ECERS-R to ECERS-3

Beginning July 1, 2018, the 3rd edition of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-3) will be used for all assessment requests made by center-based programs with preschool-age classrooms (3-5 year olds). Assessment requests emailed to ers@iastate.edu by June 29, 2018 will continue to be given the choice of ECERS-R or ECERS-3, even if the actual assessment date is not scheduled until after July 1.

Please note, that if a program still wants the option of being assessed on the ECERS-R, the program must request the assessment prior to June 29th (the last working day of June). This means, a program’s QRS application will need to be submitted in a timely manner so the QRS application can be reviewed, DHS can inform CCR&R the program is ready for a level 5 assessment, and then inform the program to request an assessment. Assessors will not schedule assessments until they have received notification from DHS the program is ready for a level 5 assessment.

If you have questions about the transition of ECERS-R to ECERS-3, you can contact me directly at mswagner@iastate.edu or email ers@iastate.edu.

 

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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Holiday Celebrations and Thoughtful Planning

It is that time of year; there are a number of holiday celebrations, whether it be Thanksgiving, Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, Las Posadas, Winter Solstice, Chinese New Year, or various other New Year celebrations.

As you work with early childhood programs, you may encounter numerous cultural celebrations, books, or materials used within the program. Maybe the program has a child currently enrolled that celebrates a certain holiday, or maybe the program is using the materials to introduce various cultural celebrations around the world. Some of these holidays may be very familiar to you, and others, may not (you may have already googled one or two listed above that are unfamiliar to you). Introducing various celebrations from around the world is a way to show and model appreciation of other cultures and people. Not only can we all learn something about different cultures, but hopefully, the children (and all of us) become more culturally sensitive; meaning we become more aware of the existence of differences and similarities between people without placing value (right/ wrong, positive/ negative, good/ bad).

The Environment Rating Scales encourage multicultural celebrations, books, and materials. In fact, the authors devoted an entire item related to diversity in each scale (ECERS, FCCERS, ITERS, and SACERS)! So, why do we sometimes hear programs say “the Environment Rating Scales are biased”?

For example, I often come across a religious story about a boy who uses a slingshot with a stone to hit a giant. The ECERS book item addresses appropriateness of books for children. Any books depicting violence or glorifying violence in any way are deemed as inappropriate for young children who are not yet able to decipher between fact and fiction. A young child may see a violent image or hear the violence in a story and become concerned for their safety; whereas older school-age children have the ability to understand there is no inherent danger from a picture book. After providing programs feedback about this religious story, I would often receive a response along the lines of “ECERS is biased. It doesn’t take into account our religious studies.”

The thing is, through a young child’s eyes, from a young child’s mind, that story is perceived the same; whether read from a religious book, a nursery rhyme, or a regular picture book. So, as you work with programs during all these holiday celebrations or with integrating multi-cultural activities, help them think about what the child is experiencing. What is the goal of the activity? What will the child achieve? What is appropriate for the child’s stage of development?

As a consultant or instructor, how do you handle the provider or participant that says ERS is biased? Or the provider that does not seem willing to compromise their beliefs for appropriateness of materials for young children? On the other hand, what about the teacher that has a parent complaint because they do not celebrate certain holidays at home and do not want their child to celebrate in care?

How do you work with programs to be more culturally sensitive? Let’s chat. I’d love to hear how you use any I-Consult strategies that helpful in these type of situations.

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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Answering All of Your Environment Rating Scale Questions

Well, probably not all of them…

As we begin a new year of trainings, it seems like the perfect time to review some of the more general guidelines regarding the Environment Rating Scale Trainings and Assessments. Below are questions we receive most often.

When will the ITERS-3 be out? Is there a FCCERS-3?

The ITERS-3 (Infant/ Toddler Environment Rating Scale, 3rd edition) is currently available to purchase. It was published July 2017. Right now there is not a FCCERS-3, but we assume the authors are working on this next.

When will ITERS-3 assessments begin? 

