Wisconsin Model Early Learning Standards

Implementation: Alignment with the Standards

The WMELS address expectations for young children from birth to 1st grade. The WI Academic State Standards (formerly the Common Core State Standards: CCSS) address what students should know &  be able to do from K- 12th grade. The WI Essential Elements (formerly the Common Core Essential Elements: CCEE), are based on the WI Academic Standards and address what children with disabilities should know & be able to do from K-12th grade.

The WMELS & the WI Academic State Standards both address the kindergarten level, therefore it is suggested that local school districts use both the WI Academic State Standards & the WMELS to guide curriculum, instruction & assessment decisions.

For information regarding the alignment between the WMELS and the WI Academic Standards and their relationship to WI Essential Elements, please refer to pages 107-113 in the WMELS 5th Edition.

WI Academic Standards (webpage):  The WI Academic Standards specify what students should know & be able to do in the classroom. Wisconsin has academic standards for separate content areas and they serve as goals for teaching & learning. Clear statements about what students must know & be able to do are essential to ensure that Wisconsin schools offer opportunities to students to acquire the knowledge & skills necessary for success.

The WI Essential Elements (fka Common Core Essential Elements: CCEE) (webpage):  All students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, deserve & have a right to a quality educational experience. This right includes, to the maximum extent possible, the opportunity to be involved in & meet the same challenging expectations that have been established for all students. WI educators collaborated with educators from 12 other states to create alternate achievement standards aligned to the WI Academic State Standards. These alternate achievement standards are called the WI Essential Elements in English Language Arts & Mathematics.

Alignment with Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (webpage):  The 2016 Head Start performance standards require that programs align school readiness goals with the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework & state early learning standards (Head Start Performance Standards, 1302.102 (a), 3). In order to meet the standard & support collaboration & transition between early childhood programs, the WI Alignment was developed with a cross-sector group of professionals including Head Start, YoungStar & early childhood professionals. The document was reviewed by stakeholders and will remain a 'living document' that learns & adapts with the early childhood field.


WMELS Stories


Updated 09/12/2021

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