I N T RODU CT I ONOklahomaEarly Learning GuidelinesA taskforce convened by the Oklahoma Departmentof Human Services Child Care Services developedthe Oklahoma Early Learning Guidelines for threeto five year olds in 2011. A Review Workgroup wasformed in September 2016 and met monthly to revisethe Early Learning Guidelines. This was initiated dueto comments and suggestions from users of the guide,the 2016 Head Start Performance Standards and thedevelopment of the Oklahoma Academic Standardswhich replaced the PASS, Priority Academic StudentSkills. Both the Early Learning Guidelines for Infants,Toddlers and Twos and the Early Learning Guidelinesfor Ages Three through Five were revised at the sametime by content area. This allowed for consistencyacross the domain and strengthened the continuumfrom birth through five. Committee members includedrepresentatives from the Center for Early ChildhoodProfessional Development, Oklahoma Child CareResource and Referral Association and its affiliates,Oklahoma Child Care Services, Oklahoma HeadStart/Early Head Start, Oklahoma State Departmentof Education, Oklahoma State Department of Health,Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education,Oklahoma Tribal Child Care Association, child careprograms, community colleges, and universities.Additional resources include other state’s EarlyLearning Guidelines.This document has been developed to be used by all.The word ‘teacher’ is used in the guidelines to representparents, family members, educators, caregivers,program staff, and other caring adults who offerinstruction, support and guidance to young children.Oklahoma Early Learning GuidelinesThe Oklahoma Early Learning Guidelines Ages Threethrough Five are intended to provide guidance to teacherswith regard to what children should know and be ableto do in order to experience school success. The EarlyLearning Guidelines provide examples of activities andcan be used to develop curriculum. They should not beused as a curriculum or for assessment. Curriculum andEarly Learning Guidelines are connected, but not thesame. ELGs can be used in practice every day and canbe helpful in providing resources or ideas to help teachersunderstand and use learning experiences in the classroom.Teachers trained in early childhood curriculum theorieswill provide an enriched curriculum and include some ofthe activity examples in the guide along with many others.The guidelines are intended to assist with learning activitiesfor preschool children ages 3 through 5 and are inclusiveof all children. These guidelines are designed to align withOklahoma Early Learning Guidelines for Infants, Toddlersand Twos. Children may be able to show they meet thestandards at different times and in different ways. Theguidelines are a resource with commonly held expectationsand widely accepted best practices for children. At the sametime, the guidelines are flexible enough to meet the needs ofindividual children and groups of children.Guiding Principles:H All children are active learners. They explore andexperiment with concepts in the world through play andhands-on activities.H Children show individual differences in ways ofknowing, learning and doing. Every child is unique.H Through interactions with family and other adults,children develop new skills and understandings ofconcepts. Children need opportunities to practice newskills and experience challenges.H Families are the child’s first and most important teachers.Children are influenced by the values of their family,culture, and community. The child’s family and cultureof language, traditions, beliefs, etc. will influence whothe child is and who he/she will become. This must beembraced as part of the child’s early learning experiences.1

