E. Additional Notes for Clarification for the ITERS

These notes were developed by Thelma Harms and Debby Cryer to improve the interrater agreements among North Carolina Rated License Assessors.  These notes do not change any of the requirements in the printed scales, they merely add additional information to help in accurate scoring.

Be sure to replace older notes with newer notes.
Most recent changes are in blue:
6/16/03: Item 3
3/7/03: General Notes
11/6/02: Items #3, 5, 10, 11
8/12/02: General Notes and items #3, 9, 18
4/16/02: General Notes and items #1, 2, 7, 9, 18, 20
1/25/02: General Notes and item #5
10/19/01: General Notes and items #16, 18, 19, 23, 24, 30
7/12/01: Items #1, 3, 7, 13, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24
3/12/01: General Notes and items #1, 3, 6, 7, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
11/27/00: General Notes
11/1/00: Items #3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13
8/25/00: Item #18
6/27/00: Items #9 and 21

General Notes for ITERS:  In all items involving any type of interaction, "staff" refers to those adults who are in the classroom and who work with the children daily (or almost daily), for a substantial part of the day. This can include volunteers, if they are in the classroom for the required amount of time. Adults who are in the classroom for short periods of the day, or who are not a regular daily part of the classroom, do not count in evaluating whether the requirements of the item are met. For example, if a therapist, parent, director, or owner of a program comes into the classroom and interacts with the children for short or irregular periods, these interactions do not count in scoring the item, unless they are extremely negative. As an exception, in parent co-operatives or lab schools, whose usual staffing pattern includes different people as teaching assistants daily, these assistants should be counted as staff.

In all items or indicators where a particular age is required, (i.e., indicators requiring child-sized furniture for "toddlers" or art for children who are 12 months or older), some flexibility is allowed when scoring. The rule for applying the flexibility is as follows: If there is only 1 child in the group who meets the age requirement, and the child is less than 1 month older than the age requirement, then the item/indicator can be marked NA. If the child is more than 1 month older than the age requirement, or if there are 2 or more children who meet the age requirement, then the item/indicator must be scored. The item or indicators in question must be scored, even if there are plans to move the child to an older group, because ratings must be based on the current situation. An exception to this rule is applied when a child with a disability is enrolled. In this case, the necessity for a requirement will depend on the child's abilities and disabilities. For example, if a child has a speech/language disability, and does not have limited physical abilities, then many requirements would still apply, such as for certain furnishings or activities that are not speech/language related.

Terms such as "many" or "variety" are used throughout the scale. We have provided numbers to guide decision making for many of these terms. However, the actual number required will depend on number of children enrolled, and the ages and abilities of those children. In cases where there are smaller groups of children, the numbers provided are likely to be reasonable; in large classrooms, with 10 or more children, more materials will be needed.

The term "some" occurs most frequently in indicators that represent a minimal (3) level of quality, although occasionally it occurs at higher levels. In determining when to give credit for "some" in an indicator, consider the requirements in the parallel indicators at the lower and next higher level of quality. For example, if under inadequate no materials are required, then some would mean "one or more". In cases where a plural is used with the term "some", then more than one would be required to give credit. When terms such as "very few" or "very little" or "rarely" are used under inadequate, then "some" represents a mid-point between what is required for the 1 and for the 5.

To meet requirements of "accessible", if materials are stored out of children's view and/or reach, they must be placed within children's reach to be counted as accessible. For example, if materials are stored out of a non-mobile infant's reach, the baby must be moved to reach them, or the toys should be placed close to the non-mobile infant. During an observation, if there is evidence that staff regularly provide access to the variety (or number) of toys required, for example by opening containers or by moving non-mobile children to areas in which toys are stored, credit can be given for accessible. The ages and abilities should be considered in terms of how many toys are being made accessible, with tiny babies, who can not grasp toys, needing fewer accessible materials than older children. For non-mobile children, all required toys or materials do not have to be accessible at the same time during the whole observation because of problems with clutter. However, there must be clear indications, that the required variety and numbers of materials are accessible at various times during the day.

