What is High-Quality Early Learning?
What does quality mean to you? What makes a quality product? Is it a five-star review? Is it winning awards? Is quality durability–construction that will last a lifetime? When it comes to early childhood education, many talk about program quality–but what is it? What does quality look like in child care?
Seventy-five percent of brain growth and 85% of intellect, personality and social skills develop before age five—in the first 2,000
days of life—so we know that young children must have opportunities to learn long before they begin school.
(1 Wills, Christopher, The Runaway Brain; 1993.
2. Purves, Dale, MD, Body and Brain, Harvard University Press;
1988. Adopted from Thompson, DW, On Growth and Form,
Cambridge University Press.)
Components of Quality:
Components of a high-quality program include:
- A developmentally appropriate curriculum;
- Adequate teacher training;
- A safe environment;
- Small group size and low adult to child ratios; and
- Parent-teacher communication (family
When a program has and maintains these components, the foundation for learning is present. A research-based curriculum helps high-quality programs structure learning for optimal, long-term skills. High-quality programs do not rely on memorization or mimicking. Instead, a high-quality education program encourages the development of critical, creative and independent thinking skills. Children in high-quality programs are actively and happily engaged in learning.