OverviewThe way the learning environment is constructed andthe materials available foster opportunities for growth inall areas of development: creative/aesthetic, intellectual,language, physical, adaptive, and social/emotional; andprovides the challenge for children to learn according totheir individual growth patterns. Early childhood programsshould be appropriate for the age, developmental level, andindividual needs of each child. The environment shouldbe modified and adapted to promote the participation andlearning of all children. Teaching strategies are based onthe knowledge of content and how young children developand learn.Programs should strive to have strong family engagementso that two-way conversations happen related to the childthat you both share. Young children are integrally connectedto their families and it is important to establish positiverelationships with family members based on mutual trustand respect.OrganizationThis document contains not only the domains orcurriculum content and standards, but also theINDICATORS OF CHILD’S PROGRESS and suggestionsof STRATEGIES/ACTIVITIES to provide children withmeaningful learning experiences. The content areas areinterdependent and support one another. Each of thesections is organized into five areas.1) Introduction – provides a brief description of the areaand the purpose for including it in the Guidelines.2) Standard – agreed upon framework of skills withineach content area for children to experience in order todevelop a foundation for additional learning.3) Indicators of progress – desired outcomes to identifywhat children are likely to know or do in relationshipto each standard.4) Examples – specific observable skills or actions childrenare acquiring, concepts described as an indicator ofprogress and illustrate what a child might do or sayrelated to each indicator.5) Strategies/activities – examples of activities,environments, daily routines, and play to encourage thedevelopment of skills in all content areas.2The standards can be demonstrated through observations,descriptions, documentations of a child’s performance orbehavior, and by samples of a child’s work.Early childhood programs should:H Provide curriculum building upon what children alreadyknow and are able to do to enable them to connect newconcepts and skills.H Provide units or themes of interest integrating andteaching across all areas of the core curriculum. (Forexample: foreign languages, language arts includinglistening, speaking, reading, writing, mathematics,science, social studies, and the arts).H Provide a literacy-rich environment arranged in learningcenters or learning areas. (For example: art, science,reading, dramatic play, blocks) Each center will have avariety of activities for the children. This arrangementsupports a wide range of interests and abilities within thesame learning space.H Provide exposure to a wide variety of informationand literacy experiences, and the use of appropriatetechnology through daily activities in the environmentand/or media center.H Provide a safe environment designed for thedevelopmental needs of the age group served andimplemented with attention to the needs and differencesof the individual children.H Provide an active climate; one in which children interactwith each other and with appropriate materials whileengaging in cooperative hands-on learning related to theinterests of the children.H Provide a balance of activities including child-initiatedand adult-directed. These activities may be active orquiet, performed individually, or in large and small groups.H Provide an environment sensitive to cultural, language,physical, and learning differences among all children.H Provide what is needed to support a child’s fullparticipation in learning. If needed, teachers maysupport learning through adaptive devices or adjustmentsto activities.H Provide an ongoing process of collecting informationfrom multiple sources about a child’s needs, whichmay include conversations with families, observation,portfolios, screenings, etc. in order to provide for his/heroptimal educational experiences.Families Can Use Guidelines to:H Broaden their understanding of ways children aredeveloping and learning.H Determine ways to support children’s development andlearning at home.H Discuss how to partner with others to provide forcontinuity of learning.H Identify what is important to look for when choosingprograms for children.

