We live in a world that is ever changing… some things are for the better, some things are questionable!  Good or bad, there have been a lot of changes regarding expectations for children entering school.

Remembering back 25 years, when children entered kindergarten the focus was on getting along with other children, learning to listen to the teacher, learning about school routines, and learning the alphabet, how to write your name, and counting skills. In the last 5 to 10nyears, expectations for children entering kindergarten have become increasingly academic focused.

Today, children are entering kindergarten knowing how to read and do simple math equations.  Many have been in childcare or early education programs where they have also learned the skills of getting along and following school routines.  Children of today are also very technologically skilled, (just ask them to fix your phone or computer!)

Using Early Learning Standards to Guide Practice

There has been much study and research on early brain development, and the importance of high quality childcare/experiences in the early years, birth-age 5.  Expectations for early childhood educators and providers have increased proportionately to the increased expectations for school readiness.

Play is still an important learning tool for children, but educators and providers need to understand the purpose and intentionality behind creating play opportunities and learning experiences that address early learning standards.    In today’s world, standards for children based on developmental domains are the foundation for quality early childhood education and care.  These early learning standards have a basis in child development and milestones, and define what a child knows or can do at specific ages or stages. All 50 States have developed early learning standards or guidelines that help early childhood educators and providers support development.

Early learning standards are used as a basis for developing child specific goals.  These goals promote the physical, intellectual, social and emotional development of each child according to their age and cultural background.  Using observations and assessments that are aligned with early learning standards can support each child’s development. 

The early childhood educator/provider is a facilitator of positive development.  They are responsible for setting up an environment that is engaging and filled with learning activities that are purposeful and intentional.  This requires them to be knowledgeable about early childhood (early learning standards), stay current with new research, use observations and assessment to develop plans for individual children, and have a clear understanding of how to provide a culturally sensitive learning environment.

Ask Yourself

·       Do I know about early learning standards?  (in Minnesota, they are the Early Childhood Indicators of Progress documents)

·       Am I intentional and purposeful in the opportunities and activities I provide for my children?

·       Do I use a curriculum that addresses early learning standards?

·       Do I use observations to guide my planning?

·       How do I know what each child needs?

·       How am I using early learning standards and the developmental domains to nurture each child’s development towards school readiness?

The Early Learning Success curriculum is specially written to address the developmental domains and early learning standards so that you KNOW you are addressing them!

Everything You Do to Create Lasting Change in Practice Positively Impacts Children