Rating (where educators have reached their fullest potential). The

Rating Observation Scale for
Inspiring Environments (ROSIE)
            ROSIE helps to evaluate the environment using
three stages, sprouting (beginning to understand the basic principles of making
an environment attractive), budding (becoming aware and skilled as the
environment continues to grow), and blooming (where educators have reached
their fullest potential). The assessment believes nature inspires beauty,
colour generates interest, furnishings define space, texture adds depth,
displays enhance environment, elements heighten ambiance, and focal points
attract attention. The goal of ROSIE is to reach the next stage of growth and
support quality child care environments. ROSIE encourages teachers to examine
their classroom through an observation scale, evaluating the environment of
young children, as well as, inspire teachers to create their classrooms to be
aesthetically beautiful. ROSIE provides examples of textures, naturalistic
colours, displays, furnishings, and lighting that may be integrated into
classrooms of all ages to create a variety of stimulating and unique
environments. These environments are aimed at inspiring and promoting learning
in young children. The quality of the physical environment strongly correlates
to the quality of the learning taken place in an Early Childhood Education
(ECE) facility (UNICEF, 2012). The physical environment consists of the
environment both inside and outside an ECE facility. Key characteristics of physical
environment of an education setting are location, accessibility, safety,
flexibility, scale, and visibility (UNICEF, 2012). The role of the physical
environment is to support the activities and needs of the users. Buildings
should enable the teachers and caregivers to carry out their work with as
little stress placed on them by the environment as possible. Therefore, a
quality early physical learning environment is: a physical space that supports
multiple and diverse teaching and learning programs and pedagogies, including
current technologies; one that respects and is in harmony with the environment;
and one that encourages social participation, providing a healthy, comfortable,
safe, secure and stimulating setting for its occupants (UNICEF, 2012). Ontario’s
pedagogy for the early years describes the environment as the third teacher.
Therefore, in using this scale with How
Does Learning Happen? the environment is able to communicate and contribute
to shaping the actions of children that can be taken within it.

When compared to other child care quality
assurance programs, it is evident that ROSIE focuses solely on the environment.
The Childcare
Resource and Research Unit (n.d.) states that high quality early learning and
child care programs are systems made up of a series of linked elements. These
elements include infrastructure, curriculum, governance, physical environment, planning
and policy development, and data research and evaluation.  Despite this, ROSIE addresses aesthetic concepts of the environment that most
quality rating scales do not, such as colour, texture, lighting, displays and
the use of space. In order to ensure early learning child care facilities are
reaching the highest qualities, ROSIE may be useful if incorporated with key
aspects of other quality assurance programs however, it is not sufficient on its
own.

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Early
Childhood Environmental Rating Scale Revised (ECERS-R)
            ECERS-R is the revised edition of
the original ECERS. It is currently being used in several major studies,
including the Early Head Start Study, and Welfare, Children and Families: A
Three City Study. The preliminary results in all these studies show that the
ECERS and the ECERS-R are performing very well.
ECERS-R
is derived from an ecological perspective that states that the child and the
child’s context mutually influence each other in a bi-directional method;
therefore they cannot be studied in isolation. It is believed that the physical
environment is composed of two aspects; behavior setting and standing patterns.
ECERS-R is designed to measure quality of preschool environments for research
and program improvement. The assessment consists of a seven point scale ranging
from inadequate to excellent. The assessment focuses on children ages two and a
half to five years, and consists of two to three hours of direct observations
of environment, including a 20 minute interview with teaching staff regarding
curriculum, special needs and any other topics observers may see fit. ECE
curriculum is the foundation on which pedagogy is developed, and accomplishes
multiple functions. It clarifies the development and education objectives;
provides organized and commonly agreed answers to children needs; supports the
work of educators; and secures a minimum level of quality for various ECE
services. ECE Curriculum is also a key determinant of quality of ECE services
(UNICEF, 2012). ECERS-R consists of seven subscales; space and furnishings,
personal care routines, language-reasoning stimulation, activities, social
interactions, program structure, and parents and staff. Parent involvement is
linked to children’s school readiness. Research shows that greater parent involvement
in children’s learning positively affects the child’s school performance,
including higher academic achievement (UNICEF, 2012). There is no universal
agreement on what parental involvement is, as the concept of participation
varies widely by context. However there are two broad strands; parents’
involvement in the life of the school, and their involvement in support of the
individual child at home and at school (UNICEF, 2012). ECERS-R places
significant emphasis on important and emerging issues in early childhood
childcare such as the inclusion of children with disabilities, family concerns,
and cultural diversity.

