South Dakota EARLY LEARNING Guidelines

The goals outlined within the Early Learning Guidelines document for children can be used by teachers, home and center-based child care providers, Head Start staff, child care and school administrators, early childhood special educators, librarians and other professionals who support and promote children’s development and learning. It is, however, important to remember that while the ELG can help determine what is “typical” for children in an age group, what is written for a child’s age may not always describe an individual child’s development. If a child’s development and learning does not seem to fit with what is included in ELG under his/her age level, look at the younger or older age group to see if there is 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. The Early Learning Guidelines can also be used as a resource for parents and other family members. Parents can use the Goals and Developmental Indicators to identify appropriate goals for their child to support learning and developing skills to support future success in school. In addition, the Early Learning Guidelines are intended to be a guide for teaching. They are not a curriculum or checklist that is used to assess children’s development and learning or be a barrier to keep children from entering kindergarten. They are a resource used to define skills and abilities that support learning experiences provided. Efforts should be made so all children have opportunities for play-based experiences that provide a foundation for kindergarten along with the K-12 system accommodating each child’s transition based upon their unique strengths and challenges upon entering school.