Louisiana’s Early Learning Guidelines and Program Standards: Birth through Three

The Early Learning and Development Standards are intended to be a framework for high-quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood programs and were designed to be used by early childhood educators throughout Louisiana. The term early childhood educator is intended to encompass all those (e.g., teachers, caregivers, administrators, parents, etc.) who are responsible for the care and education of children from birth to age 5. These Standards establish a common vision for what the state of Louisiana wants children to learn before they enter kindergarten. As such, they provide age-appropriate goals for children’s learning and development that can guide teachers, caregivers and others on what types of experiences and activities children should have during their earliest years. These Standards and Indicators are intended to be a guide for teaching young children. They are neither a curriculum nor a checklist for assessing children’s development and learning. Individual areas of the Standards are considered to be equally important and should be integrated into all experiences and activities. Finally, it is important to remember that while the Standards will help educators determine what is “typical” for children in an age group, they might not always describe a particular child’s development. When a child’s development and learning does not seem to fit what is included in the Standards continuum under his/her age level, look at the Indicators for younger or older age groups to see if they are a better fit for the child. The goal is to learn what developmental steps the child is taking now, and to meet the individual needs of that child on a daily basis. Educational research has consistently proven that there is a strong correlation between the quality of early childhood experiences and later academic success. Therefore, it is imperative that Louisiana’s early childhood programs provide children with the foundational experiences needed for them to become successful learners. The Standards and Indicators provide adults with a guide for the skills they should focus on for children of different ages, and offer some general ideas for the types of experiences that will help children develop the skills and knowledge described in this document.