Quality First Blog, Tips and Inspiration

Free inspiration and resources are just an added bonus. Helping you is just what we do. See the latest blogs, tips and research on how you can provide the highest-quality care and improve your early learning setting.

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teacher playing with children

Strong Hearts, Strong Minds: Cultivating character through critical thinking

As early childhood educators, when we discuss higher-order thinking skills or critical thinking, we may think about  science, technology, engineering, the arts or mathematics (STEAM). But higher-order thinking refers to a way of thinking, not a specific content area. It is about how a child learns, rather than what. As educators, we focus on providing

washing hands

Reducing the risk of contamination in diapering areas and handwashing sinks

Thinking about upgrading your diaper-changing area? Making changes to your diaper-changing area can benefit supervision and safety, but don’t forget sanitary procedures. The Department of Health Services (DHS) Child Care Licensing requires classrooms with a diaper-changing area to include “a hand-washing sink next to the diaper changing surface,” meaning the diapering sink must be directly


Handling the Holidays: Honoring different cultures and traditions

As early childhood educators, it is our responsibility to understand, respect and honor each child in our care without bias. Many programs have families enrolled with a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. Even in programs that appear homogeneous, families have different ways of celebrating their traditions.  Quality early learning programs partner with families in

child playing

Communication Matters: Talking with families about learning through play

How do you respond when parents ask: “Do the kids just play all day?” If you’ve ever struggled to respond to this question, you’re not alone. There are many different ideas about how children should learn. How you communicate with families about your program and your quality early learning practices will benefit them in the

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Water play activities to support learning

Offering water play in the classroom and outdoors provides an engaging way to introduce science and math concepts. It provides opportunities for problem-solving, creative thinking and practicing social skills and language development. As with any type of activity, offering variety can create renewed interest and support children’s learning. Here are ways to make the most


Tools to reduce preschool expulsions

Did you know that preschoolers are three times more likely to be expelled than children in kindergarten through 12th grade?  In many cases, preschoolers are suspended or expelled due to challenging behaviors that educators feel unequipped to handle. When faced with behavior challenges in your classroom or care group, it’s important to know you are