The Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards (GELDS) http://gelds.decal.ga.gov/
Georgia has a long history as a leader in promoting early learning and development outcomes for children. Over the last decade, Georgia has worked to extend the standards down to birth and to align them to the K-12 system. This year, Georgia introduced its latest set of high-quality, research-based early learning standards for children birth to age five called the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards (GELDS). The GELDS are the result of a two-year alignment study and revision project that began in 2010. The purpose of the GELDS is to promote quality learning experiences for children and address the question, “What should children from birth to age five know and be able to do?” They are a set of appropriate, attainable standards for Georgia’s youngest learners and are designed to be flexible enough to support children’s individual rates of development, approaches to learning, and cultural context.
The standards are written as a continuum of skills, behaviors, and concepts that children develop throughout this time of life. They are divided into age groups for convenience and serve as a framework for learning. The GELDS take the place of the Georgia Early Learning Standards (GELS) for birth to three and the Pre-K Content Standards, creating a seamless system of standards in Georgia for birth to five. The GELDS are aligned with the Head Start Child Outcomes Framework, the CCGPS for K-12, the Work Sampling System Assessment, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Position Statements on Developmentally Appropriate Practice.
Supporting growth of the whole child, birth to age 5:
The purposes of the GELDS are to:
- Guide teachers who work with children from birth through five in providing quality learning experiences;
- Guide parents in supporting their children’s growth, development, and learning potential;
- Lay the groundwork for applying the standards in pre-service training, professional development, curriculum planning, and child outcome documentation;
- Create a “Universal Language” for all stakeholders to use regarding the learning and development of children. Stakeholders would include parents, teachers, pediatricians, early interventionists, policy-makers, etc;
- Raise public awareness about the significance of the early years as the foundation for school success and lifelong learning and the importance of the teacher’s role in the process; and
- Support the early identification and referral of children with special learning needs.