Enabling Environment Measures

To measure the success of each settings’ learning environment, the project used the ECERS-R and ITERS-R framework. The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (better known as ECERS-R) is designed to evaluate the quality of provision for children aged 2½ to 5 years in centre-based settings. The Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS-R) is its partner scale which is used for the 0-2½ years age range.


Both the ECERS-R and ITERS-R contain a wide range of indicators with which to evaluate the quality of the early years’ environment in its broadest sense. They also provide a rigorous means of measuring improvement in quality over time. The indicators have corresponding “mark schemes” for which each setting must work up before scoring the desired high score of 7. The ECERS-R and ITERS-R evaluate seven broad dimensions of quality:

  • Space and furnishings (room layout, accessibility of resources, display)
  • Personal care routines (welfare requirements such as health & safety and provision for sleeping)
  • Language and reasoning (supporting children’s communication, language and literacy development; critical thinking)
  • Activities (provision of an exciting and accessible learning environment, resources to support specific types of play)
  • Interaction (supervision, support for social interactions)
  • Programme structure (opportunities for children to access their own curriculum, planning schedules/routines to meet children’s needs)
  • Provision for parents and staff (partnership with parents, staff training and development)

For the project the following ITERS-R measures were used:

  • Setting
    • 12 Helping children understand language
    • 13 Helping children use language
    • 14 Using books
  • Interaction
    • 26 Peer interaction
    • 27 Staff child interaction

For the project the following ECERS-R measures were used:

  • Setting
    • 12 Helping children expand vocabulary
    • 13 Encouraging children to use language
    • 14 Staff use of books with children
    • 15 Encouraging children’s use of books
    • 16 Becoming familiar with print
  • Interaction
    • 30 Staff -child interaction
    • 31 Peer interaction

If you find you cannot use the ITERS-R or ECERS-R scales then the communication supporting classroom observation tool is a highly effective way of checking how communication friendly your environment is.