The concept of “quality” in early childhood education settings has gained attention over the last few years because current research shows that the quality of care makes a difference on children’s social and academic growth and development. Different ideas exist about how quality is best measured in Pre-K settings.
Here are the Five Top Ways to Increase your Quality Score:
1. In ECERS-3 Materials are Accessible to Children for much of the Day:
Materials are great, but not if children can never access them how can they learn from them. Have materials accessible ensures children are not in lengthy routines, group times, or waiting for any length of time, which will cut down on many behavior issues because children are actively involved in their play. This will also create more sensitive teachers because they are thinking of children’s needs first.
2. Learning areas which Engage Children:
- Low, open shelves for containers
- Containers which open at the children’s level (i.e., no lids, toy boxes which children cannot get in easily, etc.)
- Variety of materials which stimulate learning
- Materials rotated for a greater variety of experiences
3. Understand your challenges as well as your strengths to strategize the best outcomes:
By building on areas of strength, those items over which you have less control will be balanced out and scores will increase where possible and knowing areas of common issues will help to maintain scores on those items.
- Is it ever okay to not get a 7 on an item? Yes! Example: ECERS item 25 looks for a variety of Nature/Science materials, but you don’t have the space to accommodate many items.
- Is it ever okay to get a 1 on an item? Yes! Example: Playground isn’t considered ‘safe’ by the ITERS, but changing it would be costly.
4. Interactions are Pleasant and Positive:
- Ensure tone of voice is warm and pleasant
- Minimize interactions that are unpleasant, such as when children are hurt, sad, or angry
- Find opportunities to use physical contact in a positive way
- Use supervision as an opportunity to have pleasant interactions with children
- Help children to see adults as a resource
5. WASH YOUR HANDS!
Hands should be washed
- Upon arrival
- Before and after water play
- After sand or messy play (painting, etc.)
- After touching contaminated items or bodily fluids
- Before and after meals
- After using the bathroom (adults too!)
For more information Click an Introduction PDF explaining ECERS-3 in more detail.