Core Qualities For Successful Early Childhood Education Programs. Matrix

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1 Core Qualities For Successful Early Childhood Education Programs Matrix

2 The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. Through its network of nearly 300 affiliated community-based organizations, NCLR reaches millions of Hispanics each year in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. To achieve its mission, NCLR conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Latino perspective in five key areas assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health. In addition, it provides capacity-building assistance to its Affiliates who work at the state and local level to advance opportunities for individuals and families. Founded in 1968, NCLR is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCLR serves all Hispanic subgroups in all regions of the country and has regional offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, and San Antonio. Copyright 2011 by the National Council of La Raza Raul Yzaguirre Building th Street, NW, Suite 600 Washington, DC (202) Printed in the United States of America. All rights reserved.

3 Matrix

4 NCLR Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education Programs The National Council of La Raza s (NCLR) Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education (ECE) Programs exemplify best practices for programs serving young Latino and dual language learner children. The purpose of the Core Qualities for ECE is to facilitate children s successful acquisition of school readiness skills and support children to become culturally and linguistically competent members of their families and communities. The ECE program members teachers, staff, children, parents, families, community leaders, and community organizations focus on the goals for teaching and learning in all aspects of development, including social, emotional, cognitive, physical, cultural, and linguistic, for all of its members. Core Quality 1: High Expectations and High Supports Core Quality 2: Collaborative Leadership Core Quality 3: Cultural Competence Core Quality 4: Bilingualism and Biliteracy Core Quality 5: Sustained Meaningful Relationships Core Quality 6: Family Engagement and Community Collaboration Core Quality 7: Continuous Performance-Based Assessment Core Quality 8: Relationships with Institutions of Higher Education Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education Programs 1

5 Core Quality 1: High Expectations and High Supports The early childhood education program defines goals and establishes high-quality expectations for the social, emotional, cognitive, physical, cultural, and linguistic competencies of all its members: children, teachers, staff, parents, family, and the community. INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 1.A) The program sets high standards to ensure that all children are ready for entrance into kindergarten/ public school. Program maintains a stimulating bilingual curriculum, a positive environment, and highquality materials that promote development in all domains. High-quality, culturally responsive, and researchbased curriculum Interactive environment for children to explore and play with interesting materials and objects Program develops goals in partnership with parents and uses data from children s assessments and observations to create programming that responds to the strengths and needs of the children. Individual child goals formulated by parents and teacher Appropriate curriculum, assessments, and individualization for each child Program ensures that information on each child s progress is passed along to a receiving program when children transition. Sharing of pertinent child progress information among programs (e.g., child portfolios) 1.B) Teachers and staff are highly qualified and highly effective. All teachers and staff meet or exceed the qualifications for their position as required by their state and funding source. Documentation of degrees, credentials, and certifications Program supports and encourages teachers and staff to exceed minimum qualifications and earn degrees/certifications recommended by the professional associations and accreditation bodies in their field. Incentives to make higher education accessible (e.g., release time, reimbursements for academic coursework, learning groups/cohorts) Documentation of educational/career plan and transcripts or certificates for work currently in progress 2

6 INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE Teachers provide individualized, high-quality instruction and maintain a positive relationship with each child. Teachers familiarity with each child s personality, strengths, needs, and developmental level Individual and small group enrichment and learning opportunities Teacher feedback provided via administrative and peer observations of classrooms Teachers maintain a positive relationship with each family and provide individualized support to parents to provide continuity between the home and the ECE program. Regular communication with parents to discuss classroom work and child progress Tools and resources provided to parents in their primary language to extend learning within the home 1.C) The program director is a highly effective leader. Program director sets priorities and high expectations for children, teachers, and parents, and provides instructional leadership directly or through a well-qualified designee. Documentation of annual goals Monitors curriculum development, instructional planning, and data analysis Offers incentives for staff retention and continuity (e.g., career ladder, opportunities for leadership roles) Provides support structures to ensure that members have means to meet shared goals Program director is an advocate for parent and community engagement. Advocates to stakeholders on behalf of children and families Facilitates partnerships with districts, foundations, and corporations on behalf of program Program director holds self, staff, and teachers accountable for hosting and participating in family and community engagement activities Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education Programs 3

