Happy New Year!! I can’t think of a better way to kick off 2017 than with the launch of “Let’s Talk Quality! Program Quality Assessment in PA!” We are so excited to welcome you to the Program Quality Assessment team’s very first blog post! This is the team’s newest venture and one that we have been working hard to get up and running. We look forward to sharing exciting news and information about what’s happening across our great state with early childhood providers like you! In developing this blog over the past several months we asked ourselves, “What should it look like? What do providers want to know? What information do we want to share with providers? and, how can we make this fun?” Here’s what we came up with…
What can you expect to see?
This is a blog for all things related to quality practices in early childhood and school age programming, whether it is in a Head Start or Pre-K Counts classroom, family child care or group home. It will include information related to Environment Rating Scale® (ERS®) assessment, but it will not be limited to only ERS topics. In addition to supporting you in the ERS assessment process as it relates to all of Pennsylvania’s quality initiatives, the blog will also include information on best practices in the field of early childhood education and developmentally appropriate ideas to use in your early childhood classroom. We hope to provide you with information that is useful and relevant to your program, as well as provide opportunities for you to ask questions and share ideas with other providers across the state. Weekly blog posts will range in content from providing information about a specific item or indicator in the environment rating scales, updates to policies or PA Position Statements, to inspirational quotes, book reviews, or recipes. We will also be providing links to other early childhood blogs, websites, and resources that we hope you find helpful. Most of the blog posts will be written by assessors on the team, but we hope to feature posts that are written by “guest bloggers” and other early childhood professionals who may provide a different perspective into quality practices.
How can you be involved?
We want to hear from you! There has been such a divide between teachers, directors and the assessment team, since we can’t really interact with you when we’re on assessment visits. This is our attempt at bridging that divide and it’s an opportunity for you to pick our brains. Our goal is to make this meaningful to you, so we need to know what you want to hear about and what’s on your mind. Is there a specific issue that is plaguing your facility and you’re dying to get more information, are there really awesome things happening at your center that you want to share with the world (or PA)? Here’s the place to let us know. In the future we hope to eventually include posts from specific child care providers that may include interviews with teachers or directors, ideas you’d like to share, or photos that provide vision or inspiration. So, don’t be surprised if an assessor approaches you to share some of your thoughts and ideas for the blog or if she asks permission to take a photo at your program.
The blog is a place for information sharing and gathering, celebrating successes, and positivity. We ask that you refrain from asking specific questions about assessments that have occurred at your program here. If you have site-specific questions, we ask that you speak with your Keystone STARS Specialist or Preschool Program Specialist first. If they aren’t able to answer your questions, they will get in touch with the assessor who visited your program, who can provide more insight into what was observed.
So, once again, the entire team welcomes you and wishes you the best for a safe, healthy, happy new year. Thanks for joining us and we look forward to hearing from you in 2017!