Now more than ever, RECAP data is critical to our future because it documents our effectiveness and growth.




RECAP is a community-wide assessment partnership dedicated to improving the quality of early education and care.

Using our expertise in assessment and evaluation, Children's Institute provides information on early childhood programs to promote informed decisions that improve policies, programs, practices, and outcomes for children.

Since 1992, RECAP has been a key partner in Rochester, NY’s early care and education system, which ranks among the highest in the United States. RECAP plays a foundational role in promoting positive child outcomes and program quality improvements in our community by documenting and contributing to the achievements of high-performing early care and education systems.

Our experience has taught us that collaboration at all levels is critical for success. Inviting parents, teachers, and administrators to become part of the RECAP process is a key to success. Providers tell us that the training, the fair and unbiased assessments, and the willingness of Children’s Institute to acknowledge all points of view contribute to a positive and valuable experience that enriches all participants.

With the support of child care providers, parents, government, foundations, and schools, RECAP has become responsible for the assessment of the majority of Rochester's Pre-K programs, including New York State’s Universal Pre-K (UPK) and Extended Pre-K (EPK).


  • School districts
  • Community-based organizations
  • Early care and education programs
  • Parents
  • Community collaboratives
  • Policy-makers
  • Funders


  • To improve child outcomes
  • To increase program quality
  • To increase skills and best practices of early childhood education teachers and administrators in observation skills, data collection, and data use
  • To increase data informed decision making in early childhood programs


  • Enriched learning experiences for children
  • Increased staff and parent awareness of the components of high quality early childhood education
  • Sustainability as a result RECAP training and technical assistance
  • Low-stakes evaluation
  • Teacher-informed measure and processes that are easy-to-use and understand
  • Reliable and valid feedback on issues ranging from curriculum and instruction to equipment and capital improvement needs
  • Tracked progress that follows children into elementary school


  • Teachers and administrators are trained in three core assessment tools: two that focus on the child and one that focuses on the classroom environment
  • Teachers observe children and document their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development
  • Teachers summarize their observations on computer scan forms
  • Classroom teachers receive summaries on the children in their class
  • Master Observers – highly-trained local early childhood experts – observe and rate the classroom environment and report back to the teachers
  • Parents complete surveys regarding classroom and family practices and satisfaction
  • End of year summary reports allow classrooms and programs to benchmark anonymously with other RECAP programs
  • Other assessment tools may be added to meet additional needs

Using various observations and survey tools, RECAP gathers the following data:

  • Parent satisfaction and interests in:
    • Child development
    • Programs
    • Agencies
    • Support services
  • Classroom observations of:
    • Adult and child interaction
    • Environment
  • Child-specific information on:
    • Motor development
    • Speech and language development
    • School skills
    • Socio-emotional adjustment

Data and information obtained through the annual RECAP process is shared with school, government, health, and foundation policymakers to assist in crucial early childhood education decisions.


  • Year of reports from the Rochester, NY community indicate that programs participating in RECAP have enriched learning experiences for children and improved early childhood environments and school performance
  • Through RECAP, local policymakers have access to important information and use it to lobby for increased support and funding
  • Children’s Institute is known nationally for its work in early childhood education partnerships


  • Action for a Better Community’s early education division
  • Chemung County School Readiness Project
  • Dolgeville School District
  • Early Childhood Education Quality Council (ECEQC) centers
  • Family Resource Centers of Crestwood Children’s Center
  • Florence S. Brown pre-k classrooms
  • Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES
  • Rochester Preschool-Parent Program
  • Rochester City School District programs
  •  Other Universal Prekindergarten centers


COMET is Children’s Institute's data management and reporting tool

Children’s Institute supports RECAP with the COMET System linking data from various assessments, allowing teachers and other providers to get a full picture of each child, from academic progress and skill levels, to social and emotional factors and more. COMET instantly shows information on individual children, classrooms, and programs, providing real-time feedback, allowing teachers, directors, and administrators to make fully informed decisions on improving children’s outcomes. Over 2,000 children and 170 classrooms are assessed annually with data stored in COMET for ongoing tracking and analysis.


Case Study
Rochester City School District -- Data to strengthen early childhood programs




Duprey, E.B., Embt, K.M., Macgowan, A., McFall, J., Strano, L., White, A.M., Peelle, D., Whittington, R., Hooper, R., Van Wagner, G., Murray, L., Cone, G., Avery, K. (2022). Rochester Early Childhood Assessment Partnership 2021-2022 twenty-fifth annual report. Children’s Institute Technical Report T22-002.
Press release
Statistical Supplementary Materials


Lauri Strano, MS
Director of Programs and Services

Genemarie Van Wagner
Senior Project Coordinator