...is a statewide, lending library of materials that support best practices in early childhood special education, a service of the Kansas Inservice Training System (KITS).
Kim Page, ECRC Coordinator, is a one-woman shop managing the details, filling requests, shipping resources, providing outreach activities, as well as making acquisitions.
Each potential addition to the Resource Center is put through a rigorous test with Kim considering criteria such as,
- the material must be peer-reviewed,
- the author established and respected in the field,
- the material must make reference to research-based information and
- the material must support the goals of the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE) and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).
Materials that meet the "test" comprise the substantial holdings of print, video and audio resources providing professionals working with young children with disabilities access to appropriate and diverse evaluation and assessment instruments, curricular materials, professional materials and staff development materials.
These high standards are the underpinnings of theECRC and designed to provide access to a collection of materials that is continuously updated on topics specifically relevant to children from birth to eight years old who are identified to have special needs. The ECRC furthers the KITS mission "to provide training and technical assistance resources and support for professionals in the field of early intervention and early childhood special education for the state of Kansas."
Sharla Hopper, Director, Parsons State Hospital Child Care Center, began implementing evidence-based practices eight years ago and utilizes ECRC materials to support staff training. She says, "The resource center in an integral part of our program. It allows us to borrow resources for professional development that we typically can't afford in the childcare setting."
Not only is the ECRC a lending library, but KITS team members occasionally travel to share examples of resources that are pertinent to the work professionals are doing in the state of Kansas. In April, some KITS staff will be attending the Kansas Association of Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health (KAIMH) conference in Hutchinson with resources that support services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
During a recent visit to tour the ECRC and meet Kim, Library Consultant Kim Uden Rutter, Southeast Kansas Library System, said, "I was impressed at the wide variety of resource material available at the Early Childhood Resource Center. Kim's open attitude towards use of the materials by members of the public was terrific. It would be wonderful if the availability of such a rich resource were more widely known, because, many people would benefit, I'm sure."
The great thing is that when asked, "Who may borrow materials?" Kim's answer is ready, "Any person who works with young children from birth to eight years of age and their families may borrow materials, including you!" So if you or someone you know needs access to quality materials for only the promise to pay the return postage, check out the KITS Early Childhood Resource Center on their website.
Other services are available including:
- Document searches on topics related to early childhood and serving children with special needs
- Informational list services for Kansas Preschool Programs and Infant Toddler Networks
- Collaborative Training Calendar
- Spotlight on innovative practices – KITS eUpdate
The Early Childhood Resource Center is funded by the Kansas State Department of Education and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.