Anisha Ford
New America Blog
“The ECE [Early Childhood Education] field has the potential to broaden what it considers as key levers for positive change,” posits the Ounce of Prevention Fund (The Ounce) and the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research (UChicago Consortium). The two groups are referring to the organizational climate and conditions of early education sites. A number of states have already included K-12 school climate initiatives in their ESSA plans as more policymakers are recognizing that a positive school climate is an indicator of quality. Research has found that students in schools with strong school climates, or work environments, were 10 times more likely to make substantial academic gains than their peers in schools with weak climates. Similarly, early education programs with positive climates exhibit strong classroom quality, including high-quality teacher-child interactions. However, there are few tools to measure organizational climate in early education programs and pinpoint areas for improvement.

To fill this void, the Ounce and the UChicago Consortium created the Early Education Essential Organizational Supports measurement system (Early Ed Essentials). The Early Ed Essentials are a set of teacher and parent surveys that measure the organizational climate of publicly funded programs serving three-and four-year-olds, with the goal of providing these programs with actionable information for improving organizational conditions.