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Updates and tips of ECERS-3

There are big changes within the Quality Rating and Improvement System!  It has really helped a lot of facilities up their quality level due to being a point system instead of specifics for each level.  It has been great to go through and see how each center has reached higher points in their quality but still able to show their unique abilities with quality.

With a new quality rating and improvement, system comes other great changes!  The new one for Kentucky is that both the state-funded preschool and the child care departments of All-Stars will be conducting ECERS-3 instead of ECERS-R.  This is great news for providers because there is more of a focus on teacher-child interaction instead of materials.  Yes, don’t get me wrong you still have to make sure that you have appropriate materials in the classroom but not as extensive as ECERS-R.  The real focus is how you utilize the materials in the classroom to interact and engage the children.

I thought that this would be a great time to talk about ECERS-3 and give some great tips to score higher on the scale and explain some differences between the two tools.  Even though a lot of teachers get nervous when they hear they have to learn something new, I think that they will see that this tool is a more classroom-friendly tool.

The following are the changes from ECERS-R to ECERS-3:

Five New Language & Literacy Items

  1. Helping children to expand vocabulary – Helping children learn new words through a variety of interactions and experiences.
  2. Encouraging children to use language – Fostering communication skills through interactions with staff and one another.
  3. Staff use of books with children – Stimulating the desire to read by engaging children in the use of books for enjoyment and information.
  4. Encouraging children’s use of books – Providing and encouraging the use of a wide range of interesting books for children to use on their own.
  5. Becoming familiar with print – Making the connection between the spoken and printed word in meaningful ways throughout the day.

New Math Items

  1. Math materials and activities – Not just about access to materials, but instead about how staff use and teach with the materials in a way that engages children.
  2. Math in daily events – Making children aware of how math is useful in daily life and activities.
  3. Understanding written numbers – Introducing printed numbers to children in a meaningful way.

Here are some great tips to keep your scores higher with ECERS-3:

  • Math and science are a big addition to ECERS-3.  Adding these two centers to your classroom will definitely help you enhance your scores.  The biggest thing to understand though is that they have to be actual interest centers.  An interest center is specifically designed for that topic.  Meaning all of the items in that area is specifically geared for math or science or dramatic play.  You do not have materials that belong to multiple areas in the center and call it your math center.  That is just a play area.
  • Each area has to be engaged by children to actually count in the scoring.  Meaning that while you are being observed children need to be observed playing in each interest center to be counted in the scoring.  If you are observed encouraging a child to go to another center that will help but you can’t make children go to a center.
  • When you are being observed, you should definitely be reading to the children.  But when you are reading to the children make sure that you read the content of the book first and make sure that there is not any negative, punitive, harsh talk in the book.  If it is negative then they will mark you very low within the scoring.
  • Continuously talking to the children in your classroom is great but it has to be meaningful communication.  Just asking them rote questions or continuously talking is not going to be beneficial.  It’s just going to be annoying.  Ask back and forth questions that will help the child think and enhance a child’s higher order of thinking.
  • Enjoy being with the children and interacting with them.  If you are showing that you are actually having a good time and your children are having a good time then you will do great!