Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards (WMELS) provide a shared framework for understanding and communicating developmentally appropriate expectations for young children from birth to first grade (mandatory school age). The WMELS provide a framework for the development of program, curriculum, and assessment practices. As a result, young children will have more opportunities for positive development and learning. The standards are a guide for parents, professionals, and policymakers, all of whom share responsibility for the well-being of young children. The WMELS promote beneficial connections between early childhood and K-12 educational experiences.
Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards training is available throughout the state to train child care providers, teachers (classroom & higher education), program support personnel, technical assistance personnel, administrators and families. A facilitated process is also available for school districts to align WMELS with State Academic Standards. This process brings together personnel from 4K, 5K, early elementary and community early childhood in an examination of learning expectations, beliefs, research, standards, and data.
More on WMELS can be found at https://dpi.wi.gov/early-childhood/practice and http://www.collaboratingpartners.com/wmels-about.php.
Kindergarten Subjects: Best practices would utilize an integrated and developmentally appropriate curriculum that would incorporate the concepts from the required subject areas.
The state statutes, 121.02(1), define subject areas that should be addressed at each grade level. The statutes do not specify the amount of time needed to address these areas. For kindergarten they include:
*reading and language arts
For kindergarten, an integrated and developmentally appropriate curriculum is recommended - not a curriculum taught by subject area. Such a curriculum would incorporate the concepts from the required subject areas.
The Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards provide a framework for the development of program, curriculum, and assessment practices. Resources on curriculum options are also referenced. Children who meet the developmental expectations outlined in the Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards will be prepared to master Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards.
When teachers in 4-year-old kindergarten programs are looking for additional guidance, subject areas can be incorporated as follows:
Reading and language arts should be approximately 30 percent of the curriculum.
Math, social studies, science, health, physical education, art, and music should be approximately 10 percent each of the teacher directed curriculum activities.
Environmental education and computer literacy should also be integrated into other subject areas.
Physical education, art, and music can be completely integrated into the curriculum under the direction of a teacher licensed in that subject area or it can be taught directly by a teacher licensed in that subject area.
Up to one-third of each day may be in student self-directed activities.
Allowing children to sleep or nap is not required. However, especially in full day programs, rest or quiet time should be provided. This may include relaxation, quiet reading, or other appropriate activities.