Early Learning Standards

Maryland Early Learning Standards

In early childhood, every child's journey is unique yet guided by common milestones. The Maryland Early Learning Standards serve as the compass, outlining the skills, concepts, and behaviors children typically acquire before their fourth birthday in a nurturing and enriching environment. Drawing from the latest research in brain science and early childhood development and learning, these standards offer a roadmap for progression across key domains of learning.Cover of Early Learning Standards

At the heart of the Maryland Early Learning Standards lie five crucial domains:

  • Social and Emotional Development: Fostering empathy, resilience, and healthy relationships form the cornerstone of a child's emotional growth.
  • Approaches to Learning: Encouraging curiosity, initiative, and problem-solving sets the stage for a lifelong love of learning.
  • Language and Literacy: From babbling to storytelling, children embark on a journey of language acquisition and literacy exploration, laying the foundation for effective communication and comprehension.
  • Early Cognition and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics): Sparking curiosity in the world around them, children engage in hands-on exploration, experimentation, and critical thinking, fostering a holistic approach to learning.
  • Physical Well-Being and Motor Development: Through active play and movement, children develop motor skills, spatial awareness, and a healthy lifestyle, nurturing both body and mind.

These standards are not confined to a specific setting but rather offer guidance to anyone in Maryland who interacts with children aged birth to 48 months. Whether in licensed child care centers, family child care homes, or informal care arrangements, adults – be they caregivers, teachers, educators, or care providers – play a pivotal role in shaping children's early experiences.

Spaces matter too in the journey of early learning. Children interact and learn in many environments - from the cozy confines of their homes to the structured setting of a classroom, from the freedom of a backyard to the communal spaces of parks or playgrounds. Recognizing this diversity, the Early Learning Standards embrace a range of spaces and experiences, offering flexibility and relevance across different early care settings.

The Maryland Early Learning Standards represent a collective commitment to the well-being and development of the state's youngest citizens. They embody the collective wisdom of educators, caregivers, researchers, and policymakers, united in their dedication to nurturing the potential of every child. By upholding these standards, we not only lay the groundwork for academic success but also cultivate resilient, compassionate, and curious individuals who will shape the future of our society.

Learn more at on the Office of Early Learning and Instruction webpage.