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Child Care and Early Education Glossary

The child care & early education glossary defines terms used to describe aspects of child care and early education practice and policy; the research glossary defines terms used in conducting social science and policy research, for example those describing methods, measurements, statistical procedures, and other aspects of research.

Refers to the availability of child care when and where a family needs it. See related: Child Care Access; Child Care Availability.
Refers to adjustments or adaptations made in standards and assessment tools to allow children with Special Needs or English-Language Learners to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. Accommodations help provide children with equal access to education by meeting the child's individual learning needs and capabilities For example, a test could be adapted for a child with attention issues by granting extra time or could be administered to a non-English speaker in the child's native language. Accommodation addresses how the child is expected to learn and demonstrate learning, not what a child is expected to learn. Compare with: Modification.
A process through which child care programs voluntarily meet specific standards to receive endorsement from a professional agency. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs (NAC) are among the organizations that offer accreditation programs for child care.
Adult-Child Ratio
Refers to the number of qualified adult caregivers relative to the number of children in a child care program. In determining the regulatory adult-to-child ratio, the ages of children served are also considered. In high Quality programs, there is typically a low adult-child/staff-child ratio.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
Refers to potentially traumatic events that can have a negative, lasting effect on an individual's health and well-being. Adverse childhood experiences can include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse to the death or incarceration of a parent or guardian.
The degree to which the price of child care is a reasonable or feasible family expense. States maintain different definitions of "affordable" child care, taking various factors into consideration, such as family income, child care Market Rates, and Subsidy acceptance, among others.
After-School Program
Programs serving school age children and older when they are not in school. Sometimes called Out-of-School Time (OST) programs, after school programs may provide a broad range of services and supports such as mentoring, academic support, youth development, arts, sports and other forms of recreation.
American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN)
A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains cultural identification through tribal affiliation or community recognition.
Approaches to Learning
Refers to the ways in which children learn, including children's openness and curiosity to tasks and challenges, task persistence, imagination, attentiveness, and cognitive learning style.
At Risk
A term used to describe children who are considered to have a higher probability of non-optimal Child Development and learning. See related: Risk Factors.
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