Do you need to use the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS) to rate your classroom?
This assessment is to help you improve the quality of your classroom, but sometimes it can feel a little donating.
Here are 4 simple tips to help you through the ECERS process.
ECERS Tip #1 Hand Washing
Keeping children's hands clean is the best method to avoid the spread of germs in your classroom and the most important way to keep everyone healthy.
I understand why it's a key part of the ECERS rating process.
It's also one of the most stressful part to meet if you don't want to spend your whole time with kids in front of the sink washing their hands.
Parts of your day that children need to wash hands
Before/After using the water table
Before/After using play dough
When coming in from outside play
So if you eat your meals in your classroom you might feel like all you do is wash children's hands all day long. One way to avoid the whole hand washing dilemma is to teach children how to use non alcohol hand sanitizer. We like to use it after meals and in the classroom for cleaning their hands before and after using the water table and play dough. Once we started this habit with the children our ECERS rating has improved.
ECERS Tip #2 Substantial Portion of the Day
Many of the ECERS items requires access to learning materials for a substantial portion of the day. What that means is a 1/3 of your program day, children need to be actively engaged and allowed to use learning centers for long portions of the day uninterrupted.
Here is a great visual to see if you are meeting ECERS meaning of substantial portion of the day. Remember you can add different parts of your day together to get the whole time allowance. Example of this would be morning work time and center choice time.
Say you allow children to work (free choice) for 30 minutes before breakfast and again you have your learning center work time for 45 minutes. When you add that together you get
1 hour and 15 minutes to count toward substantial portion. If your program runs for 3 1/2 hours you need 1 hour and 10 minutes.
ECERS Tip #3 Center Checklist
Does it take you forever to go through your centers to insure that you have all of the needed materials in your learning centers? Then this tip is for you.
Using a checklist to help you complete and enhance your learning centers to meet ECERS is a must. All you need to do is go through each center check off what you have and then go to your storage area to find the needed materials to meet each area and boom you completed your ECERS in no time.
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ECERS Tip #4 Rotating Materials
You have your areas all ready, but you want to rotate toys to meet the theme of study, what do you do?
Simple, when you go to rotate toys make sure when you take something off of your shelves make sure that you replace that item with the same type of item.
Example: You remove your set of bristle blocks from your Manipulative section make sure you replace that with another small building manipulative. That way you always know that you can meet ECERS no matter when someone walks into your classroom to rate you.
I hope these tips and tricks helped you to meet your ECERS.
What do you do to help you meet ECERS each year? Leave a comment and let us know.
I'm Tami Sanders creator of Learning and Teaching with Preschoolers, a blog to help teachers create magical moments for the young.