California MAP
California MAP
Working Together

Reports & Useful Documents

This area of the websites provides quick access on one page to the most highly recommended publications that support inclusion.

MAP Produced Publications

Building A Culture of Inclusion: 10 Guiding Questions
Building a Culture of Inclusion: 10 Guiding Questions introduces the 2015 federal Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs and identifies California’s inclusion resources as well as key federal resources and other new resources that support recommendations from the Policy Statement. The resources are framed as the title suggests: Building a Culture of Inclusion: 10 Guiding Questions. This is a must read resource for anyone who is creating or sustaining inclusive settings.
Inclusion Works! Creating Child Care Programs That Promote Belonging for Children with Disabilities (2nd ed.) (PDF)
Published: 2021

Updated with new information and is an essential guide for anyone providing child care for children from birth to twelve years old. It offers guidance for providers of child care programs and highlights resources and strategies that promote inclusion and belonging for all children. This online-only publication has a companion video series.

MAP Newsletters
MAP Newsletters contain the very latest information, articles and web links added to the MAP website. They direct you to newly identified resources and topic areas. All of the newsletters provide useful tools, publications, training materials and other resources to support children with disabilities and special needs.
MAP Training PowerPoints™
The California Map to Inclusive Child Care Project has developed training resources to use for ideas on talking with family members when concerned about a child as well as to better understand the California Early Start system. These resources are intended for early childhood faculty, infant/toddler child care staff, early educators, and after-school providers It is hoped that these resources will support the Map Project purpose of promoting collaboration among early childhood educators and early interventionists/special educators, while also expanding opportunities for inclusion and access to services for children with special needs and their families.
Summary of Changes to Early Start and the Prevention Resource and Referral Services (PDF)
Published: 2012 An article by Cindy Arstein-Kerslake in collaboration with DDS, CDE, FRCNCA and IDA. This article describes the changes to early intervention law resulting from California budget cuts since 2009 and the Prevention Resource and Referral Services provided by local Early Start Family Resource Centers. It emphasized the importance of referral to local Regional Centers for assessment and evaluation for infants and toddlers with developmental delays as well as for those "at risk" of developmental delays.

California Department of Education Relevant Documents

Educational Resource Catalog
Publications and other educational resources from CDE Press, the Department's publications office.
California Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework (PDF)
Published: 2012 The California Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework will support early childhood educators working in programs serving children birth to five years of age in implementing high-quality curriculum practices that lead to acquisition of the knowledge and skills described in the Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Foundations.
California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 1 (PDF)
Published: 2010 The California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 1, is a companion to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1, and presents strategies and information to enrich learning and development opportunities for all of California's preschool children. Volume 1 focuses on four learning domains: social-emotional development, language and literacy, English-language development, and mathematics.
California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 2 (PDF)
Published: 2011 The California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 2 covers the domains of visual and performing arts, physical development, and health. This companion publication to the California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 2, gives guidance to teachers about strategies for arranging the learning environment, selecting materials, and planning adult-led and child-initiated learning experiences that optimize children’s development, learning, and overall well-being.
California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 3 (PDF)
Published: 2013 The California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 3 covers the domains of history-social science and science. This companion publication to the California Preschool Learning Foundations Volume 3, gives guidance to teachers about strategies for arranging the learning environment, selecting materials, and planning adult-led and child-initiated learning experiences that optimize children’s development, learning, and overall well-being.
California Preschool English Learners (PDF)
Published: 2009 This resource guide, California Preschool English Learners: Principles and Practices to Promote Language, Literacy, and Learning, offers a user-friendly review of current research on how to support the language development of English learners during the preschool years (ages three to five).
California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 1
Published: 2008 Volume 1 of the California Preschool Learning Foundations focuses on the domains of social-emotional development, language and literacy, English-language development, and mathematics. They provide a comprehensive understanding of what children learn in these four domains.
California Preschool Learning Foundations, Volume 3 (PDF)
Published: 2012 Volume 3 of the California Preschool Learning Foundations covers the skills and knowledge that children attain at around 36 months and 48 months in the domain areas of history–social science and science. This edition features a special abbreviated version of the Alignment Document (PDF) (The Alignment of the California Preschool Learning Foundations with Key Early Education Resources) in the appendix.
California Preschool Program Guidelines (PDF)
Published: 2015 The California Preschool Program Guidelines provides the detailed guidance needed by administrators and teachers to offer high-quality preschool programs that prepare children to arrive in kindergarten with the foundational skills necessary for school success.
California’s Best Practices for Young Dual Language Learners (PDF)
Published: 2013 This publication provides early childhood educators with valuable information on the most current research on the development of young dual language learners. This series of research overviews spans the disciplines of neuroscience, cognitive science, developmental psychology, assessment, educational research, family engagement, and special needs.
Creating Equitable Learning Environments for Young Children of Color (PDF)
California Department of Education | Published: 2022

The California Department of Education Early Education Division (EED) has released a new online publication titled Creating Equitable Early Learning Environments for Young Boys of Color. This free publication was written primarily for child care and early education providers and program and school leaders.

