Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

RP Products by Type: Performance Checklists

ECTA Center was charged with assisting the WWW: DEC and WWW: DEC Commissioners to revise the WWW: DEC Recommended Practices and with developing products that would promote the use of the Recommended Practices, and with providing intensive TA to assist states in implementing evidence-based practices.

ECTA Center Staff Contributors

Icon: Checklist

These Performance Checklists are intended for practitioners (and leaders where noted) to increase their understanding and use of the DEC Recommended Practices and for self-evaluation of one's use of the practices. Read more about how we developed these checklists...

The Checklists are listed below by the DEC Recommended Practices topics:

Leadership Checklists

  • This checklist provides strategies leaders can use to promote collaboration within and across agencies and programs at the state and local level. Collaboration is essential to ensure that the educational, health and developmental needs of young children and families are being met.

    State leaders may work with other state agency colleagues to raise funds, set new rules and plan new initiatives for young children and families. They may work with universities to ensure that professional development programs address the DEC Recommended Practices. At the local level, leaders may work across community agencies to make it easier for families to access services, or to raise community awareness about an issue the community is facing.

    The checklist can be used as a self-evaluation tool to determine if collaboration is being incorporated at all levels of leadership.

  • This checklist provides examples of practices leaders can use to create an environment in which work can get done in an effective and rewarding way. Providers who are expected to demonstrate beliefs and values that include behaviors such as valuing and respecting families, supporting their decisions, including them as full team members and enhancing their confidence and competence need leadership that exemplifies and demonstrates these same beliefs and values.

    The checklist can be used by leaders at both the state and local program level as a self-evaluation to determine if they are practicing and promoting these values and beliefs on a daily basis. Leaders lead by doing and setting the example.

  • This checklist includes examples of steps leaders can take to help to create a well-functioning and forward-thinking organization and to help practitioners feel a sense of belonging as they understand their purpose within the organization. The checklist can be used as a self-evaluation by leaders at both state and local levels to ensure that they are articulating and using the vision and mission of the organization not only to create a supportive work environment, but also to help determine the future activities of the organization and to provide direction to the larger early care and education community for improving services for ALL children and families.

Assessment Checklists

  • This checklist includes practices that are important for using informed clinical reasoning/opinion for evaluation and eligibility determination. This checklist can help individuals and team members insure that the evaluation and assessment informs an accurate eligibility determination.

    The checklist indicators can be used to develop a plan to promote a formalized and structured process using informed clinical reasoning for eligibility determination.

    The checklist rating scale can be used for a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practice when conducting an eligibility determination.

  • This checklist includes practices for engaging families throughout the assessment process. Assessment is the process of gathering information to make informed decisions and is a critical component for intervening with young children who are at risk for developmental delays or have delays/disabilities and their families.

    Families are important sources of information about what a child can do, likes to do, is interested in, and how well he/she functions throughout the day. This helps practitioners and families focus on child participation, interaction, and independence in everyday activities that are most meaningful and important to the family.

    The checklist indicators can be used to develop a plan to improve practitioner's engagement of families in a child's assessment process. The checklist rating scale can be used for a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practices were used to engage a family in their child's assessment.

  • This checklist includes key characteristics of authentic assessment practices for observing child participation in everyday activities, the real world learning opportunities that occur in the activities, child behavior in the everyday learning opportunities, and the particular learning opportunities that provide a child the richest array of competency-enhancing learning opportunities.

    The main focus of authentic assessment practices is identifying the everyday contexts for child learning, the behavior a child will acquire in these settings, and the environmental and interactional/instructional strategies for promoting child competence while engaged in the activities. Authentic assessment links context-specific assessment information to functional intervention practices.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to conduct an authentic child assessment or to promote a parent or practitioners' understanding and use of this approach to assessment/intervention. The checklist rating scale can be used for a self-evaluation to determine if the key characteristics were used as part of child assessment.

  • This checklist includes the key characteristics for identifying child strengths and for using child strengths as the building blocks for supporting and promoting child learning and competence. Child strengths include the behavior, skills, abilities, etc. that are used with materials and other persons, and child interests, preferences, etc. that sustain engagement in everyday activities.

    The main focus of the checklist is the methods and strategies that can be used to identify a child's strengths and how strengths can be used as building blocks for engaging a child in everyday activities for promoting child learning and competence in the activities. Child strengths-based assessment practices shift the focus of assessment from what a child cannot do to what a child can do.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to plan and implement a strengths-based child assessment or to promote a parent or practitioners' use of strengths-based assessment practices. The checklist rating scale can be used for a self-evaluation to determine if the key characteristics of strengths-based assessment practices were used with a child.

Environment Checklists

  • This checklist includes the types of environmental events/factors and adult (parent or practitioner) practices that can be used to engage children in everyday activities to encourage and sustain child learning in the activities. The checklist practices include a mix of interest-based child learning opportunities and adult positive (contingent) responsiveness to sustain child participation in the learning activities.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practices with a child or to promote a parent's use of the practices. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practices with a child or promoting a parent's use of the practices.

  • This checklist includes practices for encouraging child physical activity using environmental arrangements and active child play opportunities as part of everyday learning.

