For over two decades, the K-12 education system has embraced standards-based learning as an integral part of ensuring student success. Recognizing the importance of standards-based learning, Georgia has served as a pioneer in generating thoughtful and appropriate standards for children at all age levels. Georgia’s Early Learning Standards (GELS) and Pre-K Content Standards were developed to improve child outcomes in early care and learning programs and to promote high-quality early education programming for all children.

However, recent developments such as the implementation of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS) for K-12 and revision of the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework have called additional attention to the importance of high-quality standards for children’s learning and development.


Georgia answered this call for higher quality standards by commissioning a year-long analysis of its early learning standards to determine their comprehensiveness and alignment with other documents, such as the CCGPS for Kindergarten, the Head Start Framework, and Work Sampling Online. Drs. Sharon Lynn Kagan of Columbia University and Catherine Scott-Little of UNC-G conducted the analysis. As a result of their recommendations, Georgia drafted a new set of standards called the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards (GELDS) for children birth to age 5. The GELDS are now in the final stages of completion. These standards will take the place of the Georgia Early Learning Standards (GELS) for birth to age 3 and the Pre-K Content Standards.

Informational webinars and training will begin this spring and implementation with support will start next fall in phases. This website will serve as a portal for information and resources about the GELDS. We look forward to a smooth transition to this higher-quality set of standards for Georgia’s youngest learners!

If you have additional questions, contact Standards Coordinator at GELDS@decal.ga.gov or (404) 463-0788.

About Bright from the Start


Bright from the Start: Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (Bright from the Start) is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia's children and their families. We are located in downtown Atlanta, in the East Tower of the James H. "Sloppy" Floyd Building.

Bright from the Start oversees a wide range of programs focused primarily on children ages birth to school age and their families. These include:

  • Administering the nationally recognized Georgia's Pre-K Program
  • Licensing and monitoring all center-based and home-based child care facilities (approximately 10,000)
  • Overseeing the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program and the Summer Food Service Program
  • Housing the Head Start State Collaboration Office
  • Funding and partnering with the resource and referral agencies that provide services and information to families and child care providers at the local level
  • Administering federal quality dollars
  • Providing technical assistance, training, and support to families and child care providers who care for children with special needs
  • Collaborating with Head Start, Family Connection, the Department of Human Resources Family and Children Services, the Division of Public Health and Smart Start Georgia to blend federal, state, and private dollars to enhance early care and education