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Our Program

Educational-First-Steps_HR-1847Educational First Steps transforms existing childcare centers in impoverished neighborhoods into nationally accredited preschools in a period of 40 months at no cost to the centers or parents. By securing national accreditation, centers become true preschools, preparing children for kindergarten and beyond and placing them on a path to success.

Our Process

Our signature program, Four Steps to Excellence 2.0, guides participating centers through an incremental four-step process that facilitates the path to accreditation. The program promotes an open dialogue and strong relationship between center directors and teachers and Educational First Steps. Through mentoring, formal training and enrichment – both in centers’ own classrooms and in our leading-edge classrooms at our new headquarters facility – we provide centers with the proven tools and techniques needed to achieve accreditation.

Phase 1: Evaluation (4 months)

The Four Steps to Excellence 2.0 program begins with a four-month “Evaluation” phase, during which the center, director and staff are evaluated and Educational First Steps and the center form a healthy partnership to benefit children.

Phase 2: Foundation (24 months)

In the second phase, “Foundation,” Educational First Steps’ well-trained Program Specialists and Education Trainers provide expertise and guidance as well as training curriculum to guide centers as they achieve two levels of competencies

Level 1 Competencies focus on the following:

  • Establishing a safe environment
  • Successfully introducing basic planning and classroom teaching techniques,
  • Fostering positive interactions/activity structures among children and adults
  • Achieving interim milestones in classroom training and CDA certification
  • Advancing the leadership skills of the center director

Level 2 Competencies focus in the following:

  • Successfully implementing in-class teaching techniques and social-emotional interactions
  • Completion of the Educational First Steps’ classroom training curriculum for both directors and teachers
  • Completion or near-completion of CDA certification for staff

Phase 3: Readiness (12 months)

In the “Readiness” phase, centers begin the self-study stage, one of the final requirements toward accreditation. Educational First Steps continues to provide expertise and training, as well as support through mentoring in which an Early Learning Specialist will visit the center for 14-21 hours per month. Our Quality Assurance Assessor will assess the center to evaluate needs and ensure continued growth. Additionally, in this phase and the next centers will benefit from our Enrollment Services program to help them reach enrollment capacity and build economic stability.

Phase 4: Accredited Partner

In the final phase, centers receive national accreditation. As “Accredited Partners” of Educational First Steps, centers continue to receive our ongoing support. Participating centers access a rigorous tracking and assessment system to ensure their re-accreditation through Educational First Steps, and maintain a collaborative relationship with our Specialists. We also monitor the skill mastery levels of teachers on an ongoing basis through regular coaching visits to the centers, plus conduct two annual assessments of every classroom.

By achieving national accreditation, centers possess the foundation they need to provide high-quality early childhood education to their children. Together, we can help close the learning gap that affects so many at-risk children in North Texas.