Setting up the Infant, Toddler, and Prekindergarten Language and Literacy Environment

“Working with young children requires knowledge of early childhood growth and development, as well as recognition of the diversity children present (e.g., racial, ethnic, cultural, economic, language, and social background differences). Although families and communities are most influential, high quality early learning environments are associated with improved cognitive, social, and language skills. With a sound understanding of what children know and are able to do, teachers can individualize the curriculum and create environments that move children toward kindergarten ready to learn.” – Retrieved from the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year-Olds (2011).

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is used to assess highly effective teacher-child interactions in classroom settings. Although it is essential to have adequate materials for children, and to implement a high-quality curriculum, it is the teachers’ or caregivers’ use of these materials in engaging children, the provision of learning opportunities, and responsively meeting children’s needs that are truly effective in fostering growth and development. The CLASS measures interactions between adults and children through Responsive Caregiving, Emotional/Behavioral Support, Engaged Support for Learning, Classroom Organization, and Instructional Support, depending on the age of the child.

Environmental Implementation Checklist

“The knowledge that forms the foundation for reading and writing is built throughout early childhood through play, language, and literacy experiences.”

- Gay Su Pinell & Irene C. Fountas

The Environmental Implementation Checklist (EIC) is completed in Infant, Toddler, and Pre-K classrooms to determine the extent that the environment is conducive to high-quality instruction. The EIC is used as part of the ongoing continuous improvement process. Data is utilized to support teachers and plan professional learning and targeted coaching.

Environments Inclusive of Diverse Learners

“It is well understood that children learn at different rates and have varying abilities and interests, and that each child’s learning is significantly influenced by the experiences he or she brings to the educational environment. When diverse learners (e.g., children with disabilities and children whose native language is other than English) are in infant, toddler, and prekindergarten classrooms, the variations in learning rates and abilities increase. Each child must be viewed as a unique person with an individual pattern and timing for growth, raised in a cultural context that may impact the acquisition of certain skills and competencies. Adults who recognize and appreciate differences in children readily adapt instruction. Adaptations are crucial if all children in the setting are to have the opportunity to participate fully and make developmental progress.” Retrieved from the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards for Four-Year-Olds (2011).