An important step was taken to increase the quality of early childhood education in 2016 with the release of the Arkansas Child Development and Early Learning Standards by the Arkansas Department of Human Services and Arkansas Head Start State Collaboration Office. The new state standards demonstrate the continuum of developmental milestones in the early years from birth to age five. This is an important foundation that will lead to more children being kindergarten ready.
These standards are research-based and provide a set of common expectations for what children typically know, understand and are able to do at different ages in early childhood. The new early learning standards address the following areas of learning, which include all aspects of quality early childhood education: social and emotional development, cognitive development, physical development and health, language development, emergent literacy, mathematical thinking, science and technology, social studies, and creativity and aesthetics. The Division of Child Care at the Department of Human Services is currently developing training for child care and pre-K programs to help implement the new standards.