The INSPIRE ACTION framework was developed to assist those responsible for administrative oversight of local early childhood special education programs to identify and celebrate strong program components and to identify those program components most in need of improvement. The development was sparked by recognition that many local program leaders (e.g., Directors of Special Education, elementary principals, some special education coordinators) have limited knowledge of early childhood special education and are unable to consistently determine the presence or absence of ECSE program quality.

As you look at the resources and tools provided here, consider:
  • What is the main focus and purpose of each resource?
  • How does this information align with what you currently know and do in your work with young children and families?
  • How will you integrate this information into your work?
  • How might you share or apply this information in working with: Children? Families? Colleagues?


This component considers the participation of the child and family (Part C) and the child (Part B) in the receipt of specialized services and in early care and education through an IFSP or IEP. What matters in regard to intensity is not only the amount of time a child spends participating in a program but also how the program uses that time. Intensive programs, both home-based and center-based, are highly focused; they treat their time with children and parents as a limited and valuable resource. Participation includes time spent in regular early childhood programs and the time devoted to receipt of special education and related services.

Some aspects of this component can be quantified for each child through data elements collected by MARSS: membership and attendance hours and special education service hours.

Professional Standards

DEC Recommended Practices
DEC Recommended Practices are a DEC initiative that bridges the gap between research and practice, offering guidance to parents and professionals who work with young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities.

Minnesota Early Childhood Indicators of Progress (ECIPs)
The ECIPs are Minnesota’s early learning standards. Revised and expanded in 2016, these standards are a framework for a common set of developmentally appropriate expectations for children ages birth to kindergarten, within a context of shared responsibility for helping children meet these expectations. The ECIPs are aligned to the Minnesota Kindergarten Academic Standards.

Foundational Resources: Understand the Basics

Readiness Resources: Deepen Knowledge and Prepare to Implement

  • Measuring the Quality and Quantity of Implementation in Early Childhood Interventions.
    Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2013.This brief explains the framework of implementation science. It then applies these principles in examining and assessing the impact dosage and duration have on early childhood intervention. It further discusses the importance that measurement and fidelity of implementation have on outcomes at all levels of a system.

Implementation Resources: Apply and Practice

This investigation aimed to apply the dosage framework proposed by Warren, Fey, and Yoder (2007)  to variations of milieu language teaching intervention strategies to explore how each of the dosage parameters (i.e., dose, dose form, dose frequency, total duration, and cumulative intervention intensity) was reported in the located empirically based applications with learners between birth and 23 years of age.

This study reports the effects of the Child-Parent Center Education Program on indicators of well-being up to 25 years later for over 1,400 participants. This established, publicly-funded intervention begins in preschool and provides up to 6 years of service in inner-city Chicago schools.

This study investigated the contributions of 5 mechanisms to the effects of preschool participation in the Child-Parent Centers for 1,404 low-income children in the Chicago Longitudinal Study. Its findings confirm that participation in early childhood programming have a mediating effect on the achievement gap by enhancing children’s early cognitive and language development, so that they are more likely to begin school ready to learn. This greater readiness provides cumulative advantages in achieving social competence. These children are often rated higher by classroom teachers, are more likely to attend magnet schools, are less likely to be retained, and are less likely to change schools.

PDF-Guided Resources and Support

Please contact your regional PDF if you have investigated all resources provided here, but continue to have questions or concerns related to this core component of INSPIRE ACTION.

If you have an additional resource that supports professional development in this core component, please share it with your regional PDF. Your participation in this site's continued growth is encouraged and welcome!