InclusionResponsiveness to individual children should beevident in teacher/child interactions, activities, andclassroom environment. Teachers will make sure eachchild has opportunities to actively participate and makecontributions. Using knowledge of each child, teachers canplan learning experiences by taking into account children’sdiffering abilities, temperaments, developmental levels,and approaches to learning. All children should havehigh-quality early childhood experiences. Teachers shouldconsider the following when planning activities:H Recognize children come to programs with varyingexperiences, backgrounds, language, and abilities. Thecurriculum and environment should be adapted for allchildren to reach their potential.H Plan for differing levels of difficulty in activities toprovide success and challenge for each child, especiallywhen children are in mixed-age groups.H Develop creative means of communicating ideas.Teachers can use gestures, pictures, and real objects tohelp communicate with children. Children can expressthemselves through drawing, painting, using clay, andmovement activities.H Create a predictable schedule to assist with the order andpace of activities. Additional time may be needed forsome children to complete an activity or routine.H Choose activity topics children enjoy, such as animals, toencourage interest and preferences of the children. Thechild may select an activity he/she would like to sharewith others.H Develop strategies to encourage children’s activeparticipation. (For example: pair children who are havingdifficulty with other friends who are successful at atask.) Children may select activities based on readiness,learning style, and interest.H Create an adaptable environment for the flow of activitiesto allow for flexibility. Arrange the play space so activityareas are clearly defined and provide children who maybe easily overwhelmed an opportunity to use unfamiliarequipment.H Modify materials as needed for children to participate asindependently as possible. Use picture cues, simplifiedlanguage, the child’s home language when possible, orlower the easel or provide a chair for the child who hasdifficulty standing.H Modify activities to be less or more complicateddepending on children’s abilities.H Break activities such as cooking projects or games intoparts by describing and making pictures of the steps.Prepare art experiences with individual children in mindso experience is enjoyable.H Provide adult assistance in an activity or routine tosupport children’s participation. Provide assistancewhen needed for any activities and position an adult nearchildren who may need more assistance.DiversityCultural1. Teachers understand culture affects childrearingpractices and may therefore affect an individualchild’s development.2. Teachers and programs support, appreciate, andhonor cultural diversity, including family and homeexperiences, language, beliefs, values, and patternsof interaction.Individual Differences1. Teachers recognize and respect individuals differin temperament, preferences, culture, development,abilities, and social interactions.2. Teachers use their observations of children tosupport learning experiences in ways toaccommodate each child’s unique characteristicsand development.3. Teachers serve and respect all children, includingthose with a disability or an individual need,in a manner supporting best possible growthand development.Teachers1. Teachers adhere to all state regulations includingthe Oklahoma Department of Human ServicesLicensing Requirements.2. Teachers are lifelong learners of childdevelopment and early childhood education.3. Teachers respect unique developmental, cultural,and individual differences in children.4. Teachers promote meaningful relationships withchildren, families, colleagues, and the communities.5. Teachers establish a safe, developmentallyappropriate environment welcoming to childrenand families.6. Teachers provide consistent routines sensitive tothe needs of the children in care.7. Teachers provide responsive, individualized carefor each child.8. Teachers offer a variety of activities to stimulatechildren’s learning and development.9. Teachers support the development of the wholechild, valuing safety as a top priority.10. Teachers demonstrate healthy habits for life byoffering nutritious meals and ample opportunitiesfor movement experiences indoors and out.Families1. Families are the child’s first teacher and playthe most important role in their development.2. Families can use these guidelines to assist them inunderstanding their child’s development, growth,and learning.3. Families build relationships with their children byproviding resources and activities supportinglearning at home.4. Families and the early childhood community canuse these guidelines to serve as a resource in thispartnership.3

APPR O A CH E S T O L E A RN I N G4Learning can and should take place anywhere. The teacher can enhance learningby talking with children about what is observed and by providing interestingmaterials and activities that involve all learning modes. Teachers can guidechildren’s curiosity and follow their facination by setting up interesting learning/activity centers. Asking “I wonder” types of questions leads children to think aboutdifferent possibilities. (For example: “I wonder what would happen if”.The strategies and activities provided in each section of the publication are asample of what teachers can offer in learning/interest centers. The roomarrangement should invite children to participate in hands-on, interactive playexperiences.

A P P RO A CH E S T O L E AR N I N GChildren exhibit different styles of learning, but allcan lead to success in school. Some children seem to beborn well-organized and bursting with initiative whileothers require some structure and encouragementas they discover their unique capacity as learners.Teachers must ensure every child has the opportunityto direct his/her own learning.When children complete a complex puzzle, constructan elaborate block structure, or ride a tricyclethrough a maze, they learn when to ask for assistance,seek additional resources, and take responsibilityfor the care of materials. A well-planned learningenvironment with carefully designed activities, alongwith teachers and family members who participate asco-learners promotes a willingness in children to trynew experiences and show persistence in completingprojects. As children connect their learning to pastexperiences, they learn how to take the initiative, beproblem solvers, and raise their knowledge and skillsto a new level of mastery.ST AN D AR D 1The child demonstratespositive attitudes, habits and learning styles.IN D I C A T O R S O FCHI L D ’ S P R O G R E S SA. Demonstrates an eagerness and interest in learning.Examples:1. Chooses to participate in a variety of activities,tasks, and in different play areas.2. Shares ideas and asks questions.3. Enters into cooperative play with other children.STRA TE G IE S/A CTIV ITIESH Provide activity/learning center play areas withinteresting and inviting toys and materials. (Forexample: art, block, library, dramatic play, sand, water,table toys discovery, math, and nature.)H Arrange sufficient space within learning center playareas so children have real choices. (For example: forevery 10 children, have at least 20 spaces for childrento play. Allow for sufficient time to spend to extend thecomplexity of play even over multiple days.)H Be available to help children become involvedin activities.H Honor a child’s need for quiet time to absorb theenvironment and make transitions from one activityto another.H Help children learn how to play well with others.H Accept young learners often do not want to participatein large groups.5

