Alert: Beginning July 1, 2018, the Department of Early Learning will become the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF). After June 30, 2018, this website will no longer be updated. For the latest information on early learning, visit the DCYF website at

How People Are Using the Early Learning and Development Guidelines


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The Department of Early Learning, Thrive by Five Washington and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction issued new Washington State Early Learning and Development Guidelines in March 2012. The Guidelines discuss child development at different stages from birth through age 8 in a way that is culturally inclusive. The Guidelines are meant to be used by families, early care and learning professionals, and K-3 professionals.

We’ve distributed more than 10,000 copies of the Guidelines around the state. Here are some of the ways families, child care providers and others are using them in communities:

  • A local public health agency meets regularly with child care providers and provides them with copies of the Guidelines to help them plan activities for families.
  • A family support specialist provides copies during home visits to explain the importance of families’ involvement in their children’s development.
  • A child and family study teacher at a community college shares the guidelines with other teachers.
  • A family support specialist at a corrections facility shares the guidelines with staff members that provide parenting classes and oversee visitations.
  • A military child care center uses the guidelines for training their staff, working with local school districts and sharing with parents.
  • A school psychologist who conducts special education evaluations distributes the Guidelines to parents.
  • Many school districts use the guidelines as a resource for parents, teachers, school psychologists, staff and trainers.
  • An association of child care providers provides copies to its members.
  • A Montessori school uses the Guidelines in developing their curriculum.
  • A child care provider gives new moms a copy of the Guidelines along with a toy that fits with one of the examples of actiivities to do with babies.

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