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Montana Early Learning Standards

Montana’s Early Learning Guidelines for Children 3 to 5 (2004) and Montana’s Early Learning Guidelines for Infants and Toddlers (2009) were incorporated into one document that represents a continuum of growth and development for children from birth to age 5. This integrated document is called the 2014 Montana Early Learning Standards (MELS). Major changes include:

  • Instead of using the term “guidelines,” the current document uses the term “standards.” This wording aligns with similar documents used across the state to guide the education of Montana’s children, most notably K—12 Standards.
  • Changes were made to ensure that the MELS incorporate current research, particularly in the areas of brain development and cultural/linguistic diversity, including significant and meaningful integration of the Montana Indian Education for All Act. In addition, a crosswalk analysis of the MELS was conducted to highlight connections with other professional standards, including the Montana Common Core Kindergarten Standards for Language Arts and Math and the Next Generation Science Standards as well as the Head Start Framework.
  • The MELS feature a continuum of developmental progression without listing specific ages. Children’s development can be identified and observed over time on the continuum described in each developmental domain.


Copies of this document are available through the Early Childhood Services Bureau using the order form below. There is a limit of 5 copies per order. If you are requesting more than 5 copies, please contact the Early Childhood Services Bureau with information about your request.

         Early Learning Standards Booklet Order Form
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Page last updated: August 12, 2014