Frequently Asked Questions


  • The six Early Education Essentials are:

    1. Effective Instructional Leaders
    2. Collaborative Teachers
    3. Involved Families
    4. Supportive Environment
    5. Ambitious Instruction
    6. Parent Voice

    The Early Education Essentials were developed in alignment with the 5Essentials that measures quality in K-12 programs. There are 6 essentials for the early education sector. Five (5) of these come from the staff/teacher survey and one (1) essential, the Parent Voice, comes from the parent survey. To learn more about the essentials, click here.

  • 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
  • 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. The research shows that organizational climate and conditions are strongly linked to improvements overtime in teaching and students’ learning. When used together, the Teacher/Staff Survey and Parent Survey generate actionable data for strengthening early education settings for improvement.

    Early Education Essentials teacher/staff and parent surveys are valid and reliable. Check out our validation study.

  • Yes, you can choose to administer any or all of the six (6) essentials. The results will still be valid and actionable. However, we highly recommend to test all 6 essentials. Costs will not vary depending on the number of essentials being tested.

    You cannot pick which measures within an essential you want to measure. This reduces the stability and validity of the estimates at the school/center-level.

Survey Administration

  • To increase the stability of the estimates and protect staff/teacher anonymity, we need a minimum of six (6) respondents per site or 50% of all teacher/staff (whichever is higher). To support the minimum requirement, all teachers and staff with direct engagement with students can participate, not just teachers.

  • There is a minimum requirement of 15 parents or 25% of the preschool student population (whichever is higher). Although it is called a “parent” survey, all caregivers of the preschool students served at the school/center are eligible to complete the survey.

  • It is highly recommended to open the survey window no earlier than November (two months after school opens) in order for teachers, staff, and families to be in the climate and experience the conditions before rating based on their perceptions and experiences.

  • 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.

  • The reports are also accessed online including scoring and data visualization. A static PDF version will also be provided but the full, dynamic report is only available online.

  • 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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