"Much or the day" and "most of the day" are terms that carry the same meaning. The terms mean most of the time that any child may be awake and able to play. If children are prevented from using materials for long periods because of lengthy routines, group times, or being kept in a place where access to the materials is not possible (e.g., in high chairs, play pens, outdoors where materials are not available; non-mobile children given access to only a few toys throughout the day) then credit can not be given for much or most of the day.

"Gross motor equipment" includes anything provided for or regularly permitted by the staff to be used for stimulating gross motor activity. This includes manufactured, custom-made and/or natural objects used for climbing, sliding, balancing or other gross motor activity. It does not include objects meant to be used for other purposes, such as benches to sit on, shade trees or shelves children are not supposed to climb.
Scores should be based on observation of how the space, equipment, and supervision function. Especially with unusual, natural or innovative play opportunities, which may vary greatly, it is essential to observe carefully to see how children use these provisions and, what hazards and problems they encounter. Minor potential hazards, that do not cause any observed problems, such as tree roots, low branches, hills, benches, low outdoor stages, should not be considered as hazards. Scores below 3 should be used only in situations that are very dangerous for children.
There are 3 items in the scale that consider what is observed in gross motor play. Item 18, Active physical play, covers safety issues described in the Playground Information handout, such as cushioning surfaces, and equipment hazards. This is found under the "age-appropriate" requirement found in 1.2, 3.2, and 5.2. Safety practices (13) includes physical hazards described in the Playground Information handout and Notes for Clarification in the scale. Supervision of daily activities (29) focuses on staff protection and facilitation of play. It is important to score what is observed in the item(s) where the information applies.

The term "except in very bad weather" is used in item 18, Active physical play, and also applies when considering item 28, Schedule. It refers to when children can participate in outdoor activities. "Except in very bad weather" means almost every day, unless there is active precipitation, or extremely hot or cold conditions. Weather does not permit outside activity for children when there are public announcements that advise people to remain indoors due to weather conditions such as high levels of pollution, extreme cold or heat that might cause health problems. It is sometimes said, "There is no bad weather; only bad clothes." Therefore, children should be dressed properly and taken outdoors on most days. This might require that the schedule be changed to allow children outdoor time in the early morning when it will be very hot later in the day. Or it might require that the program ensure the children have boots, and a change of clothes for a day when the grass is wet. After bad weather, staff should check the outdoor area before children go out, dry off equipment, sweep away water, block off puddles, and so forth, as needed. Programs with protected outdoor areas, such as a deck or patio are more likely to be able to meet the requirements for allowing outdoor activity daily, except in very bad weather.

         Item                                                            Note

1. Furnishings for routine care 3.2  If the vast majority of children are comfortable in the feeding chairs, then credit should be given, even if one child is not as comfortable as the others are. Do not confuse the term "comfortable" in this indicator with the term "child-sized" in 3.3 and 7.1.These requirements should be evaluated independently of one another because furnishings might be child-sized, but not comfortable, or comfortable but not child-sized. To minimize sanitation problems associated with feeding, furniture is required for feeding, unless an infant is held for feeding. Credit can not be given when older children are fed while sitting on the floor.

3.3 & 7.3  When scoring this indicator, consider only tables/chairs, with regard to "child-sized." This requirement does not relate to other furnishings used with toddlers, such as cubbies or cribs/cots. Do not consider high chairs or group feeding tables, that toddlers must be put in by an adult, to be child-sized furnishings. To receive credit for "most furnishings" in 7.3, all children except one must be able to sit back in chairs with feet on floor and arms comfortably able to rest on top of table.

5.1  Sometimes teachers use preschool-sized chairs or other furniture (such as very large blocks or cubes) to sit on while feeding children who are in high chairs or at very low tables. Credit can be given if seats are larger than infant/toddler furnishings, and if they seem to work well for the teachers. However, credit can not be given under 7, where comfortable adult-sized furniture is required.

