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Child Care Glossary

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The integration of children with disabilities into non-special education classes for part or all of the school day.

Managed care services

A way to supervise the delivery of health care services. Managed care may specify which caregivers the insured family can see and may also limit the number of visits and kinds of services that are covered by insurance.

Manipulative toy

Small toys that foster fine-motor development and hand-eye coordination, such as nesting cups, puzzles, interlocking blocks, and materials from nature.

Market rate

Measures the child care rates charged by the provider and paid by the consumers in a specific geographic location. Assists in determining the maximum amount the State or county will pay for child care subsidies.

Mass media

Any form of communication produced to be consumed by a large number of individuals.

Maternity leave

Paid or unpaid time off work to care for a new baby, either after adoption or giving birth. In the United States, under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, companies with 50 or more employees are required to offer eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period after the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child.


Various forms of communication. Common forms of media are televisions, radios, telephones, and newspapers. Less common articles are building materials, paint, sculpture, dance and other conventions for communicating ideas.

Media literacy

The ability to read, analyze, evaluate and produce communication in a variety of media forms (television, print, radio, computers, etc.)


A federally funded program that provides medical care for low-income families or individuals and/or persons with developmental disabilities. For more information, click here .


A federal health insurance program run by the Health Care Financing Administration that includes both hospital and medical insurance. For more information, click here .

Mental health

How a person thinks, feels, and acts when faced with life's situations. This includes handling stress, relating to other people, and making decisions.


A person who shares experience, knowledge and wisdom about a particular subject area.

Migrant child care

Special child care programs designed to serve children of migrant workers while their parents work.

Military child care

Child care supported by the Department of Defense (DoD) to children of military personnel.


A person less than 18 years of age.

Mixed-age grouping

This is typical in family child care setting. To combine children of various ages in the same child care setting.

Montessori school (preschool and grade school)

Montessori school programs (there are more than 5,000 in North America) emphasize the importance and connection of all living things, and the need for each person to find meaningful work and his or her own place in the world. For more information, click here .

Motor skills

A person’s ability to use large and small muscle groups. Gross motor skills refer to the use of large muscles in activities such as running or jumping. Fine motor skills refer to small muscle coordination required for things like writing or buttoning a shirt.