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, developments such as the implementation of the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) 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. To access the GELDS, please visit www.gelds.decal.ga.gov.

If you have additional questions, contact the Instructional Learning Manager at GELDS@decal.ga.gov or (404) 657-1778.



Bright from the Start is responsible for meeting the child care and early education needs of Georgia’s children and their families. It administers the nationally recognized Georgia’s Pre-K Program, licenses child care centers and home-based child care, administers Georgia's Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program, federal nutrition programs, and manages Quality Rated, Georgia’s community powered child care rating system.

The department also houses the Head Start State Collaboration Office, distributes federal funding to enhance the quality and availability of child care, and works collaboratively with Georgia child care resource and referral agencies and organizations throughout the state to enhance early care and education.