Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale Kim Bailey Concordia University, St. Paul, ECE 544 – 621 Barbara Schoenbeck, Ph.D. August 22, 2013 Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 1 Center/School:____________________ Age group: 3 to 5 years of age (Pre-K) Teachers: Names of teachers Date: August 13, 2013 Environment Always Labels and other print are at child’s level Sometimes x Rarely Not Yet Examples Books: Variety and other print materials available, accessible to children, and age appropriate Area for children to sit and read (cozy and welcoming) x x Utensils: Variety is available and accessible to children x Writing Materials: Variety is available and accessible to children Children’s work is displayed at children’s level Materials are children’s size, safe, and age appropriate x x x Rich print environment (not too cluttered) Signs and labels are at children’s eye level Signs and labels catches children’s attention and are functional Children’s cubbies are labeled Areas are labeled Variety of books: o Big books, little books, picture books, culture related books, etc. Five books per student Accessible to children Area has matting and soft pillows Stuffed animals for children to hold Area is quiet Display books on open shelves Variety of utensils includes: o Pencils o Pens o Color crayons o Markers o Etc. Accessible to children Variety of writing materials includes: o Different types of paper o Clip boards o Chalk boards o Etc. Accessible to children Children’s work is displayed Children’s work is where they can see Children’s work is up dated Neat Chairs and tables are children’s size Materials are safe Materials are appropriate for preschoolers to use Notes: Materials were safe and are children’s size. Materials were available for children to use, however, the materials did not have much of a variety. There were labels, however, some labels were very high up. The children would have to look way up to see some materials are step back. There was a warm and cozy area. The room is very clustered (overly stimulated), If there is not enough literacy materials out, why? : There is not a lot of literacy around the room because there theme is castles. Strengths: The children looked comfortable in the room. The children were in two areas of the room and able to step away from the movement area if they did not want to dance. Goals: The room was very clustered. The materials in the house area were not put away (started observing in the morning, when children were still arriving. Teacher was still prepping and was not fully engaged with parent or child as they came in the door. The goal is to be better prepared in greeting parent and student at door. Have materials and room ready for students to explore. Remove items that the children are no longer using. Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 2 Daily Schedule/Events Always Daily schedule is children usable x Sometimes Rarely Not Yet Examples Schedule is located and accessible to the children x Variations made in schedule to meet individual needs x Transitions are smooth between events x Time for play and choice activities x Schedule is balance with structure and flexible x Schedule is clear and understandable Child friendly (children can go up to the schedule and understand it) Located where children can look and use the schedule Shorter story time for children with short attentions span Child taking longer on project is allowed to finish pass schedule time Slow eater is allowed to finish at their own pace Materials ready for children to use Children are engaged in transitions No long waiting Efficient time is given for children to play and explore Children are allowed to choose where they want to explore Activates may be lengthened due to children’s interests Outdoors may be lengthened due to nice weather Notes: Schedule is up but falling apart. Schedule is child friendly (picture schedule). Schedule was high up and not at children’s level. If schedule is not put up or organized. Why? : Schedule is up but falling apart. Teacher states that the schedule is old and that they are going to change it or fix it up as soon as they are able too. Strengths: Schedule is up and child friendly. The pictures on the schedule is pictures of the children in the room. Goals: Fix falling schedule and bring it down so the children can go to the schedule and remind themselves of what is going to happen next. Always Sometimes Rarely Not Yet Examples Language Conversations take place in the classroom x Teachers provide time to listen x Teacher provide opportunity to let children talk x Teacher and children engaging in conversations Students are engaged in conversations Children are encouraged to use their words Talk with children using language appropriate to their level of understanding Encourage children during conversations and respond to what child is saying Teacher encourage and prompt children to share ideas and stories Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 3 Teacher models conversations x Teacher is sensitive and in tuned to children’s needs x Teachers provide new and used vocabulary words x Children are comfortable to seek support x Teacher repeats correct model of conversation without directly correcting the child Teacher maintain eye contact Teacher is aware of children who need extra support Teacher is responsive to children and supports their needs Teacher is effective in helping address needs and problems Teacher share new words with definition or explanation of what the word is Teacher provide more meaning to