Frequently Asked Questions


  • There are 6 essentials for ECE: Effective Instructional Leaders, Collaborative Teachers, Involved Families, Supportive Environment, Ambitious Instruction, and Parent Voice. Five essentials come from the Teacher survey and one essential (Parent Voice) comes from the Parent Survey. To learn more about the essentials, click here.

  • These surveys collect staff and parent perspectives on organizational climate and conditions that research has shown are essential to quality improvement in early childhood education settings. The surveys were originally developed based on the 5Essentials framework and surveys, which is a powerful K-12 measurement tool with over 25 years of research supporting the idea that organizational climate and conditions are strongly linked to improvements overtime in teaching and students’ learning. The Early Education Essentials tool consists of a Teacher/Staff Survey and a Parent Survey, which together generate actionable data for strengthening early education settings for improvement.

  • Early Education Essentials is a breakthrough new measurement system which allows ECE leaders to measure the strength of the organizational conditions in their programs. This innovative solution includes the following core components:

    1. Teacher/Staff and Parent Surveys
    2. Reports with Survey Data Visualization
    3. Data-use and Rapid-Cycle Improvement Tools

Survey Administration

  • To increase stability of the estimates and protect teacher/staff anonymity, ECE sites administering the Early Education Teacher/Staff surveys must have a minimum of 6 responders and 50% of the preschool teaching and support staff. All staff who work with preschool students and/or families, or support preschool classrooms can and should complete the survey – this includes family engagement staff in community-based organizations and other “related support services staff” and special-area teachers in schools. Including support staff provides a more complete picture of organizational conditions and also allows smaller sites (e.g., with only 2 classrooms and 4 teachers) to reach the minimum 6 responders. Non-classroom staff are skipped out of Ambitious Instruction and other classroom-focused items.

  • Sites must obtain responses from a minimum of 15 parents and 25% of the preschool parent population. This ensures that a good sample of parents are represented in the results and protects the anonymity of all participants. Although it is called a “parent” survey, all caregivers of the preschool students served at the school/center are eligible to complete the survey.

  • Because the surveys are seeking perceptions of organizational climate and conditions, the surveys should not be administered too early in the school/program year. Teachers/staff and families need time to be in the climate before rating their perceptions and experiences. Programs are advised to wait at least 90 days after the school year begins to administer the surveys.

  • When administering all essentials/measures/items, the Teacher Survey takes on average 20-30 minutes to complete; the Parent Survey takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

  • The survey is administered by the UChicago Impact’s online system, which is compatible with computer, tablet, and smartphone. Researchers with special permission can also incorporate the Early Education Essentials survey measures into other surveys and administer through their own survey platform. To inquire about incorporating the Early Education Essentials into your survey, please reach out to

  • Yes, we have survey recruitment and administration materials, including: a survey administration manual; a narrated PPT overviewing administration and best practices for ensuring high-response rates; email templates announcing administration and encouraging/requiring participation; and recruitment flyers for staff/parents and families (in English and Spanish).

  • Ensuring high-rates of participation by teachers/staff and parents is best accomplished by:

    1. Teacher Survey: Hiring a floater substitute teacher for 1-2 mornings who releases one-teacher/staff member at a time to come out of the action and take the survey during the work day in a professionalized and focused manner.
    2. Parent Survey: Making sure sites have raffles, snacks, multiple devices (i.e., tablets, computers, and/or smartphones), and program staff present during drop-off, pick-up, and family engagement activities to encourage parents to participate with an attitude of “your voice matters to us”.

Survey Reporting and Data Use

  • Reports take approximately 6 weeks to create once the survey window is closed. These reports are sent to the program leader (e.g., principal or director), who then has the option to share the results with staff and others.

  • Yes! Early Education Essentials includes data-use and improvement tools designed to be used by school- and community-based agency and site leaders independently. The Ounce has developed a set of five protocols that help programs reflect on their Early Education Essentials data and build the capacity of program leaders and staff.

    Programs also have the option of purchasing additional support in the form of collaborative live webinars and/or specialized consultation calls to provide guidance and mentoring for protocol implementation.

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