            Measures of child-care quality can be
categorized as either structural or process indicators. Structural characteristics
include the child to staff ratio, the group size, and the education and
specialized training of teachers. The features of structural quality can be
regulated, and most provinces set minimum standards for at least some aspects
of structural quality. Studies that assess structural quality are most useful
in evaluating the impact of features that can be regulated.  Although understanding the links between
structural indicators of quality and children’s development is important, we
also need to understand the mechanisms by which structural quality affects
children’s development, which requires examining what actually happens in the
early-care setting. How do adults and children interact? What materials are
available for the children, and how do adults support children’s use of those
materials? Process quality refers to the nature of the care that children
experience—the warmth, sensitivity, and responsiveness of the caregivers; the
emotional tone of the setting; the activities available to children; the
developmental appropriateness of activities; and the learning opportunities
available to children. Unlike the features of structural quality, process
quality is not subject to provincial or local regulations, and is more
difficult to measure. ECERS-R assesses multiple aspects of process quality.
Such multidimensional process measures tell us much more about the quality of
care that children receive than do structural measures alone. Among studies
published in the past 15 years, those that employed an ecological model
consistently found that higher process quality is related to greater language
and cognitive competence, fewer behavior problems, and more social skills,
particularly when multidimensional measures of quality, such as ECERS-R, are
used.

Early Learning and Care Assessment
for Quality Improvement (ELCAQI)
            The ELCAQI was developed by the
city of Toronto and serves as a self-evaluation and planning tool for child
care operators and educators. ELCAQI is based on research in the area of early
learning that indicates there are six key elements essential for high-quality
child care programs. These include; sound management, training, group size,
family involvement, health and safety, and program content and development. This
assessment measure uses the program, environment and interactions
collaboratively to advance quality in child care. Six unique assessments
including infant, toddler, preschool, before and after school, nutrition, and
playground assessments, are available for evaluating the early learning of
children. Each assessment includes a five-point scale ranging from does not
meet expectations to, exceeds expectations. According to UNICEF (2012), researchers
and practitioners have wide-varying perspectives on the most appropriate
pedagogical processes for child development. Some experts promote the developmentally appropriate practices,
and others promote academic approaches
with direct instruction and a strong focus on basic language and
cognitive skills, relating to initial reading, writing and math, but not
necessarily direct instruction. ECE researchers underline that essential to
pedagogical approaches should include: a positive socio-emotional climate:
emotionally safe and stable relationships, with sensitive-responsive, teachers
and practice aimed at emerging learning skills through authentic activities in
which teachers participate.

            In comparison to other quality assurance programs, the ELCAQI
developed by the City of Toronto proves to be a strong tool. The ELCAQI
addresses several elements of a child care environment, creating a
multidimensional assessment. When compared to ECERS, another multidimensional
quality assurance program, ELCAQI appears to be advantageous as it may be
applied across a broad spectrum of ages.

Kei Tua o te Pae
            Kei Tua o te Pae/Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars is a
best practice guide that will help teachers continue to improve the quality of
their teaching. The Ministry of Education is currently
supporting the implementation of the early childhood assessment
exemplars, Kei Tua o te Pae. The exemplars are a series of books that will help
teachers to understand and strengthen children’s learning. It also shows how
children, parents and wh?nau (extended family) can contribute to this assessment
and ongoing learning.  This best practice
assessment is widely used in New Zealand early childhood centres. The framework
for the development of the exemplars emerged from the philosophy of Te Wh?riki. The philosophy
sets out four broad principles, a set of strands, and goals for each strand
(MyECE, 2017). The principles include empowerment, holistic development, family
and community, and relationships. The four principles of Te Wh?riki are also
principles for assessment. The exemplars strongly reflect the principles of Te
Wh?riki and socio-cultural approaches to learning and teaching. The core
framework of noticing, recognizing and responding is at the heart of effective
assessment and quality teaching practice. Research and evaluation of Kei Tua o
te Pae has found that the professional development had a positive impact on
assessment practices over the timed period of the professional development and
beyond. There is evidence from the evaluation that the assessment had
strengthened sociocultural practices in early childhood services and
significant steps were taken in building an assessment community of practice
inclusive educators, children and parents. Educators had established processes
for linking assessment to curriculum planning, and there was extensive
collaboration between educators in the noticing, recognizing and responding
aspects of formative assessment practice.

            Kei
Tua o te Pae is a quality assurance program that may be comparable to ECERS-R
and ELCAQI. It is a multidimensional program consisted of 20 individual books ranging
from inclusion, to academics, to community and culture. Similar to ELCAQI, Kei
Tua o te Pae provides guidelines for a range of ages, specifically birth
through six, and provides additional details regarding infants and toddlers. Additionally,
Kei Tua o te Pae is unique from the previously mentioned programs as it does
not provide a checklist but rather guidelines and recommendations with examples
for educators to follow in order to ensure the highest quality care. When
considering How Does Learning Happen? in correlation with Kei Tua o te Pae, the
assessment directly covers two of the four principles of How Does Learning
Happen?; belonging and well-being. The assessment also focuses on
communication, exploration, and contribution which are all in line with the
remaining principles of engagement and expression.

Early
Learning Programs

            When considering the above quality assurance
programs, many are applicable, and the procedures are typically transferable to
early learning problems. As previously mentioned, ROSIE focuses on developing
an inspiring environment for young children. Therefore, ROSIE may be applied to
early learning programs in order to ensure that the environment is
aesthetically appealing and optimal for learning and growth.

