Indiana’s early learning development framework, the Foundations, is aligned to the 2014 Indiana Academic Standards. The framework provides core foundations and skills that children are to achieve at various ages and create common language and expectations for the early childhood field.
The Indiana Early Learning Foundations are not a curriculum, a lesson plan, or an assessment tool. Rather, programs are encouraged to select a curriculum based on their philosophy of how children learn. Curricula contain both content that children should learn and methods to teach the content. Lesson plans describe how the content is conveyed to children, and assessments evaluate children’s acquisition of the content. In order to drive continuous improvement, the Foundations should be regularly utilized to evaluate a program’s curricula for strengths and weaknesses.
The Foundations also recognizes that the family plays the most critical role in a child’s development and that it is essential that early childhood professionals respect the role of the child’s family in the educational journey. With a wide body of research supporting the benefits of family-school partnerships, The Foundations should serve as a resource for early childhood professionals to inform families of appropriate developmental expectations.
Overall, embracing the curriculum will allow child care and early learning programs to provide equitable access and opportunity for all children, minimize achievement gaps, maximize individual pathways, provide continuity for children and families, and engage families in children’s learning and development.