Using This Document
The Quality Standards sets a common framework for regulating authorities, agencies, organizations, early care and education providers, and families. The Quality Standards is designed to serve as a guide as well as an indication of quality for all early childhood providers. The standards define what programs and individuals working with young children should know and be able to do. The standards are applicable to all services and providers, regardless of setting, as a means of fostering programs that incorporate education, child care, health, nutrition, social services, parent education, and family support. They are comprehensive, based on the premise that all environments for young children are educational and provide opportunities for learning experiences.
Using the Quality Standards will:
- Ease the transition between services for children and their families,
- Ensure that services are developmentally and individually appropriate,
- Encourage community-based responsibility and collaboration,
- Support familie's strengths, needs and diversity, and
- Lead to school readiness and successful lifelong learning.
The Quality Standards are organized around nine areas:
- Family involvement
- Program administration
- Learning experiences
- Physical setting and safety
- Health and nutrition
- Child assessment
- Program evaluation
Each of the nine areas includes a guiding principle, followed by specific outcomes and indicators. A self-assessment format based on the nine areas has been included in the Appendix. The self-assessment section may be used by programs and/or individuals to identify areas in need of attention or to confirm existing quality practices. Some indicators may not be applicable to every program, and some may need to be adapted to meet the uniqueness of an individual program. Local indicators may also be developed to supplement the Quality Standards. The self-assessment format can be used as an action plan for improvement. It is strongly encouraged that parents and community members be part of the self-assessment and implementation process.
The Appendix includes a glossary, sections on implementing the standards in family child care and early primary settings, an explanation of how to use the self-assessment, the self-assessment tool, a bibliography, and a list of written and online resources.