"Early childhood educators are uniquely positioned to influence positive change for Boys of Color. This book provides teachers and program leaders with a helpful roadmap for improving racial equity through strengthening racial awareness, addressing implicit bias, and creating culturally responsive environments that are safe, affirming, and engaging for Boys of Color and their families." — Tony Thurmond, State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Family Engagement Framework: A Tool for California School Districts (PDF)
Published: 2014 | Size: 4MB "This is a tool districts can use to increase the participation of parents, family members, and community members in a child's education. Research has shown that high levels of parental and community involvement help students succeed in the classroom." — Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Family Partnerships and Culture (PDF)
Published: 2016 | Size: 9MB This California Department of Education publication aims to assist early childhood professionals in the development of cultural competence in working with children and families from diverse cultural backgrounds. Specifically, the aims of the publication are to help programs to value families and their contribution to children’s learning; approach cultural diversity with an open mind; apply knowledge gained about families, including their values and beliefs, to teaching and learning.
Guidelines for Early Learning in Child Care Home Settings (PDF)
Published: 2010 | Size: 17MB Recognizing the importance of home-based child care settings in today's society, this adaptation of the Prekindergarten Learning and Development Guidelines provides guidance to help home-based child care providers offer high-quality early care and learning experiences to the children and families they serve. The book covers topics such as the roles and relationships involved in home-based child care; how to create safe, inclusive environments that foster early learning and development; ideas for implementing appropriate curriculum; professional development for home-based providers; and things to consider when infants and toddlers receive care in mixed-age group settings.
Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Foundations (PDF)
Published: 2009 | Size: 2MB The purpose of the California Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Foundations is to describe research and evidence-based expectations for the way most infants and toddlers make progress in the major domains of social-emotional, language, cognitive, and perceptual and motor development. By creating a common language to facilitate communication among families, infant care professionals, community members, and policymakers, the foundations build an understanding about the importance of the early years in children’s learning and development.
Infant/Toddler Learning and Development Program Guidelines (PDF)
Published: 2006 | Size: 9MB This publication presents information about how to provide high-quality early care and education, including recommendations for program policies and day-to-day practices that will improve program services to all infants and toddlers.
The Integrated Nature of Learning (PDF)
Published: 2016 Designed to complement the other resources of the California Department of Education’s Early Learning and Development System, this publication examines how play, learning, and curriculum work together in early education. It describes the relationship context for early learning and the role of the teacher in supporting children’s active engagement in learning. Strategies for guiding young children’s learning taken from the California Infant/Toddler Curriculum Framework and the California Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volumes One, Two, and Three are discussed. This discussion illuminates ways in which learning experiences in one domain may also foster learning in other domains.
The Powerful Role of Play in Early Education (PDF)

This publication, part of the Best Practices for Planning Curriculum for Young Children series, discusses the critical role of play for children, particularly in early childhood. Play is an important context in which children learn, experiment with new ideas, and make sense of the world around them.

Reasons for Concern: That your child or a child in your care may need special help (PDF)
Revised: Oct 2020

This brochure is a collaborative effort between the Department of Developmental Services and the California Department of Education. The brochure is designed to facilitate finding and identifying young children who may benefit from early intervention or specialized education services and to encourage appropriate referrals regarding these children to Early Start and special education preschool services. It can be ordered through the Publications Order Form.

Also available in:

Responsive Early Education for Young Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness (PDF)
This California Department of Education publication provides essential factual information and resources about the extent of early childhood homelessness in addition to concrete research-based strategies teachers can implement that benefit all of the children in their care and are essential for young children and their families impacted by homelessness. This book is made more powerful and useful with the inclusion of many authentic vignettes created from interviews with children and families experiencing homelessness across California in addition to the diverse professionals who serve them. These stories remind us of the urgency and shared responsibility we have to ensure that all children have opportunities to participate in early learning environments that promote their well-being, optimal development, and educational success.