7 INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE Program director or designee is knowledgeable about early learning standards, language, and interpretation associations and participates in professional development activities to improve his/her skills. Supports the adoption/adaptation of recommended guidelines Refines program practices based on new research Partakes in educational conferences, summits, and workshops on a regular basis 1.D) The program provides continuous professional development on pedagogy, literacy, language development, and content areas via individual and ECE program-wide learning opportunities. Program provides meaningful trainings and workshops on an ongoing basis. Professional development regularly provided at the program or opportunities to attend outside trainings/workshops Information from trainings applied by staff and teachers Staff involved in prioritizing professional development needs and delivery of training Annual required hours of professional development 1.E) The program meets the needs of the whole child, including their physical growth and overall health. Program provides nutritious food choices and activities about healthy living that reflect the cultures represented in the program and community. Daily nutritious meals and activities reflecting the culture of the children Activities promoting healthy lifestyles (e.g., growing food in a garden, healthy cooking activities, exercise and physical movement) Program provides parent education on health and safety precautions in a culturally appropriate manner. Visits from community representatives (e.g., fire, police, and health departments) to demonstrate health and safety precautions (e.g., child-proofing a home, installing and using car seats) Program is inclusive of all individuals, providing culturally appropriate intervention services for children and families with special needs. Program environment that is inclusive of and accessible for all individuals needs and responsive to their cultural and linguistic backgrounds Trainings and resources provided for teachers and parents that address specific disabilities and the cultural perspectives related to barriers for service 4

8 Core Quality 2: Collaborative Leadership The ECE program validates and benefits from each member s contribution to its culture and development. The program integrates the diverse cultural perspectives of its members and fosters a strong sense of collective commitment to its success. INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 2.A) The program establishes structures and provides support for family members to take leadership roles in its development as an institution and to advocate for the program in their community. Program provides culturally appropriate training for parents and family members to develop and practice leadership skills in culturally appropriate methods. Parents and/or family members have opportunities to assume active leadership roles in the program and community. Annual leadership development trainings hosted for parents and families Parents and family members involved in leadership activities and roles (e.g., parent advisory council, organizing cultural events, working with teachers on class activities) Families engaged in problem solving at the center and community levels Parent leaders supporting other parents to develop recommendations related to program planning and establishment of procedures that promote school success 2.B) All teachers and staff are provided with opportunities to develop and exercise leadership and engage in planning activities that improve the quality of instruction, well-being of children, and performance of the program. Program director ensures a program culture that supports the ongoing development of leaders and teamwork. Program provides structure and support for mentoring and coaching with teachers and staff. Multiple opportunities for engagement Teachers and staff providing leadership in work groups for center and community projects and classroom activities Staff voices well represented in the organization s mission and vision statement Mentoring and coaching provided by experienced staff for new staff Regularly scheduled classroom and team meetings Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education Programs 5

9 INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 2.C) The program has a process for regularly soliciting and implementing input from all members of the program community to inform program-wide decisions. Program director and leaders ensure open communication with program members and demonstrate awareness of culturally appropriate ways of communicating. Teachers, staff, and parents are provided with opportunities throughout the year to participate in the decision-making process, whenever appropriate. Culturally competent communication incorporated throughout the decision-making process Decision-making procedures understood by all program members Program director ensuring that all voices are heard Active maintenance of an advisory council with parent, teacher, and community representation Advisory council helping oversee programmatic decisions, examining needs, and providing policy recommendations Program responsiveness to members input 6

10 Core Quality 3: Cultural Competence The ECE program respects and incorporates the Latino culture its values, history, experiences, and traditions in all of its aspects. It embraces its role as a cultural mediator and cultural institution that promotes the advancement of a vibrant multicultural community. The program engages in a continual process of discovery and learning regarding the cultures of the families, community, and staff. INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 3.A) The program honors the culture and history of the children and families and identifies shared common values to foster in the program environment. Program has an ongoing process to discover and learn about the culture of its community and diverse cultures. Assessment of values and goals of program s community Parent focus group to generate Latino family values Family stories and experiences incorporated in program Research by program on different cultures represented in the program and community Program maintains a positive climate based on an understanding of shared culture and language. Inclusive environment for children and families Respectful language in every interaction and cultural courtesies used when appropriate Process to mediate inconsistencies between a family s preferred systems and program requirements The curriculum, materials, and instructional methods intentionally reflect and honor all cultures, including the culture and language of the program s children and families. Curriculum informed by families stories and experiences Training and professional development on culturally responsive instruction and classroom management Daily life and values of Latino culture and diverse groups reflected in classroom materials (e.g., musical instruments from a variety of cultures, photographs of families at home and parents at work) Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education Programs 7

