The Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards (2013) are a revised version of the original Illinois Early Learning Standards published in 2002. They have been updated to align with the Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age 3, with the Illinois Kindergarten Standards, and with the Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten.
The Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards (IELDS) were developed in collaboration with key Illinois stakeholders in the preschool education field. Early childhood leaders, educators, practitioners, and policy experts came together to ensure the creation of an accessible, user-friendly document, presenting evidence-based and up-to-date information on preschool development for parents and family members, teachers, early childhood professionals, and policy makers. The goal is to ensure a document that aligns with and integrates into the complex system of services for children in multiple preschool settings in the state and fulfills the ultimate goals of improving program quality and strengthening the current systems. The IELDS are designed to be used with children from ages 3 to 5 or those in the two years before their kindergarten year. The term preschool is used rather than prekindergarten to recognize the inclusion of these two years instead of only addressing the one year before kindergarten. In addition, the term teacher is used to refer to any adult who works with preschool children in any early childhood setting.
From January to May 2013, a statewide field test of the IELDS was conducted. More than 300 participants reviewed and implemented the standards in their preschool environments and provided feedback through focus group webinars. The field test participants included teachers and administrators from state funded Preschool for All programs, Head Start, center-based child care, family child care, special education, faith-based preschools, and park district programs. The comments and recommendations from the field test were reviewed by a work group and, when appropriate, incorporated into this final document. This collaborative approach in finalizing the IELDS allowed for important decisions to be made by a diverse range of professionals representing different areas of the field.
As with the Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age 3, there are multiple purposes for the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards. The IELDS:
The Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards are designed to provide a cohesive analysis of children’s development with common expectations and common language. They are broad statements that provide teachers with useful information and direction that are needed as part of the daily early childhood environment. Preschool educators can refer to the IELDS when determining appropriate expectations for preschoolers, when planning for individual children’s needs, when implementing a play-based curriculum, and when using authentic observational assessment procedures.
There are appropriate and inappropriate uses of the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards. The IELDS are not intended to be a curriculum or assessment tool and are not an exhaustive resource or checklist for children’s development.
Visit the Additional Resources page for IELDS Resources.
Links to resources for the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards created by the Early Childhood Center of Professional Development in Arlington Heights.
This webinar provides a short overview of the Illinois Early Learning and Development Standards. It also provides a tour of the resources available on the Illinois Early Learning Project website that can support the use of the early learning standards in practice and at home.
llinois Early Learning and Development Standards for Preschool (ages 3 to kindergarten enrollment age)
The opinions, resources, and referrals provided on the IEL Web site are intended for informational purposes only and are not intended to take the place of medical or legal advice, or of other appropriate services. We encourage you to seek direct local assistance from a qualified professional if necessary before taking action.
The content of the IEL Web site does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education; nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education.