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Child Care Glossary

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A system for communicating ideas and feelings using sounds, gestures, signs, or marks.

Learning center

In an early childhood program, this is an area that contains materials, such as blocks, pretend household items or art supplies, where children can explore their own interests at their own pace.

Learning disability

Difficulty in learning that is not related to intelligence or educational opportunity. Many children with learning disabilities have difficulties in particular skill areas, such as reading or math, or with language skills.

Learning disorder

A condition that is present when a child has difficulty learning certain academic skills.

Learning styles

The way an individual adapts to his/her learning environment.


A document issued by the State Department of Human Resources to a person, a group of people, or corporation who has met the state minimum standards for child care, which allows them to legally operate a child care program.

License-Exempt child care

Legally operating child care that is exempt from the regulatory system of the state or community.

Licensed child care

Child care programs operated in homes or in facilities that fall within the regulatory system of a state or community and comply with those regulations. Many states have different levels of regulatory requirements and use different terms to refer to these levels (e.g., licensing, certification, registration). For more information, click here .

Licensing inspection

An on-site inspection of a facility to assure compliance with licensing or other regulatory requirements.

Licensing or regulatory requirements

Standards necessary for a provider to legally operate child care services in a state or locality, including registration requirements established under state, local, or Tribal law.


An individual's ability to read, write, communicate and comprehend.

Local Education Agency (LEA)

School district that is responsible for providing education services to students.