5.4  For children under 2 years of age, "convenient" applies to the adults caring for the children.  For groups with children 2 years or older, "convenient" applies to both adults and children.  Children's cubbies may be outside the room, close by, but adults must be able to easily supervise children who are using cubbies for cubbies to be considered convenient.

7.2  "Comfortable adult furniture" will depend on what needs to be done by the caregiver.  A rocking chair may be comfortable for bottle-feeding a baby, while a low adult-sized chair might be more comfortable for working with children at a small table.

2. Furnishings for Learning

Note:  Space for crawling/walking is not required as a "furnishing," even though it is listed in the original note.

 

1.1  Do not give a 1 unless furnishings are extremely inadequate.
Other open storage, such as baskets and crates, can be used in addition to low open shelves.

3.3  Child-sized furnishings include small tables and chairs, dramatic play furniture, such as small kitchen furniture, and child-sized cozy furniture, such as a chair or couch.  Do not consider low shelves in this indicator, since this is covered in 5.1 of this item.

3.4  If swings, cribs with unlocked wheels, or rocking chairs are part of the furnishings in an infant room, they should be placed so that they are less likely for children to pull up on than more stable furniture.  If they are placed so that children frequently use them to pull up on, credit can not be given for this indicator.

5.1  Sufficient low open shelves and other storage are required to get credit for this indicator.  There must be enough storage for all accessible toys to get credit for this indicator (without having toys all crowded into a small space).

5.3  Shelves with vertical dividers that create a means for organizing toys by type are allowable as sturdy storage containers.

3.  Relaxation and comfort

3.1  "Some" means 1 or more examples observed, since the plural form is not used in the indicator.

3.2  "Some" means 2 or more, since "toys" is plural.

5.1  A cozy area is still required even if all babies are non-mobile. No N/A is permitted for this indicator. The cozy area must provide a substantial amount of softness for the children. This means that the cozy furnishings must allow a child to completely escape the normal hardness of the typical early childhood classroom. One small thing, in itself, does not create a cozy area. For example, a small padded chair, a mat, a few small stuffed animals, or a carpeted corner, are not enough. However, credit could be given for a combination of such furnishings, and large furnishings, such as a mattress, couch, or adult-sized bean bag chair (toddlers only) might be given credit if they provided the required substantial amount of softness. Change the word "available" to "accessible" in this indicator. To give credit for non-mobile children, there must be a sign that the child is moved around during the day, and that access to the cozy area would be likely, even if not observed.

5.2  "Protected" means that the cozy area is away from active play equipment, and has (through placement or a barrier) protection from children who are crawling or walking.  It should not be in the center of the room where there is a lot of traffic.  Staff should be diligent to ensure that active children do not interfere with a child in the cozy area by jumping on or running into the child who is relaxing. If there are no active children enrolled (e.g., all non-mobile infants), then this indicator would be true unless the children interfere with one another's comfort. The cozy area can be used for short periods as a group space (e.g., for dancing or circle time) but it should be protected from active play for most of the day.

5.3  Look for soft dolls, soft blocks, soft animals, cloth puppets, etc. To meet the requirement of "many", in a room with 5 children or less there should be at least 10 clean soft toys, and at least two per child in a room with more than 5 children. If soft toys appear to be clean (look and smell clean), give credit for this indicator. Omit the words "easy-to" from the indicator.

4.  Room arrangement 1.2  Stringent interpretation of this indicator is required.  Remember that if there are two caregivers in a room during the observation, but only one caregiver at other times (e.g., early and late in the day), then this should be considered in scoring the item. If there is only one very slight obstruction that keeps caregivers from seeing children at all times, then this should not be scored a 1.  However, if there is one significant obstruction or if there are several small ones, then score the indicator a 1.

5.2  If all infants are non-mobile, this indicator should be marked N/A.

5.  Display for children 3.1  In cases where there is wallpaper with colorful pictures, or a mural painted on the wall, credit can be given for this indicator, but not for 5.1.

5.2  To give credit for hanging objects and mobiles, the materials must be able to move in space. Flat picture-like objects hanging against the wall (e.g., colorful quilts, cut-outs) are not counted for this indicator. Hanging plants can be counted.

