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Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards


List of Certified Trainers for the Early Learning Standards

2014 Infant, Toddler and Pre-Kindergarten Learning Standards for Early Childhood

Pennsylvania's Learning Standards for Early Childhood are research-based according to age and development, and form the foundation for curriculum, assessment, instruction and intervention within early care and education programs.

The 2009 Infant, Toddler and Pre-Kindergarten Standards were revised to reflect current research-based content and integration, and to align with the Pennsylvania Core Standards. The 2014 Pre-Kindergarten standards mirror the standards found on the Standards Aligned System (SAS) in the learning domains of English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science (including Environment and Ecology), Social Studies, and Social and Emotional Development. Refinements also have been made to: Partnerships for Learning (Family Engagement); Approaches to Learning Through Play; Creative Thinking and Expression; and Health, Wellness and Physical Development. In addition, the 2014 Infant, Toddler and Pre-Kindergarten Standards ensure appropriate inclusion for all early care and education programming (home-visiting, Early Intervention, limited English proficiency).

Public comment on the proposed 2014 Infant, Toddler and Pre-Kindergarten Standards was open for fifteen (15) calendar days beginning on May 15 and closing on May 30, 2014. The Office of Child Development and Early Learning received feedback from individuals representing higher education, early intervention, American Academy of Pediatrics, United Way, child care and Pennsylvania libraries. Feedback submitted was reviewed and used to make additional refinements to the standards.

All state-funded programs will have one year to transition to the 2014 Infant, Toddler and Pre-Kindergarten Standards. Required implementation of the 2014 Infant, Toddler and Pre-Kindergarten Standards begins July 1, 2015.  In the meantime, all programs are encouraged to download and print the 2014 standards. As proposed in the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant, all state-funded programs will receive one copy of the 2014 Infant, Toddler and Pre-Kindergarten Standards. It is anticipated that print versions will be available beginning in 2015.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning is currently convening a work group to develop a standards professional development plan. An asynchronous module will be recorded in August that highlights changes in the 2014 Infant, Toddler and Pre-Kindergarten Standards.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning will announce greater detail on the long term professional development plans, focused on effective standards implementation, once it has been finalized.

For more information, please contact Maryanne Olley at molley@pa.gov or 717.214.8434.

Early Learning Standards Posters Are Now Available for Purchase

Posters that accompany the Revised 2009 Infant/Toddler Standards, the Revised 2009 Pre-kindergarten Standards and the Revised 2009 Kindergarten Standards are now available for purchase as an individual package without the Standards booklets. Place orders through Waveline Direct by visiting www.wavelinedirect.com.

Linking Standards to Curriculum and Assessment

Quality early learning environments are essential for preparing children to be successful learners as they go through elementary school. One means of attaining high quality learning environments is to implement curriculum that meets the needs of all children. A curriculum reflects the program's philosophy, goals and objectives for children as well as the guidelines to target children's development in such areas as cognitive, social-emotional, language, and fine and gross motor domains (Freede & Ackerman, 2006). The intent of a curriculum is to provide the framework for what happens within a planned environment to allow for learning and interactions with materials, peers and adults. The curriculum framework also helps to guide the evaluation criteria that are appropriate for the program.

The Pennsylvania Learning Standards for Early Childhood are a critical piece for assisting teachers in designing classrooms that meet the developmental needs of children to help them succeed in school. In conjunction with the curriculum, a second equally important piece in an early childhood classroom, is conducting on-going assessments of children. Assessments that are implemented in the classroom and aligned with Pennsylvania's Learning Standards for Early Childhood (birth to 3rd grade) will help inform teachers about designing a curriculum that provides multiple learning opportunities that best suits how each child learns. Developmental assessments allow one to understand a child's competencies and to design learning environments which will help a child grow to his or her developmental potential.

Choosing a Curriculum

There are many needs to be considered when planning a preschool curriculum. The physical environment should contribute to well -planned activities that can help young learners meet their goals, but it should also allow for spontaneous and unplanned learning to occur. This article from NIEER helps clarify what should be considered when choosing a curriculum that will meet the needs of young learners in a preschool environment.

Pennsylvania's Recommendations for Curriculum, Child Assessment and Program Assessment

Publisher Alignments to Curricula (in alphabetical order): Please note the Office of Child Development and Early Learning is not recommending the use of any specific curriculum instrument.


(0-3 years)
(3-5 years)

Curriculum Associates: BRIGANCE® Early Childhood Developmental Inventory (ECDI)

Curriculum Associates: BRIGANCE® Head Start Developmental Inventory (HSDI)


National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)/ Lakeshore: Early Learning Scale (ELS)


Pearson: THE WORK SAMPLING SYSTEM® for Head Start

Assessment Technology Incorporated: Galileo®

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Riverside Early Assessments of Learning (REAL) Head Start

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Riverside Early Assessments of Learning (REAL) Kindergarten Readiness

HighScope: COR Advantage

Teaching Strategies LLC: Teaching Strategies GOLD®

The principles of assessment that we apply to young children are part of a continuum beginning at birth and extending through kindergarten to grade three. This is an updated report on early childhood assessment.

Assessment Tools

The assessment instruments are grouped into tables in the following document. One group of tables are instruments that are appropriate for measuring different domains. Another group provides an overview of key learning areas of the Early Learning Standards for Pre-K, and then there are tables describing curriculum. The final table lists standardized classroom observation systems for early learning classrooms.

Beginning July 2012, PA PreK Counts, Head Start State Supplemental Assistance Programs and STARS 3 and 4 centers and group will be required to select an approved assessment tool to meet child assessment and outcomes reporting requirements. The list to the right is a list of tools which have been for 2012-2013.

Classroom Assessment

Standards Aligned System and ECE

The Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System (SAS) is a collaborative product of research and good practice that identifies six distinct elements which when utilized together, provide schools and districts a common framework for continuous school and district enhancement and improvement. Much research has been conducted as to what makes a great school. There are many intangible

components; however, research supports the notion that great schools and school systems tend to have six common elements that ensure Student Achievement: Clear Standards, Fair Assessments, Curriculum Framework, Instruction, Materials & Resources, and Interventions.


Early Childhood and the Standards Aligned System- Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Early Childhood professionals in all settings can utilize the Standards and Aligned System to enhance their teaching practice for young children. Experienced teachers will be able to identify their current instructional strategies that incorporate SAS elements and gain greater understanding of how the system offers stronger alignment to the content that children learn as the progress through elementary and secondary school.

During 2009, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning created a companion site to the Dept. of Ed Standards Aligned System which offers resources under each SAS element specific to early childhood.

Early Learning Professional Community

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning has created profession learning community within the PDE SAS portal. This online community provides the opportunity for early childhood practitioners, teachers, and administrators to network and discuss issues related to early childhood education. Anyone who is registered on the PDESAS portal can join the Early Learning PLC through the use of "Teacher Tools."