Issue

Age groupings used within the ELGs

Rationale:

Once the age range to be addressed by the ELG document (e.g., birth to three years, birth through three years, birth through five years, etc.) is decided, age groupings must be determined. Typically committees must decide how to divide the age range into age groupings (i.e., how the document will be broken down by groupings within the age range). The age groupings should be decided early in the development process because they shape how the ELGs are written and formatted for use by teachers.

Choices:

Committees will need to determine if/how the broader age range will be broken down into age groupings. Resources that might be useful in making decisions about age groupings include:

  • Research
  • Age groupings used in other documents or services within the state (such as childcare licensing, teacher licensing requirements, or Resource and Referral agencies)
  • Examples from other states

Considerations:

General considerations: Age groupings used in ELGs should not be so broad that caregivers/teachers have difficulty knowing how to use the document for the specific age with which they work. Groupings should also not be so narrow that they do not allow for age-appropriate individual differences among children (such as age groupings that break the age range down into one- or two-month groups). Age groupings used in other documents/services can be a guide for what age groups to use in the ELGs but should not automatically dictate what will be used in the ELG document-if the age groupings used in other documents/services do not seem appropriate, the ELG document can be a starting place for revising how development is subdivided within the state. States can also decide to present their ELGs in discrete age groupings or to have age groupings that overlap (such as birth to 12 months and 8 to 20 months). Overlapping age groupings can convey the message that the age at which children typically exhibit specific knowledge and skills can vary, as some children exhibit specified knowledge and skills at much earlier ages than others. Overlapping age groups are, however, less precise, which can be a disadvantage particularly if the ELGs are used as a basis for an assessment system.

Age-specific considerations: Decisions about age groups are particularly important for infant-toddler ELGs because children's growth and development, and the differences noted between children at different ages, are particularly pronounced during this age period. Committees will find many resources that describe distinct periods within the birth to three range. When deciding on the age groupings for birth to age three, careful consideration should be given to the developmental "shifts" that take place during this period and to how services for this age range are configured.

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