5.3   To receive credit for this indicator, one instance of staff talking with children about the display must be observed during the observation.

7.4  The intent of this indicator is to add novelty to the display. This can be done by changing materials or adding to materials.

6.  Greeting / departing

If greeting is observed, score indicators about departing based on what was observed for greeting.

1.3, 3.1  If children are bussed to the center and no parents have direct contact with the caregiver, score 1.1 Yes. If the caregiver drives the bus, and has direct contact, score the indicator No. If some children are bussed, and some parents have no direct contact with the caregiver, score 1.1 No, and 3.1 No.

5.1, 5.2  If only 1 or 2 children are bussed, and their parents do not come into the child care room, score 5.1 and 5.2 No.

7.  Meals / snacks

1.2   Same sink problem is not considered under this item. Thus, cross out "same sink" example in this indicator.

1.3 & 3.3  Since North Carolina requires that child care programs supplement food brought in by parents if nutritionally inadequate according to USDA Standards, the note that applies to 1.3 and 3.3, on p. 14, should be ignored, and the nutritional adequacy of the food should be scored based on the observation. For NC assessors, the intent of this indicator is to determine whether the correct components of a meal or snack are being served to the children. No analysis of the nutritional value of foods served is necessary. Use the Food Guide to determine whether the components are present. Personal dietary preferences of the assessor (e.g., whole grain vs. white breads; fresh vs. canned vegetables, high vs. low sugar or fat content, etc.) are not to be used in determining the quality of the foods served. As long as the required nutritionally adequate meals and snacks are served, within the acceptable timeframe (e.g., program less than or equal to 4 hours=1 meal or snack required; 4-6 hours=1 meal; 6-12 hours=2 meals and 1 snack or 2 snacks and 1 meal; more than 12 hours=2 snacks and 2 meals) credit can be given for 3.2. Any supplementary foods served in addition to the required meals/snacks do not have to meet the required components.

1.2 & 3.2  In scoring what you would consider sanitary food service for the children, think of what you would expect in terms of cleanliness in a restaurant.  (Would you eat food that had fallen onto the restaurant chair or the seat of the booth, or would you want the waiter to put food into your mouth after putting food into your friend's mouth?)  The issue of spreading germs is the same, but even more serious for infants and toddlers, who have immature immune systems.

  • For sanitary food service, the teacher's hands must be washed even if gloves are used.  If gloves are used (or hands washed) teachers can not do anything that contaminates hands (e.g., picking up another child or toys, feeding a child with fingers and then touching another child's food, etc.).
  • Caregiver's hands must be washed before feeding a child a bottle.
  • No contaminated food should be fed to the child (e.g., food that has fallen onto the seat of the highchair, been touched by another child or by teacher's contaminated hands, etc.)  Utensils, not hands, should be used to cut up food.  Utensils, not hands, should be used to feed a child.
  • For milk and juice in bottles to be considered sanitary, they can be un-refrigerated for no longer than 1 hour.

If a regular practice of adequate basic sanitary conditions is observed, with only an occasional lapse, then score 1.2 No and 3.2 and 3.6 No.

5.1  The number of children in very small groups will depend on the age and abilities of the children in the group being observed. Younger infants should be fed individually. For older infants, a very small group would be no more than 2-3 children, sitting at a table or in high chairs. For younger toddlers, a small group is no more than 6 children, while for older toddlers and younger 2's, 8 children at one table would be counted as a small group. In determining whether the group is small enough to give credit for the indicator, observe the meal or snack to find out if children are in a group that is small enough to allow the personalized attention they need. Ask yourself whether the group size allows the positive interaction and support the children would receive in a good setting. However, do not confuse the effects of group size with other issues that might affect whether children's needs are being met, such as staff characteristics or number of staff present. Infants and toddlers should never be fed in a setting, such as a lunch room, where many groups of children come together to eat. In this case, credit would not be given for this indicator.

