Families, caregivers, and early educators all work together to help children grow and learn. This guidance is intended to be a resource for educators to support and enhance children’s learning and development while using the Foundations, Indiana’s Early Learning Development Framework. While this is not an exhaustive list, this guidance is meant to serve as a suggestion for practice from birth to age five including the transition into kindergarten. It can be used to support a child’s development at different levels of learning and promotes fluid movement between developmental stages. The Foundations are not intended to be a curriculum, but what children should know and be able to do throughout developmental stages. Curricula is content that children should learn and methods to teach the content whereas lesson plans are intended to demonstrate how the content is conveyed to children. This guidance is a resource for educators to use while developing an intentional lesson plan.

High quality early experiences help a child become ready for kindergarten and beyond. The Foundations show early educators the developmental progression that typically developing young children should experience as they grow toward kindergarten readiness. In 2014, Indiana’s Early Learning Advisory Committee approved the following definition of kindergarten readiness:  “In Indiana, we work together so that every child can develop to his or her fullest potential socially, emotionally, physically, cognitively, and academically. Through growth in all of these domains, the child will become a healthy, capable, competent, and powerful learner.”

Indiana’s Early Learning Advisory Committee (2016) has defined family engagement as: 

  • “Families actively supporting their children’s learning and development, and sharing the responsibility with early care and education providers who are committed to engaging with families in meaningful, culturally respectful ways;
  • Continuous across a child’s life, beginning in infancy and extending through college and career preparation programs;
  • Occurring across the various early care and learning settings where children play and grow.”

Children develop in the context of their environments, which includes family, culture, and community.   Family engagement is a strong predictor of children's development, wellness, educational attainment, and success later in school and life.   Early educators can use the Family Engagement sections and the Powerful Practices throughout this guidance for strategies that they can encourage family members to use at home.

Children and their families face a number of complex challenges and situations.  Communities are strengthened when there are strong partnerships between organizations.  Educators and program administrators are encouraged to refer families to agencies that have the most in depth knowledge.

The Indiana Core Knowledge and Competencies encourage educators to see children as unique individuals within a family and community and to be sensitive to individual developmental needs.  This guidance supports special populations including dual language (DLL), exceptional, and high ability learners; however, many of the recommended strategies are appropriate and beneficial to all children.   It’s encouraged that educators use a flexible approach when designing curriculum and keep the needs of all children in mind.  The use of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone (See Appendix B for additional information).  
Additionally, with family/parental consent, we encourage educators to engage and collaborate with other professionals in closely related sectors supporting the child and family to further inform and align services.  This could include professionals from education, health, and social services (e.g. First Steps/Early intervention, public schools, therapists, and physicians).

Please refer to any applicable licensing laws, rules, and related policies regulated by the Family and Social Services Administration and the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning. Additional information can be found here.

Topic Description
APL1.1 Demonstrate initiative and self-direction
APL1.2 Demonstrate interest and curiosity as a learner
APL2.1 Demonstrate development of flexible thinking skills during play
APL3.1 Demonstrate development of sustained attention and persistence
APL4.1 Demonstrate development of social interactions during play
CA1.1 Demonstrate creative music expression
CA2.1 Demonstrate creative movement expression
CA3.1 Demonstrate creative expression through the visual art process
CA3.2 Demonstrate creative expression through visual art production
CA3.3 Demonstrate creative expression through art appreciation
CA4.1 Demonstrate creative expression through dramatic play
ELA1.1 Demonstrate receptive communication
ELA1.2 Demonstrate expressive communication
ELA1.3 Demonstrate ability to engage in conversations
ELA2.2 Demonstrate phological awareness
ELA2.3 Demonstrate awareness and understanding of concepts of print
ELA2.4 Demonstrate comprehension
ELA2.1 Demonstrate awareness of alphabet
ELA3.1 Demonstrate mechanics of writing
ELA3.2 Demonstrate ability to communicate a story
M1.1 Demonstrate strong sense of counting
M1.2 Demonstrate understanding of written numerals
M1.3 Recognition of number relations
M2.1 Exhibit understanding of mathematical structure
M2.2 Demonstrate awareness of patterning
M3.1 Demonstrate understanding of classifying
M4.1 Understanding of spatial relationships
M4.2 Exhibit ability to identify, describe, analyze, compare, and create shapes
M5.1 Understanding concepts of time
M5.2 Understanding measurement through description and comparison