Niagara County Quality Improvement Project (QIP)

The Niagara County Early Child Care Quality Improvement Project (QIP) has been enhancing the lives of children in child care centers in Niagara County since September 2010.

The QIP project is funded by the The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower FoundationGrigg-Lewis Foundation and the United Way of Greater Niagara. The first phase focused on improving the learning environments in child care centers and increasing the school readiness of pre-school children (three and four years old). Niagara QIP worked with 30 child care centers in 44 preschool classrooms serving 715 children. The QIP Project provided 452 child care directors and teachers with professional development training over a three-year period.

The program is currently in Phase II with a focus on infant and toddler development. The goal of this phase is to improve the classrooms of infants and toddlers, elevate the knowledge and skills of child care providers and parents, and identify early learning and/or behavioral delays that will allow a greater number of children to be deemed as "kindergarten ready." Phase II addresses the following four interrelated core components: Developmental screening, professional development, leadership capacity of child care center directors, and enhanced learning environments through facility upgrades. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) is administered to identify development delays and assist parents to care coordination for early prevention and interventions.

Thus far, 175 children have benefitted within 18 improved learning environments, and 143 child care teachers, directors, and parents have received professional development enhancements.

Educational Incentive Program (EIP)

The Educational Incentive Program (EIP) is a scholarship program that helps child care providers pay for training and educational activities with the intent to build provider knowledge, skills and competencies in order to improve the quality of child care. To be eligible for EIP, child care providers must be required to take training and must be caring for children in a program regulated by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (NYS OCFS). All college courses taken as part of an early childhood or related degree program are eligible for scholarship.

Project Outcomes:

  • 100 percent of participating early child care classrooms showed an increase of at least 1/2 point in each of the areas where they showed need for improvement (as measured by pre- and post-intervention ECERS assessments).
  • 86 child care professionals successfully completed the 45-hour professional development certificate program, along with 366 professionals who attended our professional development short-course series, totaling 452 child care professionals who have enhanced their teaching methods and strategies due to Niagara QIP.
  • 98 percent of preschool classrooms scored at least a 5 (good) rating on their post-test ECERS in the area of "interactions," which looks at supervision, discipline, staff-child interactions and ones between children.
  • 44 preschool classrooms, within 30 child care centers, have enhanced the quality of their environments and demonstrated improvement in areas of need.
  • 715 preschool children have increased their school readiness abilities through training their teachers in developmentally appropriate practices and providing additional materials and supplies.