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 1. Programs that focus on language-based school readiness skills appear to be more beneficial to children (Reynolds, Magnuson & Ou, 2010, p.1126).
  2. Multiple years of services are associated with successful transition to schools (Reynolds, Magnuson & Ou, 2010, p.1126).

3. Using schools as the single delivery system for early and extended childhood interventions can strengthen the continuity of services to children and avoid the disjointedness between preschool and school-age programs (Reynolds, Magnuson & Ou, 2010, p.1126).

4. It is crucial for programs to have an intensive family-support component which facilitates parental involvement and commitment to the child's education and promotes parents' personal growth (Reynolds, Magnuson & Ou, 2010, p.1126).

5. It is beneficial to add teacher aides and reduce class sizes or student–teacher ratios so that children can receive individualized attention and more individual learning opportunities (Reynolds, Magnuson & Ou, 2010, p.1126).

6. Program hires teachers who are open to working with children who have disabilities (Hurley & Horn, 2010, p.333).
 
7. Program personnel ensure that children with disabilities are active participants in all classroom routines and activities (Hurley & Horn, 2010, p.333).

8. Program provides accommodations and adaptations to meet the needs of individual children (Hurley & Horn, 2010, p.333).

9. Program fosters collaboration among families, teachers, administrators and other professionals (Hurley & Horn, 2010, p.333).

10. Program facilitates independence for children with disabilities (Hurley & Horn, 2010, p.333).

Discussion:
    Identifying early childhood education programs that are most effective for young children is an increasing trend in the growing school readiness movement. According to  Reynolds, Magnuson, & Ou (2010) there is increasing empirical evidence suggesting that  programs which successfully address children's learning needs must be comprehensive, span multiple years, and target key transition points. Other researchers such as Hurley & Horn (2010) suggest:

            Through reauthorizations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in combination with changing societal values that places high importance on opportunities for development and learning and a sense of belonging for all children, early childhood inclusion has gained    widespread legal, moral, and empirical support. However, even          with the existing legal, moral, and empirical foundations, early childhood educators face multiple challenges with the implementation of high-quality inclusive early childhood practices (p.335).

Research suggests that a high quality early childhood education program include professional practices and curriculum which supports learning for all students. The purpose of this research analysis and information chart and is to highlight the key components of what a parent, teacher, or education professional should look for in a quality early childhood education program.    

           Reynolds, Magnuson, & Ou (2010) reports that participation in pre-k thru grade three programs and elements may lead to greater and longer-lasting effects than less extensive interventions for three reasons. First, an increasingly documented element of successful prevention programs is that they provide comprehensive services for at least two years. Second, Garmezy & Rutter (1988) reports that pre-k thru grade three programs and elements are designed to encourage stable and predictable learning environments, both of which are key elements in optimal scholastic and social functioning. Finally, pre-k thru grade three programs and elements occur at a time increasingly viewed as a sensitive if not critical period in children’s scholastic development Reynolds, Magnuson, & Ou (2010). The first five elements of the quality early childhood education program chart draws from the above research and logic.

            Hurley & Horn (2010) conducted a study to provide information about what characteristics of an inclusive early childhood education program are most valued and least valued by families and professionals. The study was conducted using a combination of Q-sort and qualitative research, and there were a total of 20 participants in the study: 10 participants were family members of young children with disabilities being served in inclusive programs; and 10 early childhood professionals working in inclusive programs. The results report that respondents support access for all young children to early childhood programs, regardless of their abilities (Hurley & Horn, 2010). The last five qualities of the chart are drawn from this research, and are prioritized based on random selection as research suggests that a quality early childhood education program should equally incorporate all ten qualities to ensure the academic success of each student. 

             

References

Garmezy, N., & Rutter, M. (Eds.). (1988). Stress, coping and development in children. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press.

Hurley, J.J., Horn, E.M., (2010). Family and professional priorities for inclusive early childhood settings. Journal of Early Intervention, 32(5), 335-350.

Reynolds, A.J., Magnuson, K.A., Ou, S. (2010). Preschool to third grade programs and practices: A review of research. Children and Youth Service Review, 32, 1121-1131.


 


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