Knowledge Base

A guide to early care and education professional practice: What early childhood practitioners who work with young children and families need to know, understand, and be able to do.

The Montana Early Care and Education Knowledge Base was first published in July 1998 as the foundation from which to build the state’s comprehensive early childhood career development program. All components of the program are directly linked to the Knowledge Base.

At this time Early Childhood Services Bureau is not printing hard copies of the Knowledge Base.  Please download by using link below to access the document.

2022 Knowledge Base

Montana Early Learning Standards

This publication describes the standards that guide the work of early childhood professionals to ensure that children from birth to age five have the skills and knowledge they need to achieve success in learning to reach their full potential in life. The Montana Early Learning Standards (MELS) feature a continuum of developmental progression without listing specific ages. A careful read of the Introduction and Early Learning Principles will help you understand how to use the standards in appropriate ways as you work (and play!) with young children and their families.

Children's development can be identified and observed over time on the continuum described in each of the four Core Domains and corresponding sub-domains. The forty-seven standards are applicable to all children regardless of the setting in which they are cared for, nurtured, and educated. These settings may include their own homes; family, friend and neighbor homes; family and group child care homes, child care centers, preschool programs, Head Start and Early Head Start; and public schools.

You may order a copy of the MELS by visiting

Montana Early Learning Standards 2014