    The checklist items include a number of different practices adults can use to ensure indoor and outdoor spaces are arranged to maintain or improve fitness, wellness, and gross motor development as well as development in other areas.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practices with a child(ren) or to promote a parent's use of the practices. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practices with a child(ren) or promoting a parent's use of the practices.

  • This checklist includes practices for encouraging and inviting child physical activity and active child play opportunities as part of everyday learning. The checklist items include a number of different practices adults (practitioners or parents) can use to ensure young children experience ample physical activity (exercise, movement, etc.) to maintain or improve fitness, wellness, and gross-motor development as well as development in other areas.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practices with a child(ren) or to promote a parent's use of the practices. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practices with a child(ren) or promoting a parent's use of the practices.

  • This checklist includes procedures for determining the types of environmental adaptations (physical, social, temporal, etc.) that can be used to promote child participation in learning activities to enhance child competence. The checklist indicators focus on the types of adaptations that can be used to eliminate or reduce barriers to increase child participation in learning activities and routines.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to conduct an adaptation assessment and to develop an action plan for using specific adaptations to promote child participation in learning activities. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if the necessary steps were followed to use adaptations as part of a child's individualized intervention plan.

  • This checklist includes procedures for determining the types of environmental adaptations (physical, social, temporal, etc.) that can be used to promote child participation in learning activities to enhance child competence. The checklist indicators focus on the types of adaptations that can be used to eliminate or reduce barriers to increase child participation in learning activities and routines.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to conduct an adaptation assessment and to develop an action plan for using specific adaptations to promote child participation in learning activities. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if the necessary steps were followed to use adaptations as part of a child's individualized intervention plan.

Family Checklists

  • This checklist includes the kinds of practitioner help-giving behavior that are indicators for interacting with and treating parents and other family members in a family-centered manner. The practices are used as part of engaging parents and other family members in child, parent-child, parent, and family interventions.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to plan interactions with parents or other family members as part of any assessment or intervention activity. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if the family-centered practice characteristics were used during practitioner-family interactions.

  • This checklist includes the kinds of practitioner help-giving practices that can be used to engage parents in informed decision-making in ways that are responsive to family concerns and priorities.

    The help-giving behavior include practices that provide parents information, advice, and guidance in ways that lead to the identification of child, parent, or family outcomes and the resources and supports needed to achieve those outcomes. The practices are used in conjunction with family-centered practices and family engagement practices.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to plan interactions with a parent or other family member to engage them in making informed choices about courses-of-action to address family concerns and priorities. The checklist rating scale can be used to do self-evaluation to determine if the practice characteristics appropriate to a family's situation were used as part of practitioner-parent interactions.

  • This checklist includes the kinds of practitioner help-giving practices that can be used to actively engage parents and other family members in obtaining family-identified resources and supports or actively engaging parents and other family members in the use of other types of intervention practices. The focus of family engagement practices is to support and strengthen parents' active participation in intervention activities in ways that have competency-enhancing outcomes.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to plan intervention sessions with parents and other family members. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if parents and other family members were actively involved in implementing child or family intervention plans.

  • This checklist includes practices for engaging parents and other family members in using child-level interventions to promote child learning and development in ways that strengthen parenting confidence and competence.

    The capacity-building practices are used by a practitioner to promote a parent's understanding and use of everyday activities and routines as sources of child learning opportunities.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to plan intervention sessions with parents and other family members. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if practitioner capacity-building practices actively involved parents in providing their children everyday learning opportunities.

Instruction Checklists

  • This checklist includes the characteristics of naturalistic instructional practices that can be used by a practitioner or parent to support and strengthen child learning and development while a child is engaged in everyday home, community, or classroom activities.

    The instructional practice is used when a child is already participating in an activity and practitioner or parent behavior are used to sustain engagement, provide opportunities for child learning, and to encourage child behavior elaborations. The practice is child-centered and is used in response to child initiated activities of high interest to the child.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practices with a child or to promote a parent's use of the practices. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practices with a child or promoting a parent's use of the practices.

  • This checklist includes the characteristics of embedded instructional practices that can be used by a practitioner or parent to promote a child's use of targeted, functional behavior in the contexts of home, community, or classroom activities.

    The instructional practice can be used to facilitate child acquisition of functional behavior by providing a child opportunities to engage in preferred activities and by using the practice characteristics to promote child engagement, learning, and development of targeted behavior.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practices with a child or to promote a parent's use of the practices. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine whether the different instructional characteristics were part of using the practices with a child or promoting a parent's use of the practices.

  • This checklist includes the characteristics of systematic instructional practices that can be used by a practitioner or parent to teach targeted skills and to promote child learning and development.The instructional practices can be used to teach or facilitate child acquisition of adult-identified skills or behavior in an intentional, planful manner.

    The focus of the practices is on skill acquisition, how well a child can perform a target behavior (fluency), the ability to use the behavior once learned (maintenance), and to use the targeted skills in different settings and with different people and materials (generalization).

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practices with a child or to promote a parent's use of the practices. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practices with a child or promoting a parent's use of the practice.

