Supporting Our Youngest Learners
Written by: Kristin Parisi
Did you know that we now have new Indiana Early Learning Standards? These streamlined and future-focused standards were released over the summer and early educators all over the state have hit the ground running to learn more about these new standards as the school year has begun.
“I am excited about what these new and streamlined standards can do for our profession and for our children.”
I have been in education for almost 30 years, so I have seen my fair share of new standards. I am excited about what these new and streamlined standards can do for our profession and for our children. And as I have been working with the Indiana Department of Education, I am excited in how these standards are being rolled out for all educators, including those working with infants all the way through pre-k children. It’s an exciting time to be working with children in our state, and I’m thrilled to share some information with you!
To begin with, if you do not have a free account within the Indiana Learning Lab, stop reading this blog and go create that account! Go to www.inlearninglab.com and get ready to have your mind blown! After you have your account set up, click on the search icon and type, “Indiana Early Learning Standards.” Again, your mind will be blown at the many resources currently available for you. Here’s a little snapshot of the ones I think you will learn the most from.
Early Learning Standards Quick Glance Guide
This two page document is a quick glance document that spells out the standards by title only. There’s nothing explanatory about the standards here. You’ll be able to see all of the standards in each domain listed in an overview format.
Updated Early Learning Standards Frameworks
There’s a short video with folks from IDOE explaining the Frameworks documents and the updated standards. While this is a great video, the pot of gold is in the actual Frameworks documents that follow. These documents are listed individually by content area. Within each domain, you will find the learning outcome, standard, description, indicators and then instructional practices and family engagement activities. The standard document then ends with a look into kindergarten and how this specific skill relates to what our children will need to know in order to be successful in kindergarten.
Let me repeat…this is a POT of GOLD! I love how the learning outcome explains what the standard means. It gives us the exact “look for” in each standard in language which is easily understood. The indicators explain what each age level should be able to do, from infant to older preschoolers. Seeing how the standard relates to each level in child development is incredibly helpful. I am now aware of what my incoming children should be able to do and what I can build on to teach the new standard. This vertical alignment brings continuity to our instruction and programs for all children.
We have all of these resources to dive into and we haven’t even looked at the actual standards document yet! The document is packed with great information on what we should be teaching all children from infant to prek. There are resources explaining the research that recognizes the importance of a comprehensive learning system for all children along with information regarding special populations of learners. As you look at the standards document, you will see how each standard is broken down into a developmental continuum from birth to prekindergarten. This is another way to see the vertical alignment within each standard. We have been able to use this information to tease apart why a child is unable to do a specific skill. We’ve been able to take a look at the skill and isolate what the child is able to do and what skill needs to be learned next. This is a game changer for us!
“This vertical alignment brings continuity to our instruction and programs for all children.”
I hope you see the value in the new standards! The work we do as early educators is so important. Having clear and concise standards help to make it all a little easier! I’m incredibly proud to be an early childhood educator and I’m grateful for the work that many others put into this document.
And now…if you didn’t create that account within the Learning Lab…GO! Do it now!