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Child Care and Early Education Glossary

The child care & early education glossary defines terms used to describe aspects of child care and early education practice and policy; the research glossary defines terms used in conducting social science and policy research, for example those describing methods, measurements, statistical procedures, and other aspects of research.

A B C D E F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W
Developmental Domains
Refers to the five domains of Child Development: Physical, the development and growth of the child's body, muscles, and senses; Social, how the child relates, plays and talks to others; Emotional, the child's awareness of self, how the child feels about himself, expression of feelings and how he helps care for himself; Cognitive, the way children think, reason, solve problems, and understand and use language and; Adaptive/Self-help, how children adapt to their environments. Developmental domains are interrelated; what happens in one domain influences development in the other domains.
Developmental Milestones
A set of functional skills or age-specific tasks that experts agree most children should be able to do within a certain age range. Milestones enable families and professionals to monitor a child's learning, behavior, and development and can signal when there might be a developmental delay or cause for greater concern.
Developmental Outcomes
Describes the condition of a child's developmental health and life trajectory that can be impacted by determinants such as: family income and education level, access to health and child care services, choice of neighborhood, social support networks, and genetics, among others.
Developmental Screening and Assessment
The practice of systematically measuring a child's development across multiple domains and looking for signs of developmental delays. Screening and assessment tools are typically administered by professionals in healthcare, community, or school settings with children and families and can consist of formal questionnaires or checklists that ask targeted questions about a child’s development.
Developmentally Appropriate
Practices, behaviors, activities and settings that are adapted to match the age, characteristics and developmental progress of a specific group of children. Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) in early learning settings reflects knowledge of Child Development and an understanding of the unique personality, learning style and family background of each child.
Distance Learning
A mode of education and instruction in which teachers and students are not physically present with each other and communicate remotely. Distance education typically takes place online, where teachers and students interact by way of email, video or other means of communication.
Drop in/Short Term Child Care
A Child Care Arrangement that families may be able to use one time or while pursuing short term, non-employment related activities. Drop in care arrangements are often found in places like health spas, resort hotels, or other locations where family members are typically on the premises when services are provided or are otherwise accessible. See related: On Site Child Care.
Dual Generation Strategies
An approach to stimulating young children's healthy development that includes promoting the capabilities and resources of parents, families or caregivers. These strategies generally link the provision of services for children, such as Quality child care, with services for their parents and entire families, such as employment counseling or housing assistance. See related: Two Generation Programs.
Dual Language Learners (DLL)
Refers to children under the age of five who have at least one parent or guardian that speaks a language other than English at home and who are mastering their native language while learning English simultaneously. See related: English Language Learners (ELL); Limited English Speaking/Limited English Proficiency (LEP); Bilingual.
Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
A strategic intervention geared towards building the capacity of early childhood staff, programs, families, and systems to prevent, identify, treat, and reduce the impact of mental health problems among children from birth to age six. In a child-focused consultation, the consultant may facilitate the development of an individualized plan for the child; In a classroom-focused consultation, the consultant may work with the teacher/caregiver to increase the level of Social-Emotional support for all the children in the class through observations, modeling, and sharing of resources and information; In a program-focused consultation, the consultant may help administrators address policies and procedures that benefit all children and adults in the program.