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Equity must be part of how we define quality in early learning, one report says

Quality is a term that gets bandied about a lot in the national discourse about early learning programs, but there is little consensus on just what constitutes quality. Is it measured in test scores, joyful learning experiences or equitable access to a diverse range of programs?

Trust for Learning, a philanthropic partnership supporting early childhood education, recently released a report that investigates this question. It explores the fundamental principles of ideal learning, including the significance of play, nurturing and personalized learning. The report also suggests best practices for policy and assessment, “Measuring the Quality of Early Learning Environments

One key factor is how to address equity issues within programs and systems. The goal of the report is to envision a new approach to measuring quality in early education programs. 

“First, we cannot call early learning programs high-quality unless all children have equitable access to resources, opportunities, and experiences that nurture their development,” said Chrisanne Gayl, chief strategy and policy officer at Trust for Learning. “Our measurements of quality must take into account these equity considerations and reflect what science tells us children need to thrive emotionally, socially, physically, and academically.

“The principles of ideal learning give us a common framework to understand what high-quality programs should look like in practice. Our report provides a blueprint for practitioners and policymakers to reimagine a holistic, equity-based approach to measuring program quality across multiple settings for young children.”


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