Washington DC
Washington DC
State Requirements

Organization of the Infant and Toddler
Early Learning Standards
The DC Early Learning Standards present broad ideas about children's development and learning during the first 3 years of life. They are conceptualized as a continuum of skills and behaviors. The Standards are not meant to be a clinical definition of development for all children, and not all children will achieve the more mature developmental levels outlined in the Standards by age three.

The 19 Standards are organized in four domains, or areas, of development. These domains are at the heart of children's success in school and life. They include social and emotional, cognitive, physical, and language development and are equally important to children's readiness for kindergarten. They develop simultaneously and are interrelated. For example, in the second year of life, most children develop the ability to use more complex
forms of verbal and nonverbal communication. Language development supports social and emotional development as children use their early language and gestures to engage adults and peers. With advances in their cognitive skills, children use trial and error to determine ways of getting someone's attention. They may begin experimenting with single words, like mine, followed by gestures and taking other children's toys. They also use positive gestures, such as reaching arms up as a signal to want to be picked up. It is important for caregivers to teach the baby to hear the word "UP" as she reaches out her arms and picks up the baby. Then by 10 months or so, many babies can use specific gestures (such as the "up" gesture with baby's arm) to get their needs met.

A set of Standards is included for each developmental domain. In broad terms, these Standards specify the expectations for children's growth and development in each domain. For example, a guideline in the language domain is "Understands verbal and nonverbal communication." For each standard, development is described in terms of "performance indicators" that show progress on a continuum from simple to complex. Performance indicators are presented for three age periods: birth–12 months, 12–24 months, and 24–36 months. The developmental changes described by the indicators offer a progressive "snapshot" of a child in the first, second, and third year of life. For example, a child moves from showing an interest in verbal and nonverbal communication in the first year to understanding more abstract and complex language by the end of the third year. An "overview" of each performance indicator gives examples of how children might behave during each developmental period. 
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