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Divisions > Early Childhood Development > Early Learning Branch
Early Learning Branch

little boy sitting in library


A growing body of research shows that the first years in a child's life are the foundation for school success.  Actions taken before children enter kindergarten affect their abilities to thrive during the elementary school years and beyond.  The Early Learning Branch of MSDE's Division Early Childhood Development (DECD) oversees the following early childhood programs and initiatives, which promote best practices in early pedagogy and support Maryland's school reform efforts to help ensure that all of Maryland's youngest citizens will be successful in school and in life.

Click here for the 2012-2013 School Readiness Report.

Click on the links below for program-specific information.

NEW!  The MSDE Division of Early Childhood Development has completed  the  new Social Foundations Framework. This will replace the Personal Social Domain found in the MMSR Framework.  Click here to view the  standards.

Maryland Model for School Readiness
Enhancing School Readiness for all Children in Maryland
The Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR) is a research-based assessment and instructional system designed to provide teachers, families, and the early childhood community with a common understanding of what children know and are able to do upon entering kindergarten.  All kindergarten children are assessed in the fall of their kindergarten year to determine their level of readiness across seven domains.  This assessment reflects the ability of each child to demonstrate skills, knowledge, behaviors, and interests that are indicators of future school success. The Early Learning Office coordinates and monitors the implementation of the MMSR at the local school level, provides professional development and technical assistance to the early childhood community, and analyzes and publishes the MMSR assessment results.

Click here for an MMSR School Readiness PowerPoint presentation.

Public Prekindergarten/Kindergarten Programs
Maryland's prekindergarten program (Pre-K) is a state-funded program for four year-old children who are from families that are economically disadvantaged or homeless. The over-all goal of the Pre-K program is to provide learning experiences that help children develop and maintain the basic skills necessary to be successful in school. The Early Learning Branch monitors and helps coordinate the local school system Pre-K Program and provides support for public pre-K initiatives.

Maryland's public schools provide a full day kindergarten program for children who are 5 years of age on or before September 1st of the year in which the child enrolls in school.

Judith P. Hoyer Program and Judy Centers
The Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Enhancement Program is a statewide effort to help young children enter school ready to learn.  Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Family Education Centers ("Judy Centers") provide a central location for early childhood education programs and support services for children birth through Kindergarten and their families who reside in specific Title I school districts across the state of Maryland.  Judith P. Hoyer Enhancement Grants are provided to expand and improve the range of community-based school readiness services.  The Early Learning Branch monitors and coordinates the growth of Judy Centers and oversees the distribution and use of enhancement grant funds.

Contact Information
Judith Walker, Chief, Early Learning Branch
Division of Early Childhood Development
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Phone:  410-767-6549
Fax:  410-333-6226


 Early Learning Branch
Maryland Model for School Readiness (MMSR)
Public Pre-K / Kindergarten Program
Judith P. Hoyer Program
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Early Childhood Curriculum Project
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