IN D I C A T O R S O FCHILD’S PROGRESSB. Develops and expands listening skillsExamples:1. Follows simple oral directions.2. Identifies sounds heard.3. Responds to and mimics sounds.TE A CHE R’ S STRA TE GIESA CTIV ITIE SH Ask questions about the characters, plot, and settingafter reading or telling a story. “What if .?” and“What do you think might happen next?”H Provide activities to encourage children to listen tolanguage or sounds and respond to questions about thesounds through: recorded books or sound effects sounds heard inside and outside sounds from musical instruments, songs, or wordsH Play games requiring children to listen and repeator copy what they hear, such as Simon Says orrepeating patterns of clapping, stomping, etc.H Engage children in one-on-one conversation andencourage talking with and listening to their friends.C. Takes care of materials.Examples:1. Makes appropriate use of materials.2. Knows where supplies and materials are kept andassists with clean-up.H Organize the environment so children can easilychoose materials and put them away.H Provide labeled and low, open shelves. Store like-materials together and near area ofintended use (For example: art materials storedtogether on art shelf located near tables, easels,and water). Stacking tubs and boxes where children canaccess them. Place heavier toys on bottom shelves. Label storage containers with photos of real objects(For example: small blocks, figurines). Label materials in two or more languages andinclude pictures (using home languages spokenthat represent children in care first and then useother languages).6

IN D I C A T O R S O FCHILD’S PROGRESSD. Demonstrates self-direction and independence.Examples:1. Makes choices and completes an activity.2. Uses toilet independently; washes hands unassisted;blows nose when reminded; dresses self for outdoorplay; and asks for assistance when needed.3. Follows routines upon entering and leaving the playspace, playground, learning centers, etc.TE A CHE R’ S STRA TE GIESA CTIV ITIE SH Support children in their efforts to complete commontasks independently such as: Zipping and buttoning clothing Putting on shoes Washing hands Eating with spoon and fork Putting materials and belongings away Cleaning up spills Managing the established daily routineH Involve children in responsibilities such as setting thetable for meals and/or snacks, pouring juice or milk,taking equipment outside, assisting other children, andhanding out materials.H Provide materials children can use successfully andindependently. Plan family style meals so children can servethemselves. Provide child-sized eating and serving utensils(For example: small plastic pitchers, baskets, andsturdy serving utensils). Use puzzle pieces with knobs when children havedifficulty with small motor activites.E. Demonstrates increasing ability to set goals. Developsand follows through on plans.Examples:1. Increases ability to organize him/her self andmaterials.2. Increases understanding of a task as a seriesof steps.3. Follows through to complete tasks and activities.H Introduce new materials to children before placing theitem in an interest area. Guide children to discuss ideasfor use of new toys and materials.H Involve children in discussing what they plan to dobefore they choose an activity area and what they willdo at clean-up time.H Provide opportunities for children to recall what theydid as they played with materials and participated inactivities.7

IN D I C A T O R S O FCHILD’S PROGRESSF. Manages transition between activities effectively.Examples:1. Moves with ease from one activity to another.2. Displays little discomfort or distress whenschedule changes.TE A CHE R’ S STRA TE GIESA CTIV ITIE SH Create a class daily schedule using photos or drawingsso children can read, predict, and anticipate transitions.Some children may need a personal schedule to checkoff activities as they happen.H Have a predictable, consistent schedule so childrenknow what to expect, including routines such as eatingand resting.H Give children notice when changes to the schedule aremade and why the changes are necessary.H Give children notice a few minutes before they areasked to move to another area and explain where theyare going and why.G. Understands, accepts, and follows rules and routines.Examples:1. Begins to show self-control by following rules.H Provide opportunities for children to create rules forthe learning environment. During a group experience,assist the children with developing a small numberof basic rules stated positively, and easily understood.2. Begins to accept consequences of behavior.H Frequently remind children of the rules, followingage-appropriate expectations.3. Begins to show greater ability to control intensefeelings.H Use pictures, photographs, or other symbols alongwith the words when posting the rules.H Role-play scenarios on choices. Puppets and otherprops may be used to involve the children indiscussions.“You cannot make people learn . You can only provide the rightconditions for learning to happen.” – Vince Gowmon8

