Contribution from one of our DECI Certified Trainers
DECA in Washington's Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP)
By: Nicole Rose, ECEAP/Comprehensive Pre-K Specialist, and DECI Certified Trainer
Washington State's Department of Early Learning (DEL) provides funding and oversight to the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), which currently serves more than 8,000 low-income three- and four-year-olds each school year. ECEAP offers preschool education, family support, parent involvement, and health and nutrition services that involve the whole family and helps prepare children for success in school and life.
The use of the DECA was written into the 2008 ECEAP Performance Standards, even though some contractors had used the tool for years. Beginning July 1, 2008, ECEAP contractors were required to use the DECA to assess children's protective factors. Teachers complete the DECA twice per year, for each child.
DEL offers DECA training to ECEAP programs in the fall, and often invites other community early learning providers. During trainings ECEAP providers learn about resilience, protective factors and the five quality program elements (Reflective Checklists) as a foundation for ensuring a strong social-emotional learning environment.
In 2010-2011, ECEAP contractors transitioned to the e-DECA 2.0. In the 2009-2010 program year, 6,813 ECEAP children were assessed in both fall 2009 and spring 2010. The number of children with strong total protective factors increased from 19.2 percent in the fall to 36.9 percent in the spring. The number of children with total protective factors rated as "Concerns" was reduced from 7.2 percent of ECEAP children to 2.6 percent. ECEAP contractors also saw a decrease in children with behavioral concerns. In the fall, 9.5 percent of children experienced behavioral concerns. This number was 7.1 percent in the spring, with 151 children no longer experiencing behavioral concerns.
DEL looks forward to DECA results for the 2010-2011 school year as ECEAP contractors continue to sprinkle Initiative, Attachment and Self-Control throughout the daily routines in their classrooms!