Title page for ETD etd-02232012-113551

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Norris, Kimberly Jane
Author's Email Address knorris@vt.edu
URN etd-02232012-113551
Title Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning: Interpretation and Implementation by Practitioners
Degree PhD
Department Teaching and Learning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Barksdale, Mary Alice Committee Chair
Fu, Victoria R. Committee Member
Stewart, Daisy L. Committee Member
Witta, Terry C. Committee Member
  • early childhood theories
  • Virginia’s Foundation Blocks
  • preschool
  • scaffolded instruction
  • play
  • emergent literacy
  • spatial reasoning
Date of Defense 2012-02-09
Availability unrestricted
Expectations for accountability have led policy makers to create standards designed to educate children to their highest potential. In addition to k-12 standards, the Commonwealth of Virginia created Foundation Blocks for a state-sponsored preschool program called the Virginia Preschool Initiative.

This study included assessment of Virginia’s Foundation Blocks for Early Learning: Comprehensive Standards for Four-Year-Olds as they relate to theories of Piaget, Vygotsky, and Rogoff. This assessment included play, scaffolded instruction, emergent literacy, and spatial reasoning. The Foundation Blocks were examined to determine how they were interpreted and implemented by preschool classroom teachers. Using a case-study format, four volunteer teachers participated in three days of classroom observations, be interviewed, and complete a survey.

Evidence showed that the standards were theoretically based, and the participating teachers’ pedagogy included play, emergent literacy, and spatial reasoning. Scaffolded instruction was not observed. There were concerns about teachers’ low expectations and

low-level questioning techniques.

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