5.4  If all food brought in by parents is fed to infants, score this indicator N/A.

8.  Nap 1.1  In the example, "crowded" means that children are so close to one another that they bother each other, and that caregivers have difficulty accessing children because cribs/cots/mats are placed so close to one another.

3.2  The requirement that each child has his own crib implies that children sleep in those cribs. To give credit for this indicator, sleeping children should not be left in swings, infant seats, etc., in place of cribs because these furnishings are usually not assigned to a single child (sanitation) and they are not usually well-protected from other children's activity (safety). However, in a special case, an infant may not sleep well in a crib, and it might be beneficial to allow the child to sleep in another place. If this is true, ensure that the child is safe and protected from active children. Be sure to ask the teacher if there is a special reason for a child not to be placed in the crib for nap.

3.4  There must be at least three feet between cribs, cots or mats (unless there's a solid barrier, such as a low shelf or solid sides to a crib) to get credit for this indicator.

9.  Diapering / toileting

For proper sanitary diaper change procedure, see Caring for Our Children, 2nd edition, standard 3.014, pages 94-95.

1.1 & 3.1 If the same sink is used by either children or adults for both diapering/toileting and food-related routines (including toothbrushing) or other purposes (to wash toys/other classroom equipment; after wiping nose), it must be sanitized by spraying sink and faucets with a bleach solution after diapering/toileting use. If the facility permits sinks to be designated for specific purposes, then this should be done (for example, sinks near toilets should be used for toileting handwashing only, while sinks in classroom are used for food-related and other purposes. The intent is to cut down on fecal-oral contamination (intestinal germs transferred on the hands).
As an exception to this rule, in order to avoid requiring children to wash hands in quick succession between toileting and being fed, the following applies: If children use toilet, wash hands and then immediately sit down for meal/snack, contamination of children's hands at toileting sink must be minimized by having children/adults turn off faucet with paper towel.

  • Handwashing for infants and toddlers requires that the child's hands be washed with soap and running water for 5-10 seconds (sing "Row., Row, Row the Boat once). Using wipes can not be substituted for handwashing, since wipes do not effectively get rid of germs. However, for very young infants who have little body or head control, wiping with a disposable wipe is an acceptable substitute.
  • Handwashing for adults requires washing with soap and water for 10 seconds and must be done separately after washing child's hands.
  • No more than a total of 2 instances of handwashing (either adult or child) can be missed during the observation to get credit for this indicator.

5.2  Consider the developmental level of the children enrolled in the class to determine when and what kind of adaptive equipment is required. Some flexibility is permitted in determining whether to give credit.

10.  Personal grooming

3.1  This indicator presently applies to all hand washing.  Children's hands do not need to be washed after playing outdoors if not obviously dirty, but they must be washed before eating if children have just come in from outdoor play. Use of the same sink for diapering/toileting and other activities (e.g., food-related), without being sanitized between the different uses, is NOT considered here.

3.1  No toothpaste is required for tooth brushing, and if toothpaste is used, only a pea-sized amount should be used.

11.  Health practice

1.3  If much of the outdoor area is uncovered sand, score a 1 because it is impossible to keep uncovered sand free of contaminants.  Infants and toddlers tend to eat sand and put their hands in their mouths while playing with sand, thus exposing them to risk of illness during a time when their immune systems are not fully developed. The following exception is permitted: when a covered sandbox (area) is provided and used by the children, and no children are allowed to play in uncovered sand, score 1.3 "No".

3.2  If the same sink is used for both diapering/toileting and other activities (e.g., food-related or washing toys) without being sanitized between the different uses, this indicator must be scored No.

12.  Health policy 3.4  This requires that parents be informed about any illnesses that are contagious (e.g., chicken pox).

5.1  Children's allergies and other special health information should be posted in the classroom.

13.  Safety practice Inspect any outdoor play areas regularly used by children for dangers, including protrusions that can catch children's clothing and cause choking, or that cause other injuries, areas of entrapment or places that might cause strangulation, and insufficient cushioning under climbing or other structures where falls are likely to occur.

