Choosing the right early childhood program is a critical, but unguided process. The NAEYC has set 10 program standards for early childhood education. The standard acts as a guide to help families choose the right child care center, preschool, or kindergarten.
The NAEYC stands for National Association for the Education of Young Children. It promotes high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research.
In developing their ECE program standards, the NAEYC received input from experts and educators from around the country. Today, the standards and criteria serve as the foundation of the NAEYC Accreditation system for early childhood programs. To earn accreditation, programs must meet all 10 standards.
Below, we’ve summarized the 10 program standards set forth by NAEYC. Despite whether or not the early childhood program you’re exploring is NAEYC accredited, use this as a guide to asking the right questions.
Overview of the NAEYC Early Childhood Program Standards
Relationships: Promotes positive relationships among all children and adults. It encourages each child’s sense of individual worth and belonging as part of a community and fosters each child’s ability to contribute as a responsible community member.
Curriculum: Implements a curriculum that is consistent with its goals for children and promotes learning and development in each of the following areas: social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive.
Teaching: Uses developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate and effective teaching approaches that enhance each child’s learning and development in the context of the curriculum goals.
Assessment of Child Progress: The program is informed by ongoing systematic, formal, and informal assessment approaches to provide information on children’s learning and development.
Health: Promotes the nutrition and health of children and protects children and staff from illness and injury. Programs must be healthy and safe to support children’s healthy development.
Staff Competencies, Preparation, and Support: Employs and supports a teaching staff with the educational qualifications, knowledge, and professional commitment necessary to promote children’s learning and development and to support families’ diverse needs and interests.
Families: Establishes and maintains collaborative relationships with each child’s family to foster children’s development in all settings
Community Relationships: establishes relationships with and uses the resources of the children’s communities to support the achievement of program goals.
Physical Environment: safe and healthful environment that provides appropriate and well-maintained indoor and outdoor physical environments.
Leadership and Management: Program effectively implements policies, procedures, and systems that support stable staff and strong personnel, and fiscal, and program management so all children, families, and staff have high-quality experiences.
The above list is an overview of NAEYC’s program standards. For more detail about each standard and specific directive for what to look for in a program, learn more here. For a printable version of the NAEYC standards in PDF, download it here.
It’s back to school once again in a pandemic. And like last August, we went shopping for school supplies, shoes (why do their feet grow so fast?!), and masks.
After spending many hours and dollars trying every kind of mask imaginable last school year, we learned many things and hope these tips will help other families have a successful school year.
Four Tips To Make Masks Comfortable, Safer and Habitable
Quality – Buy from a company that specializes in face masks and not from a well meaning local seamstress (that said, please support your local businesses). There are so many masks available now to fit every budget. Look for breathable fabrics that offer built in filtration like ones made with nano fibers when possible. Look for nose clips and adjustable ear loops. Avoid vents and gaiters (many schools don’t accept them). And if looking at disposables, look for ones that are individually wrapped (makes it easy to send extra masks to school in backpacks), and triple or more layered. Do take a moment to check the durability of the ear loops. Some disposable masks have ear loops that snap very easily.
Fit and Shape – Can you understand your child’s speech with a mask on? We found that cone shaped or 3D/folding masks that create a pocket away from the mouth not only made breathing easier but also reduced the muffling of our son’s speech. Is the mask often soaking wet with saliva? Most young kids are mouth breathers and we found many soft shapeless fabric masks got sucked into our son’s mouth. Pay close attention to the sizing chart for each mask because no two are the same. Test to see if the mask rides up and down when speaking. A proper fitting mask should have as little of a gap as possible around the nose, sides, hug the chin and stay on the nose even when speaking.
Comfort – Like shoes, if it isn’t comfortable, the child won’t wear it. Proper fit and lightweight breathable material will make the mask more comfortable to keep on during the school day. Practice until the child is comfortable putting it on and off by themselves. We also found that using a lanyard with breakaway connectors helped our son not lose his mask and kept it off the ground/dirty surfaces when he was eating or drinking.
Attitude – We all started wearing our masks as a family before our son went back to school last year. And even after we got vaccinated, we kept ours on when going to public indoor places because he was not. We discussed why we are wearing masks. We made it part of our routine for leaving the house like putting on shoes. We made wearing a mask no big deal and so he doesn’t think it is a big deal.
What our rising Kindergartener is wearing to school this year
Happy Masks, has implemented a regular restocking schedule and waitlist. Follow them on Instagram for updates. (s/ preschool and primary school age kids, m/older kids).
Pros: Built in nano fiber filter. The cone shape keeps the mask away from the mouth. It also has a built-in nose clip and adjustable ears.
Cons: Cleaning process (hand wash and air dry). Relatively high initial cost ($25 each), but each one lasts about 50 washes (only $0.50 per wear).