The process for implementing ITERS-3 will be similar to ECERS-3. The ERS Assessors and ERS Training Coordinator will be trained to reliability by the Environment Rating Scale Institute, curriculum will be developed, ERS Instructors and CCR&R consultants will be trained, and then ITERS-3 trainings will be offered to providers. After ITERS-3 trainings have been offered for a certain amount of time, we will start offering programs the choice of ITERS-R or ITERS-3. This is a fairly lengthy process. The goal is to offer ITERS-3 trainings in fiscal year 19. Be looking for more information on ITERS-3 later this year.

Is there an All About ECERS-3?

The authors and their team are currently working on the development of the All About ECERS-3. The authors create the All About books based on information and questions received from the field using the tool.

If a program chooses to be assessed on the ECERS-3, what scale should 2 year old rooms use? 

Programs may now choose to use the ECERS-3 for assessments. If a program chooses to be assessed on the ECERS-3, 2 year old rooms will be assessed on the ITERS-R. If programs are still using the ECERS-R, the majority rule applies for 2 year old rooms. If the majority of children are older than 30 months, ECERS-R will be used. If the majority of children in the 2 year old room are younger than 30 months, the ITERS-R will be used.

How can a program prepare for an assessment? 

  • Take an ERS class. If it has been a number of years since taking an ERS class, we encourage providers to retake the class; especially if the scale has been revised.
  • Work with a CCR&R consultant
  • Work jointly with a colleague and/or consultant for accurate self-assessment of interactions and language.
  • Create an improvement plan.
  • Review the “Ready, Set, Go” brochure and video:

How many assessments are completed in a center-based program? How do programs know which rooms will be assessed?

For center-based programs (Child Care Centers, public preschools, Head Start, etc.) at least 1/3 of the total classrooms or groups of children (i.e. sessions, classes) must be observed and at least one group per scale (ITERS, ECERS, SACERS) as applicable to the program.  For example, a child care center with 10 rooms, infants through school-age, will have 4 assessments: one ITERS room , one ECERS room, and one SACERS room. The fourth assessment will be selected from the remaining classrooms. If the program is preschool only, with 5 sessions, at least two of those sessions will be chosen. This means, a teacher may be observed twice if they have multiple sessions (i.e. a Monday-Wednesday afternoon group and a Tuesday-Thursday  morning group).

All classrooms or groups are selected at random on the day of the observation. If the program operates different days and times, the assessor will randomly select the class to observe ahead of time. The program will only be informed of the date and time of the assessor’s arrival, and not the actual class.

How long is the wait for an assessment?

Assessors strive to have all assessments scheduled within 90 days of the request. Depending on the time of the year, an assessor might be able to schedule a program with one week. During the busiest times of the year, programs may have to wait 1-2 months. Assessors are typically busiest April through May and October through November.

How long does it take to receive the assessment feedback reports?

Feedback reports must be sent to programs within 30 days; however assessors strive to have all feedback reports to programs within 2-3 weeks. Every assessment report goes through a review process to ensure feedback is accurate and thorough.

What ERS classes will be offered online for fiscal year 18?

  • FCCERS-R in October
  • ITERS-R in November
  • SACERS in January
  • ECERS-3 in February
  • The fifth online ERS class will be offered in April. The scale chosen will be based upon greatest need.

Phew! You made it through and you may still have questions. As always, please, do not hesitate to ask!

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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ECERS-3 Announcement!

As some of you may have heard already, programs may request an ECERS-3 beginning July 1, 2017. Programs will have a choice between an ECERS-3 or ECERS-R assessment starting July 1, 2017 until the new QRS rolls out (at least 6 months). Once the new QRS begins, all programs with children ages 3-5 years will receive an assessment on the ECERS-3.

ECERS-3 self-assessment forms and program improvement forms will not be available on the QRS web site, yet. We are working on making these two forms into one form, eliminating the duplication between forms. Once the new form is finalized, it will be located on the QRS forms web page (approximately June). If you have a program wanting to continue working on their self-assessment form or program improvement form after completing the ECERS-3 class or in preparation for an ECERS-3 assessment, we will have the two form version available to those who ask. All ERS instructors have access to the ECERS-3 self-assessment and program improvement forms (CyBox) and can send you a copy, as needed.

