Which instructional approach is best for the preschool years? What is the role of play, child initiative, and creative activity in the curriculum? How can young children’s literacy and numeracy skills best be promoted? How are new instructional approaches to be reconciled with traditional perspectives such as those provided by Montessori and Dewey? These are enduring questions asked by researchers, teachers, and parents. However, they will take on renewed importance in the next decade. The concept of universal prekindergarten programs, funded through the public school system, is moving from discussion to reality (Clifford, Early, & Hills, 1998; Hicks, Lekies, & Cochran, 1999). As policymakers and administrators from the public schools make decisions about educating preschool-age children, it is more important than ever that early childhood educators effectively articulate the theoretical and empirical basis of their pedagogical practices. Furthermore, the call for standards, as exemplified by Goals 2000 (Short & Talley, 1997), has created a renewed focus on academic achievement.