US ED Policy Statements and Guidance for Early Childhood

Building a Comprehensive State Policy Strategy to Prevent Expulsion from Early Learning Settings, 2nd Edition
Published: June 2018 The Expulsion Policy Strategy Tool lays out a rubric for a range of policy options to promote young children’s social-emotional development and reduce the likelihood of expulsion and suspension in early learning settings. The tool is closely aligned with the 2014 Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization and can be used to identify strengths and set priorities for action. Its goals are to support the development of state-level strategies to build quality, equity, and capacity in early learning settings and to provide an approach to preventing suspension and expulsion that acknowledges the role of many critical programs, such as child care assistance; quality rating and improvement systems; workforce and professional development; licensing; behavioral and mental health.
Early Learning and Educational Technology Policy Brief (PDF)
Published: 2016 Recognizing the growth of technology use in early learning settings, the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collaborated in the development of the Early Learning and Educational Technology Policy Brief to promote developmentally appropriate use of technology in homes and early learning settings.
Joint Statement on Collaboration and Coordination of the MIECHV and IDEA Part C Programs (PDF)
Published: January 2017 This joint statement from the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) (the Departments), provides recommendations to States, territories, and tribal entities to identify and enhance opportunities for collaboration and coordination between awardees of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part C Program (IDEA Part C Program).
Policy Statement on Early Childhood Career Pathways (PDF)
Published: 2016 The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council’s (NRC) 2015 report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth to Eight, offers recommendations for building a high quality early childhood workforce with the knowledge, competencies, education, and support to promote children’s development and learning. This series of briefs summarizes the findings in the report to inform early childhood programs, states, higher education, and other interested stakeholders to strengthen the support they offer the early childhood workforce.
Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension Policies in Early Childhood Settings (PDF)
Published: 2016 | Size: 2MB This Information Memorandum (IM) encourages Lead Agencies to adopt policies set forth in the Policy Statement on Expulsion and Suspension in Early Childhood Settings issued by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education. Appendix 1 offers several free, publicly available resources states can use in their efforts.
Policy Statement on Family Engagement (PDF)
Published: 2016 | Size: 1MB When families and the institutions where children learn partner in meaningful ways, children have more positive attitudes toward school, stay in school longer, have better attendance, and experience more school success. To further this position, the Departments released a policy statement on the implementation of effective family engagement practices in early childhood and learning programs.
Policy Statement on Inclusion for Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood (PDF)
Published: 2015 The policy statement was written with the input of early learning professionals, families, and other early learning stakeholders. Though it focuses on including young children with disabilities, it is ED’s and HHS’s shared vision that all people be meaningfully included in all facets of society throughout the course of their lives. This begins in early childhood programs and continues into schools, places of employment, and the broader community.
Policy Statement on Supporting the Development of Children Who are Dual Language Learners in Early Childhood Programs (PDF)
Published: 2016 A major challenge facing early childhood education and the k–12 education system in the United States is the fact that as the population changes, the particular needs of children change with it. One of the largest demographic shifts in the last decade is the increase in the number of children who speak English as their second language. The majority of these children are born in the United States and thus from a very young age are acquiring both the language of their family as well as the language of the larger community. These very young children are dual language learners (DLLs).
Policy Statement to Support the Alignment of Health and Early Learning Systems (PDF)
Published: 2016

This statement provides policy and program recommendations from HHS and ED to improve young children’s access to needed services and transform delivery systems to improve health and early learning outcomes for all children.  Coordination and alignment between health systems and early learning systems has the potential to ensure that each child’s needs are identified, referrals to needed services are made and completed, services are not duplicated, and the messages families hear are clear, aligned, and consistently reinforced to ensure that children and families thrive.

This statement:

  • Highlights the importance of establishing a solid foundation for school-readiness as well as long-term health for all children
  • Provides recommendations and guidance to States and communities to promote the alignment and coordination of health and early learning system
  • Identifies resources and shares promising practices that inform and support States, communities and families in collaborative efforts to support healthy development and well-being in early childhood.
Policy Statement: Supporting the Development of Young Children in American Indian and Alaska Native Communities Who Are Affected by Alcohol and Substance Exposure (PDF)
Published: 2016 The purpose of this U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) policy statement is to support early childhood programs and tribal communities by providing recommendations that promote the early development of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children, prenatal to age eight, who have been exposed to alcohol or substances during pregnancy, or who are affected by parent or caregiver substance misuse during early childhood.
Resource Guide for Developing Integrated Strategies to Support Social and Emotional Wellness in Children (During the COVID-19 Pandemic)
Department of Health & Human Services, Office of Child Care | January 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has swiftly and substantially affected the social and emotional health of children, especially those experiencing multiple hardships. As the pandemic has spread across the United States, many children are experiencing widespread disruptions in daily life. Young children are reacting to stress as their parent and caregiver routines change. Children may have strong feelings of fear, worry, sadness, and anger about the pandemic and related issues that impact behavior at home and in child care.

