Posted on 09/19/2019 at 11:17 AM by Blog Experts
Let’s look at a few of the standards that Iowa Statewide Voluntary Preschool Programs are required to submit evidence for, for their 2019-2020 preschool desk audit.
Iowa’s Quality Preschool Program Standard 1.5 states that Teaching staff support children as they practice social skills and build friendships by helping them (a) enter into play, (b) sustain play, and (3) enhance play. The only way that staff can do this well is to be there with children in their play, helping it to go deeper and last longer. The National Association for the Education of Young Children has research to support How Play Connects to Learning. Administrators should have a process in place for ensuring this criterion is addressed. Preschool daily schedules should allow an hour each day for play and there should be routine checks to be sure staff are involved with children in their play.
Iowa’s Quality Preschool Program Standard 4.7 states that Teaching teams meet at least weekly to interpret and use assessment results to align curriculum and teaching practices to the interests and needs of the children. Teachers, are you running GOLD reports to help you understand where your students are in relationship to the widely held expectations for the 38 goals and objectives? Are you planning group and individual activities with children based on what that data is telling you? Are you having discussions with you teaching team to think of ways that you can use child interest to drive instruction? Administrators should have a process in place for ensuring this criterion is addressed. Lesson plans, meeting agendas and/or PLC notes would be great evidence to demonstrate that it’s happening for you.
Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standard 2.6 states The schedule (a) provides children learning opportunities, experiences, and projects that extend over the course of several days and incorporates time for (b) play, (c) creative expression, (d) large-group, (e) small-group, and (f) child-initiated activity. If you are doing Creative Curriculum studies or the Project Approach you certainly have projects that span several days and include creative expression. If your daily routine includes both indoor (60 minutes) and outdoor play (30 minutes) where the children are choosing what they do, who they do it with and how long, you certainly have an ample amount of child-initiated activity. And if additionally you have one or two large-group times (10 minutes) and a small-group time (20 minutes) you are meeting this criterion. Administrators can be sure this all takes place by establishing a master daily schedule that includes these areas and then spot check to see that it is followed. Lesson plans can also demonstrate that these parts of the daily routine are used as they should be.
Iowa’s Quality Preschool Program Standard 10.15 states that The Program offers staff and families opportunities to assist in making decisions to improve the program. Collaborative and shared decision making is used with all participants to build trust and enthusiasm for making program changes. Staff and families meet at least annually to consult on program planning and ongoing program operations. Gathering input can only make you better and administrators should have a process in place for ensuring this criterion is addressed. Evidence that you are meeting this standard could be use of program improvement family surveys, parent meeting agendas/minutes and invitations to parents for giving feedback on program decisions. Getting feedback from families and staff, who know the children best, should be the normal. Not only is it required, but it is wise, since it builds both confidence in your program and energy for your program.