Guiding Principles

The following Guiding Principles are the foundation for Rhode Island’s Early Learning and Development Standards.

These principles speak to the coherence of an educational system grounded in rigorous, evidence-based standards written to support the development of all children. These principles include the following:

  • While the RIELDS represent expectations for all children, each child will reach the individual learning goals at his or her own pace and in his or her own way.
  • The RIELDS are appropriate for all children, birth to 60-months, including children who are multilingual learners and children with disabilities
  • The RIELDS represent the expectations for children’s learning and development and are to serve as a guide for selecting curriculum and assessment tools.
  • In order to meet the RIELDS individual children will require different types and intensities of support across domains.
  • The RIELDS are aligned with the K–12 Common Core State Standards and the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework.

The revised early learning and development standards feature one notable change from Rhode Island’s 2003 standards: The RIELDS now embed play as an important aspect of learning throughout the document. As such, play is not treated as a specific standard to be met but as the primary means by which children demonstrate early learning accomplishments. It is through play that children learn the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that help support their success in later schooling. This philosophy is emphasized throughout the document.

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