Helping Out

Useful information for anybody interested in helping create a better world for kids.


Vermont Fitting Stations and the Vermont Discount Car Seat Program
Certified child passenger safety technicians check seats for:

~ Recalls

~ Correct fit of the car seat to the child

~ Proper installation of the car seat to the vehicle

~ Missing parts, i.e., do you need a locking clip?

A Fitting Station is held every 3rd Monday of the month, from 3 – 7 pm @ the Bennington Rescue Squad, McKinley Street, Bennington. Please call 447-5160 for more information.

Make sure the children you are transporting are safe!!  
This is a great service for both parents and providers!!

Center/Home Safety Checklist

1. Household products, such as drain cleaner and furniture polishers, bleach/water solution kept out of reach?

2. Medicines off tables, counters and window sills?

3. Food kept separately from household/cleaning products?

4. Least hazardous cleaning products chosen?

5. Safety latches installed on cabinets?

6. Houseplants identified and toxic ones out of reach?

Kitchen/emergency numbers list:

Is the Poison Center hotline number displayed?


7. Medicines in a safe place?

8. Expired and unused medicines discarded regularly?

9. Safety closures secured properly?

10. Product labels always read before using?

11. Beauty supplies kept out of reach?


12. Medicines kept off and out of dressers and bedside tables?

13. Perfumes and cosmetics out of reach?

14. Building checked for lead paint if it was built before 1978?

15. Carbon monoxide detector installed and working properly?

Other Rooms:

16. Soaps, detergents, and cleansers stored out of reach?

17. Checked for radon and mold?


18. Instructions read carefully on bug sprays and pesticides?

19. Insecticides, weed killers and fertilizers out of reach?

20. Painting and car products in original containers, not in food or drink containers?

21. Gasoline and antifreeze out of reach?

22. Products used in a well-ventilated area?

Northern New England Poison Center

(Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale)

ECERS (Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale) is used to measure quality in early childhood environments in terms of a child’s actual day-today experience. A quality program must provide for three basic needs all children have: Protection of their health and safety - nutrition, sanitation, personal hygiene, measures to reduce infectious diseases in group settings, parent education materials, precautions to avoid injury mishaps, supervision, prevention of abuse and neglect. Building Positive Relationships – child to child, adult to child, adult to adult;  With Children – separation from parents, continuity of care, positive approaches to discipline, development of social skills; With Parents – Opportunities for communications, building trust over time, parent support and education, anti-bias approach, cultural sensitivity, tuned-in to the child’s community. Opportunities for stimulation and learning from experience (what is accessible, how it is being used, how long is it accessible) -  Variety of hands-on activities, appropriate activities for group and individual needs, many open ended materials available, schedule that handles routines gracefully and leaves time for activities, language related to activities, concepts brought out of play. Each of these components has implications for the program’s environment, policies, schedule, curriculum, supervision and parent involvement. These are the key aspects of process quality measured in the environment rating scales developed by Harms, Clifford and Cryer.  The scales can be used as a tool in measuring and improving quality regardless of curriculum or philosophy.     

How is the scale scored?

Each item is described in four levels of quality: inadequate (1), minimal (3), good (5), and excellent (7).  The inadequate and minimal ratings focus on provision of basic materials and on health and safety precautions. The good and excellent ratings require positive interaction, planning and personalized care as well as good materials.  It is difficult, if not impossible to score a 7 in all areas.  A typical first time score tends to fall between 3.5 – 4.

How does the scale relate to CDA competencies or National Accreditation Criteria?

The authors of the scales collaborated on NAEYC Center Classroom Observation and Accreditation Questionnaires and the CDA Classroom Observation.  The items on the scale help providers identify and organize the necessary components required for reaching NAFCC and NAEYC accreditation and CDA goals. 

How are the Rating Scales related to STARS?

STARS (Step Ahead Recognition System) is a statewide program to recognize a provider’s (program’s) accomplishments above and beyond regulatory requirements in several arenas including: Licensing Compliance History, Training and Qualifications, Administration, Family and Community Interaction, and Program Assessment.  ECERS is one tool that can be used to perform a program assessment. The scales can be used for self-assessment as well as outside observations. Any program applying for 3 or more STARS and/or desiring to partner with a public school system (under Act 62) must have an outside assessment done and earn an average score of 4.0 in all subscales and no subscale score below a 3.0 in order to earn 2 points in the Program Assessment Arena.

Why use the scales in a program?

The scales can be used to: Measure the impact of your planned activities, schedule, and routines or children’s experiences; Identify materials that would enhance learning; Identify future training goals; Evaluate child to child and adult to child interactions; Prepare for accreditation;

Isolate any gaps between curriculum/policy and practice; Promote program achievements; All around quality of care/program improvement.

There is a scale designed to fit your program: ITERS-R - Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale; ECERS-R - Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale; SACERS - School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale; FCCERS-R - Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale

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P.O. Box 829 – 238 Union Street
Bennington, VT 05201
Ph: (802) 447-3778
Fx: (802)-447-6487

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