Horizontal alignment demonstrates how developmental guidelines are interconnected with the implementation of program components across a multitude of service systems. The Early Learning Guidelines are intended to support and enhance the ability of professionals to implement program curriculum, program standards, and child assessment. This implementation should be appropriate to the given service delivery type, model, or mechanism, through programs such as home visiting, child care, early intervention, and others.
Rather than replace any of the essential components for implementing high-quality programs for infants and toddlers, which include curriculum, program standards, and assessments, the Guidelines fit into a coherent framework and are aligned with these essential components. All the elements are nested in a system of professional development.
These guidelines were designed to support infant-toddler practitioners regardless of program setting. The developmental progression of what children should know and be able to do within stages outlined in this document are the same for all children, taking into consideration individual developmental needs and trajectory, and apply irrespective of the settings in which children are being cared for.
When all practitioners responsible for this care are operating from the same base of knowledge and speaking from the same “play book,” we will be able to create a more unified language amongst those practitioners. This will help practitioners engage with the parents and each other around developmentally appropriate expectations for learning and growth in children.
Implementation of the Illinois Early Learning Guidelines happens as practitioners become better acquainted with the knowledge of development in the first three years of life, using it as they do the work of program implementation, and ultimately interacting with young children and their families.
To this end, professional preparation and pre- and in-service training and technical assistance systems play a critical role in quality implementation of these Guidelines. Training on the Guidelines must be tailored to professionals based on the context of the setting in which they are delivering services. The Guidelines must also be integrated into ongoing professional development and coaching at all levels, so that program leaders can support staff in embedding developmentally appropriate practices throughout all their work.
IEL is providing access to a PDF of the full 170-page printed version of the Guidelines:
This webinar provides a short overview of the Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age Three. It also provides a tour of the resources available on the Illinois Early Learning Project website that can support the use of the guidelines in practice and at home.
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