EARLY LEARNING BRANCH OVERVIEW
A growing body of research shows that the first years in a child's life are the foundation for school success. Actions taken before children enter kindergarten affect their abilities to thrive during the elementary school years and beyond. The Early Learning Branch of MSDE's Division Early Childhood Development (DECD) oversees the following early childhood programs and initiatives, which promote best practices in early pedagogy and support Maryland's school reform efforts to help ensure that all of Maryland's youngest citizens will be successful in school and in life.
Click here for the 2012-2013 School Readiness Report.
Click on the links below for program-specific information.
NEW! The MSDE Division of Early Childhood Development has completed the new Social Foundations Framework. This will replace the Personal Social Domain found in the MMSR Framework. Click here to view the standards.
On Track: All Aboard for Developmental Progress
Maryland's Early Care & Education Developmental Screening Program
In July of 2016, a regulation will take effect that will require all licensed early care and education programs (child care centers and family child care home providers) to conduct developmental screening on children aged birth through five years. The initial cost for the developmental screening tool chosen by the child care facility will be covered by MSDE.
As part of Project 7 in Maryland's Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant, this project aims to address the health and behavioral needs of children through a system of early detection, prevention, and intervention programs. Part of this system is early detection through developmental screening. Each day child care professionals observe the children in their care for developmental milestones to better plan activities and learning opportunities. Using a recognized, validated developmental screening tool helps parents and providers in identifying strengths and potential areas where additional resources and a referral may be needed. MSDE identified the following developmental screening tools that would meet the regulation requirements:
- Ages & Stages Questionnaires Third Edition (ASQ-3),
- Best Beginnings Developmental Screen
- Brigance Early Childhood Screen III,
- Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning Fourth Edition (DIAL-4), and
- Early Screening Inventory—Revised 2008 Edition
MSDE provided samples of the tools listed for review at each of the Child Care Resource and Referral Offices. Providers will be able to access free online training on developmental screening and apply for the tool they choose to use in their program through an online application. For more information on training and application for one free screening tool, please click the link below.
Click Here to view a FAQ on Developmental Screening
Click Here to view Tool Comparison Chart
Click Here to view Referral Form
Click Here to access information on training and applying for a developmental screening tool.
Public Prekindergarten/Kindergarten Programs
Maryland's prekindergarten program (Pre-K) is a state-funded program for four year-old children who are from families that are economically disadvantaged or homeless. The over-all goal of the Pre-K program is to provide learning experiences that help children develop and maintain the basic skills necessary to be successful in school. The Early Learning Branch monitors and helps coordinate the local school system Pre-K Program and provides support for public pre-K initiatives.
Maryland's public schools provide a full day kindergarten program for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1st of the year in which the child enrolls in school.
Judith P. Hoyer Program and Judy Centers
The Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Enhancement Program is a statewide effort to help young children enter school ready to learn. Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Family Education Centers ("Judy Centers") provide a central location for early childhood education programs and support services for children birth through Kindergarten and their families who reside in specific Title I school districts across the state of Maryland. Judith P. Hoyer Enhancement Grants are provided to expand and improve the range of community-based school readiness services. The Early Learning Branch monitors and coordinates the growth of Judy Centers and oversees the distribution and use of enhancement grant funds.