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Children sit next to each other on a classroom carpet. One child has her hand extended, thumb raised.


Susan Roberts

Susan Roberts

March 1, 2021

What is a “quality learning program” and what does it look like in an early childhood setting? Is the definition of quality different for a director, a teacher, or anyone else at your center? Or do you all have a common vision of what you feel your center should be like for children and families? These are questions that we will delve into during the next workshop, Pathway to Quality on Saturday March 13th. Our presenter, Judy Jablon from Leading for Children will present the three elements of high-quality early childhood programs and how they work together to improve outcomes for all children. The three elements are:

  • Relationships and Interactions

  • Emotional and Physical Environment

  • Learning Experiences

Here are two scenarios. Both of these classrooms have good activities happening. In which do you think quality learning is taking place? Which part of Classroom A or B do you feel are or are not quality learning? Both classrooms are safe and clean. They both have two attentive and caring teachers and children of the same age.

Classroom A

One teacher is standing to the side supervising children sitting at tables. The tables have puzzles, matching games, books and a collection of plastic trees and animals found in the forest. The table activities are related to the theme of the week: trees. The second teacher is helping children glue precut paper roots, trunks, and leaves to make a tree. The classroom is calm and quiet. The children raise their hand and ask to go to another group when they have completed their table activity. The same activities will be repeated tomorrow so all children have a chance to experience every activity related to the theme.

Classroom B

One teacher is sitting on the floor talking to a group of children gathered around items they picked up from the playground. Sticks, pieces of wood, rocks and leaves are scattered on the floor. Some children start sorting the items into groups. Others start to sort the groups by color, shape, and length. The teacher notices and asks them what they are doing and why. Another child gets up to get a magnifying glass. The second teacher starts to make a design with the leaves, sticks and rocks, talking about what she is doing. Children add to her design or start their own. One has made a tree out of the sticks and leaves. The classroom has a steady sound of conversation and children are calm. Tomorrow the children will take their mats outside to look up through the tree branches to the sky. They will also “feel” the tree and make bark rubbings.

Think about these classrooms in terms of the three elements of high-quality early learning programs. Think about the learning experiences in your classroom. During our next newsletter we will reflect further into what a shared vision of quality looks like, how it is reflected in your center, and how it can improve your center.

Until then!


A child's hand holds rocks over more rocks spread out on construction paper.
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