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New Resource for Educators: Early Learning Foundations Guidance

early learning foundations

What you need to know about the new Early Learning Foundations Guidance documents.

By now, you probably know Indiana’s Early Learning Foundations by heart. You know how to identify when a little learner is on their way to great communication skills, when reading is just around the corner and when numeracy skills are developing right before your eyes. But as a professional, you also know that we’re constantly learning more about supporting that development.

Since 2016, the Indiana Department of Education has been organizing work groups consisting of early childhood professionals across various settings and Indiana’s early learning system to improve how we understand and apply Indiana’s Early Learning Foundations. The new guidance can help us nurture children’s development from birth to age five including the transition into kindergarten. This information also promotes fluid movement between developmental stages.

To learn more about these new guidance documents, we went straight to the source and talked to Early Learning Specialist, Krystal Robinson, MLD, from the Indiana Department of Education. Here’s what you need you know:

The guidance will roll out through 2019.

The guidance for Mathematics and English Language Arts foundations were released in early February. Guidance for Approaches to Play and Learning and Social Emotional foundations were published in early April. The remaining four content areas (Social Studies, Creative Arts, Physical Health and Growth, and Science Foundations) will be released throughout 2019. All guidance documents can be found on the Indiana Department of Education’s website:

Family engagement is one of the key sections in the new guidance documents because families are a child’s first and most important educator.

The new Foundations Guidance documents help you take your teaching strategies to the next level.

There are several key sections to highlight within the document:

  • Looking Ahead to Kindergarten
  • Family Engagement
  • Special Populations
  • “Powerful Practices” for children across all developmental stages
  • Specific recommendations within developmental stages

Ages have been intentionally not listed within the early learning guidance. The Indiana Department of Education recognizes and is sensitive to the fact that children have a wide range of skills, abilities, strengths and areas for growth. Therefore, educators are encouraged to move fluidly through the columns to meet a child’s individual needs.

What should you do with this guidance?

Potential uses for the Early Learning Foundations Guidance include:

  • Educators working with children birth to five (in all settings) can use the guidance to support their daily practice, intentional lesson planning and high quality instruction.
  • Administrators and leaders can use this guidance to help support improvement of daily practice and quality in programs, as well as identifying growth opportunities for staff. This can occur in tandem with goals established in their professional development plan.
  • Professional development organizations can use this guidance to help support the creation of training related to intentional lesson planning and high quality daily instruction in conjunction with the foundations.
  • Technical assistance providers can use the guidance as a training and supplemental resource tool to support educators, while coaching the creation of quality early learning lesson plans.
  • Higher education faculty and administration can use this as a resource on effective instructional strategies for students studying early childhood education in conjunction with the foundations.
  • Families can use this guidance to help support their child’s learning and growing outside of early education programs.  Families are a child’s first and most important educator.

Click here for more guidance and ideas for use in several applications and settings. 

Information via Early Learning Specialist, Krystal Robinson, MLD from the Indiana Department of Education.

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