Lastly, we often have programs debating on whether to go through an assessment or not, unsure if they will “pass”. We want the assessment process to be a learning experience for programs. A way for programs to receive some helpful, outside feedback, and continually grow and improve in ways that will benefit the program, teachers, and children as well as the families and community. A program will have a better experience if they approach an assessment as a learning experience, rather than as a test or pass/ fail. How do you approach programs that are debating on whether or not to have an assessment? Do you have any words of wisdom or encouragement you often use?

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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FCCERS-R Online in November!

Do you have a family child care provider looking for a FCCERS-R class but not wanting to travel or find someone to watch their children in the evenings. There is a FCCERS-R Online course is being offered November 15, 22, 29, and December 6th from 7:00-9:00 p.m.!

fccers_r_cover

Here is some of the feedback we are receiving about the online ERS courses:

“Very good information, glad I participated in this class to improve myself and my child care environment.”

“Thank you! The online set up was very much appreciated!”

“It’s almost like one-on-one learning. I like being able to ask questions as you go along.”

“It was nice to sit at home and not go anywhere.”

“I was great not having to travel! All of the instructors were very helpful and responsive, very high marks on customer service.”

 

Below are a few reminders about the online ERS courses offered by Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Online courses are similar to face-to-face courses:

  • 8-hours
  • Out-of-class activities
  • Introduction to the Environment Rating Scales, scoring and practice using the tool

Participants must participate in polls and chat, submit the out-of-class activities, and attend all four sessions to receive the final certificate of completion.

Participants for an online course will have:

  • some basics understanding of technology
  • experience uploading and downloading documents
  • familiar with Microsoft WORD, and Adobe PDF
  • positive attitude about online course and a willingness to try new things

Computer Requirements:

  • Good internet connection for live session- hardwiring is recommended
  • Mobile devices, like phones or tablets are NOT recommended
  • Internet Explorer 6 or Firefox web browser
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader
    • Must have in order to correctly fill out and submit out-of-class activities
  • Flash Player installed and can view videos

 

Providers can sign up for the online course on the Iowa Child Care Provider Training Registry.

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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Resource: Tips for Tots!

stock-photo-helpful-tips-on-blue-busines-1088609A colleague recently shared these great tip sheets with me from the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership, a program of Advanced Behavioral Health. Many of these tip sheets would be very beneficial when working with programs and making improvement goals. Each tip sheet has a “did you know” section giving the “why” behind and concept and is followed up with a strategies section full of ideas on how to implement a concept into the classroom, for example a quiet space or smooth transitions.

Check out Tips for Tots!

Do you have any resources you often use with programs? If so, share them in the comments or send them my way and I’ll share them through the ERS blog.

 

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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What About 3-D Art?

REMINDER: Please do not share the following blog post or URL. This is a private blog with the intentions for you to share experiences and to receive further clarification and information related to the Environment Rating Scales.

The Environment Rating Scales mention three dimensional art in two items throughout the scales: display and art. Within theses items, the scales look for materials to encourage 3-D art creations and for 3-D art to be displayed in the classroom.

Three dimensional art has height, width, and depth. This type of artwork can be looked at from many different sides and angles. Three dimensional art gives children the opportunity to experiment with shapes and space and create art similar to how they see the world. “Children express and represent what they observe, think, imagine, and feel through three-dimensional art” (HighScope).

It’s more than pasting something on a piece of paper or painting a pre-made figurine. Materials for 3-D art encourage children to build up, and out. Examples include: clay, playdough, paper towel tubes, Styrofoam pieces, straws, craft sticks, and egg crates. Check out some examples of three dimensional art created by children.

