Guiding Principles


Guiding Principles can serve as a foundation for the committee as they work on the ELG document. The principles reflect agreement on the beliefs and values that shape the work of the committee.


Committees should develop Guiding Principles to address any or all of the following:

  • Process for developing ELGs
  • Content of the ELGs
  • Uses of the ELGs


General considerations: Guiding Principles should address issues specifically related to the development process and ELG content. The principles should affirm the committee's beliefs regarding age-appropriate practices and respecting diverse cultures, languages, perspectives, and abilities. Though committees may find it difficult to directly address issues of culture, home language, and inclusion in the early stages of the process, experience has demonstrated that having open, honest discussions of how the ELGs can honor diverse cultures, languages, and abilities at the outset sets the stage for an inclusive process and an enriched document. Furthermore, principles should be written to communicate the committee's beliefs in a way that clearly links the principle to the content and use of the ELGs. Principles that are "off topic" and principles that are too broad/vague are not helpful, and Guiding Principles that are too specific are not useful. Guiding Principles should be agreed upon early in the development process but may need to be revisited throughout the development process.

Age-specific considerations: Committees may find that many Guiding Principles are the same for ELGs written for infants and toddlers and ELGs written for preschool-age children. There may, however, be some principles that are emphasized more for one age than the other. For instance, committees working on ELGs for infants and toddlers often are particularly sensitive to the importance of children's home language and culture and relationships children develop with their caregivers; they may want to reflect this emphasis within their Guiding Principles.

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