How to use GELDS standards for Pre-K to guide amazing preschool instruction

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GELDS standards have us covered

Have you discovered the GELDS standards for Pre-K?  While Common Core Standards may have forgotten us preschool teachers.  The Georgia GELDS standards for Pre-K have us covered.  In this article, I will be sharing what the GELDS are and how they can be useful to teachers in any location.  There are SO many useful tools included with these standards, that I feel they should be used by any teacher birth to preschool level.

If you are interested in more activities for your preschool or Pre-K classroom, I have just the thing.  I have a free resource library that has tons of printables and activities perfect for you.  The activities are totally free and added to regularly.  You will be given a password and can login at your leisure.

Join the free resource library

Georgia GELDS standards help new teachers

When I started my job as a Georgia Pre-K teacher, I was at a loss as to the learning expectations in this age group.  Thankfully, Georgia Pre-K had it all figured out.  These learning standards are unbelievably helpful for new teachers trying to learn the ropes.  I quickly learned that Georgia preschool teachers have a distinct advantage over some states due to the Georgia Pre-K program.

After classroom management, the most difficult aspect of being a new teacher can be lesson planning.  If you don’t have years of experience, lesson planning can take hours.  During my first year teaching, every Sunday was spent combing Pinterest and Google looking for appropriate activities.  Then trying to tie those activities to not only the standards but the theme I was teaching as well.  How exhausting!  

Improving Instruction using the GELDS standards

Before we get into the how, let’s talk about the what and the why.  What are the GELDS anyway?  Why should you use these standards for your Pre-K or preschool class?  What if you teach in a state other than Georgia?  What about another country?  Should you care about these standards?

GELDS – Georgia Early Learning Standards 

GELDS stands for Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards.  The standards are high-quality and research based.  According to the Decal website, “They are a set of appropriate, attainable standards that are flexible enough to support children’s individual rates of development, approaches to learning, and cultural context. The GELDS are a continuum of skills, behaviors, and concepts that children develop throughout this time of life. They are divided into age groups and serve as a framework for learning.”

Standards for birth to 5

This article addresses the use of the GELDS in a preschool or Pre-K classroom.  However, the GELDS have standards for 0-5 years.  Awareness of the standards can help tremendously when determining skills appropriate for remediation.  All you need to do is click on the age group before to see the expectations for that level.

Domains and Standards

GELDS have the main domains of:

  • Physical Development and Motor Skills
  • Social and Emotional Development
  • Approaches to Play and Learning
  • Communication, Language, and Literacy
  • Cognitive Development and General Knowledge

There are standards within each domain.  The strands within each standard break down the expectations of each age level.  For example:

Searchable and Printable

Gelds are both searchable on the website and printable.  So, no matter what type of learner you are, they have something to suit your needs.  You can go on the site here and search by the skills.  Or you can go here to download and print a specific age level.

Color Coded

Gelds are color coded which I loved for lesson planning.  I had the printable version so if I needed a math activity I could quickly flip to the orange pages to see the indicators for those skills.

Life Saving – GELDS standards lesson plans

Now for the special sauce on what will make the GELDS your new teacher bestie.  It is called the toolbox.  It is a site that has been set up to work with the GELDS for activities and lesson planning.  Disclaimer, you will need to register if you want to save the activities.  Or you can explore without registering if you just need some lesson ideas.


You can find the toolbox here.  This is by far one of the best teaching tools I have found in my 12 years in the classroom.  There is a search function at the top of the page that allows you to search by the standard , keyword, specific book titles, materials, or activity. 

If you need an activity for a specific skill, you simply choose the domain.  Once you choose the domain, it will pull up the standards within that domain.  For example, if you need a lesson about families, you would choose the CD Domain.  Then choose the Social Studies tab.  This will pull up all of the standards for Social Studies.

Choose the standard you are interested in and VOILA!  A list of activities for teaching that skill.

This is the magic of using the GELDS for lesson planning.  Even if you don’t find exactly the lesson you want to teach, you can certainly narrow down your search to find what you are looking for much more quickly.  The teacher toolbox is a tool that certainly keeps teachers in mind.

For more information about using GELDS standards for Pre-K to guide instruction, check out these websites

GELDS resources

Introducing the PEACH toolbox

Lesson Plan Template PDF

If you are looking for more free activities, be sure to check out the free resource library.

6 Ways to Nurture the Social-Emotional Development of Preschoolers

What is Purposeful Play-Based Learning in Pre-K and Learning

5 Quick & Easy Activities for ESY in Early Childhood Special Education

If you are interested in creating your very own teacher blog, I highly recommend Kayse Morris – The CEO Teacher.

Teachers are spread thin enough, trust me I understand.  Use the resources you have available to make your life a bit easier.  I hope you found these tips to be useful and find something you can apply to save some time.  There are so many uses for the GELDS standards for Pre-K.

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