IN D I C A T O R S O FCHILD’S PROGRESSH. Develops increasing ability to find more than onesolution to a question, task, or problem.Examples:1. Begins to show ability to generate severalapproaches to carry out a task.2. Pursues alternative approaches to problem solving.TE A CHE R’ S STRA TE GIESA CTIV ITIE SH Ask children to think about ways to solve problems.“What ideas do you have for ?” or “How do youthink we can ?” or “Is there another way you canthink of to ?”H Provide activities to encourage children to see problemsolving as a series of steps. (For example: “Whatwould you do first? What could happen next?”)H Initiate questions about people, things, and the worldaround them.H Provide items such as shape sorters, peg boards orsimple puzzles to encourage problem solving.I. Recognizes and solves problems through activeexploration, including trial and error, interactions, anddiscussions with peers and adults.Examples:1. Enjoys actively exploring materials and displayscuriosity and a desire to participate in activities;participation may vary depending on the learningstyle of the child.2. Engages in conversations with others regarding thematerials. Applies previously learned informationto new situations.H Model curiosity by asking “Let’s find out about ”and “I wonder what would happen if ?”H Include open-ended/unstructured materials wheninviting children to explore and manipulate. (Forexample: sand and water with measuring cups, sieves,sifters, scoops, eggbeaters, pitchers, unit blocks ofvarious shapes, or link and interlocking materials)H Bring in safe materials for exploration. (For example:broken, small appliances with dangerous partsremoved such as a clock, computer, or phone to takeapart. In mixed-age groupings, watch for small piecesthat are choking hazards and keep them in an areainaccessible to younger children.)H Provide opportunities for small groups of childrento play together. (For example: add 2-4 chairs at alearning center to encourage playing in small groups.)9


C REAT I V E S K I L L SThe arts give children a chance to grow skills ina number of learning domains and to express ideasand feelings. Music, movement, drama, and visualart stimulate children to use words, manipulate toolsand media, solve problems in ways to simultaneouslyconvey meaning, and are aesthetically pleasing.Through experimenting with sounds, colors, forms,motion and words, children communicate in waysdistinctly their own and reflect their own learning style.Each painting, dramatic play scenario, and improvisedtune provide teachers and families with insightsinto a child’s interests. These activities also provideopportunities for children to express what they know.In an environment fostering the arts, children learn toappreciate the contributions of other children and theworks of others that reflect different experiences, andculture views.Creative skills are developed by engaging children inactivities with play dough, sand, water, dramatic play,blocks, stories, art, music, movement, and a variety ofother materials.S T AN D AR D 1The child participatesin activities that foster individual creativity.IN D I C A T O R S O FCHILD’S PROGRESSA. Participates with increasing interest and enjoymentin a variety of creative activities, including listening,singing, finger play, games, and performances.Examples:1. Participates freely in music activities.2. Enjoys singing games, dramatizing songs, anddancing/moving to music.STRA TE G IE S/A CTIV ITIESH Show an enjoyment of music and participates inactivities with the children. Be willing to acceptdifferent levels of children’s participation and responseto a musical activity.H Use music as a way to ease children throughtransitions and routines such as: Coming to the table for snack or lunch Calming down for rest time Cleaning up the play spaceH Use music in group/circle time to help children feel apart of the group. Group singing, movement activities,and action games help children learn to cooperate withthe group.Suggested types of songs include: Songs with lots of repetition: Ole McDonald Had aFarm and Skip to My Lou. Songs with finger plays: Eensy Weensy Spider,Where is Thumbkin? and Wheels on the Bus. Singing games and action songs: Hokey-Pokey,Farmer in the Dell, Looby Loo and Did You EverSee a Lassie? Music with different tempos and styles: waltz, jazz,folk, lullaby, spirituals, classical, reggae, etc.Continued on next page.11