already used vocabulary Children appear comfortable responding to questions Children appear comfortable to share ideas Notes: Teachers engage in conversation with children. Teacher is talking to child from across the room. Teachers stay with play theme by calling children, your majesty, queen, princess, knight, and your lady ship. A child is in music and movement explaining to another child how to do the waltz. If there was limited language, why? : During breakfast, I listened in on conversations. Teachers were engaged in conversation about growing up and it was a requirement for being clean by taking a bath. This conversation was taken up because a child came in wearing the same cloths. The children at this time did not engage on conversation and the room became very quiet except for the adults in room. Strengths: A little girl started crying and talking in Spanish. The teacher talked Spanish to the little girl and she dried her tears with her hands and smiled. She went back to eating her breakfast. Goals: Meal times are the perfect time to engage children in conversations. Talk to the children and be mindful that the child may know you are talking about him/her. Conversations about high gene can be done later when children are not around. The family may have limited resources and wears clothing more than once a week. Literacy Always Children are given time and room to explore materials x Sometimes Rarely Not Yet Examples Children are given time to explore literacy materials by themselves and with teachers Children are allowed to choose different types of materials to play with Literacy materials are age appropriate x Materials are not too hard or too easy for the children Variety of materials available and accessible to children x Variety includes: o Books o Finger plays o Songs Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 4 o Children are exposed to alphabet knowledge x Children are exposed to rhyming and alliteration x Teachers use emergent reading with children x Teachers are promoting literacy through play x Alliteration/rhyming games o Alphabet posters Children can easily access materials without teachers assistance Teachers are explicit about letter formations Promote letter games activities Letters are accessible and inviting to children Teachers are using explicit meaning for rhyming and alliteration Rhyming and alliteration games are accessible to children Teachers are promoting rhyming and alliteration through games and play Talk about words and letters Teachers do dictations Help children learn about sequences of books (front, back, etc.) Provide materials (flannel boards, books, etc.) Children seems to be enjoying activities and are not sitting a table to trace Activities are throughout the room and available for usage Notes: Children are able to move around and explore by themselves. There are limited rhyming and alliteration games. Most of these are teacher directed and only used during transitions. I did not see much of teachers reading to children when I was doing my observation. Alphabets were posted but up high above windows. If there were limited literacy, why? : Most materials are teacher directed. They are in the middle of castles and will be changing the materials soon. Strengths: Children looked engaged. During my time there children did not use much of the literacy materials. The children danced, play house, went into the castle, however, teacher indicated that the writing on the door said castle is closed. When the castle was open, roles were made up by the children. Goals: A child wanted to be a knight, a teacher said he could not hold a stick. The child walks up to another teacher, that teacher questioned the other teacher why can’t he be a knight. The other teacher stated that the boy may hit another child with it. The teacher by the boy said “it’ll be ok and she’ll keep an eye on the boy”. The boy smiles and walks into the castle. When having supplies out for the children to use establish the rules with other adults so all adults will feel comfortable with the materials set up for the children to use. Incorporate letters without having it up so high. Having alphabet lower so children can access it easily. Writing Always Variety of materials is used for writing x Children are encouraged to write their own names on art and personal writing or drawing Sometimes Rarely Not Yet Examples x Variety includes: o Journaling o Pencils, pens, markers, crayons o Clip boards o Paper (lined, unlined, colorful, different sizes) Children are writing on their own Children are exploring throughout the room using different materials to encourage Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 5 Teachers enhance children’s knowledge of print and that print has meaning x Writing materials is around the room and accessible to children x Teachers encourage children to write or trace words or their own names n/a n/a Teachers are modeling writing and enjoys writing Support children where ever they are in their individual writing development n/a n/a x n/a writing Teacher explaining print by saying things like: “I’m writing Sarah, so everyone will know who this belongs too” “This word says stop. We need to stop and wait” Writing materials are around the room (e.g. dramatic, block, discovery) Children can access the materials and used to explore with their own free will Children is writing words by looking at other prints Teachers are supportive by using encouraging words like (“your wrote it by yourself” or “you are a great writer” Teachers are modeling writing in the classroom Teachers are