Little Heart's strives to offer high-quality, research-based services to young children from low-income backgrounds. Thus, the quality of services is important to measure and it is important to use measurement results to drive continuous program improvement.
Many studies have shown that early education can produce a range of effects lasting well into adulthood, but the quality of the early childhood classroom and the interactions in that classroom are high predictors.
Many indicators that have been connected to child outcomes are fairly easy to quantify. Examples are staff-child ratios, class size, length of day and year, the credentials, experience and professional development of the teachers, and teacher turnover. The classroom quality is harder to measure. Little Heart's uses a tool called The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) which is an observational tool that provides a common lens and language focused on what matters—the classroom interactions that boost children’s learning. Data from CLASS observations are used to support teachers’ unique professional development needs, set organization-wide goals, and shape system-wide reform at the local, state, and national levels. Research shows that children in classrooms with higher CLASS scores achieve at higher levels than their peers in classrooms with lower CLASS scores.
§ Little Heart’s uses research based curriculum and strategies to produce positive child outcomes. The focus is on school readiness because we know that children come to us at different developmental levels and experiences (good and bad). We first begin by building relationships in safe, secure environments and then the cognitive and language development can occur along with the social-emotional development. Through experiences and emotional exchanges, the child’s development occurs. Our job is to observe, interpret, document, plan and assist with implementing the next experience. The teacher, parent and child are researchers and explore possibilities together through observations and documentation.