Standards for public agencies

2020 Edition

Early Childhood Education (PA-ECE) 7: Promoting Quality Relationships with Teaching Staff and Peers

Children experience meaningful, responsive, and stable relationships with teaching staff and peers.
2020 Edition

Currently viewing: EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION (PA-ECE)

VIEW THE STANDARDS

Purpose

Early Childhood Education facilitates appropriate child development and ensures the health and safety of children in care.
1
Full Implementation, Outstanding Performance
A rating of (1) indicates that the agency's practices fully meet the standard and reflect a high level of capacity.  
  • All elements or requirements outlined in the standard are evident in practice, with rare or no exceptions: exceptions do not impact service quality or agency performance. 
2
Substantial Implementation, Good Performance
A rating of (2) indicates that an agency's infrastructure and practices are basically sound but there is room for improvement.
  • The majority of the standards requirements have been met and the basic framework required by the standard has been implemented. 
  • Minor inconsistencies and not yet fully developed practices are noted; however, these do not significantly impact service quality or agency performance.
3

Partial Implementation, Concerning Performance
A rating of (3) indicates that the agency's observed infrastructure and/or practices require significant improvement.  

  • The agency has not implemented the basic framework of the standard but instead has in place only part of this framework.  
  • Omissions or exceptions to the practices outlined in the standard occur regularly, or practices are implemented in a cursory or haphazard manner.  
  • Service quality or agency functioning may be compromised.  
  • Capacity is at a basic level.
4
Unsatisfactory Implementation or Performance
A rating of (4) indicates that implementation of the standard is minimal or there is no evidence of implementation at all.  
  • The agency’s observed service delivery infrastructure and practices are weak or non-existent; or show signs of neglect, stagnation, or deterioration.
Self-Study EvidenceOn-Site EvidenceOn-Site Activities
  • Behavior management policy
  • Behavior management procedures
  • Policy for prohibited interventions
  • Staffing list that identifies lead and assistant teachers, when applicable, for each classroom
  • Interviews may include:
    1. Program director
    2. Relevant personnel
    3. Parents
  • Observe interactions:
    1. Teacher/child
    2. Peer/peer
    3. Teacher/teacher
    4. Group
  • Review child files for behavior management plans

 

PA-ECE 7.01

Each child has a meaningful, ongoing relationship with a primary caregiver.

 

PA-ECE 7.02

Teaching staff facilitate the development of secure attachments by providing each child with care that is:
  1. responsive to their individual and changing needs, interests, and abilities;
  2. flexible in meeting their eating, toileting, and sleeping needs;
  3. consistent; and
  4. predictable.
Examples: Responsive care can include, but is not limited to:
  1. evaluating and adjusting routines, interactions, activities, or materials to meet the individual and changing needs, interests, and abilities of the children in care;
  2. responding promptly and appropriately to children’s needs; and
  3. providing opportunities for child-directed activities and conversations.

 

PA-ECE 7.03

Teaching staff establish meaningful relationships with each child by:
  1. demonstrating affection, attention, and respect;
  2. interacting frequently in a positive and expressive manner;
  3. engaging in extended conversations that are both child and teacher initiated; and
  4. responding with interest to his or her questions or requests.
Examples: Positive interactions can be demonstrated through:
  1. pleasant tone of voice;
  2. use of the child’s name;
  3. use of positive language;
  4. speaking with children at their eye-level;
  5. eye contact;
  6. smiling;
  7. offering praise and encouragement; and
  8. making positive physical contact when acceptable to the child, such as hugging, holding a child’s hand, and offering comforting touch.

 

PA-ECE 7.04

Each infant receives individualized, ongoing care from one person, or a consistent team, who:
  1. imitates and responds positively to the infant’s vocalizations;
  2. understands and respects the infant’s sleeping and eating habits;
  3. recognizes the infant’s various cries and promptly responds;
  4. provides reassurance, physical care, regular affection, and tactile and vocal stimulation;
  5. gives one-on-one attention during caregiving routines such as rocking, feeding, or changing; and
  6. offers consistent repetition of daily routines, allowing for some variety and contrast.
NA The agency does not provide infant care.

 

PA-ECE 7.05

Teaching staff promote the development of positive self-identity by:
  1. providing opportunities for children to care for and make decisions regarding their classroom, and contribute to the group;
  2. welcoming children and their families to the program each day;
  3. encouraging exploration and celebrating achievements; and
  4. involving the child in communication with the family whenever possible.

 

PA-ECE 7.06

Teaching staff act as role models and promote social development and positive peer relationships by:
  1. supporting children in the development of friendships and other forms of positive group interaction;
  2. providing opportunities to learn and practice pro-social behaviors, including negotiation, problem solving, conflict resolution and communication skills;
  3. helping children to enter into, sustain, and enhance play;
  4. protecting children from teasing and bullying;
  5. serving meals “family-style;” and
  6. using everyday activities to foster the development of social skills.
Examples: Social development among infants can be promoted by:
  1. recognizing when an infant is interested in interacting with other infants and facilitating that behavior; and
  2. talking during routine, one-on-one activities such as diapering and feeding.

 

PA-ECE 7.07

Teaching staff support positive behavior by:
  1. building on children’s strengths and reinforcing positive behaviors;
  2. encouraging the child’s ability to self-regulate and accept responsibility for their behavior;
  3. responding consistently to behavioral issues;
  4. providing engaging activities throughout the day;
  5. re-directing children to encourage self-calming and de-escalate volatile situations;
  6. providing sufficient support during daily transitions; and
  7. modeling positive, pro-social behavior by interacting with fellow staff, children, and families in a positive, respectful manner.
Examples: Re-directing children can involve engaging the child in an individual activity away from the group and having a developmentally-appropriate discussion about emotional self-regulation techniques and conflict resolution skills.
Note: See PA-ECE 8.10 for more information on promoting emotional self-regulation within the curriculum.

 
Fundamental Practice

PA-ECE 7.08

Negative approaches to behavior management are prohibited including, but not limited to:
  1. corporal punishment;
  2. interventions that involve withholding nutrition or hydration, or that inflict physical or psychological pain;
  3. isolation and locked seclusion;
  4. ignoring the child;
  5. group punishment or discipline for individual behavior;
  6. labeling a child “good” or “bad;”
  7. the use of demeaning, shaming, threatening, or degrading language, tone, volume, or activities;
  8. physical restraint, except in response to age-appropriate, but potentially dangerous behavior, such as when a child runs into the street; and
  9. punitive use of timeouts.

 

PA-ECE 7.09

When children with persistent behavioral issues are enrolled in the program, teachers work with parents to:
  1. identify triggers to negative behaviors;
  2. identify de-escalation strategies or interventions that have worked well in the past;
  3. develop and implement an individualized plan to support the child’s success; and
  4. seek mental health consultation as needed.
Note: See PA-ECE 9 for more information on serving children with unique behavioral needs that may require additional screenings or services.

 

PA-ECE 7.10

Program changes are made with sensitivity to each child’s need for stability and consistent relationships.
Examples: Program changes can include decisions around grouping, staffing, and scheduling, which could impact a child’s day-to-day routines and established relationships.

Agencies can demonstrate that the needs of children in the program have been considered by instituting changes slowly, over-time; notifying children and their families of upcoming changes in advance; and taking the time to answer questions regarding the purpose of the change.