Week 8: Effective Programs and Practices: Putting It All Together

“A task force can recommend, but realizing its vision requires leadership, collaboration, and investment across institutions and sectors. To create strong early childhood accountability and improvement systems and practices, people and organizations need to engage in new ways of working across categorical programs, to invest in quality assessment and program improvement efforts, and to advance their own learning about issues of assessment tools, data, and analysis” (National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force, 2007, p. 69).

What have you learned about effective programs and practices? What have you observed? Heard? Read in the research? This week, you will synthesize this learning by writing a paper summarizing your thinking, current research, and your experiences in this course. Additionally, you will include how what you have learned applies to children at specific developmental levels/ages and make recommendations for improved programs and practice.
This Application Assignment is also a Major Assessment for this course.
Your Application Assignment is divided into three parts:
Part 1: Introduction: Quality and Effectiveness

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Explain what the paper is about as a whole
Include a definition of quality/effectiveness and its impact on programs and practices. Base your thinking on what you learned during Week 1 of this course as well as subsequent readings and experience
Explain your definition of quality/effectiveness as it relates to early childhood programs and practices

Part 2: Quality and Effectiveness in Early Childhood Education Classroom Settings

Write a summary, based not only on what you observed in early childhood settings and learned in your interviews but also on the readings and videos that represent current evidence-based thinking with regard to the three factors covered in this course that effect quality/effectiveness in early childhood education programs:

Building relationships and partnering with families
Child-centered curriculum and the integral role of play and discovery in healthy development and learning
Culturally responsive and individually appropriate practice

Include specific examples of the ways in which each of these three factors apply to each of the early childhood levels of development: infants/toddlers, preschoolers, and primary-age children. You may use information gleaned from the Learning Resources in the course as well as resources you find on your own.

Note: For this section, you are required to cite at least six examples from your school observations and interviews (two related to each factor) to substantiate points you are making in your paper. You must also cite at least three resources either from your coursework or additional resources you have found that are no more than five years old.
Part 3: Quality and Effectiveness: The Bigger Picture

Reflect on what you have learned about how the ways programs are monitored and standards are used to evaluate program effectiveness and measure children’s learning influence effective programs and practices, and ultimately impact children’s development.
Consider the two recommendations outlined by the National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force (2007), which recommend that states should: (1) develop a unified system of early childhood education that includes a single, coherent system of standards, assessments, data, and professional development efforts across all categorical programs and funding streams and (2) align high-quality and comprehensive standards, curriculum, and assessments as a continuum from prekindergarten through grade.
Based on your readings and experiences within this course, summarize what you see as the benefits and challenges associated with these recommendations. Include your thinking with regard to the ways these recommendations might contribute to high-quality/effective programming. Conclude with potential benefits in terms of supporting the development of every child between the ages of birth and 8.

Note: Cite your sources in APA format.
Assignment length: approximately 7-10 pages

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