All Judy Centers are required to meet the following 12 Component Standards deemed essential to the positive impact on children’s school readiness.
I. Full-Day/Full-Year: Children who participate in Judy Centers have access to high-quality early care and education programs to meet the full-day and year-round needs of families.
II. Breakfast/Lunch: Children who participate in Judy Center Partnership programs for more than 2.5 hours per day have access to appropriate breakfast, lunch and snacks according to USDA guidelines. Eligible programs are required to access federal and/or state food programs (e.g., Free and Reduced Meals, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)). Many Judy Centers sponsor onsite food pantries and provide weekend foo backpacks for families in need.
III. Service Coordination and Family Support: Service coordination at Judy Centers is designed to include the six Elements of Effective Service Coordination:
- assessment of needs of children and families;
- a referral process;
- review and evaluation (includes the coordination of intervention services among various programs);
- intervention services;
- monitoring the effectiveness of intervention services;
- reporting on progress of intervention services.
The Judy Center Partnerships coordinate services, programs and activities offered to families to avoid duplication, and they monitor the effectiveness of the supports being offered. When a child participates in more than one program, the Judy Center family service coordinator, in collaboration with program and/or agency offices, will identify one key contact for that child. Several forms of support services may be provided and include, but are not limited to, social services, healthcare, home visiting, child tutoring, child care tuition assistance, behavior services, and family counseling.
IV. Integration of Early Education Services: Curriculum and assessment for all programs for children are aligned with Maryland’s Early Learning Framework, which includes the Healthy Beginnings Guidelines for children birth to age four and the Maryland College and Career-Ready Standards, prekindergarten to grade 3.
V. Family Involvement: The Judy Center Partnership’s role in engaging the family is centered on the family’s ability to participate in and support their child’s early learning. It is based on the philosophy that the family provides the primary influence on a young child’s well being. Family involvement in the Judy Center Partnerships depends on the collaboration of all partners to encourage parents and caregivers to become empowered to meet the needs of their families. Many family activities are sponsored at the Judy Centers that increase engagement and inform parents of the various stages of child development. Judy Centers encourage each family’s participation at the center, but recognize that some parents will not have the ability to take part. Therefore, rich and engaging activities are also made available for the parents and children to work on together at home. Events are coordinated among all partners to avoid conflicts in scheduling and to ensure families have many opportunities in which to participate. A calendar of events is regularly distributed to families.
VI. Early Identification/Intervention: Every Judy Center has an outreach plan in place to identify children ages birth through five years of age who live in the designated Judy Center school zones. This includes those who are enrolled in state or federally regulated programs. Children receive age-appropriate developmental screenings, evaluations and interventions when appropriate. All children ages birth through five years, regardless of abilities, have access to all programs and services offered.
VII. Young Children with Disabilities (ages 3-5 with IEPs or IFSPs): Consistent with the vision of the Judy Centers, preschool age children with disabilities and their families are fully included in all of the services as part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). These services include pre-kindergarten, family support and involvement, service coordination, and full-day/full-year services. Families who elect the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) option participate in Judy Center activities and are also included in ways that meet their plan.
VIII. Health Services: Judy Centers ensure children receive immunizations; blood lead testing, as recommended; dental, vision and hearing screenings and referrals for follow upwhen appropriate; mental health assessments and referrals when appropriate; physical growth and nutritional assessments including referral to the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program; referrals to local health department (drug and alcohol services) if warranted; and access to health care insurance.
IX. Professional Development: Training and workshops are provided for child care providers and Head Start staff, as well as prekindergarten and kindergarten teachers. Whenever possible all early educators should participate in professional development opportunities together.
X. Adult Education/Family Literacy: Parents are encouraged to pursue their own education in order to allow them to better support their children and to afford them opportunities at home, in school, and in the community to become full partners in their child’s education.
XI. Maryland EXCELS and Accreditation: All partner child care providers and prekindergarten programs must be published in Maryland EXCELS and achieve Level 5. All partner child care providers, Head Start, prekindergarten and kindergarten programs must be accredited through a state or national agency (i.e., MSDE, NAEYC, NECPA and NAFCC). Accreditation must be maintained and kept current for all programs.
XII. Judy Center Partnerships/Leadership: The Judy Center Partnership is actively engaged and is consistently and frequently involved in the school readiness mission of the Judy Center. As a recognizable member of the communities they serve as well as a leader in early childhood development, Judy Centers support the missions of its partners and remain involved in the work they do in the community. They also interact frequently with the counties’ Local Early Childhood Advisory Councils and, in several locations, chair or co-chair the Councils.