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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.

Evidence-Based Practice
A practice, regimen or service that is grounded in evidence and can demonstrate that it improves outcomes. Elements of evidence-based practice are standardized, replicable and effective within a given setting and for a particular group of participants. See related: Best Practices.
Executive Function
A group of cognitive skills that contribute to the development of Self-Regulation. Executive function skills include: cognitive flexibility, the ability to switch attention between different rules; working memory, the ability to hold information in mind while working on a task; and inhibitory control, the ability to resist certain impulses in order to complete a goal.
Family (Parent) Engagement
Refers to an interactive process of relationship-building between early childhood professionals and families that is mutual, respectful, and responsive to the family’s language and culture. Engagement in the early years prepares families to support their children's learning throughout their school years and support parent/family-child relationships that are key to healthy Child Development, School Readiness, and well-being. See related: Parent/Family Involvement.
Family Child Care
Child care provided for one or more unrelated children in a provider's home setting. Most states have regulatory guidelines for family child care homes based on the number and ages of children they serve as well as the number of hours their business operates. See related: Home-based Child Care; Kith and Kin Child Care; Family, Friend and Neighbor (FFN) Child Care; Informal Child Care.
Family Child Care Networks
Community-based programs that offer a menu of ongoing services and supports to affiliated Family Child Care providers. Network services typically include some combination of visits to providers’ homes to offer Technical Assistance (TA), Coaching or Consultation, training workshops and peer networking opportunities. Networks may help new providers with Licensing assistance, CACFP applications or acquiring start-up equipment; They may help more experienced providers with specific supports for improving their practice, obtaining Professional Development (PD), or attaining national Accreditation. Family Child Care Networks are primary funded through CCDF.
Family Literacy
Refers to a continuum of programs that support literacy for all family members. Family literacy programs are designed to help families overcome inter-generational cycles of illiteracy and poverty by providing integrated early childhood education, adult literacy, and parenting education in a unified program.
Family, Friend, and Neighbor (FFN) Child Care
Child care provided by relatives, friends, and neighbors in the child's own home or in another home, often in unregulated settings. See related: Kith and Kin Child Care; Informal Child Care.
Financing Strategies
Refers to funding mechanisms and approaches that support early care and education services. Strategies typically include Blended Funded, Braided Funding and Layered Funding.
Fine Motor Skills
Actions that require control of the small muscles of the body to achieve skillfulness. Examples of fine motor skills include drawing, cutting with scissors, handwriting, and playing a musical instrument. Compare with: Gross Motor Skills.
Global Quality
Refers to the totality of features in an early childhood setting that affect children's development. Global quality encompasses children's' interactions with caregivers and other children as well as characteristics of the setting's physical space, furnishings and materials.
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