Origins of the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Program Quality Indicators Tool

Many of you have asked about the origins of the Saskatchewan Early Childhood Program Quality Indicators (SKECPQI) Tool. The tool originated based upon the extension of the key indicator methodology into more program quality initiatives that have sprung up in several jurisdictions in the past two decades. These quality indicators are intended to be used alongside the licensing key indicators that have been developed in many of these respective jurisdictions.

So where did these quality indicators come from? The first couple are from the professional development arena dealing with the level of staffing and the use of a developmentally appropriate curriculum. There is an additional quality indicator which comes specifically from Saskatchewan’s quality initiatives dealing with the program’s environment. Another quality indicator dealing with coaching is also suggested but is still under development in Saskatchewan so it will not be utilized as part of the research pilot study in Saskatchewan.

The next two quality indicators are drawn from Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) dealing with family engagement which became key indicators of overall quality scores in QRIS. These quality indicators build nicely off of licensing key indicators because this is an area that is not measured very often in licensing rules/regulations.

The last five quality indicators are drawn from the specific quality tools that have been utilized a great deal in the early childhood/child care research literature, the Environmental Rating Scales (ECERS, ITERS) and the Caregiver Interaction Scale (CIS). The specific quality indicators are the following: Communication and Reasoning from the ECERS, and Communication & Conversations from the ITERS; and Listening Attentively and Speak Warmly from the CIS.

There are nine quality indicators scored on a 1-4 Likert Scale similar to how the CIS is scored by assessing the adequacy of the response to each quality indicator. As stated in the above paragraph, this tool could be used in conjunction with a Licensing Key Indicator tool or a Risk Assessment tool as part of a differential monitoring approach to doing abbreviated inspections which is utilized by many jurisdictions presently. Please see previous blog posts for more information about differential monitoring and abbreviated inspections which has been suggested by the CCDBG Legislation.

About Dr Fiene

Dr. Rick Fiene has spent his professional career in improving the quality of child care in various states, nationally, and internationally. He has done extensive research and publishing on the key components in improving child care quality through an early childhood program quality indicator model of training, technical assistance, quality rating & improvement systems, professional development, mentoring, licensing, risk assessment, differential program monitoring, and accreditation. Dr. Fiene is a retired professor of human development & psychology (Penn State University) where he was department head and director of the Capital Area Early Childhood Research and Training Institute.
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