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Boston Quality Inventory 2013 Released

Wed, March 12, 2014


For Immediate Release
March 12, 2014

Contact: Lindsay Broyhill
Communication Specialist
617.695.0700 x274
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

BOSTON EQUIP RELEASES BOSTON QUALITY INVENTORY 2013:
A REPORT ON QUALITY IN BOSTON’S COMMUNITY-BASED EARLY CARE AND EDUCATION PROGRAMS

WHEN:      March 12, 2014  

WHERE:      Barr Foundation, Pilot House, Lewis Wharf        

On March 12, 2014, Boston EQUIP will release two reports: the Community Profiles 2013 and the Boston Quality Inventory 2013. The Boston Quality Inventory (BQI) provides a picture of the current quality of family child care homes and center-based programs serving infants, toddlers and preschoolers throughout the city. The report provides critical information to help Boston policy-makers, service providers and funders assess city-wide progress on the Thrive in 5 School Readiness Roadmap, which sets goals and strategies for strengthening, coordinating and improving the quality of child and family-serving systems in the city, in order to prepare children to succeed in school.

The Boston Quality Inventory 2013 was conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Nancy Marshall, of the Work, Families and Children Research Group at the Wellesley Centers for Women, who collected data from random samples of 135 licensed classrooms (45 center-based programs serving infants, toddler; 45 center-based programs serving preschoolers; and 45 family child care homes). The study employed a set of nationally-utilized early care and education program assessment tools and evaluated the quality of the programs in seven areas: Curriculum, Instructional Supports, Literacy Supports, Emotional & Social Supports, Health & Safety, Comprehensive Services, and Family Engagement.

Key Findings from the quality section of the Community Profiles include:

• The number of accredited early care and educator providers in Boston has decreased, marking the lowest recorded overall accreditation since 2005.

• There is an increase in the number of early educators with Bachelor’s degrees or higher since 2009 - across all provider types.

• Early educators’ salaries remain stagnant in community-based programs.

• Most center-based and family child care programs are using Teaching Strategies Gold developmental assessments to ensure quality outcomes for young children.  Over 40% now use screening tools like Ages & Stages Questionnaire.  Assessments allow programs to continuously monitor a child’s performance and development, which in turn informs instructional practice and curriculum implementation.  Screenings enable educators to identify possible developmental or health-related challenges in individual children.

Key Findings from the Boston Quality Inventory report include:

• Boston’s community preschool classrooms have continued to maintain the improvements in quality seen in BQI 2010 over BQI 2007 on general curriculum practices and emotional and social support.

• The proportion of Boston’s community preschool classrooms with a teacher with a BA or more rose significantly from only 37% in 2010 to 62% of classrooms in 2013. Among preschool classrooms with a teacher with a BA or more, 29% of classrooms met the Good benchmark on the CLASS Instructional Supports assessment

• Boston’s community preschool classrooms showed significant improvements over the BQI 2007 on literacy, rising from 11% of classrooms that met the Good benchmark on the SELA Literacy Index in 2007 to 29% of classrooms that met the Good benchmark on the ELLCO Literacy Index in 2013. However, there is still considerable room for improvement.

The report issued a series of recommendations for the field of early care and education in Boston.  The most critical of these are:

1. Increase the proportion of early childhood educators with BAs. The study found that having an educator with a bachelors’ degree or more was significantly associated with the quality of BQI 2013 infant, toddler and preschool classrooms. Additionally, the report makes specific recommendations for training, particularly with regard to curriculum, instructional supports, and language and literacy development needed for pre-school classrooms, infant and toddler classrooms, and family child care homes. Investments in degree acquisition and training for all early educators should be increased. 

2. Increase accreditation of programs by professional associations.  Only half of Boston’s early care and education centers are accredited by NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Accreditation rates for family child care providers in the BQI 2013 are low; 15% were currently accredited by NAFCC, the National Association for Family Child Care. The study states that “accreditation is an important component of quality improvement. The process of preparing for accreditation supports increased knowledge of child development and of appropriate educational strategies with young children; accreditation is also associated with children’s greater school readiness.”  Additionally, the accreditation process can be used to address areas of concern identified in the Boston Quality Inventory 2013. 

3. Improve health and safety practices in centers and family child care homes.  Key areas in need of improvement were hand washing, safety hazards and outdoor play areas. All of these problems can be addressed through training and coaching.

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Launched in 1994, the Boston Early Education Quality Improvement Project (Boston EQUIP) is a project of Associated Early Care and Education with a broad goal and mission - to collaborate with members of the Boston early education community to systematically evaluate, set goals for, and improve upon the quality of early childhood programs.