A PARTNERSHIP of Head Start, local school district, philanthropists and other community organizations
A PROGRAM dedicated to healthy child development leading to school readiness for all children
A PLACE that showcases a high quality early learning environment and programs
A PLATFORM FOR CHANGE that increases public will to support successful outcomes for all children
Core features of the Educare Model are:
Data Utilization An intensive focus on collaborative data utilization in support of continuous program improvement is a key feature of Educare. Every Educare School establishes an interdisciplinary collaborative inquiry group called a Research whose members include Educare School leaders, master teachers/coaches, family engagement leaders, a disabilities coordinator, and a Ph.D.-level Local Evaluation Partner (LEP). The RPP and the LEP are the structural elements that drive the data utilization process. Data are collected to document child outcomes, classroom quality, and aspects of parenting. In monthly meetings, these data are used to:
• Inform practice. Schools assess current child, family, and/or classroom status and analyze progress over time to inform practice
• Inform professional development. Data is used to determine goals of the professional development to be facilitated by master teachers/coaches and family engagement leaders to enhance the quality of classroom practices and family-school partnerships;
•Intensify support. Data is used to identify sub-groups of children and families for whom additional planning and intensification of instruction and supports may be needed; and
•Develop school-wide strategies. Educare Schools create school-wide continuous improvement plans and strategies to meet the specific, local goals for accelerating learning.
•Implementation Study. Each school participates in the nationwide Implementation Study of child, family, and program outcomes to inform network improvement and national advocacy.
Embedded Professional Development Educare’s embedded professional development (PD) system builds capacity and collaboration among staff to drive continuous improvement of classroom practice and family engagement. PD is designed and facilitated by master teacher coaches for teaching staff and by family engagement leaders for family support staff. Classroom, child, family, and program data guide the development of PD content throughout the school year. Educare’s PD includes group and individual contexts for learning:
- Coaching. Master teachers and family engagement supervisors observe classrooms and family interactions and meet with teaching teams to structure learning contexts that develop knowledge, prioritizing goals for successive coaching cycles that support the transfer of knowledge into daily practice. Coaching directly links data, content, and
- Professional learning communities. Weekly reflective practice groups at each school allow staff to reflect with their peers on successes as well as challenges in ensuring high-quality interactions with children and families and to plan for instructional and family
- Individual reflective supervision. Educare Schools support weekly reflective supervision for both teaching and family engagement staff, which includes joint problem- solving and reflection on successes and
High-Quality Teaching Practices Educare teachers engage in standards-aligned, data-informed instructional planning and implement high- quality teaching practices (i.e., emotional, organizational, and instructional supports). Teachers implement a focused teaching cycle, which includes standards & curriculum goals, formative assessment, planning, and implementation & documentation. This focused teaching cycle informs and supports the decisions made in planning and providing instruction through teacher-child interactions. High-quality teaching practices are enabled by:
- Highly-qualified teachers: Educare teaching teams include a lead teacher with a BA, an assistant teacher with an associate’s degree, and a teacher’s aide with a high school diploma and child development training. Master teacher coaches with advanced degrees in early childhood education supervise teaching
- Starting early: Children enroll as early as six weeks of age, for up to five years
- Year-round, extended school-day: Educare provides year-round early education and an extended school day (6.5-10 hours).
- Continuity of care: Children stay with one teacher from infancy to three and from three to five, limiting transition and helping to build important adult-child
- Optimal ratios and group size: Infant-toddler classrooms have ratios of 3:8 and preschool classrooms have ratios of 3:18.
- Evidence-based Curricula: Each Educare School implements a Head Start approved curricula supplemented with specific literacy, math, and/or socio-emotional curricula.
Family EngagementEducare’s intensive family engagement is focused on three areas of work: (1) building parent knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to positive parenting; (2) providing parents with information about their child’s growth and development and encouraging parents to take responsibility for promoting children’s learning; and (3) supporting parents’ involvement in the education of their child as partners at Educare and into the primary grades and beyond. Educare family engagement staff provide intensive, frequent, and intentional interactions with families to promote progress toward these goals. Family engagement staff work with families through the following strategies:
- Goal-Setting. Annual written Family Engagement Program Plans and Family Partnership Agreements are data-based and focused on achieving goals in Educare’s three areas of family work and include group, individual, home, and on-site
- Sharing data. Family engagement and teaching staff collaborate to share data on teacher-child interactions and their child’s progress toward learning standards and other outcomes. Families are provided with specific strategies to promote further learning at home through a minimum of two home visits and two parent-teacher conferences per year.
- Supporting transitions. Transitions into public school are planned and facilitated so that families are engaged in the process and children are engaged in the process and children are supported.