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Looking at the Quality of Early Childhood Programs

by Lilian G. Katz, PhD
March/April 1992
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Article Link: http://www.childcareexchange.com/article/looking-at-the-quality-of-early-childhood-programs/5008417/

There are many ways to assess the quality of a program for young children. One is to look at it from the top down; another is from the bottom up. Both views are important.

A top-down view of the quality of a program

When we enter an early childhood setting as adults and attempt to assess its quality, we look at such characteristics as:

  • the quality and quantity of space per child;
  • the quality and type of equipment and materials;
  • the adult/child ratio;
  • the number of toilets, fire safety provisions, etc.

In addition, we should also consider the quality of teacher-parent relations and ask such questions as: Are they usually respectful? Supportive? Open? Inclusive? Tolerant?

These positive attributes are relatively easy when teacher and parents like each other; come from the same background; share culture, values, language, and goals for children. Almost anyone can do that. But to build such positive respectful and supportive relations with parents who are different from us in these ways requires professionalism, which requires training and experience.

To be professional means to respond gracefully rather than defensively in moments of disagreement. It means also to develop relationships not on the basis of personal preferences and ...

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