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District of Columbia Early Learning Standards (DC ELS)

The updated edition of the District of Columbia Early Learning Standards is a response to the evolution of the standards movement in early care and education throughout the country. The Early Learning Standards include alignment with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics (2010) as well as the Next Generation Science Standards (2013). The standards are also aligned with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five (2015), thus ensuring that all children receive the same standards-based instruction and appropriate learning experiences regardless of program auspices.

The District of Columbia Early Learning Standards include indicators for infants, toddlers, two-year-olds and preschoolers, as well as exit expectations for children leaving pre-K and kindergarten. These standards provide parents and teachers with information about expectations for what children know and be able to do and describe how children progress at various ages and development levels. They focus on the whole child and include a broad range of domains because young children’s learning and development are interrelated and cross all areas of learning. The Early Learning Standards acknowledge the essential role of the teacher in intentionally guiding children’s learning and development in a high-quality early care and education environment in partnership with families.


Supplemental Resource:

Related Content: Professional Development Resources for Early Learning Educators