In planning rich early childhood experiences that will help children to achieve the desired results, teachers must understand how children learn and what practices enhance learning. This chapter makes the case that a critical goal of learning is the ability to transfer what is learned from one situation or setting to another. To assist learners to do so, teachers need to understand three principles of learning; that learners have preconceptions that must be uncovered, both deep factual and conceptual knowledge are necessary for learning; and that assisting children to learn metacognitive skills can increase their learning.
In choosing teaching strategies, teachers are increasingly called upon to use evidence-based practice. What does this mean? How do teachers select an evidence-based practice? How do teachers determine if research is credible? This chapter examines these questions from multiple viewpoints. The chapter also examines the sources of evidence including clearinghouses and organizations that provide What Works and similar briefs, reviews of research, recommended practices from trusted professional organizations, and how one uses their own data including action research.