About this page: Our BrightStars intern, Heather, on her presentation on the ECERS-R to RIC students - A Blog Article by BrightStars of Rhode Island

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BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

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Our BrightStars intern, Heather, on her presentation on the ECERS-R to RIC students

On Monday, March 28, 2016, I held a presentation about BrightStars and the ECERS-R for a group of college juniors in Rhode Island College’s Early Childhood Education program. From a short survey I created to learn more about these students, I discovered that all of the students had little to no knowledge or exposure to BrightStars and the work it does in the field. As a senior and just one year ahead in the program, I felt it would be a valuable experience to share the information I had learned through my internship, as many of these students will be entering the educational workforce, possibly as grade school teachers, lead teachers, or preschool teachers.

I first prompted the students to jot down a few things that they believed were good for or supported young children. Students wrote answers like play, safe environments, open-ended materials, strong interactions, well trained teachers, and books, etc. Throughout the presentation, I used the students own ideas to tie in to my topics of discussion. For example, since several students indicated they valued “strong interactions” I explained that in the ECERS-R, interactions are assessed in multiple ways, not only between a teacher and a child but also the interactions among children and through discipline.

Many of the values shared by these future teachers are valued and mirrored in the measurement and assessment of high quality early childhood education. I wanted to build connections, visually, mentally, and physically, to demonstrate where and how these values are important and being used in Rhode Island through the BrightStars Child Care Center and Preschool Quality Framework. Students organized the post-it notes noting their values under four of the ten standards of the framework: Learning Environment, Early Learning and Development, Family Communication and Involvement, and Staff Qualifications.

At the end of the presentation, prepared with a follow-up survey, I assessed what my peers had learned. Many reported being surprised about everything involved in the rating of a program. Others were surprised that participation in BrightStars is not mandatory for all. All in all, with the use of a PowerPoint, a numerous props, and a couple of hands-on activities, I believe I was successful in passing on my knowledge of BrightStars and the ECERS-R to my peers at Rhode Island College.

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