Quality First Improves Early Care and Education!

| August 10, 2015
Quality First Improves Early Care and Education 
Formal and Informal Assessment Options Offered To Early Childhood Centers and Programs 

The Quality First, Arizona’s Quality Improvement and Rating System, is dedicated to improving early care and education in Arizona. As part of Quality First participation, enrolled programs receive regular program assessment to ensure children in care can begin school safe, healthy and ready to succeed.

Working in partnership to create high quality programs

As the First Things First grantee for Quality First Assessment, Southwest Human Development, Arizona’s largest nonprofit dedicated to early childhood development, provides assessment services, using highly reliable skilled assessors to provide feedback based on national standards. Southwest Human Development provides assessment services statewide in collaboration with the Association for Supportive Child Care.

Quality First Assessors work in partnership with participating program to provide detailed information about the presence of indicators that are known to influence positive child outcomes. The assessment tools that are utilized in the program include the Environment Rating Scales, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System, and the Arizona-created First Things First Points Scale. These tools help to evaluate the quality of the environment, interactions and instructional support present in classrooms and homes, as well as the administrative practices in the program.

Informal assessment opportunities available

Southwest Human Development’s Quality First Assessment team is able to provide informal feedback on the assessment tools utilized by Fist Things Fist at no cost to any license child care center and family child care home-even if the program is not formally enrolled in the Quality First program. Programs often have expressed a desire to better understand the assessment tools utilized by Quality Improvement and Rating Systems in Arizona.

For these programs, informal assessment allows them to experience an assessment and receive informal feedback on the national standards that are measured in the tools. The informal feedback is provided in written form and includes the strengths that were noted int eh program, based on the assessment tool that was conducted, in addition to possible areas for growth. While participants in Southwest Human Development’s assessment process do not need to be enrolled in Quality First to receive informal feedback, assessment availability is limited.

Knowing a child’s earliest years matter the most, the Southwest Human Development provide more than 40 early childhood programs and services 135,000 young children and their families each year. With program ranging from child development and mental health, to early literacy and services for children with disabilities, Southwest Human Development’s programs are designed to prevent problems before they start or, when they already exist, providing opportunities to intervene as early and effectively as possible.

Learn more at www.swhd.org.

For more information about Southwest Human Development’s Quality First Assessment program or find out how your child care center or family child care home can participate in an informal assessment process, please visitswhd.org/qualityfirst, or contact Katie Romero at 602.633.8652 or kromero@swhd.org.

To enroll in the Quality First program, please visit www.qualityfirstaz.com or contact First Things First at 602.771.5000or qualityfirst@azftf.gov.

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