writing and showing how wonderful writing can be Encouraging children even if they scribble their names Supporting the children’s interest by using creative ways to support writing (writing letters with a car in sand) n/a n/a n/a Notes: On schedule there is a sign that says sign in. There is a chart for sign in, however, I did not see it being used. I did not see teachers modeling writing. The art project was crowns and when children finished pasting on collage on crowns, teachers taped (already cut crowns) together on children’s heads. If there were limited writing, why?: Children were not encouraged to write, they were more so into the roles the children would be playing for the castle theme. Strengths: During transitions, teachers were doing letter names, by using Zaner-Blosers traditional method and writing out letters for children to see on a wipe off board. Goals: Children are engaged in castle theme, writing should be a big part of learning in the classroom. Encourage children to copy signs in room or their names when they come in can support children’s writing skills. Circle Time Always Sometimes Rarely Not Yet Teachers are attentive to children’s needs and moods x Teachers are using different vocals and facial features to engage children’s interest x Examples Children are interested and engaged. However, if children’s are having a hard time siting, teacher would change it up to suit the children’s needs Teachers are keeping children engage by doing facials and changing their voice to support the story (e.g. the mouse was very quiet, as the teacher is reading this she/he would be whispering) Story or book is read out loud Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 6 Teacher models how to read the book and explains functions of the book x Teacher introduce new words and enhance already known words by relating it to their conversations x Teacher models and provides opportunity for children to respond by using open ended questions x Children are engaged x Materials used are age appropriate and ready x Models how to hold the book and read Explains the functions of the book (front, back, author, title, illustrator, starts here on the left) During story children are engaged in conversations Teacher is explaining about new words and explains meaning Teacher is listening to children’s thoughts on the story Throughout story teachers provide questions like: “What do you think will happen next?” “who can add on” “have you even felt that way” Children seems engaged and enjoying the activity Story chosen is not beyond children’s knowledge Materials are prepared and ready for usage Notes: Children are listening to story and looks at book and teacher as she reads. Minimal questions were asked. When asked they were all open-ended questions. Book was age appropriate and children were able to be attentive to the story. A child raised hand, teacher did not see. Child put down hand. If circle time was not observed, explain: ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Strengths: Teacher was great a using facial features and changing of vocals to really capture the story. Goals: Encourage more conversations out of the children by asking things like “who else can add on”. Have two teachers available during circle time, so one teacher can read and the other can support children who may have a quick question or need support. Questions for teachers 1 How often are the classroom materials rotated? Answer: We change materials every week depending on the materials. Books are changed whenever we change the study. A new study is done every two weeks. 2 How many languages are used in the classroom? Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 7 Answer: We have five different languages spoken in this room (English, Spanish, Somali, Karen, and Hmong). 3 How does a teacher engage a child that has limited English into a conversation? Answer: We give the children the words. If we ask a question and the child looks puzzled, we say, “You can say _____. This means ____”. We also use lots of gestures. 4 How often do you read with the children? To the children? Answer: We read to the children all day. We do at least five to six times a day because we are full day. Sometimes we don’t use a book. We do finger plays or we tell story through movements. Sometimes the children act out the story so they are helping us tell the story. 5 How do the teachers promote literacy with parents? Answer: We have a parent board and we put out information. We have family fun nights that parents are encourage to come to. We talk to parents when they come in or pick up. We send home library book bags. We give families books and writing utensils at least three times a year. Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 8 Pictures/notes from over all observations Children’s work Block area Dramatic Play Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 9 Group Area/music and movement Writing Center Schedule Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 10 Reminders Located beside the castle in the corner. Parent information Other areas in the room Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 11 Summary Prior to starting my observation in a classroom, I spoke to the center manager about going into a classroom three weeks ahead of observing. Three days prior to observation I talked to the center manager again and she suggested room 4. She informed me she would not be here but the teachers were alright with me going into the classroom and observing for a few hours. In fact they would be happy to help me any way