11 INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE Teachers enable children to function effectively within different cultures while maintaining and celebrating their own ethnic identity. Teachers consistently incorporating positive cultural practices Positive, inclusive social-emotional environment and messages Appropriate amount of support provided for children to become bicultural and effective members of various groups 3.C) All staff demonstrate both personal understanding and programmatic expression of present-day family life, Latino cultural traditions, and values of participating families. Program actively recruits staff who are culturally and linguistically competent in two or more languages, including those of the program population. Members critically examine their role in ensuring cultural continuity and understand how children s home culture is developed and embraced across communities. Program staff speaking the home language of the children Staff reflecting program population and/or an established process to ensure cultural continuity between home and the program Staff reflecting on their own biases, family culture, and others culture Discussions on culture and experiences of families (e.g., talking circles on positive and negative impacts of immigration, assimilation, and acculturation across generations) Relationships among program staff and parents strengthened as a result of conversations Program provides opportunities for children, families, and the community to engage in civic, social, and authentic cultural traditions. Cultural and social celebrations at program (e.g., performances, events, and exhibitions) Cultural and traditional practices acknowledged and respected Cultural events jointly planned by families and staff 8

12 Core Quality 4: Bilingualism and Biliteracy The ECE program adopts an educational program that supports the goal of all children and families becoming bilingual and biliterate, and it establishes standards and expectations for children in both languages. The program uses research-based practices to facilitate language acquisition in at least English and Spanish. The program supports opportunities for monolingual staff to become bilingual and biliterate. INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 4.A) The program s policy, goals, and services provide opportunities for children, parents, and staff to become bilingual and biliterate. The program s dual language policy guides instruction and is adhered to by teachers, staff, and parents. Children communicated with and instructed in both Spanish and English Daily schedule structured with designated times for a target language to be spoken by everyone in the classroom Teachers, staff, and parents are provided with opportunities to strengthen their primary language and acquire second-language skills. Teachers and staff literate in each target language and building second-language capacity Language courses provided or referred Professional development funds allocated to support staff to engage in immersion studies Trainings and professional development provided in primary language of teacher Parent education trainings and workshops offered in primary language of families Program supports the preservation of the home language spoken by the child and the family. Spanish and other home languages valued within the program Members encouraged to maintain communication in home language 4.B) Children are assessed in their first and second language to determine the level of support needed at home and at school. Program gathers data from multiple sources regarding a child s language skills in their primary and second languages. Multiple, appropriate, performance-based assessments used to collect data on children s skills in both English and Spanish Data obtained from multiple sources (e.g., observations of child interactions, parent questionnaire, records from previous ECE services) Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education Programs 9

13 INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 4.C) Teachers utilize researchbased strategies to develop children s literacy and content knowledge in each language. Program conducts staff and family meetings to formulate a dual language plan and identify strategies/resources to implement the plan. Teachers use appropriate strategies to develop oral language skills in both Spanish and English. Teachers promote children acquiring early literacy skills in their first language and facilitate the transfer into the second language. System for periodic data review of classrooms and program Teacher, team, and family meetings to discuss child data and plan of action for school and support at home Daily activities in English and Spanish based on evidence-based strategies for facilitating language acquisition Standard academic vocabulary taught explicitly in both Spanish and English Instruction in phonological awareness and phonics in both languages Early writing experiences provided in both languages Modeling of fluent reading in both Spanish and English Teachers individualize instruction based on each child s individual language ability and needs. Scaffolding utilized to make content comprehensible Lesson plans and instructional schedule providing differentiated instruction Record kept for each child s trajectory of development 10

