How to Set Up an ECERS Classroom

The ECERS-R is designed to assess the quality of preschool programs.
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The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale -- Revised (ECERS-R) is an assessment instrument designed to evaluate programs that provide group care for children in the preschool and kindergarten age range. The ECERS-R was published in 1998 as an updated version of the original ECERS, which came out in 1980. There are 43 items in the scale, grouped into the subscales of Space and Furnishings, Personal Care Routines, Language-Reasoning, Activities, Interactions, Program Structure, and Parents and Staff. If you are setting up a classroom to be compliant with the ECERS-R, several steps should be taken.

Ensure the space for the classroom is well-lit and has a comfortable temperature. There should be natural lighting, with windows and blinds that can be opened to allow air circulation. The room should be well-maintained and in good repair. There should be plenty of space in the room so the children can move about without feeling crowded. At nap time there should be enough space for all the children to lay down on separate cots or mats.

Obtain furniture that is sturdy and sized for the children who will be in the program. Furniture should be comfortable so the children can focus on learning and play activities. The caregivers should be able to reach the furnishings easily to facilitate cleaning. The children should have access to quiet areas with soft furnishings and toys so they can relax and rest. There should be a section of the room that allows the children to be alone away from the pressures of being in a group. In the bathroom area, the sink and soap should be accessible to both adults and children

Arrange the room to offer a wide range of age-appropriate interest centers. Make sure the materials are organized and accessible so the children can use them independently and return them to their proper place.

Provide space for the display of individual work created by the children. The work should be displayed at the children's eye level. This lets the children know that what they do has value.

Provide space and equipment for gross motor play. Be sure that the space allows the children to run and engage in other gross motor activities. All equipment should be safe, sturdy and accessible.

Set up a daily schedule that provides large amounts of play time, smooth transitions, and a balance between child-initiated and teacher-initiated activities. Make sure that staff members are familiar with the components of the ECERS-R and how to implement them.

Talmadge Walker is a former schoolteacher turned professional writer. He has a bachelor's degree from Birmingham-Southern College and a master's degree in special education from Elon University. Talmadge is a volunteer historic interpreter at the Bennett Place State Historic Site.