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Louisiana’s Early Learning Guidelines

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Louisiana released birth to five early learning guidelines in 2013.

Prior to the development of Louisiana’s Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS), the Louisiana State Department of Education and the Department of Children & Family Services established a leadership team responsible for overseeing the project. The leadership team developed an initial draft, and then worked with a variety of experts to review and improve the document. The new document combined separate standards that Louisiana had previously used (focused on birth to three, three year-olds, and four year-olds) and incorporated information from other states’ standards and policy statements from state and national organizations. More than 240 early childhood educators and administrators from across Louisiana provided comments and suggestions that helped shape and strengthen the final version of the Standards.

The Continuum of the ELDS is divided into five age levels:

  • infants (birth to 11 months)
  • young toddlers (9 to 18 months)
  • older toddlers (16 to 36 months)
  • three-year-olds (36 to 48 months)
  • four-year-olds (48 to 60 months)

Because children develop at different rates, there is some overlap at the youngest age levels. The ELDS 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 guidelines describe Louisiana’s continuum of early learning and development standards, or goals, divided into objectives composed of essential domains for school readiness. These domains include:

  • social and emotional development
  • language development
  • cognitive development
  • physical or motor development

Through the use of indicators, these guidelines describe what all children from birth to five should know and be able to do, as well as their disposition towards learning. The indicators are accompanied by examples or strategies, which help caregivers to aid infants and toddlers in meeting developmental milestones.

The Louisiana Believes program, run through the Department of Education, has online training and information available for educators. This online resource contains various “toolboxes” aimed at supporting early childhood educators in Louisiana.

Revised July 2020



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