SMCOE aligns regional, statewide, and national efforts to raise the quality of early learning programs in San Mateo County through the Early Learning Quality and Inclusion Partnership (EQ+IP). The partnership collaborates with county partners to implement the local Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), filling gaps in the system and thoughtfully providing focused supports. EQ+IP complements the California State Preschool QRIS Block Grant, aligns with The Big Lift collective impact initiative, and supports the work that enhances early learning programs’ abilities to include children with special needs.
The partnership brings together local early intervention, special education and nonprofit service providers with expertise in this arena to create a more seamless and accessible system of technical assistance, professional development and coordination as it relates to children with special needs receiving services in early learning programs. By bringing these partners together, EQ+IP expands opportunities to leverage funding for early childhood special education and early intervention.
EQ+IP is accomplishing the following goals through coordinated training, technical assistance and supports to early childhood providers and programs, families and school districts:
- Program quality assessments and ratings: The QRIS in San Mateo County provides program quality assessments, reviews, and ratings in an expanded number of early learning settings.
- Facility enhancements: Early learning facilities and environments are enhanced to improve scores and ratings on the QRIS matrix.
- Early learning provider training, technical assistance, coaching, consultation and peer mentoring: Early learning providers and programs receive support to improve the quality of their skills and practice with children and families as related to the QRIS matrix.
- Recruiting, retaining and educating the early learning workforce: The early learning workforce receives support to achieve completion of unit-bearing Early Childhood Education (ECE) coursework and/or to attain relevant professional certificates, credentials or degrees, particularly at local institutions of higher education, such as Skyline and Cañada Colleges.
- Training and consultation for early learning providers and programs: Early learning providers and programs receive support to create and maintain inclusive environments for children with special needs and their families.
- Enhanced referrals matching children with special needs with appropriate placements: Individual children with special needs, their families, and early learning programs receive the support they need to be placed and fully included in early learning settings.