To address these issues, the Office of Child Care (OCC) has a new initiative to further integrate social and emotional support strategies in child care's mixed delivery system. A Resource Guide for Developing Integrated Strategies to Support the Social and Emotional Wellness of Children highlights promising strategies and provides information about how some CCDF grantees have already leveraged partnerships and funding to support implementation success.

Resource Guide to Trauma-Informed Human Services
Published: January 2017 The guide is intended to provide an introduction to the topic of trauma, a discussion of why understanding and addressing trauma is important for human services programs, and a “road map” to find relevant resources. It includes Concept Papers, Guiding Questions and Answers on key topics and Trauma Resources for Specific Human Services Programs or Populations. Samples of these are below:
Resource Guide: Building a Bright Future for All (PDF)
Published: January 2017 The guide was developed to enhance State and local efforts to support immigrant children from birth through the elementary grades. The first half provides tips for educators in early learning programs and elementary schools as well as schools, districts, and States to: (1) facilitate school enrollment by immigrant families; (2) promote healthy child development in the school setting; (3) encourage caregiver engagement in their children's education; and (4) build staff knowledge about immigrant children and their educational needs. The second half provides tips for parents and guardians on how to facilitate children's learning and education starting at birth.
Significant Disproportionality: Essential Questions and Answers (PDF)
Published: March 2017 The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) has released Significant Disproportionality: Essential Questions and Answers (PDF) (March 2017), which provides guidance on the Equity in IDEA Final Regulation released in December 2016. OSERS has also released a Model State Timeline (PDF) outlining different streams of work and the timelines that states should consider as they implement the new rule.
Updated Joint Policy Statement on the Inclusion of Children With Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs
US Department of Education & US Department of Health & Human Services | November 2023

The U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released an updated joint-policy statement on supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs. The joint statement sets the expectation that inclusion continues as a child transitions into elementary school, emphasizes the need to increase public awareness and understanding of the science that supports inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs, and reinforces the legal foundations that support inclusion.

The HHS-ED Policy Statement on the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs updated November 2023 includes a renewed commitment and urgency, as children with disabilities continue to face barriers accessing and fully participating in inclusive early childhood programs.


All young children with disabilities[1] should have access to high-quality inclusive early childhood programs[2] that provide individualized and appropriate support so they can fully participate alongside their peers without disabilities, meet high expectations, and achieve their full potential. The responsibility to ensure that young children with disabilities and their families are included in high-quality early childhood programs is shared by federal, State, and local governments, early childhood systems, early childhood programs and providers, local educational agencies (LEAs), and schools.

This policy statement from the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) (the Departments) builds upon our earlier 2015 policy statement with renewed commitment and urgency as children with disabilities continue to face significant barriers accessing and participating in inclusive early childhood programs. This updated joint ED and HHS policy statement for States,[3] LEAs, schools, early intervention (EIS) providers, and early childhood programs advances the Departments’ position by:

  • Reiterating the expectation for inclusion[4] in high-quality early childhood programs;
  • Setting the expectation that inclusion continues as children transition into elementary school;
  • Continuing to increase public awareness and understanding of the latest science that supports inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs from the earliest ages;
  • Reinforcing the legal foundations supporting inclusion in early childhood;
  • Reiterating and updating recommendations for State and local agencies that implement Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) programs, Head Start, child care, home visiting, preschools, and public schools for increasing inclusive early learning opportunities for all children;
  • Updating models and exemplars of inclusion; and
  • Identifying and sharing resources for States, LEAs, EIS providers, early childhood programs, schools, early childhood personnel,[5] and families to support high-quality individualized programming and inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs.

Other Useful Documents

A Letter from the California Department of Education: Access to Inclusive Early Learning and Care Programs for Students with Disabilities
Published: Mar 2019 This letter from the California Department of Education reaffirms expectations for access to inclusive early learning and care programs for students with disabilities in California. As California continues to pursue a system of education that adequately addresses the needs of each and every student in the least restrictive environment (LRE), providing access to inclusive early learning opportunities for students with disabilities is fundamental.
Building Inclusive State Child Care Systems
This resource includes practical examples that are helpful to states striving to expand opportunities for high-quality child care to all young children with disabilities. The product was developed jointly by the Ounce of Prevention Find, the Division for Early Childhood (DEC), and Child Care Aware of America.
Head Start ECLKC: Multi-cultural Principles for Early Childhood Leaders
Head Start ECLKC | February 2024

The 2023 edition of Multicultural Principles for Early Childhood Leaders builds on growing research about how race, ethnicity, ability, gender, and socio-economic status influence young children’s learning. These influences can impact the practices, policies, and systems of early learning programs and the parent-child relationship.

