State of Alaska
ABOUT EARLY LEARNING GUIDELINES
For over ten thousand years all across Alaska, children were raised in loving families with traditional values such as cooperation, humor, patience, strength, hard work, respect for elders, nature, and each other. More recently, people from all over the world were drawn by the beauty and opportunities of this land to come live and raise a family here. While drawing on the rich traditional ways of teaching children, the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines also brings the most current child development practices built on knowledge of brain development. Alaska’s future depends on the health and well-being of our youngest children. We know good health, positive experiences, and nurturing relationships create a strong foundation for lifelong learning. We also know a child’s brain develops more rapidly in the first few years of life than at any other time. The foundation built in early childhood impacts later health and well-being as well as success in school, the workforce, and in life. Raising our children well is a great responsibility for parents, early educators, and communities. The hope of the Alaska Early Learning Guidelines is to offer support to all adults that play important roles in the lives of young children.
PURPOSEs OF EARLY LEARNING GUIDELINES
Alaska’s Early Learning Guidelines were developed to help families, early educators, and communities work together to support children’s early learning and growth by:
- Helping clarify the complexities, progression, and connection of learning from birth to kindergarten age,
- Honoring and embracing the tremendous diversity and individuality of children and families,
- Supporting parents and early educators to observe, recognize and celebrate children’s growth and plan for the next stage of development,
- Providing practical ideas to support children’s learning,
- Showing the alignment of early childhood education with K-12 standards,
- Strengthening the relationship between early childhood and K-12 so schools are ready for children and children are ready for school.
Culturally responsive practice
Alaska’s Early Learning Guidelines are designed to strengthen culturally responsive practices: recognizing the diverse cultures of children as strengths, building understanding and respect in children for their own and other cultures, and empowering children through the cultural values and touchstones of their family heritage.
All children develop within their own family, social, and cultural experiences, which makes them unique. With the wealth of cultures in Alaska and great diversity in our state, it is vitally important for children to appreciate other cultures in addition to their own. Today’s children must develop respect and appreciation for people with ideas and experiences that are both similar to and different from their own.
One’s identity is shaped by many factors including gender, race, cultural and family background, language, religion, abilities, life experiences, and circumstances. Family and cultural stories help children build strong and positive identities, especially if their culture is different from the dominant culture in their region. By including all children’s cultures as much as possible in the learning environment, early educators help foster positive identities, which leads to academic success.
Cultural diversity in Alaska contributes to the diverse approaches to learning. For example, many native cultures have been developed around subsistence activities, which involve more hands-on and kinesthetic learning Subsistence cultures also value communal effort to accomplish a goal. Kinesthetic learning, building relationships, the value of teamwork, and communal effort create positive learning environments for all children.
Krauss, Michael, Gary Holton, Jim Kerr, and Colin T. West. 2011. Indigenous Peoples and Languages of Alaska. Fairbanks and Anchorage: Alaska Native Language Center and UAA Institute of Social and Economic Research. LEARN MORE
CHildren learn best...
1. When they are healthy, safe, well rested, and have regular balanced meals. Basic needs must be met in order to learn. Adults guide and support their lifelong healthy habits.
2. Through relationships with caring adults. When children feel secure, they learn to regulate their emotions, and become curious, confident, communicators.
3. When they have opportunities for play and active exploration of their environment. A sense of wonder is a powerful foundation for children’s learning.
4. In their own unique ways, on their own timeline. The rate of development varies for each child, and learning may be uneven over time, or across different learning domains. All children need support to grow and learn in inclusive settings.
5. When adults in their lives learn and plan together for their growth and development. Just as children’s learning is continuous and builds from simple to complex, adult knowledge of best practices in child development continues to grow. When parents and early educators communicate well, they can best support each child to reach their full potential.
6. When they are supported by their communities. When the community supports children’s growth with access to high quality early learning opportunities and family supports, the health and well-being of children thrives.
Domains and goals
Domain 1: Physical well-being, health and motor development
Domain 2: Social and emotional development
9: Positive relationships with adults
10: Positive relationships with other children
11: Behavior and its effects
12: Group participation
13: Diverse settings
15: Similarities and differences in people
16: Awareness of self
17: Motivation, behavior and social environment
18: Rules and routines
19: Feelings and impulses
21: Family characteristics and functions
22: Community, interdependence & social roles
23: Civic responsibility
24: Cultural awareness
Domain 3: Approaches to learning
Domain 4: General knowledge and cognition
30: Reasoning and critical thinking
31: Problem solving
32: Symbols to represent objects
33: Fantasy and reality
34: Numbers and counting
36: Sorting, classifying and organizing
37: Observation & manipulation
38: Predictions and experiments
39: Natural world
40: Past, present, and future
41: Location and spatial relationships
42: People, places, and geography
43: Economic concepts
44: Relationships: Humans and environment
45: Technology use
46: Creative arts
47: Arts appreciation