New early childhood learning and development standards released by Maine DOE, DHHS

The Maine Departments of Education and Health and Human Services have released Maine’s Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS), which outline what children should know and be able to do by the end of preschool.

The new standards can be found on the Maine DOE’s website at www.maine.gov/doe/publicpreschool/.

The document is a revision and replacement of Maine’s Early Learning Guidelines which were originally created in 2005. The new MELDS is the result of a diverse stakeholder group consisting of preschool and kindergarten teachers, literacy specialists, higher education faculty, special educators, Head Start and child care staff as well as representatives from Maine DHHS and Maine DOE. It was vetted with content specialists throughout the state as well as a national research team.

The MELDS align with both Supporting Maine’s Infants and Toddlers: Guidelines for Learning and Development and the Maine Learning Results, helping preschool teachers to see a continuum of learning and development from 3 years to 6 years of age.  Public preschool programs will need to demonstrate how their curricula and assessments align with these standards. In addition to guiding early childhood educators, the standards provide a resource to inform parents – a child’s first and most important teacher.

Over the next six months, the Maine DOE will work with Maine DHHS and Child Development Services to design new training opportunities in support of standards implementation.

For more information or technical assistance, please contact Maine DOE Early Childhood Consultant Sue Reed at susan.d.reed@maine.gov or 624-6632.