We truly believe that it takes a community to raise a child. Our strong belief is demonstrated in the variety of community-based programs that support QUALITY MATTERS’ goal of raising early learning quality.
SEEDS of Early Learning
The majority of children in Santa Clara County spend time in family child care homes. For some children, home care is their only formal education experience before kindergarten. To support family child care providers and ensure children in their care have access to rich learning experiences, FIRST 5 has implemented the SEEDS program. SEEDS (Sensitivity, Encouragement, Education, Development through Doing, and Self-Image) is a relationship-based professional development strategy for family child care providers to develop language-rich environments for the young children in their care. Early educators receive professional development, coaching, and technical assistance to implement the SEEDS curriculum and integrate meaningful literacy-focused interactions with children throughout the day.
Raising A Reader
Raising a Reader (RAR) is an early childhood education program developed by a nonprofit organization of the same name. It was developed to increase children’s literacy by engaging families to be active agents in creating a literacy-rich home environment. Each student in a RAR program receives a book bag with four unique books to bring home for the week. Each following week, the bags are rotated among students so that over the course of several weeks children will have had exposure to many books. Teachers are trained by a RAR-coordinator on the logistics of the book rotation system as well as the contents of the teacher handbook that describes reading strategies, classroom instructional strategies, and take-home activities. Implementing sites are able to partner with the RAR organization to tailor book selections to represent specific values or population characteristics (such as multicultural themes, Spanish-English bilingual text, etc.).
The CLASS framework is a reliable and valid classroom assessment tool that measures the teacher-child interactions that promote positive academic and social outcomes for children.6 It is based on hundreds of studies and provides an objective measure of important, observable teacher behaviors and teacher-student interactions. CLASS scores are not determined by the presence of learning materials, the condition of the physical environment, or the adoption of a specific curriculum. Instead, the focus is on what teachers do with the materials they have and on how the teachers interact with children. MyTeachstone is an online coaching tool for that supports understanding and implementation of the CLASS tool.