Early Learning Guidelines (ELG) Educator Toolkit

Early Learning Guidelines (ELGs) exist across states to help early childhood educators identify the developmental and learning outcomes and goals that children should achieve during early years (Scott-Little, Kagan & Frelow, 2009). The ELG Toolkit addresses the preschool age group using the domains from the Head Start Framework. It serves a as a roadmap to early childhood educators looking for national and state resources that are based on research and evidence-based practices. The ELG Toolkit identifies resources for working with special populations, and links to states that received funding from the federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grants and are engaging in developing innovative practices for working preschool age children in early child programs.

State Guidelines

Each state provides ELGs for educators to use their classrooms. Included in this toolkit are:

  • Child outcomes documents
  • Supplemental adult guidance documents
  • Multimedia adult guidance (such as webinars, online training tools, interactive resource guides)
  • Crosswalks with other child outcomes guidelines (such as alignment with Head Start, common core, K-12)
  • State pre-K program guidelines
  • State teacher competency indicators
  • State-provided resource links

Also of note is a list of states that created excellent tools applicable to all educators or officials developing their own resources. Examples include guidelines for children with disabilities, guidelines for English language learners, sample activities and lesson plans, and online training tools.

Domains of Early Learning

The Head Start Child Framework outlines 11 domains of child development and early learning.

  • Physical Development and Health
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Approaches to Learning
  • Logic and Reasoning
  • Language Development
  • English Language Development
  • Literacy Knowledge and Skills
  • Mathematics Knowledge and Skills
  • Science Knowledge and Skills
  • Social Studies Knowledge and Skills
  • Creative Arts Expression

This toolkit examines practices relating to each domain in a variety of research settings: practices that have not been validated by research; practices that were developed using empirical findings; and practices that have been directly validated through randomized controlled trials.

Special Populations

This toolkit offers help for early childhood educators to accommodate the needs of special populations. For example:

  • Children with disabilities
  • Homeless children
  • Children of migrant/seasonal workers
  • Children of immigrant parents
  • English language learners
  • Children of military families
  • Children with teen parents
  • Gifted and talented children
  • Twice-exceptional children (gifted preschoolers with special education needs)

Race to the Top

The Race to the Top grant competition challenges states to reform early learning and development programs for young children. This toolkit examines successful entries, including requested amounts of funding and final abstracts from winning states. Browse the winning data from 2011 and 2012 to see how the proposed reforms can improve your classroom.