Early Language Development Standards

woman reading  book with young child

A tool to help practitioners support language development in multilingual children

The WIDA Early English Language Development (E-ELD) and Early Spanish Language Development (E-SLD) Standards provide a framework for supporting, instructing and assessing the language development of multilingual children, ages 2.5-5.5 years, in early care and education (ECE) settings.

The E-ELD and E-SLD Standards were created using the same perspectives of language that guided the development of the WIDA standards for K-12. Across the system, language is seen as a tool that helps children play and learn with others, which will help children develop the language needed to engage in learning later in K-12 settings.

Early language development standards focus on the academic, social and instructional language that children in ECE settings need to engage with peers, practitioners and play-based curriculum.

Did you know?

The WIDA E-ELD Standards correspond to the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. To learn more, explore The Connection – Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five and WIDA Early English Language Development Standards

Using the Standards

The six early language development standards for E-ELD and E-SLD are designed to correspond to the five major dimensions of children’s development and learning, as well as states’ early learning standards.

The E-ELD and E-SLD Standards can be used in a wide range of community- and school-based ECE programs.

The Six Standards

  • Standard 1 – Language of Social and Emotional Development
    Dual language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for success in the area of social and emotional development
  • Standard 2 – Language of Early Language Development and Literacy
    Dual language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of early language development and literacy
  • Standard 3 – Language of Mathematics
    Dual language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of mathematics
  • Standard 4 – Language of Science
    Dual language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of science
  • Standard 5 – Language of Social Studies
    Dual language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of social studies
  • Standard 6 – Language of Physical Development
    Dual language learners communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the content area of physical development

Resources for Educators and Practitioners

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How early language development standards correspond to states’ early learning standards
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Instructional and program practices for supporting language development, and engaging with families
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Key concepts related to the language development of young multilingual children
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Early Years Partnerships

WIDA Early Years partners with state education agencies to provide ECE practitioners, coaches and program leaders access to high-quality tools and resources designed to support multilingual children, ages 2.5-5.5 years.

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Early Years Professional Learning

Find professional learning opportunities for early care and education (ECE) practitioners, coaches and program leaders.

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Can Do Descriptors

Understand what language learners can do at various stages of language development.