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15 Core Quality 5: Sustained Meaningful Relationships The program promotes authentic, meaningful relationships, respectful open communication, and participation among families, children, and ECE staff. These relationships contribute to the lifelong success of families and children. INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 5.A) The program builds relationships with families, children, and the community based on care, dignity, and respect. Program ensures that initial and ongoing contact with families honors their cultural values and continually develops a trusting relationship with parents and families. Opportunities provided for families to engage and share cultural values Families language and cultural traditions contributed to classroom (i.e., native songs, stories) Families given opportunity to support traditions in cultural and civic events Program provides opportunities for children to develop caring and respectful relationships with their peers, parents, teachers, and other adults. Experiences provided for children to learn/ reinforce their own culturally appropriate behaviors (e.g., greetings, courtesies, problem solving, and social interactions with peers and adults) Children engaged in discussions and activities on how different cultures show respect, care, and healthy communication 5.B) The teachers and staff honor and incorporate the contributions and participation of parents and families in the program. Parents and teachers develop collaborative relationships to address family and children s contributions and needs. Parent-teacher collaborations to support child academic, cultural, and social competence Forum and space for parents to share contributions, wants, and needs (i.e., cultural events, discussions, meetings with program leaders) 12

16 Core Quality 6: Family Engagement and Community Collaboration The ECE program encourages family engagement and community collaboration, and it creates structures and resources to promote them. Parents and families are empowered to actively engage in their children s learning and development, their own learning, and the ECE program. INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 6.A) The program ensures ongoing two-way communication between parents and all staff in the language that parents understand. Program develops structure for culturally and linguistically appropriate, continuous two-way communication among all program staff and families. Professional development provided for staff on effective, culturally appropriate communication Strategies for two-way communication (e.g., bilingual staff and interpreters, bilingual oral, written, or electronic communication) Information continually exchanged (e.g., activities within the home and center, program and family expectations, ways to support children) Home visits and/or parent-teacher conferences 6.B) The program authentically utilizes family and community strengths and assets (including cultural, linguistic, and historic background and values) to support child learning and development. Program develops a structure to identify family strengths and assets, and it embeds these into the classroom activities, curriculum, and environment. Program acknowledges parents as the lifelong teachers of their children and collaborates with parents to formulate agreed-upon goals. Parent values identified (e.g., Latino Family Values Framework) Family strengths incorporated into curriculum and activities Staff acknowledgment of parents role in transmitting language, culture, and expectations for success Ongoing communication maintained between teachers and parents on established goals Program establishes a culture that facilitates family involvement and fosters family-to-family support networks. Parents and staff co-construct calendars that include events and cultural traditions Families involved in program (e.g., volunteering, planning activities/events, modeling home language and culture) Development of mutual assistance and social engagement networks Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education Programs 13

17 INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 6.C) 6.D) The program supports and builds on the family s role as advocates for their children and community. The program establishes and maintains partnerships with community organizations and core institutions that provide comprehensive services to children and families. Program develops a structure for parents to build on their advocacy skills and knowledge to effectively negotiate on behalf of their children and family s needs. Program provides information and transition strategies to parents of children leaving the program. Program has an ongoing relationship with program partners. Program respectfully collects information on family needs to link resources. Families are provided with access to comprehensive, culturally appropriate services addressing the full range of child and family needs through accessible community agencies. Families are provided with access to career and educational opportunities. Parents engaged in decision making and social justice issues Parent training program on how school system functions (e.g., Prekindergarten Padres Comprometidos) Arranged visits for parents and child to observe receiving program or school Discussions on transition (e.g., what to expect, questions to ask the new teacher, emotionally preparing your child, rights and responsibilities) Formal agreements with partners from local organizations, businesses, and social service agencies Records of collaboration (e.g., brochures, flyers, press releases) Culturally appropriate and respectful program assessment and data collection (e.g., conversational or storytelling approach used to gather information and prioritize needs) On-site or referral access to comprehensive bilingual services (e.g., social services, mental health, prenatal care, employment agencies, housing, health care) Referral follow-up with parents to determine if experience was favorable Community speakers hosted by program to present topics related to the program, child, or family goals Parents inspired and encouraged to explore opportunities for personal development Access to career and adult education opportunities (e.g., ESL classes; GED classes; citizenship, workforce development, computer technology, career, and vocational courses) 14

