The inter-ministerial model of early childhood centers (hereinafter: ECCs) offers a comprehensive framework of programs and services for children from birth up to the age of six years and their parents, with the focus on children and families at risk. At present, 70 ECCs are operating in Israel based on the inter-ministerial model.
The tool for quality assurance in the ECCs is an online questionnaire that examines their best practices of operation. The questionnaire is filled out by the ECC manager together with the ECC leading team and is used to review and evaluate the ECC performance and to draw lessons for the future. As of 2017, the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute has accompanied the incorporation of the quality assurance tool as part of a whole set of quality assurance processes in the ECCs. This report presents the findings of the fifth measurement, which involved 51 ECCs.
The goals of the measurement were: (1) to incorporate a culture of quality measurement and assurance and thereby enable continuous learning in the ECCs; (2) to assist the ECC manager in evaluating the ECC performance and compliance with the standards required of a one-stop center that provides early childhood services for children and their parents; (3) to enhance the work done by the ECC in four areas: identification of needs, care services in response to needs, preventive enrichment, and collaboration with parents; (4) to examine the incorporation of activities developed in the ECCs to cope with the COVID-19 challenges. The latter is an additional goal set for the present measurement.
The quality assurance questionnaire was filled out by 51 ECC managers together with the ECC leading team from March to June 2022.
Findings and Conclusions
The measurement findings showed that most ECC managers filled out the questionnaire in line with the instructions. It was also found that a high percentage of the ECCs followed the required best practices of operation in terms of: adherence to systematic work plans; organization of training courses for the professional teams; collaboration with relevant municipal entities (e.g., education and social welfare entities) on the development of strategies and programs for the target population; and scheduling activities so as to accommodate the target population. At the same time, the measurement findings showed that a lower percentage of ECCs followed the required best practices of operation in terms of: interaction with physicians in the community; outreach activities designed to promote contact with parents who do not use the ECC services; providing feedback to parents served by the ECC.
This report presents a number of recommended action items, including: ongoing efforts to encourage the ECC managers to use the quality assurance tool to improve the services provided by the ECC in collaboration with partners in the local community, in particular, and in the ECC community, in general; and expansion of the use of learning and evaluation tools, such as feedback from the parents, for the purpose of learning and improving the service.
 The quality assurance questionnaire was sent to 68 ECC that were active in March 2022.
Citing suggestion: Asulin, M., & Dolev, H. (2022). Quality Assurance in Early Childhood Centers (ECCs) Measurement Findings for 2022. S-220-22. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)