1.1 & 3.1  If children under 6 months of age are placed on their stomachs for sleeping, then this should be considered a safety problem. Stacking cribs should be examined and observed, as all other cribs are, for safety.  For example, there should be safe distance between slats, if children can pull up they should have room to stand, there should be no danger of a child's falling out of a crib, and cribs should be easily opened by adults. If adults pick up infants/toddlers by hand or arm, putting children at risk for joint injuries, then this indicator must be scored Yes.  The same is true if infants under 6 months of age are put to sleep on their stomachs, putting children at risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Bleach and water solution, used to sanitize surfaces, does not have to be locked but must be stored out of reach of young children. It cannot be sprayed where it can be breathed in by children, for example, while children are seated around the table. Any electrical outlets or wires present where children are allowed to play must be safe (e.g. outlets covered, cords secure).

3.4  Refers to general telephone numbers needed in case of emergency, such as Police, Fire, Rescue Squad. In some cases one number, e.g. 911, is all that is needed. Numbers to reach parents in an emergency may be in a file that staff can access.

5.2  This indicator is not applicable (N/A) for groups where only infants are in care.  It does apply to groups with toddlers.

14.  Safety policy 7.1  If more than one staff member has received first aid training, including CPR, a rating of 6 can be given.
15.  Informal use of language Base scores on observation only.  Remember that this item does not include group "language" times.
16.  Books and pictures

To give credit for infant/toddler books, the materials must be sturdy enough for safe use by the children, children must be able to hold and manipulate the pages, and pictures must be of interest to the age group. Books will differ, based on ages and abilities of children in the group being observed. Count only appropriate books to meet the requirement.

5.1  Note that this requires no less than 12 infant / toddler books, even if there are fewer than 12 children in the group.  If more than 12 children are in the group, one book is required for each child.

5.2  To give credit for this indicator, this must be observed during the observation and must be related to the use of books or pictures with the children.

17.  Eye-hand coordination 5.2  In programs where there are younger toddlers, ask to see the additional materials for toddlers to use. In programs where there are fine motor materials such as crayons or toys with many pieces (Ex., Duplo, small blocks, big beads, etc.) accessible to the children, give credit for this indicator.
18.  Active physical play

"Walkers" are not considered acceptable as basic materials.
Outdoor physical play requires that the mobile children be active in order to develop their gross motor skills. Taking mobile children for rides in strollers, swinging them in swings, or having them play in the sandbox should not be counted as active physical play. Non-mobile babies should be allowed to move freely to the extent that they are able, for example on a blanket or other safe surface. Children who can crawl or walk should be given developmentally appropriate opportunities to practice gross motor skills.
In the original Notes for Clarification, the first sentence of the second paragraph should read, "To be age-appropriate, equipment and materials should be safe for the children". This includes both infants and toddlers.
All spaces regularly used for gross motor activities should be considered in scoring this item. Safety of gross motor equipment is included in this item in indicators 1.2, 3.2, and 5.2. Anything permitted by the staff to be used for stimulating gross motor activity must have an adequate fall zone if there is a potential for children to be injured from a fall. Height and velocity should be considered when determining whether a fall zone with cushioning surface is needed. Although the CPSC Guidelines apply only to anchored equipment, for purposes of scoring, similar standards should be applied to all gross motor equipment from which falls can occur. However, CPSC Guidelines should only be cited for anchored equipment. (See General Notes for further information.)

1.1  Give a score of 1 only when there is neither outdoor nor indoor space. 

1.2  In the original note for this indicator, examples are provided for how to determine whether equipment is age-appropriate. Since these are examples, they can be somewhat flexible in their interpretation. For example, high equipment that is designed so that falls from high places would be impossible could still be considered acceptable, or in some cases metal equipment might be designed to be safe. When there is a barrier, such as a wall, to prevent a fall from a high surface, consider the equipment safe if there are no other safety problems. Examine whether the wall or other type of barrier poses a threat in any way.

3.3  Credit can be given for "all equipment in good repair" if none of the equipment poses a health or safety threat to children, and if children can still use the equipment for active physical play. However, the vast majority of equipment must be in good repair. Only 1 or 2 small problems are allowed.