18 Core Quality 7: Continuous Performance-Based Assessment The ECE program uses culturally and linguistically appropriate assessments to measure the child s acquisition of knowledge and skills aligned with high expectations. Program members use data from continuous performance-based assessments to guide ongoing decision-making to improve the program. This reflective process assists program leaders in holding themselves accountable for child achievement and family, teacher, and program success. INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 7.A) The program uses multiple culturally and linguistically appropriate measures to assess each child s progress in all domains of development. 7.B) The program collects data on the capacities, strengths, and needs of families and the effectiveness of the program to address those areas. 7.C) The program analyzes its data to guide decisions related to resource allocation, funds development, and curriculum and program design. Assessments are aligned to state standards and/or federal child outcomes. Program uses multiple assessment measures that are appropriate for dual language children and monitors growth at appropriate intervals during the year. Program uses culturally appropriate strategies for collecting parent information and feedback. Program director reviews data with advisory board to formulate strategic plans. Teachers and educational staff continually review data to appropriately adjust the curriculum and instructional strategies in each language. System to track child outcomes or learning standards Appropriate assessments relevant to child s experience and considerate of language and age Capturing informal data on home and community circumstances Monitoring child progress in dual language development, early literacy and numeracy, and social competence Information obtained in a culturally competent manner via registration forms and family surveys Parent feedback and input continually captured on program services (e.g., focus groups, interviews, evaluations, parent meetings) Action plans developed by program members and continually updated and adapted as necessary Inclusion of data analysis in team and program meetings Curriculum and instruction aligned to action plan Plan of growth for teachers and mentoring based on data Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education Programs 14

19 INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 7.D) Program applies the results of program evaluations and individual child assessments in useful and transformative ways that improve program, teacher, child, and family outcomes. Program director and educational leadership review data to guide decision making on resource allocation and funding. Program intentionally links professional development to program standards, child outcomes, and family needs. Teachers and staff are self-reflective and continually receive feedback that develops competencies to perform roles adeptly and meet program standards. Program shares results with families on the effectiveness of the strategic plan. Resources and funding efforts that reflect classroom and children s needs and align to program action plan Professional development and family trainings aligned with program improvement plan and core qualities Professional development for teachers and staff on how to use data to inform instruction Ongoing reflective supervision of teachers and staff Self-assessments Results communicated to families via the parent advisory council 15

20 Core Quality 8: Relationships with Institutions of Higher Education The ECE program establishes relationships with institutions of higher education (IHEs) to foster a college-going culture, and it provides opportunities and support for staff to acquire competencies and meet the professional degree requirements of federal and state funders and accrediting institutions. Developing relationships with IHEs is necessary for children to enter school at or above proficiency levels and to inspire children to achieve higher levels of education. INDICATORS MEASURES EVIDENCE 8.A) The program has an established relationship with at least one institution of higher education to facilitate coursework for teachers and staff to meet professional certification, accreditation, and state/ federal requirements in order to promote a career-oriented and college-going culture for children. Program partners with an IHE to facilitate coursework for teachers and staff that prepares them to meet professional certification, accreditation, state/federal criteria, and/or a degree. Program advocates that IHEs be responsive to teacher, staff, and program needs. Program provides a structure for the IHE to engage in learning and research opportunities at the program to help inform services and develop coursework for teachers and staff. Appropriate ECE credit coursework offered (e.g., second language acquisition, culturally appropriate practices, antibias education, infant-toddler curriculum) General education and degree track courses Formal memorandum of understanding or memorandum of agreement with an IHE IHE coursework and services that are reflective of and responsive to the language and culture of the staff and the program population Tutoring, career/academic counseling, and assistance with the articulation process provided by the IHE Learning and mentoring opportunities for teachers and staff provided by the IHE Staff access to technology and computer literacy training provided by the IHE Collaboration between IHE faculty and program administrative staff IHE invited by the program to observe classrooms Feedback provided by the IHE based on early learning outcomes, research-based data, and effectiveness of programs Research conducted by the IHE at the program for the benefit of children or teacher instruction, and results shared IHE students completing practicum requirements at the program Core Qualities for Successful Early Childhood Education Programs 16

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