The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) is reducing minimum standards of early learning for the next school year, they announced on Monday.
The new Early Learning and Development standards were split up into degrees of feasibility during the 2020-2021 school year. The department also said the reductions are only in place for the current school year.
The standards fall into three categories: critical and feasible, recommended/supplemental, and enrichment or not likely feasible.
Critical standards for early learning and development in Ohio children ages three to five include communication of a range of emotions, managing the expression of feelings and impulses and seeking security and support from familiar adults.
Children’s early learning should include carrying out tasks from beginning to end, and standards in memory skills, understanding of symbols and reasoning and problem-solving.
The standards also fall into domains like number sense (counting to 20), spatial relationships in geometry, basic understanding of time and civic participation. Listening and reading standards, such as using standard English grammar conventions and understanding rhyming words.
Motor development standards considered critical this year include spatial awareness in physical activity, coordination, and following basic health practices like hand-washing and teeth-brushing.
Those standards falling under the “enrichment or not likely feasible” category are only to be used if programs have the means, the ODE stated.
“They can be used if programs have the means but should be the last set incorporated into programming during the pandemic,” according to the department.
These standards fall into domains such as creativity (expression of ideas and feelings through the arts), measurement and data (measuring length and volume), and economics (the origin of goods and services, and responsible consumption).
Non-critical standards regarding science include making inferences based on evidence and developing an understanding of the relationship between humans and nature. In reading, standards that demonstrate an understanding of the differences between fantasy and reality, along with basic writing and group reading standards are considered non-feasible for this school year.