Kindergarten through 3rd Grade

This section of the Colorado Early Learning and Development Guidelines for children in kindergarten through third grade (ages 5–8) provides users with information about how foundational skills and knowledge established during the first 5 years of life develop children’s capacities to meet more specific learning expectations in grade school. In the first few years of school, children’s learning builds on their cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development at earlier ages and forms a basis for later learning.

As children transition from preschool to kindergarten, the domains of learning that organize children’s abilities for ages 3 to 5 in the Guidelines shift to the content areas of the Colorado Academic Standards. This change in the organizational domains used in the Guidelines reflects the growing emphasis on academics as children age. However, the development of the whole child is articulated in the Guidelines because social, emotional, and cognitive development remain a key aspect of teaching and learning for children in kindergarten through third grade. Colorado Academic Standards content areas include:

  • Comprehensive Health and Physical Education
  • World Languages
  • Reading, Writing and Communicating,
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Visual Arts
  • Theater Arts and Drama

Collectively these areas reflect the growing breadth and depth of a child’s academic experiences, and encompass all the attributes important in the development of the whole child. This comprehensive approach to the holistic development of school-age children is reflected in the social and emotional wellness standards, which are included in the standards for Comprehensive Health and Physical Education. Additionally, student dispositions and habits of mind are reflected in the standards’ set of 21st Century Skills, which include Self Direction, Information Literacy, Critical Thinking and Reasoning, Information Literacy, Invention, and Collaboration.

In addition to descriptions about child learning and development, the Colorado Academic Standards articulate Concept Connections: cognitive skills and themes that are emphasized in each grade level across multiple content areas. The ideas in the Concept Connections reoccur as children learn and engage with subject area content throughout the school year. The Concept Connections for each grade level (K–3) are included in Appendix B.

Visit the Colorado Department of Education’s website to access the Colorado Academic Standards.

The Colorado Academic Standards content areas are presented with descriptions of the preschool domains and sub-domains that support learning in that content area in kindergarten through third grade. Such information should be useful for both K–3 teachers and preschool providers alike, allowing them to better understand the developmental trajectory of children’s skills and knowledge. Parents and caregivers who interact with young children will be able to use this information to understand the overall goals for children’s education and development, as well as important ways that they can support those skills. Children with a developmental disability or delay may show deficits in one or more content area. Additionally, children born premature may show a delay in reaching learning expectations. Caregivers should talk with a health care provider or other trusted professional about any questions or concerns.