Being aware of what children should know and be able to do at certain developmental stages is critical for parents and early care and education professionals. For this reason educational standards are an integral part of early childhood education. Recognizing the importance of standards-based learning, Georgia has pioneered generating thoughtful and appropriate standards for children from birth to age five. Using federal funds, in 2009 DECAL commissioned national researchers to conduct a comprehensive study of Georgia’s standards.
The study analyzed the content, rigor, horizontal alignment, and vertical alignment of:
- Georgia’s Pre-K Content Standards
- Georgia Early Learning Standards for birth through age three
- Common Core Georgia Performance Standards for Kindergarten-3rd Grade
- Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework
- Work Sampling Assessment System (GA Pre-K assessment)
The researchers recommended the following:
- Align developmental and disciplinary orientations more closely
- Develop common domains across the standards
- Add a domain that addresses approaches to learning in the Pre-K Content Standards
- Address English language development and cognitive thought processes
As a result of their recommendations, Georgia drafted a new set of standards called the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards (GELDS) for children birth to age 5. The GELDS can be accessed at www.gelds.decal.ga.gov.