The Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines (ELDGs) were originally developed and approved by the Colorado Early Childhood Leadership Commission in 2011. This updated 2019 iteration was prepared as one of the five required activities under the Colorado Preschool Development Grant (PDG) B-5, and specifically designed to maximize parental choice and knowledge. As part of this project the Early Learning & Development Guidelines were aligned with the 2020 Colorado Academic Standards and the 2015 Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (HSELOF). Additionally, the updated Guidelines are informed by current and relevant research and best practices concerning children’s development, including social emotional and behavioral issues and early childhood mental health as well as physical health and development, particularly healthy eating and physical activity. The updated version also includes additional support for interactions between parent/child, teacher/parent, and teacher/child for all ages. Finally, the updated Guidelines include enhanced content focused on transitions between stages of children’s development, including best practices to support transitions for each age group and relate to typical transitions that would occur for children at these various times.
Throughout the update process, stakeholders from a wide variety of agencies and sectors were involved, including representatives from the Colorado Department of Education, the Colorado Department of Public Health Environment, Colorado Department of Human Services, Head Start, local child care providers, higher education, early learning professionals, and others. An Advisory Board met numerous times to ensure the resulting guidelines reflect a strong research base, enhance working early childhood systems in Colorado, and meet the needs of diverse audiences and purposes. The Guidelines were reviewed and advised by state experts with knowledge of early childhood development and teaching practice, as well as specific content areas.