IN D I C A T O R S O FCHILD’S PROGRESSA. ContinuedSTRA TE G IE S/A CTIV ITIES Old traditional and folk songs: She’ll Be Coming‘Round the Mountain, Pop Goes the Weasel, ThisOld Man and B-I-N-G-O Nursery rhyme songs: Baa Baa Black Sheep, Jackand Jill, and Little Jack Horner Songs from other cultures (Begin with music fromthe cultures of children in the group and expand toother cultures and include songs in other languages)H Extend children’s understanding of creativeactivities by: Inviting a guest to play a musical instrument,display artwork, or tell a story Taking children to watch and/or listen to aperformance of an orchestra, band, or children’s playB. Thinks of new uses for familiar materials.Examples:1. Shows creativity and imagination in play withmaterials and props.2. Uses objects as symbols for other things.12H Provide a variety of real life materials. (For example:real pots and pans, real deactivated phones, etc.)H Encourage children to participate in activities usingobjects as symbols for other things, such as a scarf torepresent bird wings, a hoop to represent a house, orwooden cubes to represent food.H Encourage use of imagination by asking children whatthey would need to continue play. (For example: “Ifyou were driving a car, what would you need?” If noresponse, continue with suggestions? “What could beyour wheel, your keys, the gas pedal, etc.?” “What areother ways you could use a wooden block?” Or if thechild says she is making cookies and needs a mixer,you might say, “What could you use for a mixer?”)

IN D I C A T O R S O FCHILD’S PROGRESSC. Engages in spontaneous and imaginative play using avariety of materials to dramatize stories and experiences.Examples:1. Participates in dramatic play themes becomingmore involved and complex, possibly carryingover several days.2. Assumes various roles in dramatic play situations.STRA TE G IE S/A CTIV ITIESH Include props for dramatic play reflecting diversityin gender, culture, ability, and occupations. Someexamples include: Cooking and eating utensils; tortilla presses,frying pans, kettles, ladles, woks, steamers, ricebowls, chopsticks, tin plates, baskets, mesh bags,pottery, and plastic plates Clothes: dresses, skirts, clip-on ties, jackets, dancecostumes, overalls, aprons, large pieces of fabric forclothing in squares, rectangles, and triangles (includesaris, kimonos, serapes, woven vests, dashikis,shawls, ponchos, purses, sunglasses, and wallets) Shoes and hats: sandals, clogs, moccasins,huaraches, boots, slippers, dress shoes, hard hats,baseball caps, cowboy hats, straw hats, turbans, andfelt hats Adaptive equipment: cane, leg brace, crutch, glasses,and elevated shoeH Join in dramatic play when invited. Suggest ways toextend play, but avoid directing it.H Develop prop boxes around dramatic themes basedon children’s interest and experiences in family andcommunity occupations. Some examples include: shoestore, office, veterinarian’s office, camping, grocerystore, etc.H Provide a variety of dress-up clothing so childrenhave choices. Include items for boys and girls,different kinds of uniforms, etc.H Provide props, puppets, and felt board pieces todramatize favorite stories.13

IN D I C A T O R S O FCHILD’S PROGRESSD. Works creatively using a variety of self-expressivematerials and tools to convey ideas.Examples:1. Explores and manipulates art media (For example:crayons, paint, clay, markers) to createoriginal work.2. Shares ideas about personal artwork.3. Uses materials (For example: small figures,puppets, dolls props) to recreate or dramatizestories, moods, experiences, and situations.STRA TE G IE S/A CTIV ITIESH Provide daily opportunities to use differenttypes of symbolic representation (For example:art, print, drama, dance, construction) toexpress own ideas. Having a variety of materialsand options in play, provides for flexibility inplay, and creation of artwork without model

time, the guidelines are flexible enough to meet the needs of individual children and groups of children. Guiding Principles: H All children are active learners. They explore and experiment with concepts in the world through play and hands-on activities. H Children show individual difference