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The Iowa Department of Education (DE) is committed to providing effective early learning services and programs to children, birth to five years of age, and their families. The Department of Education and the State Board of Education have established early childhood as one of Iowa's education priorities.
This investment is considered to have life-long benefits to children, families and communities. High quality research-based early learning experiences are essential to building a foundation for achieving positive outcomes for children. In addition, it is the Department of Education's belief that providing a diverse array of environments interwoven with family and community support leads to ultimate learning opportunities for young children of Iowa.
The Department of Education (DE) designated Early Childhood Consultants (Early Learning Work Team) to develop a set of state standards. The Early Learning Work Team reviewed other state's early childhood program standards and national research regarding program standards and criteria. Due to the research and comprehensive information of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) the Iowa Early Learning Work Team developed state standards based on all 10 of the NAEYC program standards and 45% of the NAEYC program criteria. The Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards (QPPS), were drafted then finalized by the spring of 2004. These standards were developed to be used for programs with 3- and 4-year-old children.
Overall, Iowa' s QPPS were developed as a beginning point for cc programs to engage in of a continuum of to implement quality standards for early childhood programs to work toward accreditation with NAEYC program standards and criteria. The QPPS were designed to be used with programs having funding linked to the Iowa Department of Education including those operated by local school districts: Early Childhood Special Education, Title I, and district operated preschools and childcare centers. In addition, community based early childhood programs were considered necessary to be included in this pool of programs since preschoolers with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) need to receive special education services in the least restrictive environment (setting with typical peers). The QPPS are provided at no cost to programs and are available to download from the Department of Education's website. Personnel from early childhood programs are encouraged to complete the self-assessment to evaluate the strengths and needs of their current program status to attain standards and criteria and to provide ongoing data for the number of Iowa's quality early learning environments.
Note: Iowa's QPPS were not designed for programs serving infants and toddlers (birth - three) or child development homes.