Posted on 03/20/2013 at 08:00 AM by Global Reach

Most educational staff talks extensively about IOWA CORE and/or COMMON CORE, but Early Childhood staff do have a very similar document that is truly the measure that should be used in Early Childhood. The IOWA EARLY LEARNING STANDARDS (IELS) is the document that lists what young children should know and be able to do by age 5. It was originally written in 2006 at which time there was not an Iowa Core being used. Since that time, local school and area education staff have been using the IELS as part of their daily activities with young children and as IEPs (Individual Education Plan) being written to meet special learning needs of students. This document can be used by countless numbers of people, including parents, teachers, administrators, policymakers, and early care, health and education professionals as these people begin to understand and support children’s learning and development.

The IELS are divided into 4 sections. The first section is a key element to understanding basic information about how young children learn. It talks about why standards are important and how they can be used as part of an early childhood program. Additional elements look at research and practice in the following areas: understanding how play impacts young children’s learning, how assessment process is most effective, as well as other topics of diversity, technology, school readiness.

The second section is the actual learning standards 1-7 for infants and toddlers (Birth to 3) and the third section is the standards 8-14 for preschoolers (3-5). Each set of standards is divided into 7 areas:
1 and 8     Physical Well-Being and Motor Development
2 and 9    Approaches to Learning
3 and 10    Social and Emotional Development
4 and 11    Communication, Language and Literacy
5 and 12    Mathematics and Science
6 and 13    Creative Arts
7 and 14    Social Studies  

With this revision, some new items are the addition of Social Studies, the updating of current research and theory, additional information about ELL/DLL learning in communication standard, and in several areas of the introduction, there are boxes that include the impact on the family as well look at all the elements of high quality programming.

Early Childhood programs should base their understanding of how children learn and what they should be able to do on THE IOWA EARLY LEARNING STANDARDS, not on Iowa Core. The IELS emphasize a developmentally appropriate approach related to content and child outcomes. It looks at what is critical and important for children birth to 5 and when those elements are understood and implemented in a high quality early childhood program, young children should and will be ready for school.

This document can be downloaded from several sites, including the Department of Education website (look under Early Childhood), the Early Childhood Iowa website, and the Iowa Association for Education of Young Children website.  Use of these materials would provide a great chance for supporting early learning with young children.

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