Early Childhood

Learning begins in infancy, long before formal education starts, and continues throughout life. Research shows that quality experiences in early learning prepare students for success in school and for lifelong learning. 

Since young children’s learning and development are interconnected and cross different types and kinds of learning, early childhood learning focuses on development of the whole child. 

Early childhood educators play an essential role in intentionally guiding children’s learning and development in a high-quality environment.

In the last decade or so, early childhood education, referring to children from birth to the end of third grade, has become part of a standards-based environment in the United States.

Newly revised District of Columbia Early Learning Standards provide parents and teachers with a sense of what children should know and be able to do at various ages and grade levels. The standards are aligned with the Common Core and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. They show the continuum of learning and development expected for all young children.

Early childhood education and out-of-school time professionals can explore the District of Columbia’s Professional Development Registry, an online tool that tracks ongoing professional development and credentialing and offers access to a career guide and related professional development opportunities. Get monthly professional development updates from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education's Early Childhood Education Professional Development Newsletter.