In the 15 years since the last publication, research literature in child development, equity, and inclusion has grown significantly. This edition builds on the time-tested strength of the original principles, updating the language and organizational structure to support and use the principles in daily practice.

An equity-focused mindset and culturally sustaining practices are integrated throughout the Multicultural Principles. An equity-focused mindset includes both an awareness of the historical and current injustices, discrimination, and barriers faced by disproportionately marginalized communities. It also requires a commitment to respond in ways that disrupt these inequities.

Find out about the three action categories: Explore, Nurture, and Grow. These three actions describe what Head Start leaders and staff can do to ensure program services embrace and use the principles in everyday practice. The actions encourage:

  • Learning from and about one another
  • Building understanding and appreciation of the culture, traditions, and values of others
  • Supporting inclusive and equitable practice
Making Sound LRE Decisions in Preschool
ECTA | Published: December 22, 2022

The IEP process includes requirements and actions that ensure IEP teams have the information needed to discuss and consider access to and participation in high-quality inclusive settings for every young child with a disability during IEP placement discussions. This document lists important actions in the IEP development process along with guiding principles and practices that should inform placement decisions for young children with disabilities.

Included in this document are Guiding Questions for Discussing Services in the LRE to make sound placement decisions for each young child with a disability. To aid in planning for inclusion within the district as well as with other state and community partners to ensure placements are available throughout the year for each child  Personnel Development Tools are provided that align to the Actions within an Effective IEP Process. The tools help to create a common vision for inclusion.

People First Language
For too long, people who happen to have conditions we call "disabilities" have been subjected to devaluation, marginalization, prejudice, and more. And the first way to devalue someone is through language, by using words or labels to identify a person/group as "less-than," as "the other," "not like us," and so forth. Once a person/group has been identified this way, it makes it easier to justify prejudice and discrimination. Our language shapes our attitudes; our attitudes shape our language; they're intertwined. And our attitudes and language drive our actions!
Position Statement of Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Framework in Early Childhood
Division for Early Childhood (DEC) | September 17, 2021

This position statement replaces the 2013 Frameworks for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood: Description and Implications.

The purpose of the revised statement is to define an early childhood multitiered system of support (MTSS) framework and to promote a broader understanding and discussion of the implications for young children, their families, and those who serve them.

The guidelines provided in this position statement are useful to programs seeking to implement the broad principles and elements of an MTSS framework. Specifically, programs can ensure that young children are being universally screened, authentically assessed, and differentially supported in ways that are developmentally appropriate and address their unique needs across both curricular and developmental outcomes.

Preschool Inclusion: Key Findings from Research and Implications for Policy
This April 2016 Brief from the National Center for Children in Poverty highlights research on preschool inclusion relevant to the following three questions:
  1. What are the effects of inclusive preschool on children's early learning and development?
  2. What is known about the quality of inclusive preschool programs?
  3. What is known about how to improve the quality of inclusive preschool?
Promoting Neurodiversity in Early Childhood Services (PDF)
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

This pamphlet is intended for early childhood care providers who want to learn more about how to promote neurodiversity in early childhood. This could include early interventionists, developmental specialists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, behavior analysts, preschool teachers, and anyone else who provides services to young autistic children and children with developmental disabilities.

Quality Indicators of Inclusive Early Childhood Programs/Practices: A Compilation of Selected Resources (PDF)
Published: 2010 Available resources and indicators of high quality inclusive practices are presented in this compilation. Assembling many different resources in one place allows for easy comparison of potential indicators of quality. Excerpts and adaptations of the resources are intended to provide some familiarity with the content of each resource and encourage further examination via links to more complete information. National and state-developed resources contained within this document have been designed for a variety of audiences, and may be useful for families, practitioners, program administrators, technical assistance personnel, researchers, and state administrators.
State Early Childhood Inclusion Self-Assessment (PDF)
This 2017 self-assessment tool provides a framework for examining key aspects of a State infrastructure that are useful for promoting high quality inclusive practices, programs and policies. The sections of the self-assessment are organized by the nine state recommendations of the Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs (2015).