ZERO TO THREE has produced a series of recommendations for states to follow to ensure their ELG/ITs (Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers) meet these criteria. The recommendations address both the process of developing ELG/ITs and steps to ensure that the content of ELG/ITs is based on research and is developmentally and culturally appropriate.
1. The purpose, intended uses, and primary audiences of the ELG/ITs should be clearly defined at the beginning of the process.
2. The membership of the ELG/ITs working group should include all key stakeholders.
The structure of the working group should assure a coherent process and research-based guidelines.
3. Adequate resources should be available and budgeted for the development, dissemination, implementation, and evaluation of the ELG/ITs.
4. ELG/ITs should be aligned with Pre-K guidelines and K–12 standards in a way that illustrates how the foundations of learning are established in the first years of life.
5. ELG/ITs should be developed in relationship to other elements of the early childhood care and education system, including program standards, knowledge about child development, quality rating and improvement systems, licensing regulations, and child assessment.
6. States should establish processes and criteria to assure the accuracy, quality, and inclusiveness of ELG/ITs from the beginning of the writing process.
7. ELG/ITs should inform every aspect of the professional development system, including pre-service and in-service training.
8. States should plan and budget for the dissemination and implementation of the guidelines, including training for the identified primary audiences.
9. States should establish a process for monitoring the use of the guidelines and their impact on improving adult knowledge and skills.
10. The development of ELG/ITs should begin with a comprehensive review of reliable resources, including research-based publications, assessments, interviews, and practitioners’ experience regarding this age group.
11. Because development occurs at a rapid pace during the first three years of life, ELG/Its should be divided into age groups that are broad enough to allow for normal variation in development and still small enough to have meaning.
12. ELG/ITs should cover multiple developmental domains while still reflecting the underlying learning processes, the significance of relationships during this period, and areas of health and well-being that cut across domains in infancy.
13. Learning expectations for each domain should be clearly stated and include discrete and observable indicators.
14. Learning expectations, indicators, and examples should be written to describe a variety of goals and ways of achieving them that are inclusive of the state’s diverse cultural, ethnic, and linguistic populations.
15. ELG/ITs should be explicitly inclusive of all children, demonstrating that infants and toddlers with disabilities and special needs are expected to learn and be served in these programs.
16. ELG/ITs should describe the importance of very young children’s relationships with adults as the foundation of their learning.
17. Child assessment should be aligned with ELG/ITs and its purpose and use should be clearly defined.
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About this Study
Jacksonville Community Council Inc. (JCCI) is completing its latest community inquiry, Children 1-2-3: Early Learning for Future Success. This community engagement process has been examining the question, "How can Jacksonville best foster early learning success for children from birth to age 3 in our community?" Over the course of the process (October 2011 through April 2012), the meeting schedule, meeting summaries, key handouts and relevant articles have all been posted here. To find out more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.