Early Childhood Acronyms

Early Childhood Acronyms

The ABCs of Early Childhood

Sometimes it can seem like the world of early childhood has its own alphabet. Below is a list of commonly used acronyms and their definitions related to the health, development, education, and care of young children. We hope this helps to connect the letters and the important terms they stand for.

  • ASQ: Ages and Stages Questionnaire: a developmental screening tool for use by parents
  • CBHI: Children's Behavioral Health Initiative: ensures services for MassHealth-insured families with children who have significant behavioral health issues
  • CCR&R: Child Care Resource and Referral Agency: local agencies that keep information on all licensed and licensed-exempt programs including child care centers, family child care providers, preschools, and out-of-school-time programs
  • CDA: Child Development Associate: widely-recognized credential in the field of early childhood education
  • CEU: Continuing Education Unit: a unit of measure that indicates participation in a continuing education program, often required to maintain a license in certain professions
  • CFCE: Coordinated Family and Community Engagement: a Department of Early Education and Care grant that funds parent education and support programs (formerly called CPC)
  • CLASS: Classroom Assessment Scoring System: an observational tool used to measure classroom quality in PreK – 12 classrooms
  • CSEFEL: Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning: a national resource center funded by the Office of Head Start and Child Care Bureau responsible for communicating research and best practices to early childhood programs nationally
  • DCF: Department of Children and Families: state agency responsible for protecting children from abuse and neglect, and providing support for families where abuse or neglect is suspected
  • DHE: Department of Higher Education: state agency responsible for the Commonwealth’s higher education system of state universities and community colleges
  • DLL: Dual Language Learners: children who are acquiring two or more languages simultaneously and who are learning a second language while continuing to develop their first
  • DMH: Department of Mental Health: state department that oversees provision of services and support to meet the mental health needs of individuals of all ages
  • DPH: Department of Public Health: state department that oversees Commonwealth health care and health care quality, health & nutrition education, and disease, violence, and injury prevention programs
  • DTA: Department of Transitional Assistance: state department that assists low-income individuals and families meet their basic needs, increase incomes, and improve quality of life (formerly Welfare)
  • ECERS: Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale: an assessment system used to measure the quality of early childhood program environments including space and furnishings, personal care routines, language-reasoning, activities, interactions, program structure, and parents & staff
  • ECMH: Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation: services to help families and programs support children’s social and emotional development, funded by a grant from the Department of Early Education and Care
  • EEC: Department of Early Education and Care: state department that funds and regulates programs for young children
  • EI: Early Intervention: programs that provide services for children ages birth – 3 years who have a special need or are at risk of developmental delays
  • EPS: Educator and Provider Support: a Department of Early Education and Care grant that funds Professional Development services for early education and care and out-of-school-time educators and providers
  • ERS: Environment Rating Scales: a system of assessment instruments for early childhood and child care program quality, made up of Early Childhood, Infant/Toddler, Family Child Care, and School-Age Care Environment Rating Scales
  • ESE: Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: state department responsible for ensuring the quality of the Commonwealth’s public education system
  • FCC: Family Child Care: a service where child care is provided in the caregiver’s home
  • FCCERS: Family Child Care Environment Rating Scales: an assessment system used to measure the quality of family child care environments, including space and furnishings, personal care routines, listening and talking, activities, interaction, program structure, and parents and staff
  • IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: a law that governs how states and public agencies early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities throughout the nation
  • IEP: Individualized Education Plan: a written statement of annual education goals and services for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised by that child’s IEP Team (including parents of the child, educator(s) of the child, and others, as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)
  • ISFP: Individual Family Support Plan: a written document that identifies family goals and resources, support, and services for families with children age birth – three years
  • IHE: Institutions of Higher Education: institutions that provide access to the post-secondary level of learning (e.g., colleges, universities, and collegiate-level institutions)
  • IPDP: Individual Professional Development Plan: a plan for completing and documenting professional development activities
  • ITERS: Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale: an assessment system used to measure the quality of family child care environments, including space and furnishings, personal care routines, listening and talking, activities, interaction, program structure, and parents and provider
  • MELD: Massachusetts Early Learning and Development assessment system: a state-developed system of screening and assessment for children from birth to grade 3
  • MKEA: Massachusetts Kindergarten Entry Assessment: a component of the Massachusetts Early Learning and Development System (MELD)
  • NAEYC: National Association for the Education of Young Children: a professional organization for early educators
  • OST: Out-of-School-Time: a term describing before- and after-school and summer programs for school-aged children and professionals who staff them
  • PCHP: Parent-Child Home Program: a free early learning and literacy program offered by the Collaborative for children between 16 months and 3 years of age and their parents
  • PQR: Professional Qualification Registry: a registry of Massachusetts early educators
  • QRIS: Quality Rating and Improvement System: a system used to rate and improve early education and care programs
  • RTT-ELC: Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant: source of federal funding for early education and care initiatives
  • SACERS: School Age Care Environment Rating Scales: as assessment system for group care programs for children of school age (5 -12 years) that covers areas such as space and furnishings, health and safety, activities, interactions, program structure, and special needs
  • SpEd: Special Education
  • STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
  • UPK: Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program: state-funded programs to provide quality preschooling to all children
  • WLNA: Western Massachusetts Leadership Network in Action: a networking organization for early childhood and school-age education and care providers
  • WMAEYC: Western Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children: a professional organization for early educators
For more information, contact: 
Position: 
Director of Early Childhood
Phone: 
413.586.4900 x5561
Email: 
dlalbehariejosias@collaborative.org