5.1  If in doubt about how much time children spend outdoors daily, ask the teacher during the questioning time. If program operates for only 4 hours or less, the 1 hour requirement is changed to ½ hour.

19.  Art

Score this item when art is used with children under 12 months or age only when there is a problem associated with art activities, such as children being forced to participate or unsafe materials being used.

Edible materials, such as chocolate pudding, dried pasta, pop corn, etc., are not counted as art materials because children eat the contaminated materials and a misleading message is given about the proper uses of food and art materials. In addition, many children are being raised in homes where food can not be wasted, causing a conflict in the messages given at home and school.

3.3  Examples of toxic or inappropriate art materials that might be used with very young children are shaving cream; glitter, permanent markers, acrylic or oil paints; small things children can choke on such as styrofoam peanuts or small beads. Be sure to ask "What other kinds of art materials are used with the children?" to find out whether such materials are used.

5.3  This requires that some of the children's work be displayed at the child's eye level, not most or all of it..

20.  Music and movement

3.1  If the caregiver puts on a tape/CD/record at least 3 times a week, for nap or as background music (not loud, however), this can be counted for this indicator. However, the activity can not count to meet the requirements for 5.2.

5.1  This indicator must be observed during the observation.

5.2  If not observed, ask the caregiver a question about this. The music activity counted in 3.1 can not count for this indicator unless it is done daily. If the activity is done daily, then some other activity would be required to give credit for 3.1. The same activity can not count twice.

5.3  Change the word "available" to "accessible." "Many" refers to the combination of both noise-making and musical toys. Many of both are not required, as long as both types are represented. Noise-making and musical toys are overlapping terms. However, "noise making" is the broader term, including objects such as rattles, pop-corn popper push-toys, cars or busy boxes that make noise. Within this category are musical toys that make more melodic sounds, such as bells, chime apples, xylophones, electronic toys that play music, music boxes. There should be some of each type, and many of the combination.

5.4  Infants do not need to be encouraged to dance.

21.  Blocks

In addition to the materials listed in the note printed in the book, "pull-apart" or interlocking blocks can be counted to meet the requirements for this item.

5.1  For infants, accessories can be very simple and there do not have to be large numbers of them. Accessories can be containers into which children can drop blocks. The requirements for variety will vary, based on the ages of children and number of children in the class. As a guide, however, require at least two sets of blocks (10 or more blocks per set) of different types to give credit. 

7.2  Must be observed at least once during observation.

7.3  Must be observed at least once during observation.

22.  Pretend play Pretend play toys can include small toy cars, animals or airplanes, not only housekeeping items or dolls.

1.1, 3.1 & 5.3  Consider pretend play materials or furniture either outside or inside.

23.  Sand & water Note on page 28 should say: "*Omit this item if all children in care are less than 12 months of age."
If sand is used with infants/toddlers under 24 months of age, or water play is used with children under 12 months of age, the item must be scored if 3.2 is not true. Close supervision is required when sand and/or water are used.

1.1  Wood chips can be considered a substitute for sand if the material can be used like sand, that is, easily poured or dug into, and if children would not get splinters when using the material.

1.2  If water play is only available during warmer months, 1.2 would be scored No, and 3.1 would also be scored No with regard to water (but not sand, unless sand is used).

3.2  If a large portion, or all, of a playground is covered in sand, observe carefully to see whether sand play is closely supervised. Interpret "sand/water" as sand and/or water. This is also true for the use of "sand/water" in 5.2. If both sand and water are used, toys for both types of play must be present to give credit.

7.2  This must be observed if the children play with sand and water during the observation. If there is no sand or water play during the observation, score based on what other language interactions are observed.

24.  Cultural awareness

3.1, 3.2, 5.1, 5.2  Toys and books must be accessible to the children to be given credit; pictures must be easily seen by the children.

