ERS News You Can Use

Environment Rating Scale Info. and Tips - January 2015

Display for children

Why have display in your child care? Display can increase the experiences children have and make them proud of what they have accomplished. Display can help them remember recent projects, trips, etc. and get them excited for upcoming events.

Display can be two-dimensional or flat work such as paintings, charts, posters, photos, collages and paintings. They can also be three-dimensional, being built up and out, such as clay or play dough sculptures, mobiles, hanging plants and wood and construction projects/objects. These can be hung from the ceiling or put on top of shelves.

Things to remember:

- Display focuses on the classroom/area where children in the group spend a majority of the day.

- The display in the classroom should be meaningful to the children, safe, colorful, spread throughout the room/area, show diversity and be appropriate to their age level.

- The display should be changed frequently- monthly is best. This keeps up with topics of current interest and makes kids excited to show Mom and Dad their new creations!

- Discuss displayed materials with the children. This helps children link written and spoken language and pushes them to connect ideas into more complex thoughts.

- Display items where children can easily see them, such as the child's eye level.

- Include photos of the children and/or their families

- Display should always include artwork done by the children. The majority of the work should be individual projects done by the children in their own way and that do not follow a model/example.

Harms T., Clifford R. M., Cryer D., (1996-2013) ITERS-R, ECERS-R, ECERS-3, FCCERS-R and SACERS

ECERS-3 - A new and improved version of the ECERS-R

What's new in the world of Environment Rating Scale (ERS) assessments?

There is a new tool on the block. The ECERS-3 is the new and improved third edition of the ECERS-R assessment tool. It focuses on the full range of needs of preschool and kindergarten-aged children such as cognitive, social-emotional, physical and health and safety.

What improvements are there in ECERS-3?

- More emphasis on teacher-child interactions. For example: less emphasis on actual numbers of materials and more emphasis on how the teacher's are using the materials with the children.

- Stronger focus on issues related to school readiness such as literacy, language, science and math

- Most indicators were rewritten so they can be easily observed and target specific areas. There is less need for questions/interview.

- Items are scored all the way through- to give credit for everything a program is doing.

IdahoSTARS will begin transitioning to the ECERS-3 within the next year.

Harms T., Clifford R. M., Cryer D., (2014) ECERS-3

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Spotlight on Activities: Art

Art activities are important for young children because they encourage the development of many skills including fine motor skills, writing and self-help skills. Art allows children to experiment, escape and express themselves. Children show how they see things, represent their ideas in a different way and feel pride in their creations!

Categories of art materials are: (1) drawing materials, such as crayons, nontoxic watercolor markers, pencils, chalk; (2) paints, such as tempera, watercolor sets, finger paint; (3) materials to create three-dimensional objects, such as play dough, wood scraps, clay, boxes; (4) collage materials, such as cloth scraps, yarn, colorful or textured paper scraps; (5) tools, such as scissors, tape, hole punches, rulers, stencils, stamps with pads.

All materials must be accompanied by paper, as needed, or another surface for carrying out artwork.

When? Provide art for young toddlers (12-23 months) at least 3 times a week and daily for older toddlers (24-30 months), preschool-aged children, and school agers.

Art items:

Infant/toddler: This item can be marked N/A if all children in the group are younger than 12 months. However, if art is done it will be scored. Only the simplest of materials should be used with younger toddlers such as large nontoxic crayons, finger paint, chalk/chalkboard and large paper. Older toddlers can use the above plus watercolor markers, tempera paints, painting tools, blunt scissors, play dough and simple collage materials.

Preschool: Provide a variety of different materials with 3-5 examples from at least four of the categories listed above.

School-age: Include at least one type from the drawing, paints, collage and three-dimensional categories. Offer more challenging crafts such as weaving, origami, jewelry making and/or embroidery.

Point to remember:

- All materials must be nontoxic and safe

- Edible materials such as pudding, karo syrup, whip cream, etc. can not be counted as art materials because they give a misleading message about the proper uses of food and there are possible health, safety and supervision issues that may be affected.

- Most art activities should allow children to use the materials in their own way

-Art is supervised and teachers talk with children about what they are creating

Above and Beyond: Teachers capture what children are saying about their art, children are allowed to complete projects over several days, and some art activities are related to current themes in the classroom.

Harms T., Clifford R. M., Cryer D., (1996-2013) ITERS-R, ECERS-R, ECERS-3, FCCERS-R and SACERS

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ERS Website

Environment Rating Scale questions? For answers and more information on the environment rating scales, visit the ERS website at

The IdahoSTARS project

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