand mathematical concepts, processes, and skills and how to facilitate mathematical learning for children from birth through grade three.

10. In a third-grade class, each student stands on a large sheet of 1-inch graph paper while a partner creates an outline of the student's foot by tracing around it. Students then count the number of squares inside each outline. This activity would best help students understand the mathematical concept of:

  1. perimeter.
  2. volume.
  3. proportion.
  4. area.
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Correct Response: D. In geometry, the term area refers to a flat surface enclosed by lines. Outlining a student's foot on graph paper enables students to explore the concept of area by counting the number of unit squares contained within the outline.

Competency 0011
Understand social studies concepts and skills and how to facilitate social studies learning for children from birth through grade three.

11. Which of the following represents a third-grade teacher's best strategy for integrating art with the study of local history?

  1. contacting local organizations, such as the town offices and the historical society, to obtain brochures and other materials to use in a collage
  2. posting pictures of notable historical figures when teaching a lesson on important events and issues in local history
  3. distributing cardboard templates of historical images, such as log houses or horses and buggies, for students to use to create scenes from the past
  4. looking at local historical paintings and comparing features of daily life in earlier times, such as clothing and transportation, with those of today
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Correct Response: D. One traditional function of visual art has been to record and interpret features of a time or place. Local historical paintings provide a wealth of opportunities for students to compare today's world with that of the past, as well as to examine artists' use of art elements and principles to convey a mood or theme.

Competency 0012
Understand science concepts and skills and how to facilitate science learning for children from birth through grade three.

12. Which of the following animals is classified as a vertebrate?

  1. butterfly
  2. hummingbird
  3. earthworm
  4. jellyfish
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Correct Response: B. A vertebrate is an animal that has a backbone. Of the animals listed, the only one with a backbone is the hummingbird.

Competency 0013
Understand strategies for building positive, collaborative relationships with children's families, other professionals, and community agencies and organizations.

13. A first-grade student with a disability is frequently pulled out from her general education classroom to receive services in the resource room. The first-grade teacher feels that the student is missing not only important instruction but also opportunities to develop ties with her classmates. Which of the following would be the first-grade teacher's best initial response?

  1. scheduling a meeting with the school principal to emphasize the need to take immediate action
  2. rearranging the instructional schedule in the classroom to accommodate the student's resource room schedule
  3. arranging to meet with the special education teacher to present these concerns and discuss how best to proceed
  4. limiting the time the student spends in the resource room to one half-hour session per day
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Correct Response: C. A direct meeting would provide the best opportunity for the teachers to share their perspectives, explore potential solutions, and forge a common understanding of how to meet the student's needs across domains.

Competency 0014
Understand the roles and responsibilities of early childhood educators.

14. A young child with developmental delays has an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The child will soon turn three, at which point he will enter a general education preschool program. Which of the following is a key responsibility of the general education preschool teacher in this situation?

  1. working closely with the child's family and service providers to promote a smooth transition
  2. obtaining permission to review the child's complete medical history in preparation for the child's entry into the program
  3. informing the families of other children in the program of the child's upcoming enrollment
  4. submitting a formal request for a paraprofessional to provide support in the child's preschool classroom
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Correct Response: A. Transitions are especially sensitive moments for young children. The general education preschool teacher can facilitate a smooth transition for the child by collaborating with the family and service providers in multiple ways (e.g., by learning about the child's routines, communication modes, and favorite toys and foods; becoming familiar with the services the child has been receiving; arranging to meet the child beforehand).