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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.

Competencies [refers to Workforce Knowledge or Core Competencies]
Refers to the range of knowledge and observable skills that early childhood practitioners need to provide effective services to children and families. Competencies, sometimes referred to as "core competencies," are typically linked with states' early learning guidelines and provide a framework for Professional Development at various career stages.
Comprehensive Services
An array of coordinated services that meet the holistic needs of children and families enrolled in a given program, from health and developmental screenings to family literacy trainings and parent education.
A collaborative, problem-solving process between an external consultant with specific expertise and adult learning Competencies and an individual or group. Consultation typically facilitates the assessment and resolution of an issue-specific concern, a program-/organizational-, staff-, or child-/family-related issue, or addresses a specific topic. See related: Coaching; Technical Assistance.
Continuing Education Unit (CEU)
Refers to credits that early childhood professionals earn by demonstrating that they have attended training/Professional Development and can understand and apply what they have learned. CEUs are often regarded as a bridge between In-Service Training and college credit.
Continuity of Care
Refers to the provision of care to children by consistent caregivers in consistent environments over a period of time to ensure stable and nurturing environments. Research shows that maintaining continuity and limiting transitions in a child's first few years of life promotes the type of deep human connections that young children need for optimal early brain development, emotional regulation, and learning.
Copayment (Co-Pay)
Payment for part of a subsidized service that is the responsibility of parents/family members. The copayment amount may take a family's financial circumstances into consideration.
Cost of Care
The monetary cost of providing early care and education services. Major contributors to the cost of care include staff wages and salaries, benefits, rent, supplies, Professional Development and training. The cost of care can be different from the actual price of care charged by the provider.
Academic degrees, licenses or certificates awarded to individuals who successfully complete state or national requirements to enter specialized roles in the early childhood Workforce. See related: Certification (Staff).
Cultural Competence
A term that describes what happens when special knowledge about individuals and groups of people is incorporated into standards, policies, and practices. Cultural competence fosters an appreciation of families and their unique backgrounds and has been shown to increase the quality and effectiveness of services to children.
A written plan that includes goals for children's development and learning; the experiences through which they will achieve the goals; what staff and parents should do to help children achieve the goals; and the materials needed to support the implementation of the curriculum.
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