High Quality in Early Childhood

High quality early childhood experiences matter.

Early Childhood Quality

Research shows that quality child care, early childhood experiences, and early learning programs have positive impacts on children’s development thus resulting in more success in school and in life.

Areas of quality:

Health and Safety

Quality child care, early childhood experiences, and early learning programs can be achieved with consistent, basic health and safety practices in place.

Education and Qualifications

Effective early childhood professionals have a strong background in education and child development, building specialized early childhood competencies.

Curriculum and Assessment

Early childhood educators impact the development of children by:

  • Implementing an-age appropriate curriculum that supports all domains of learning through activity based centers, play, and hands-on learning and exploration.
  • Implementing an ongoing assessment that is connected to developmental goals of the curriculum.

Resources:

Curriculum to support social-emotional development

Resources to support social-emotional development

Curriculum to support nutrition

Environment

Learning environments should stimulate children’s cognitive development, with classrooms divided into smaller activity-based centers. Quality environments include many and varied play materials and activities available to the children throughout the day.

Environmental Rating Scales for:

  • Family Child Care
  • Preschool
  • Infant/toddler
  • School Age

Interactions

Effective early childhood professionals have the warmth and sensitivity to engage children, fostering self-confidence and positive interactions, and encouraging questions and curiosity. FCPS uses the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) as a professional learning tool to improve how teachers interact with children every day to cultivate supportive, structured, and engaging classroom experiences.

Infant and Toddlers:

Interactions between caregivers/early childhood professionals and infants and toddlers matter in a big way. These interactions lay the foundation for all development, making a focus on strengthening connections critical for improving child outcomes.

The CLASS for Infants (birth to 18 months)

Includes a focus on how early childhood professionals:

  • Provide infants with a secure base for exploration
  • Respond to their needs in sensitive ways
  • Encourage early language development

The CLASS for Toddlers (15 to 36 months)

Includes a focus on how early childhood professionals:

  • Help children establish autonomy
  • Support children as they make connections between things they learn
  • Guide children as they learn to regulate their behavior

Pre-K:

Preschooler’s sense of themselves and the world around them is dependent on relationships. The quality of interactions they receive from early childhood professionals has a lasting impact on their success in school and in life.

The CLASS for Pre-K (3 to 5 years)

Includes a focus on how early childhood professionals:

  • Foster a secure, supportive base for children’s learning and exploration
  • Help children develop language and cognitive skills
  • Construct environments and experiences that help children develop their abilities