Missouri Early Learning Standards

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Missouri Early Learning Standards (MELS) are a framework of expectations for what children can do from infancy to kindergarten entry. Each standard includes a description of what the child may be doing to demonstrate meeting the standard, as well as, activities to give adults examples of ways to support the child in learning and mastering a skill or knowledge.

Using the MELS promotes the understanding of early learning and development, provides a comprehensive set of early childhood educational expectations for children’s development and learning, and guides the design and implementation of curriculum, assessment and instructional practices with young children.

The MELS were originally developed from 2001 to 2005 by a group of individuals whose backgrounds are representative of the early childhood community in Missouri, including classroom teachers, child care providers, parent educators, content experts, higher education faculty, and state and partner agency staff.

The MELS were updated in 2013 to include standards for infants and toddlers, and again in 2021 to include examples and activities to provide further clarification.