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Importance of “Quality Counts” in Early Learning Programs

Educational Support Services

Lauren Thorne

Certificated Sr. Grant Coordinator

Did you know? California State and First 5 preschools from the County Office of Education, as well as various private and public preschools and family childcare homes throughout the San Luis Obispo County, are participating in the Quality Counts Academy.   What is the Quality Counts Academy? It is a collective effort to support quality early learning for all children. It is part of a State and National initiative funded through First 5 California and California State Preschool Program Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) grant to create and support Quality Early Education.   Why does “Quality Counts” matter? According to the article “The Building Blocks of High Quality Early Childhood Education Programs” from the Learning Policy Institute, “When it comes to early childhood education programs, quality is critical. High-quality preschool gives children a strong start on the path that leads to college or a career. Research shows that all children benefit from high-quality preschool, with low-income children and English learners benefiting the most.(01) … Economists also have shown the benefits of early education investments, which generate approximately $7 for every dollar invested.(02)”   How does “Quality Counts” look in San Luis Obispo County? Through this program, Early Care and Education teachers are provided training opportunities to help identify the quality that already exists in their classrooms, or family childcare homes and to increase their expertise in areas such as; teacher – child Interactions, development and health screenings, child observation and assessment and  assessment of the early learning environment. Directors and Teachers attend an overview of the Quality Counts Program and are partnered with Coaches who will support them through the process. Stipends can be available to programs that participate in the Quality Counts Academy.   Looking to involve your program in “Quality Counts”? For a full overview and a step by step guide to getting started, please visit the Child Care Planning Council website Local Child Care Planning Council and the SLO County Office of Education have created an extensive list of upcoming professional growth opportunities to promote continuous Quality in our County.   Nancy Norton, Director of Early Learning Educational Support Educational Support Services Department San Luis Obispo County Office of Education 805-782-7274

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