Saturday, January 21, 2017

Creating Affirming Environments

In my previous job I was an Environment Rating Scale Assessor and we used the Environmental Rating Scale Assessment Tools that were written by Debby Cryer, Thelma Harms and Richard Clifford.  I was trained by these authors on the scales and was a reliable assessor for my state.  One of the ERS tools was specifically for family child care homes and it taught me so much about how a family child care home's environment is suppose to be set up and diversity, family involvement and interactions were three of the major indicators for the scale (Harms, T., Cryer, D., & Clifford, R., 2007).

If I were to create my own family child care home environment it would definitely reflect the inclusion of all families participating in my program and would have an anti-bias curriculum that would teach the children that are cared for in my program about many cultures present in the world.  Derman-Sparks & Edwards (2010) state that programs that serve children should make an effort to not make them feel invisible when their lives are too often made invisible by the dominant culture. 

When parents walk through my door they instantly will feel a place that is like home away from home. I would invite my parents in to have breakfast with their child, family style dining. This will give the parents a chance to visit with each other and give their children time to transition in the mornings.  If the parents also want to stay for group time they are also welcome to participate in that as well.  My displays on the walls will have pictures of the children and staff with their families. I would have children's books that had diversity from across the world.  I would set up a cozy area where children could go to feel safe, or want to have their me time.  My dramatic play area would have different themes every month but still have dolls, clothes, food and materials that represented different skin tones, foods from different countries and clothing from different cultures and gender role clothing. Race, age, gender, culture and abilities will be represented in materials as well.

Adriana Castillo had a family child care home that, based off the 24 minutes of media, followed the Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale Assessment tool.  Her home is the type of homes we wanted to observe and assess and be an example for other family childcare home providers (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011).  Adriana Castillo made a statement that the families in her program have created a close community among themselves while in her program (Laureate Education, Inc. 2011). This is what the anti-bias education is all about making children and families feel welcomed and not feel as if they are invisible.


Derman-Sparks, L., & Edwards, J. (2010).  Anti-bias education for young children and ourselves.

     Washington, D.C.: NAEYC

Laureate Education, Inc. (2011). Strategies for working with diverse children.  Welcome to an anti-bias

     learning community.  Baltimore, MD: Author


  1. Comesha,
    Thank you for sharing the ERS tool. I am interested in assessing my own classroom and see where we fall on the scale. This is a great tool to share with teachers and home care providers to support there classroom and program environments.
    The program you described sounds welcoming and accepting. I thought your idea of inviting families to join the class for a family style breakfast is a wonderful way to ease children into their day, encourage families to feel a part of your classroom, and a great opportunities for children and families to get to know each other and learn about each other.

  2. Comesha,
    Your program sounds very welcoming. As an childcare inspector I stress family style eating in the facilities. I like that you incorporated eating with families in your classroom. I also included a reading area in my child care home. I believe that it is very important that children are able to explore reading. I always say that a book can take you many places.