5.1  Note that this indicator requires that 3 or more dolls representing racial differences be present, plus 4 or more books. These materials must be accessible to the children for credit to be given. Racial differences in dolls must be obvious to the children, for example, through clearly different shades of skin color and/or other physical characteristics, such as eyes or hair. The observer should not have to "bend over backwards" to figure out whether the dolls represent different races.

25.  Peer interaction Base score on what is observed.

7.1 & 7.2   One example must be observed for credit to be given for these indicators.

26.  Caregiver child interaction 7.1  "Small number of children" is defined as 3-4 infants, 3-5 one-year-olds, and 4-6 two-year-olds. A primary caregiver is responsible for the major interactions with a child, including most of the routines and play activities.  However, other caregivers often will take part in completing routines, activities, and interactions with the child.
27.  Discipline 1.1  This means that the caregiver routinely ignores/is unaware of the children when there are problems.

5.3  Expecting infants and toddlers to "share" is not appropriate for their developmental level, and if this is a caregiver expectation, credit should not be given for this indicator.

7.1  Attention can include praise for good behavior, but should consist primarily of playing with the children, talking or responding to them, holding them, and other positive interactions.

28.  Schedule of daily activities When scoring this item, base your score on the observation of what actually happens in the classroom, not on the written schedule.  Consider the schedule experienced by the children.

3.3  The written schedule should generally correspond to what is observed.  If it does not generally reflect what you observe, then do not consider the schedule as evidence of what usually happens.  If the schedule does not reflect what you observe, be sure to ask the caregiver if the day is an unusual one, and consider the response in your scoring of this indicator.
--The schedule must be posted in the room.
--Individual written schedules for infants can be counted as "the written schedule."

5.2  Determining whether there is a balance of indoor and outdoor activities will depend on a number of factors, including the ages of the children in care, the moods and needs of the children, and the weather.  The balance will change somewhat from day to day, so no specific amount of time can be applied to this indicator.  However, it is expected that most very young babies would get to go outdoors for some time during the day, and as children get older, this time would increase.  If babies seem especially tired, then they would be less likely to go outdoors.  If the weather was especially nice, the balance would require that more time is spent outdoors, especially for toddlers.
"Outdoor activities" can include active physical play or more quiet activities, such as riding in a stroller.  Active physical play is required outside in Item 18, "Active physical play," but in this item, other activities count as well.

5.4  Observe feeding, diapering, and hand washing to see if there is social or educational interaction at this time, such as talking about what is happening and why it is happening, naming things that the children are experiencing (seeing, feeling, tasting, etc.) during the routines, or playing in other ways with children during routines.

7.1  Written plans for children should be observed, but can not be used exclusively as evidence for this item.  Some of the activities on the plan must be observed to give credit for this indicator.  You may have to ask the teacher to describe or show plans.

29.  Supervision of daily activities For this item consider both indoor and outdoor supervision.  For outdoor supervision, where several groups are being supervised together, to score this item, consider:  All teachers supervising gross motor activities; All children of similar age/abilities as those in group you are observing; adult/child ratios; whether adults are supervising the most hazardous areas/activities adequately.

1.1  Strict interpretation is required.

3.1  "Easy reach" means that the caregiver can get to children quickly, even if she must get up and cross the room or outdoor play area.

30.  Staff cooperation 5.2  This indicator only applies when one staff member is arriving to take responsibility for a group of children, and another staff member is leaving. To get credit for this indicator, their time must overlap somewhat, so that one can tell the other the information needed to meet the children's current needs. This indicator does not apply when one staff member joins another and they work together for a long period of time, during which communication about the children could take place.

7.1  "Bi-weekly" means every 2 weeks. To give credit, planning time must be provided when teachers are free from responsibility for the children. For example, planning while supervising nap or outdoor play can not count to meet the requirements of this indicator.

31. Exceptional children For the most part, the scoring of this item will have to be based on teacher responses to questions.  Do not ask the teacher to give you any information that a child's parents might consider private.  Assume that parents want their privacy protected and simply ask questions needed to score.
33. Opportunities for professional growth The professional library must be observed to score these indicators.  Materials on infant / toddler development, activities, working with parents, and other infant / toddler issues should be included.