Simply stated, Early Childhood Domains are expectations and goals that follow along developmental indicators, or child milestones. No Domain is more important than another as they overlap in many areas. (For example: Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; to be able to predict what will happen next in a story overlaps with Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing ability to be able to find more than one solution to a problem.) Domains are areas required for quality care in Early Childhood that are then sub-divided into related topics. Indicators are development milestones, or behaviors and skills that relate to a corresponding age group. As you view the Domains, you will notice that each has more than one indicator. This is because no two children develop at the same rate. Not all children may be able to do the skills listed within their age range. You can find Domains with indicators written for children birth forward. To best help a child, find the age range in which they are performing and follow the indicators to help provide a quality program for that child/children. I have chosen to use the Head Start Domains as it is designed specifically for typically developing preschool aged children 36-60 months. You can see that there are also Infant/Toddler Domains but this site will use the Preschool Domains.
Many states are now writing guidelines for teachers to help improve lesson planning, to make sure that children have the tools they need to succeed in school (school readiness) and to ensure that teachers are following developmentally appropriate practices. Though each state or educational entity may have their own guidelines all are considered universally appropriate for the age of the child that is given. Your State might have more or less Domains however they all cover the same expectations and experiences that children ages 36-60 months should be having. You may find that your state words Early Childhood Domains differently but you can still easily use my information and transfer it over to your States guidelines.
Domains were written to help teachers and parents realize the common expectations of children within a given age range. They are NOT a check list or an evaluation, or a curriculum. They are simply a guide to help teachers choose Developmentally Appropriate activities and experiences to do with the children in their care. Teachers should be including activities and experiences that address all Domains on a regular basis. By using the Domains as a guide for lesson planning, teachers become more intentional in helping child to develop the skills they will need to be successful and ready for school.