Environment Enhancement

Grant Applicant
Cindy Maciel
School Site
Sierra High School
Grant Category
Grant Date
Description (10 points)

The STEPP Program has been participating in the Early Quality Matters, EQM, program through the California Early Learning and Care Division to assure quality in our early learning programs throughout the state. We are in a partnership with Nevada, Placer, and Sierra Counties in participating in this wonderful opportunity for our program to measure the quality of care we are providing for our infants and toddlers enrolled in the STEPP program. 

We are asking for $3500.00 to purchase materials to help enhance the areas in our center that will help enrich experiences around language, nature and science, sand and water play, dramatic play, and promoting acceptance of diversity. We will do this through providing a variety of books that cover subjects not limited to, feelings, different cultures, community, and bilingual concept books. We will also create a cozy nook area for reading including small comfortable seating. For our science and nature area we would like to purchase materials that support measuring, soft puppets and animals that represent creatures from our community, observation tools, and motion and velocity. For our dramatic play we are looking for materials to support diversity and cultural through dolls, pictures of different cultures, fabrics, open ended materials to allow the children to use their imagination. These items will help enrich the environment and experiences for our children setting up our program to score higher on the ITERS tool.

Benefits of Program (10 points)

Our program serves a special population of our school district, infants and toddlers and their student parents. By providing new materials we are setting up a quality environment for our infants and toddlers as well as learning opportunities for our student parents to learn about the development of their children. The benefit of our program is seen on a daily in our community through our graduates who are engaged in their children's learning. Our little learners are entering kindergarten school ready excited to learn. 

Through the STEPP staff being committed to always looking at ways to keep our center new and fresh we are able to maintain a quality program. The staff continue to engage in their education by attending classes, trainings, and staying on top of current trends in the field of early learning. In turn the benefits from their knowledge and commitment help to make STEPP a quality program. 

With limited infant toddler care in our area, we are able to offer a program to those that are most in need. Through our program we are able to offer a quality early learning developmentally appropriate environment for our zero to thirty six month old children helping to support families in the process. Most of our children transition into preschool programs in our communities such as Truckee Pines Head Start, Truckee Preschool, and Kings Beach Preschool. 

Success of Program (10 points)

The ITERS, Infant Toddler Environmental Rating Scale, is used to rate the environment of our program. There are seven subscales that the ITERS looks at; space and furnishing, personal care routines, listening and talking, fine and gross motor activities and creative activities, social development, interactions, and program structure. Through these seven subscales they score based on materials available to the children, adult and child size furnishings, arrangement of space indoors and out, supervision and interactions (including language) that occur in the classroom, the schedule of the day, including routines and activities.

The scales are designed to assess process quality in an infant and toddler center. Process quality consists of the various interactions that go on in a classroom between staff and children, among the children themselves, and interactions children have with the many materials and activities in the environment, as well as those features, such as space, schedule, and materials that support these interactions. In order to provide care and education that will permit children to experience a high quality of life while helping them develop their abilities, a quality program must provide for the three basic needs all children have; protection of their health and safety, building positive relationships, opportunities for stimulation and learning from experience. The tool looks for different modalities of equipment, culturally rich, and a variety of experiences.

By using the ITERS tool these are areas we accessed need in to help with improving the quality of our environment. Through EQM we are working on improving our overall quality score of our program. The STEPP Program currently has a rating of a four, we would like to reach a five by working on our environment to help move our score up. 

Implementation (10 points)

We would like to start the school year with adding the new materials to our program and enhancing our environment. Through EQM we are being accessed in the fall and these new materials will help when the rater rates our overall program. By adding these new materials we will be able to create stronger environments such as our cozy nook where we will be able to display our comfy chairs and new books creating a language enrich opportunity to our infants and toddlers. We will be able to write up new lesson plans incorporating our new science and nature materials. We will be able to rotate materials throughout the year creating new learning opportunities for our infants and toddlers. 

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

Being an infant toddler program, we fit a special niche in our district. The improvement of our center helps support the learning experience of our littlest learners in preparing them for lifelong learning being ready to enter our schools’ school ready. Not only does this help set up our little ones for school success it also helps us in supporting their parents by showing them how to interact with their children, setting up our parents for success as well.

If funded our program will be able to maintain our standard of a quality infant toddler program. We will continue to provide an excellent child centered developmentally enrich program to the infants and toddlers in our community. Our staff maintain a safe and clean environment taking good care of our center in maintaining our space and equipment.
Amount Funded
Individual Budget Items(s)
$510 - Large Sand and Water Table
$435 - Child Sofa
$355 - Child Armchair
$200 - Ramps and Balls exploration set
$260 - Stuffed animals and puppets - woodland creatures
$350 - Books
$208 - soft seating
$250 - Manipulatives
$70 - Cozy Corner Canopy
$350 - Dramatic Play
Other funding sources

We have donation funding that can help pay for shipping costs.