Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS)

The Connecticut’s Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS) outline what children from birth to age 5 should know and be able to do. 

The standards help families, communities, and schools work together to support children’s early learning and growth. Download or print the CT ELDS. 

Why were the CT ELDS developed?

A preschool girl smiles while playing with two plastic containers of water

All children benefit from rich learning environments in homes, communities, and early care and education settings. The CT ELDS were developed to support children’s growth and development across all of these settings.

The learning progressions within the CT ELDS promote:

  • Equity for all children, through the setting of high, but appropriate, expectations
  • High-quality early learning experiences, by providing clear goals and trajectories of learning
  • Provision of individual support, based on each child’s growth and development;
  • Families’ understanding of what their children are learning and how they can support them
  • Teachers’ understanding of age-appropriate content and approaches to children’s learning
  • Communication across sectors, based upon these common goals for children

We can only realize the potential of these principles by working together — at home, in early care and education, and in the community. 

Learn more about the guiding principles of the CT ELDS.

What do the CT ELDS cover?

The CT ELDS lay out stages in learning and development for children ages 0 to 5. The standards break skills down by age group within these 8 domains of growth and development:

  1. Cognition
  2. Social and emotional development
  3. Physical development and health
  4. Language and literacy
  5. Creative arts
  6. Mathematics
  7. Science
  8. Social studies

Find out more about the 8 domains.

How does OEC use the CT ELDS?

OEC uses the standards as the foundation for resources that support the early care and education of children in CT. These resources include:

  • CT DOTS — an assessment tool that child care professionals can use to monitor children’s progress and make plans for supporting next steps in learning
  • A video series — provides examples of how early childhood professionals can support learning and development through intentional teaching, routines, and play
  • Trainings for educators — share techniques and best practices on a variety of topics featured on OEC’s training calendar

The CT ELDS are also aligned with the CT Core Standards for public education starting in kindergarten.

How can educators use the CT ELDS?

Child care teachers and family child care providers can use them to:

  • Plan developmentally appropriate activities for individual children, classrooms, and programs
  • Monitor each child’s development and plan strategies to support their learning 
  • Communicate with families about a child’s development
  • Support their own professional development by identifying areas for additional training and coaching 

How can families learn more about the CT ELDS?

The CT ELDS can help families understand and support child development. The CT ELDS Strategies for Learning at Home include ways to build learning for children from birth to age five into daily routines.

Some parents also find it helpful to refer to the standards when talking with their child care provider. For example, the CT ELDS can help parents ask questions about the learning environment or their child’s development.

What resources are available for families? 

The CT ELDS help all of the adults in a child’s life talk with each other using the same words and think about experiences that will help that child reach the next steps in development.

We’ve developed A Guide for Families to share the CT ELDS with parents. It includes handouts on the behaviors that parents might see in children of different ages:

  • Birth to 6 months
  • 6 to 12 months
  • 12-18 months
  • 24 to 36 months
  • 3 to 4 years
  • 4 to 5 years.

Many families have questions about how their child is developing. Call the Child Development Infoline at 1-800-505-7000 to learn more about resources and services for young children in CT.

Last updated March 9, 2021