The Short- and Long-Term Impacts of Large Public Early Care and Education Programs. What are the key features of high-quality early care and education programs?


ECE programs are often "packages" of services in that they are multi-faceted, and serve children and families in a variety of different ways, making it difficult to determine exactly which components are important to outcomes (e.g., full- or part-day programming for children, specific classroom or teacher preparation activities, parent education or involvement components). However, we know that stimulating, supportive teacher-child interactions constitute the most important aspect of a high-quality ECE program. Structural features of the environment, or features that can be directly regulated by program requirements or standards, such as group size, teacher-child ratio, and teacher education and professional development, can facilitate тАУ but do not assure тАУ that such positive teacher-child interactions will occur.[37] The use of an evidence-based, developmentally-focused and intensive curriculum, the inclusion of strong instructional support or professional development (e.g., in-class coaching or mentoring), and more classroom time spent on task are also common features of effective programs.[38]

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