            ECERS-R is a quality assurance
program that may also be applied to early learning programs. Because ECERS-R
focuses on a variety of items it is easy to apply to many early learning
scenarios and environments, including early learning programs. Space and
furnishings, activities, and interaction are several subscales of ECERS-R that
directly relate to early learning programs.

            As stated by The City of Toronto (2017),
the ELCAQI prescribes clear expectations, service standards and guidelines for
early learning programs in addition to child care facilities. As previously
mentioned, the assessment includes specific subsections for infants, toddlers,
preschool, and school age programs, therefore ensuring that it is also
applicable for the early learning programs.

            Unlike other quality assurance
programs, Kei Tua o te Pae
consists of guidelines, exemplars and possible contributions to promote ongoing
learning, rather than a checklist. This unique method ensures that the program
may be used across a variety of child care and early learning experiences. The
broad subcategories also provide opportunities for the assessment guidelines to
be applied in various ways including early learning programs.

Child Care
and Early Learning Comparison

            These scales are designed to assess
process quality in an early childhood or school age care group. Many of the
assessments are designed in ways that allows application across a variety of
settings. As a result, it is typical for child care facilities and early
learning programs to see overlap between quality assurance programs. Both child
care facilities and early learning programs provide opportunities for children
from birth to 6 years of age to participate in play and inquiry-based programs
and support parents and caregivers in their roles (EARLTY ON YEAR). Child Care
and Early learning centres in Ontario aim to offer safe and welcoming
environments open to families, with qualified professionals and qualified
programs. These parallel aspirations ensure that many early childhood quality
assurance programs are transferable between child care facilities and early
learning programs (Table 1). 

How Does
Learning Happen

Summary
            How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s
Pedagogy for the Early Years, 2014 demonstrates the Ministry of Education’s
vision for early years and demonstrates the commitment to strengthen the
quality of early years programs by ensuring the programs are centred on the
child and family. The term pedagogy refers to the process of understanding and
supporting learning. Pedagogical approaches that support quality programs are
those that: build positive and responsive relationships; focus on children’s
social, emotional, physical, creative, and cognitive development in a holistic
way; provide environments in which children learn through exploration, play,
and inquiry; encourage self-reflection, discussion, and ongoing collaboration
and learning among educators; engage with families, and value their strengths,
contributions, and unique perspectives; and use pedagogical documentation to
study, interpret, make visible, and help inform children’s learning and
development.

Key elements of How Does Learning Happen? include
goals for children, expectations for programs and questions to encourage
reflection among educators and administrators. How Does Learning Happen? Is
organized around four foundational conditions that are important for children
to grow and flourish: belonging, well-being, engagement, and expression. These
foundations are a vision for all children’s future potential and a view of what
they should experience every day. These four foundations apply regardless of
age, ability, culture, language, geography, or setting. In early years settings, it
supports pedagogy and program development that is shaped by views about
children, the role of educators and families, and the relationships among them.
It builds on foundational knowledge of children and is grounded in new research
and leading-edge practice from around the world.

How Does
Learning Happen? is not a checklist of tasks to complete or a template for a
“one-size-fits-all” approach, and it is not a rating scale for measuring
quality. Rather, How Does Learning
Happen? describes effective practices and emphasizes positive relationships
as critical for quality early years programs. It is meant to promote deeper
reflection on how to create places and experiences where children, families,
and educators explore, question, and learn together.

Quality Assurance Document
            In order to ensure How Does Learning Happen? is applied to all children it is
necessary that a quality assurance program incorporates infants, toddlers,
preschoolers and before and after programs. Ensuring this allows the assessment
to be applied to both child care facilities and early learning programs. The
four foundations: belonging, healthy development, engagement, and expression
are the key to how does learning happen and therefore are necessary for every
age and aspect of early learning. How
Does Learning Happen? provides clear goals for children and program
expectations for each of the foundations. These may be useful when developing a
quality assurance document as they include ways in which children may
demonstrate the foundation, ways in which programs can create a sense of the
foundation, and additional considerations for educators.

It is typical of quality assurance programs
to consist of subscales, and five to seven point rating scales. In order to
ensure that the quality assurance document for How Does Learning Happen? remains thorough yet simple for educators
to carry out, a five point rating scale ranging from does not meet expectations
to meets expectations, has been used. The document consists of four categories;
belonging, well-being, engagement, and expression. These categories reference
the four major principles of How Does
Learning Happen? The categories are further divided into subcategories
derived directly from the goals and expectations of How Does Learning Happen?

How
Does Learning Happen Comparison

            When comparing How Does
Learning Happen? with quality assurance programs in child care and early
learning programs, it is evident that the common goal is the needs of the
child.  How Does Learning Happen? consists of subcategories based on
principles of foundations for learning while child care and early learning
programs base subcategories on ministry guidelines and provincial standards
such as the child care early years act.