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Mel Gravely

The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework

The Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five (HSELOF, 2015) replaces the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework (HSCDELF, 2010). The new framework is designed to show the continuum of learning of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. It is grounded in comprehensive research around what young children should know and be able to do during their early years.

The HSELOF presents five broad areas of early learning, referred to as central domains.

  • Approaches to Learning
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Language and Literacy
  • Cognition
  • Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development

head start early leaning outcomes framework

These domains reflect research-based expectations for learning and development. The HSELOF emphasizes the key skills, behaviors, and knowledge that programs must foster in children ages birth to 5 to help them be successful in school and life.

The role of the HSELOF in program planning and practice is mandated by the Head Start Act and by the Head Start Program Performance Standards. The Performance Standards describe required teaching practices, learning environments, curricula, assessments and professional development.

Fully implementing the Performance Standards and the HSELOF will promote high quality services and practice for teaching and learning so that all children can succeed and keep pace with their peers.

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