In the May 2000 legislative session, the Office of School Readiness (OSR) was created in the Department of Children’s Affairs (DCA) and charged with the task of developing a statewide definition of school readiness for four-year-olds. In December 2002, the Alabama Office of School Readiness adopted the following definition:
“School Readiness” is a condition whereby children enter school with:
(a) an enthusiasm for learning,
(b) an ability to function in a social setting,
(c) age-appropriate communication and problem solving skills,
(d) age-appropriate physical and emotional skills, and
(e) optimal health.
School readiness is fostered through opportunities that promote child exploration, sociability, curiosity, creativity, decision making, independence, and responsibility, in combination with partnerships among families, teachers, local, and state communities.
A child who is ready to learn when entering school will be able to obtain optimal benefits from learning experiences offered by the school and will encounter fewer obstacles to learning. Supporting children to be “ready for school” is essential in the attainment of:
(a) educational achievement and success,
(b) reduction of retention and remediation resulting in financial benefits,
(c) higher individual economic status, and
(d) a positive sense of social responsibility, thus creating a stronger, healthier society.
In June 2003, OSR began developing statewide performance standards for four- year- old children. For over a year, OSR staff and Advisory Committee members reviewed standard documents from other states, researched national standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation Criteria and read articles in professional journals and magazines. Based on the work, the original Alabama Performance Standards for 4 Year Olds
were drafted and adopted in July 2004 and then revised in 2009.
As the Department of Children’s Affairs was creating a document of standards for four-year- olds, the Alabama Department of Education was creating a similar document for preschool children with disabilities. The original Developmental Standards for Preschool Children with Disabilities and the Early Learning Progress Profile
(ELPP) were developed by a Preschool Task Force beginning in 2006 and piloted in 2007. The completed manual was published in 2008.
In 2010, the Department of Children’s Affairs and the Alabama Department of Education began a partnership to mesh the two documents into one set of standards for all preschool children in the state. The present document, Alabama Developmental Standards for Preschool Children,
is a result of the shared vision of these two departments that all children should be provided school readiness experiences that meet their individual needs.
Modifications and accommodations to classroom activities, routines, and learning areas may be needed to enhance the participation of children with disabilities.