Improving Systems, Practices and Outcomes

RP Products by Type: Performance Checklists

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 key practices that are important for using informed clinical reasoning or informed clinical opinion in 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 can be used to develop a plan to promote a formalized and structured process using informed clinical reasoning when the procedure is used for eligibility determination.

    It also 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 key 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 can be used to develop a plan to improve practitioner’s engagement of families in a child’s assessment process. It also 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 afford 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 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. It can also 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 assessing child strengths and for using child strengths as the building blocks for supporting and promoting child learning and competence. Child strengths include child 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 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. It can also 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 arrangement and adult (parent or practitioner) behavior that can be used to engage children in everyday activities and to encourage and sustain child learning while engaged in the activities.

    The checklist practices include a mix of interest-based child learning opportunities and adult contingent responsiveness to sustain child participation in the learning activities.

    The checklist can be used to develop a plan to use the practice with a child or to promote a parent's or practitioner's use of the practice. It also can be used for a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practice or promoting a parent's or practitioner's use of the practice.

  • This checklist includes recommendations for encouraging child physical activity using environmental arrangements and active play opportunities as part of everyday learning. The checklist items include a number of different things adults can do 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 can be used to change or modify environmental arrangements to provide physical activities opportunities for young children. The checklist also can be used to do a self-evaluation of how well young children's everyday activities and their learning environments provide opportunities for physical activity.

  • This checklist includes recommendations for encouraging child physical activity and active play opportunities as part of everyday learning.

    The checklist items include a number of different things adults can do 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 can be used to plan and implement activities to provide physical activity opportunities for young children. It can be used to do a self-evaluation of how well young children's everyday routines and activities provide opportunities for physical activity.

  • This checklist includes procedures for determining the types of environmental adaptations (physical, social, temporal, etc.) that can be used to promote child access to and participation in learning activities to enhance child competence.

    The checklist indicators focus on identification of barriers to participation, the types of adaptations that can be used to eliminate or reduce barriers, and the use of adaptations to increase child participation in learning activities and routines.

    The checklist can be used to plan and conduct an adaptation assessment and to develop an action plan for using specific adaptations to promote child participation in learning activities. It also can be used for 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 identifying and using assistive technology (AT) to promote child participation in learning activities to enhance child competence.

    The checklist indicators focus on identification of a child's need for assistive technology, the selection of the appropriate AT for addressing a child's need, and the use of AT to promote a child's participation in learning activities.

    The checklist can be used to plan and conduct an AT assessment and develop an action plan to use AT to improve interventions to promote child participation in learning activities. The checklist can also be used for a self-evaluation to determine if the necessary steps were followed to use AT as part of a child's individualized intervention plan.

Family Checklists
  • This checklist includes the kinds of practitioner 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 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 can also 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 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. It also 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 can be used by a practitioner to plan intervention sessions with parents and other family members. The checklist can also 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 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 engage parents and other family members in other types of intervention practices. The focus of family capacity-building practices is to support and strengthen parents' active participation in intervention activities in ways that have competency-enhancing outcomes.

    The checklist can be used by a practitioner to plan interactions and intervention sessions with parents and other family members. The checklist also can be used to do a self-evaluation to determine if parents and other family members were involved in interventions in a capacity-building manner.

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 can be 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 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. It can also 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 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. It also 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 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. It also 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 the kinds of adult (parent or practitioner) behavior 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 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 appropriate amount of adult behavior to maintain and not interrupt child interactions.

    The checklist can be used to develop a plan to use the practice with a child or to promote a parent or practitioner's use of the practice. It also can be used for a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practice with a child or promoting a parent's or practitioner's use of the practice.

  • This checklist includes the kinds of adult (parent or practitioner) behavior that can be used to encourage and promote nonverbal or verbal child communication behavior.

    The checklist includes a number of behavior, activities, etc. that can be used to be responsive to a child's intent to communicate 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 can be used to develop a plan to use the practice with a child or to promote a parent or practitioner's use of the practice. It also can be used for a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practice with a child or promoting a parent's or practitioner's use of the practice.

  • This checklist includes the kinds of adult (parent or practitioner) behavior 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 be responsive 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 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. It can also be used to do a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were used with a child or for promoting a parent’s use of the practices.

  • This checklist includes the kinds of adult (parent or practitioner) behavior that can be used to encourage and support peer interactions to promote positive interactions and play.

    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 can be used to develop a plan to use the practice with a child or to promote a parent's or practitioner's use of the practice. It also can be used for a self-evaluation to determine whether the different practice characteristics were part of using the practice or promoting a parent's or practitioner's use of the practice.

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

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

    The checklist can be used by team members individually or together to determine whether true collaboration is taking place.

  • This checklist provides examples of quality communication skills, both verbal and written, which are the basis 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 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 provides steps team members can take to share and gain expertise in order to provide effective interventions that meet the unique needs of individual children.

    A team that uses adult learning/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 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 other necessary health care providers that promote positive relationships and child and family preparation and adjustment to home and community settings and services.

    This checklist 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. It also 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 and their caregivers from early intervention services into preschool special education services.

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

    This checklist 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. It can also 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 in the transition from preschool special education services into kindergarten.

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

    This checklist 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. It also can be used for self-evaluation to determine whether practices are in place and being implemented.

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Links on this site are verified monthly. This page content was last updated on 2016-05-31 AML

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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