Interaction Checklists

  • This checklist includes practices that can be used to engage a child in adult-child interactive episodes to promote and support child competence.

    The main focus of the practice is responding positively (contingently) to a child's behavior to elicit or maintain child interactions with an adult during everyday activities and play. Adult contingent responsiveness is characterized by sensitive, prompt, and an appropriate amount of adult responses to maintain and not interrupt child interactions.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practice with a child or to promote a parent's use of the practice. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if the different practice characteristics were used by a practitioner with a child or as part of promoting a parent's use of the practices.

  • This checklist includes practices that can be used to encourage and promote nonverbal or verbal child communication behavior by responding contingently (positively) to the child's behavior.

    The checklist includes a number of behavior, activities, etc., that can be used to be responsive to a child's attempts to communicate with others and to engage a child in interactive episodes that focus on enhancing child communicative competence.

    The adult behavior can be used as part of any and all everyday activities and as part of adult-child play.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practice with a child or to promote a parent's use of the practice. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if the different practice characteristics were used by a practitioner with a child or as part of promoting a parent's use of the practices.

  • This checklist includes practices that can be used to encourage, support, and promote child social-emotional competence. The checklist includes a number of practices that can be used to both engage a child in social play and to respond contingently (positively) to a child's social-emotional behavior and responses. The adult behavior can be used as part of any everyday activities and child-adult social play.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practices with a child or to promote a parent's use of the practices. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if the different practice characteristics were used by a practitioner with a child or as part of promoting a parent's use of the practices.

  • This checklist includes practices that can be used to encourage and support peer interactions to promote positive interactions and play by responding contingently (positively) to the child's behavior.

    The adult behavior include things both to reinforce mutually interesting and enjoyable peer interactions and to promote and enhance child interactive competencies. The adult behavior can be used as part of planning interactive episodes (e.g., play groups) and as part of naturally occurring child-child play during everyday activities.

    The checklist indicators can be used by a practitioner to develop a plan to use the practices with a child or to promote a parent's use of the practices. The checklist rating scale can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if the different practice characteristics were used by a practitioner with a child or as part of promoting a parent's use of the practices.

Teaming and Collaboration Checklists

  • This checklist includes steps and actions teams can take to ensure that families are included as full team members and are valued as experts who are considered vital to effective team functioning.

    All team members, including familiy members, are involved and engaged in various ways and to varying degrees over time. Families need to be supported to increase their level of involvement as comfort and trust build and as the team grows and learns together.

    The checklist indicators can be used by team members individually or together to determine whether true collaboration is taking place. The checklist rating scale can be used for a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practices were used during teaming activities.

  • This checklist includes examples of verbal and written communication skills for building team relationships needed to work together effectively and gather/convey vital information for providing services and supports for children and families.

    The checklist indicators can be used by team members to assess whether quality communication is taking place during all formal and informal team interactions (e.g., during intake, assessment, team meetings, and ongoing intervention interactions) and to develop a plan for any improvements that may be needed.

  • This checklist includes steps and actions team members can take to share and gain expertise in order to provide effective interventions that meet the unique needs of individual children and their families.

    A team that uses adult learning methods/teaching strategies to share knowledge and skills has a much better chance of achieving this outcome than any one team member working alone.

    The checklist indicators can be used by team members individually or together to determine if they are using a variety of opportunities, both formal and informal, to focus on growing and learning together.

Transition Checklists

  • This checklist includes processes and behaviors used by practitioners to support the transition of newborn or very young infants and their caregivers from hospital services into early intervention services. The main focus of these practices is to implement activities in collaboration with family members and health care providers that promote positive relationships and child and family preparation and adjustment to home and community settings and services.

    The checklist indicators can be used to become acquainted with the family, guide first contacts, learn their story, assess their interest in early intervention and coordinate with other providers key to their well-being. The checklist rating scale can be used for self-evaluation to determine whether practices are in place and being implemented.

  • This checklist includes processes and behaviors used by practitioners to support the transition of toddlers from early intervention services into preschool special education services.

    The main focus of these practices is to implement activities in collaboration with family members and preschool program staff that promote positive relationships and child and family preparation and adjustment to new settings and services.

    The checklist indicators can be used to develop a transition plan in the child's IFSP, support caregiver decision-making and to promote practitioner planning, communication and collaboration skills. The checklist rating scale can be used for self-evaluation to determine whether practices are in place and being implemented.

  • This checklist includes processes and behaviors used by practitioners to support preschoolers and their caregivers transition from preschool special education services into kindergarten.

    The main focus of these practices is to implement activities in collaboration with family members and kindergarten staff that promote positive relationships and child and family preparation and adjustment to new settings and services.

    The checklist indicators can be used to develop a transition plan, encourage caregiver decision-making, update the child's IEP and promote practitioner planning, communication and collaboration skills. The checklist rating scale can be used for self-evaluation to determine whether practices are in place and being implemented.

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Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center

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  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-8040
  • phone: 919.962.2001
  • fax: 919.966.7463
  • email: ectacenter@unc.edu

The ECTA Center is a program of the FPG Child Development Institute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, funded through cooperative agreement number H326P120002 from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the Department of Education's position or policy.

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