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8.6: Evaluating the Environment

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    Once you have created your ideal early learning environment, it is suggested that you evaluate it on an on-going basis to make sure it is continuously meeting the needs of the children using it. A tool that is used extensively to assess and evaluate childcare programs is the Environment Rating Scales (ERS). The Environment Rating Scales were designed to offer guidelines for high-quality practices. According to ERS, a quality program must provide for the three basic needs all children have:

    • Protection of their health and safety
    • Building positive relationships
    • Opportunities for stimulation and learning from experience

    The ERS further states, that “no one component is more or less important than the others, nor can one substitute for another. It takes all three to create quality care. Each of the three basic components of quality care manifests itself in tangible forms in the program's environment, curriculum, schedule, supervision, and interaction, and can be observed.” [108]

    There are 4 Environment Rating Scales depending on the type of program being assessed:

    • The Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale
    • Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale
    • School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale
    • Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale

    The ECERS scales consists of 35 items organized into 6 subscales:

    • Space and Furnishings
    • Personal Care Routines
    • Language and Literacy
    • Learning Activities
    • Interaction
    • Program Structure

    You will learn more about this tool in CDE 203 (Observation and Assessment), but for further exploration now you can visit

    This page titled 8.6: Evaluating the Environment is shared under a CC BY-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Cindy Stephens, Gina Peterson, Sharon Eyrich, & Jennifer Paris (College of the Canyons) .