3. Promote Quality and Equity in ECE
Key elements of a high-quality ECE system in a state include:
- Early learning standards, curricula, and assessments that address the whole child;
- Well-prepared teachers that receive ongoing support including teaching and mentoring;
- Classroom environments that support learning; are small; support students with unique needs; and ensure that all children—regardless of race, income, or native language—have positive experiences;
- Meaningful family engagement; and
- Well-implemented program assessments and a quality rating and improvement system.
Specific state examples include:
- The Office of Early Learning in Florida is developing tools to assess performance and increase accountability programs, including requiring assessments of children at least three times a year and allowing a parent to monitor the growth and development of their child across programs.
- Washington state is meeting the needs of children who are learning English as their second language by creating training and professional development resources on dual language learning; strategies for family engagement; and working in culturally diverse communities.
- Oklahoma has established a Task Force on Trauma-Informed Care to study and make recommendations to the Legislature on best practices with respect to children. One key area of focus is to improve disciplinary practices in early childhood education and care settings and schools, including but not limited to: use of positive disciplinary strategies that are effective at reducing the incidence of punitive school disciplinary actions, such as school suspensions and expulsions.
- Early care and education teachers in North Carolina are supported to build their skills through training and salary supplements and an agreement between the University of North Carolina and state community colleges to facilitate transfer of credits in early education field.
- The Georgia Cross Agency Child Data System brings data together from programs and services for young children so the state can identify service gaps and provide an integrated and aligned approach to demonstrate how the state is meeting the needs of children ages 0 to 5.