Positive Early Care and Education Climate
The major indicator for this measure of success is the percentage of early care and education programs and schools implementing social-emotional development strategies.
Positive early care and education program climates lead to strong academic and life outcomes for children. Several features make up a positive program climate: a supportive and safe learning environment, collaborative and effective educators, rigorous and developmentally appropriate instruction, and engaged families. These features align with the definition of quality in K-12 environments, as defined by the Tennessee School Climate Model. Children who attend schools with these elements are up to ten times more likely to experience substantial gains in reading, math, and GPA as well as stronger attendance rates than students in schools without or with weaker evidence of these elements. Longer term outcomes include positive effects on high school measures, including attendance, test scores, GPA, and college enrollment.
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- Byrk et al_2010_Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago: Analysis of two hundred elementary schools in Chicago over seven years, half of which substantially improved during that time period and half of which did not. Examined the comprehensive practices and conditions that were key factors for improvement, including leadership, professional capacity of staff, and a student-centered learning climate. Identified five drivers of school improvement: effective leaders, collaborative teachers, ambitious instruction, supportive environment, and involved families.
- Rohack et al_2010_Understanding Quality in Context: Child Care Centers, Communities, Markets, and Public Policy: Analysis of 38 centers across four study sites in Alabama, California, New Jersey, and Washington. Found that director engagement and approach to program leadership affected the quality of the center. Director beliefs about definitions of program quality, expectations for staff, prioritization of wages and professional development, and emphasis on program quality standards outside of licensing minimums were all associated with program quality.
- Dennis and O’Connor_2008_Re-examining Quality in Early Childhood: Collected data from 37 preschool centers in the US, including 37 teachers and their 3-4 year old students to analyze the effect of the preschool work environment on classroom quality. Classroom sizes ranged from 9-28 students. Used ECERS to measure classroom quality and ECWES and OCDQ-RE (Organizational Climate Description Questionnaire for Elementary Schools) to measure work environment and organizational climate. Found a significant relationship between organizational climate and classroom quality. Classrooms with better work environments were also found to have better activities and materials available to children. Additionally, found that classrooms which had better (1) opportunities for professional growth, (2) reward systems, (3) physical environments, (4) relationships with colleagues, (5) supportive leadership had higher quality classrooms.
- Lower and Cassidy_2007_Child Care Work Environments: Study of 26 participants in early education centers, including 225 teacher surveys that examined the effects of child care work environments on the quality of the center. Child care global quality was assessed with ECERS-R scores and organizational climate was measured with ECWES (Early Childhood Work Environment Survey) scores. Found that classroom global quality was significantly positively correlated with both organizational climate and program administration. Also found a moderately significant, positive relationship between organizational climate and language/interaction factor, a catch-all measure of staff-child interactions and language used by staff.