they can. When I first went into the room, the teacher said she understood that I would be doing observations and I’m welcome to do so, however, she than explained that if I had any negative feedback, they did not want to hear from me. I was informed that they get observed all the time and they know their strengths and weaknesses. I explained that I am doing this for a class I have in college and I created the scale. I informed them I wanted to use my scale to see if my environmental scale is well written enough to use in an early childhood setting for observations in language and literacy. I further explained I would like to share my observations with all three teachers in the room when I am done with putting the information together. She refused. I said I’ll make a copy for them and if they are Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 12 interested they can review it. With this information the teacher smiled and returned to her prepping. From the observations I have taken, I noticed that many of the children’s art work were up, however, the art work was pre-cut and the names of the children’s were written by an adult handwriting. My suggestion would be that children should be encouraged to write or trace their own names. Allowing children time to also explore with scissors and cut out their own work will benefit the children’s fine motor skills. The block area sign was up. The castle was located in the block area. There were minimum amount of writing and no blocks or manipulative toys in the area. Located in the castle there were three pillows and a rug. Books were located beside the castle. The dress up cloths and materials were located in the dramatic play area across the group area. My suggestion would be move the castle to the dramatic play area and keep the block area a block area. The children were dressing up in the dramatic play area and would walk to the castle. When walking to the castle the children walking would step over the children who are lying down to read or play with manipulative toys. One of the structures was knocked down. One of the boys sat on a chair most of the day except for when it was group time and meal times. The little boy was making sounds and taping his fingers along the arm of the chair. Teachers had minimal communication to support the boy in finding an area to play in. Also by adding more writing to the block area would be beneficial because most boys play in this area. Providing writing tools can also support literacy growth. Books were out and some were nicely in selves facing forward. Some books were piled up and some were ripped. My suggestion would be go over the book and replace books that have been ruined. The great thing about the books was that there were books in every area. Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 13 The sign in board was up and ready for usage. My suggestions would be stay with routine and have children sign in every day. This will allow children to practice writing their names. During breakfast I observed teachers talking about a little child who they have noticed wearing the same clothing. They continue to talk about how it was like for them growing up and how cleanliness was an absolute must in their families. The children became very quiet and soon none of the children were talking. The adults were talking to themselves. My suggestion would be that teachers should not make comments about the children or families, especially if they are negative comments. Working for a non-profit organization and serving low income families, teachers must be sensitive. The family may have limited resources and unable to afford new cloths. If teachers are worried about this, teachers should build a relationship with the family and help with resources or information. During meal times is an ideal time to share and engage in conversations with the children. Stay focused on the children and listens to their conversations and scaffold children’s communication skills. The classroom felt very small because there was stuff everywhere. My suggestion would be to remove any materials that are not being used. If time is an issue, allow the children to help by giving suggestions or moving materials back to the areas they may belong too. The room does belong to the children as well and little hands can be a great help in organizing and cleaning. My overall suggestion for literacy is adding more child friendly materials out for usage. Many of the literacy materials in the classroom was teacher directed. Add games and materials that the children can use by themselves without any help from adults. Early Literacy and Language Environmental Rating Scale 14 References Bredekamp, S., Copple, C., & Neuman, S.B. (2000). Learning to read and write: Developmentally appropriate practices for young children. Washington, DC: National Association For The Education Of Young Children Clifford, R. M., Cryer, D., & Harms, T. (2005). Early childhood environment rating scale: Revised edition. New York, NY: Teachers College Press Hamre, B. K., La Paro, K. M., & Pianta, R.C. (2009). Classroom assessment scoring system: Manual pre-k. Baltimore, Maryland: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co. Machado, J. M. (2013). Early childhood experiences in language arts: Early literacy(10th ed). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning Minnesota Department of Education & Minnesota Department of Human Services. (2005). Early childhood indicators of progress: Minnesota’s early learning standards. Minnesota Department of Education and Human Services.