Issue

Age range to be addressed within the ELGs

Rationale:

The age range (or age span) to be addressed within the ELGs is one of the most important decisions a state makes about the ELGs. The range of ages covered in the ELGs determines the scope of the committee's work and messages that will be communicated to providers about how services for children birth through five are configured.

Choices:

States typically write ELGs for birth to age three and three to five years, or birth through five years. Less typical age ranges (such as birth through age three) are sometimes addressed in ELGs if there are specific circumstances within the state that warrant a different approach to the age ranges addressed in the ELGs (for example, a state with existing ELGs for four-year-olds might elect to write ELGs for birth through age three to address the younger ages). States that elect to write ELGs for two or more separate age ranges may publish the different sets of ELGs in separate documents or as two sections of the same document.

Considerations:

General considerations: Programs that serve children ages birth through five may find that ELGs written for birth through five promote consistency and communication across teachers/caregivers working with different ages. ELGs that match the state's general age ranges within service-delivery systems will be used more easily within the field. However, if the agencies and persons involved believe that the state's current service-delivery system is fragmented or should be configured differently, writing ELGs that address the birth through age five age range differently from the way in which current services do may be a starting point for systems-level changes in how the services for this age range are configured. Consideration should also be given to the extent to which having ELGs that address the full age range from birth through age five can promote continuity in what is expected of children across this age range. Providers also might find it useful to have all the expectations for birth through age five in one document so they can use the sections that address younger and/or older age ranges as a reference when working with children who are delayed or advanced for their age.

Age-specific considerations: ELGs that address a broad age range promote continuity across the ages, yet including a broad age range in the ELGs may result in less attention being accorded each individual age addressed within the ELG document. ELG development committees may feel it is important to have an ELG document for just infants and toddlers (or birth through age three) in order to fully acknowledge the unique characteristics of this age population. The committee may feel the same about the need to communicate in-depth information regarding preschool-age children in an ELG document for ages three to five.

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