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Early Learning Curriculum
English Language Arts Standards for 4-Year-Olds
Course Preface



The purpose of the Utah Early Learning Standards: Ages 3 to 5 document is to give administrators, early childhood professionals, and families of preschool-aged students guidance and resources regarding developmentally appropriate standards and goals for young children and students. Early childhood education is comprehensive and promotes cognitive, physical, language, and social emotional development. These standards foster school readiness and build a foundation for later academic and social success.

The Early Learning Standards have been written by multiple experts in the field of early childhood development and are designed to be inclusive of all children. Educators should be responsive to children’s current strengths, knowledge, and skills when planning and creating experiences to support learning while also being cognizant of the background and specific needs of each child. The following content areas are included in the standards:

The implementation of these Standards in early childhood programs will improve kindergarten readiness and reduce achievement gaps. The standards should not be used to exclude children from entering kindergarten. Related concepts may be added when appropriate to assure that every child reaches their potential.


Through play, relationships, and instruction, early learning provides children with an opportunity to develop skills and knowledge across all content areas. By guiding and empowering young children through positive experiences, they begin to develop responsibility, persistence, citizenship, communication skills, reasoning, effective questioning, and more.

Young children’s minds grow and develop at an extremely rapid rate. Each child is complex and has various needs. It is critical to consider the whole child and foster social, intellectual, emotional, physical, and language development. Children must feel physically and emotionally safe and secure for effective learning to take place.

Learning occurs long before children begin school. Parents and families are the first and most important teachers in a child’s life. Strong partnerships between schools and families foster positive relationships and learning at home.

Learning opportunities occur during play and through developmentally appropriate practices. Effective teachers design play activities with specific learning goals in mind. They provide individualized, intentional, and differentiated instruction to facilitate student success. Teachers should model kindness and respect as they guide children’s behavior.

Children learn in diverse ways. Early childhood professionals need to communicate with families and review classroom data and observations to identify each student’s strengths and needs. Teachers should use this information to guide their instruction and make adaptions as needed.

Early childhood programs should welcome all children regardless of their ability, culture, language, or background. Effective educators create opportunities for their students to explore and discuss their unique individual characteristics, experiences, and personal backgrounds through social engagement with their classmates and teachers. Through these activities, students gain an understanding that every person has value, regardless of their similarities or differences.


The Utah Early Learning Standards are organized into strands which represent significant areas of learning within age-level progressions and content areas. Each strand introduction provides an overall view of the concepts needed for foundational understanding. Each strand contains standards. A standard represents an essential element of learning that is expected. While some standards within a strand may be more comprehensive than others, all standards are essential for mastery.

Each of the general learning areas contains the following information:

The phrase “with prompting and support” is included in multiple standards throughout the document. This phrase implies that the skill/standard should be emerging, and that the child should demonstrate some independence towards achieving that skill/standard. Teachers will monitor students while working on these skills to make sure they are challenging enough for growth while being mindful of students frustration levels. Teachers may offer more support for students by providing additional time, exposure, discussions, scaffolding, and patience as they develop these skills.

UEN logo - in partnership with Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and Utah System of Higher Education (USHE).  Send questions or comments to USBE Specialist - Jessica Mackley and see the Early Learning website. For general questions about Utah's Core Standards contact the Director - Jennifer Throndsen.

These materials have been produced by and for the teachers of the State of Utah. Copies of these materials may be freely reproduced for teacher and classroom use. When distributing these materials, credit should be given to Utah State Board of Education. These materials may not be published, in whole or part, or in any other format, without the written permission of the Utah State Board of Education, 250 East 500 South, PO Box 144200, Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-4200.