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Supporting Improvements in Physical Environments of Early Education and Care Programs Serving Infants and Toddlers Board of Early Education and Care January.

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Presentation on theme: "Supporting Improvements in Physical Environments of Early Education and Care Programs Serving Infants and Toddlers Board of Early Education and Care January."— Presentation transcript:

1 Supporting Improvements in Physical Environments of Early Education and Care Programs Serving Infants and Toddlers Board of Early Education and Care January 12, 2010

2 2 Of the $23.9M available through CCDF ARRA funds, $1.2M must be spent on quality improvements for infant and toddlers. This proposal is to use up to $500,000 of those quality funds to train providers, that serve infants and toddlers, on physical environment enhancements that make quality improvements to their program and then to award small grants, thru an intermediary vendor, to make an improvement in their physical space. Overview of Proposal

3 3 Alignment with ARRA funding These funds would be invested in ways that do not result in unsustainable continuing commitments after the funding expires, will be closely monitored, and funding will be prioritized toward programs serving subsidized children. Focus on Improving Programs that Serve Infants and Toddlers The Birth to School Age Task Force recommended using funds to support the improvement of early education and care environments where infants and toddlers are served. Equipment purchases will focuses on health and safety and curriculum improvements for infants and toddlers. Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Programs that receive grant funding would be required to participate in the QRIS pilot to be rated (grants will not be based on QRIS level received). Priorities for Initiative

4 4 The quality of a physical environment can either contribute to children's development and support staff and parent goals or create a permanent impediment to the operation of a high quality program. The design and layout of the physical environment, which includes the building, interior finishes, outdoor spaces, selection of equipment and room arrangement has a profound impact on children's learning and behavior and on teachers' abilities to efficiently do their jobs [1]. [1] 1As reported by Stoeckilin and White (Designing Quality Child Care Facilities): Greenman, Jim, "So You Want to Bu1As reported by Stoeckilin and White (Designing Quality Child Care Facilities): Greenman, Jim, "So You Want to Build a Building? Dancing with Architects and Other Developmental Experiences--Part 3: Designing the Building", Living in the Real World, Child Care Information Exchange 1/92, Vol. 83, Pages 47-50; and Greenman, Jim, "Why Did It Turn Out This Way? How Buildings Go Wrong", Living in the Real World, Child Care Information Exchange, 3/92, Vol. 84, Pages Benefits of Enhancing the Quality of Physical Environments in Early Education and Care Programs

5 5 A growing body of research on the impact of the environment on childrens learning and on staff commitment and productivity. Studies have also shown that quality environments lead to: Children exhibiting more exploratory behavior, more positive social interactions and more cooperation in classrooms with well-defined activity areas; A positive relationship on childrens later cognitive development when space is available for children to retreat from the larger group for a portion of the day; Reduced conflict and anxiety as space is designed to support childrens development; toddlers need low partitions that allow them to see playmates or teachers. Rooms in which partitions restricted younger childrens view of other children or teachers showed reduced time in positive interactions and increased conflict and anxiety; Better staff engagement with children and more effective interactions and teaching; Reduced teacher fatigue, more patience, better morale and commitment; Longer tenure in the field and more successful recruitment of qualified teachers. Benefits of Enhancing the Quality of Physical Environments in Early Education and Care Programs

6 6 The 2007 Cornerstones report on early childhood settings (by the Schott Fellowship, now CAYL, and the Bessie Tartt Wilson Childrens Foundation) highlighted concerns about hygiene and sanitation. It found that: 51% of infant-toddler programs lacked appropriate furnishings or made use of furnishings that were in poor repair. 39% of preschool sites had too little indoor space, poor ventilation, poor lighting, or inadequate activity spaces. Fewer than half the programs had space and materials for active physical play – a key strategy for reducing childhood obesity, and key to EEC requirements for 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Opportunity for Improvement in Quality of Physical Environments in MA Early Education and Care Programs

7 7 Two pronged approach: I. Training II. Provide grants and technical assistance (to trained programs to implement a quality enhancement in their programs physical environment) EEC would seek a vendor, through a competitive bid process, with expertise in infant toddler environment focused training and providing program-level grants to early education and care programs to implement this two-pronged approach. Proposed Model for Implementation

8 8 Two trainings available would provided in each of EECs five regions (April - June, 2010); To include an on-line training component that can be accessed by all early education and care providers to leverage knowledge base. Will be available in multiple languages. Trainings will include information related to infant-toddlers such as: How environments supports childrens healthy development/learning. Adapting environments to support children with special needs. Ensuring health and safety for children and adults using the space. Green/sustainable considerations such as indoor air quality etc. Lay out of space for both function and convenience. Strategies for incorporating family and staff culture in the environment. Purchasing equipment that will impact the quality of the programs physical environment. A module on Financial Management Training (focusing on planning for future capital spending, depreciation, capital reserves etc.) Training