3D_straws_bing 3D shells_bing 3D pipecleaners_bing 3D pipecleaners and foam_bing 3D clay and sticks_bing

 

 

 

 

 

Children often spend lots of time and put great effort into their 3D creations. How can their creations be displayed and prevent them from being damaged? Some programs may have a shelf or counter set aside just for this purpose. Other programs, the teacher may need to tap into her imagination and resources. It’s not like we can laminate 3-dimentions pieces and place them on the wall or back of shelves. Besides the top of shelves or countertops, some programs have used windowsills or ledges. If possible, some projects could be hung from the ceiling. One program was really creative and attached fruit baskets to the wall so children could display their clay creatures. What are some other ways you have seen programs display three dimensional art creations?

3D_display_lab school

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Arts. (n.d.). Retrieved May 26, 2016, from http://www.highscope.org/Content.asp?ContentId=295

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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Can Providers Use Pack-n-Plays/ Play Yards for Nap?

If you look at the additional notes for the safety practices item in the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale-Revised (FCCERS-R), it lists as an example of a safety hazard “a mesh playpen with collapsible sides” (p. 30)*. So, what are they referring to here? Does this include ALL pack-n-plays or play yards?

play yard_bing_share and useCaring For Our Children states all cribs should meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. For non-full size cirbs/ play yards this standard is F406-10b. Collapsible cribs are only a safety hazard if the sides no long lock securely, if the model does not meet ASTM standards, or if the crib is no longer in good condition (holes in the mesh sides, missing parts, etc.). It is also important to note, these cribs/ play yards should only be used for their intended purpose and with the original fitted mattress.

In 2013, Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ruled for more strict and thorough testing of play yards. Play yards made after February 28, 2013 are held to a much stronger standard. A safety approved crib/ play yard is one that has been certified by ASTM, CPSC, and/or Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association (JPMA). If looking for a crib, JPMA is a common certification you will see. JPMA is based on ASTM standards but also includes federal and state requirements as well as requirements from retailers; thus adhering to the highest level of product testing. It is important for providers to keep the manufacturers information (make, model, and certifications) for each crib in their early childhood program.

Check out these great one page CPSC handouts describing the updated requirements of play yards and crib safety as well as Safe Sleep for Babies.

 

*Harms, T., Cryer, D. & Clifford, R. (2007). Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale, Revised Edition. New York, NY: Teacher’s College Press.

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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Iowa ITERS in Photos Contest

camera_bing image_share and useIowa State University Extension and Outreach Human Sciences is hosting a photo contest for infant/ toddler classrooms!!  Between now and March 30 photos are being accepted that reflect best practices on the Infant/ Toddler Environment Rating Scale- Revised (ITERS-R).  Judging will take place the week of April 11th and winners will be notified by April 30th!

For more details, check out the Photo Contest Flier! Please share the flier with programs you think reflect high quality practices on the ITERS-R.

 

 

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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What if Nap Time is Not Observed?

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive is “How is nap scored if the assessor does not observe it?” Because we typically observe from 8:30-11:30, we often must find alternative ways to assess nap practices.

Sometimes an assessor will be able to observe some of the indicators of nap/rest even if it is not nap time. For example, assessors may be able to see how cots/ mats and bedding are stored for or are able to observe cot placement if they are arranged before lunch. In these cases, the observer will take note of this information and score accordingly.  The cribs are typically already arranged in an infant room, thus the distance between each crib can be measured.

In instances when nap cannot be observed, the assessor will need to use the interview time to obtain information about the program’s nap practices. Some of the questions an assessor may ask include the following:

  • Can you describe how nap is handled?
  • How are the cots arranged for nap time?
  • How is supervision handled at this time?
  • How often is bedding washed?
  • What do you do if a children are tired before naptime, have trouble settling down, or wake up early?

In some instances, it may be possible to see the cot arrangement at the end of the interview. Other times the assessor may ask the teacher to show or describe the placement of cots.

 

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner

Melissa Wagner is an Early Childhood Coordinator with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach. Melissa has over 10 years of experience with the Environment Rating Scales as an assessor for research projects and Iowa's Quality Rating System and now as the ERS Training project coordinator. Melissa loves hearing success stories about providers who have made great strides to improve the quality of care within their program. In her free time she enjoys spending time with family, traveling, camping, and house projects.

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