9 9 Funds would be proportionately distributed on the basis of EECs licensed capacity per program type: Family Child Care Programs serve ~60,000 children (~116 providers would receive grant up to $1,000 each) Center Based Programs serve ~170,000 children (~21 programs would receive grants up to $10,000 each) Funds can be used to purchase equipment focused on equipment to: improve the programs health and safety for infants and toddlers; and/or improve the programs curriculum for infants and toddlers. Must have an impact on all infant and toddler classrooms in a program (centers). Fund use will be very prescribed to align with ARRA requirements. Grants and Technical Assistance for Programs to Make Quality Enhancements

10 10 The top health and safety citations from the past 15 months include: Keep all equipment/materials etc. clean and in a safe, workable condition. Keep toxic substances/hazardous objects in a secured place and out of the reach of children. Keep outdoor play area free from hazards Floors of rooms used by children shall be clean and free of safety hazards. Only use equipment/materials etc. which are appropriate to the needs and developmental level of the child. Ceilings and walls shall be maintained in good repairs and shall be clean and free from sharp or protruding objects and other safety hazards. The licensee shall monitor the environment daily to immediately remove or repair any hazard which may cause injury. The ground area and fall zones under swings, slides, and climbing structures shall be covered with adequate depth of impact absorbing equipment. All electrical outlets, within the reach of children, shall be made inaccessible by use of a safety device (adequate size to prevent a choking hazard). Focus on Increasing Compliance with Health and Safety Licensing Citations

11 11 Grant fund use will be clearly delineated for programs and will include developmentally-appropriate items that will improve health and safety and/or curriculum in programs; such as: Curriculum area materials (e.g. dramatic play) Equipment to increase indoor air quality (air exchange system) Furnishings (non- off gassing varnishes) Rug (non-off gassing) Materials from the QRIS checklist (non-consumables only) Chairs (e.g. for toddlers, without head entrapment potential) Fall zone materials (loose fill) Lighting No CCDF ARRA funding, shall be expended: For the purchase of land For the improvement of land For purchase, construction or permanent improvement of any building or facility Grant Fund Use

12 12 No CCDF ARRA funding, shall be expended: For the purchase of land For the improvement of land For purchase, construction or permanent improvement of any building or facility Grant funds cannot be used for items such as (not an exhaustive list): Facilities Improvement Construction Labor Refinancing projects Travel expenses Debt incurred prior to the date of project approval Political or religious purposes Organizations without proper licensing Consumables Grant Fund Use Restrictions

13 13 Vendors selection may be based on: The existence of an established process for training and funding programs within the mixed delivery system statewide. Expertise regarding child care facility improvement project management (e.g. aware of the costs of projects, equipment etc, have access to experienced advisors as needed). Ability to implement a model that realizes efficiencies and additional impact in training (Train the Trainers, etc.). Ability to negotiate bulk purchasing discounts with approved vendors where possible. Ability to leverage funds (e.g. private investment in training development and resources for connecting programs to other resources, utility company subsidizing models, or loans to programs statewide to extend the impact of the EEC ARRA grant funding). Vendor Selection

14 14 Program eligibility to include: Must be serving at least one subsidized infant or toddler when applying for funding (date to be provided). Must be an existing program in business for 3 years as of January Programs that receive grant funding would be required to participate in the QRIS pilot to be rated (grants will not be based on QRIS level received). Must be serving over 50% subsidized children in their program, defined as: a Children accessing care through EEC contracts or vouchers; b Children funded with Head Start dollars; c Privately subsidized children from families meeting EEC income eligibility criteria (i.e., total household income at or below 85% of the state median income) with supporting documentation from program; and d Children attending preschool programs operated by public schools that: Have a high proportion of children qualifying for free/reduced lunch; are at risk of or have been determined to be under-performing; and/or have been placed in the accountability status of identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring pursuant to ESE school regulations. Able to demonstrate they meet the needs of working parents. Early Education and Care Program Eligibility

15 15 Preliminary Budget Outline Training 3 hour environments trainings x 10 (two in each of the 5 regions); Includes: staffing, materials (translation of materials into 3 languages), 1 translator per training – with on-line component. $80,000 Half-day financial training x 5 (one in each region); Includes: development, staffing, materials, translation $14,000 Total Training$94,000 Grants and Technical Assistance Implementation of grants and technical assistance; staffing (to ~137 programs)$80,000 ~116 Family Child Care Programs ($1,000 each) $116,000 $116,000 ~21 Center Based Programs (up to $10,000 each) $210,000$210,000 Total Grants and Technical Assistance$406,000 Total Funding$500,000

16 16 Estimated Timeline TimelineActivity April – June 2010 June September 2010 Physical Environment Improvement Training, Including Fiscal Training Component June September 2010 Programs Apply for Grants Technical Assistance Provided October 2010Grants Distributed to Programs Technical Assistance Provided October 2010 – August 2011 (All ARRA funds must be spent by September 2011) Programs Implement Improvements Technical Assistance Provided On-going monitoring and evaluation as required.

17 17 Use of up to $500,000 of ARRA quality funds to train providers that serve infants and toddlers on physical environment enhancements that make quality improvements to their program and then to award small grants, thru an intermediary vendor, to make an improvement in their physical space. Proposal


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