Word Choice

In general, use common, simple words instead of unusual or complex ones. Check out this table of alternatives for complicated words and phrases. But if it’s important for the reader to understand a jargon word or complex term, explain it. 

In OEC content, always use:

  • Child care (not childcare)
  • Child Care 2-1-1 (not Child Care 211)
  • CT DOTS (not DOTS)
  • CT ELDS (not ELDS)

Referring to OEC

The first time you refer to our office, write out the full name followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. 

The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is working on establishing a database for background checks.

After that first instance, just use “OEC” on the rest of that page (or in that document).

When referring to our office as a noun, say “OEC” not “the OEC.”

OEC embraces a family-centered approach to support families with young children.At the OEC, we set standards for child care facilities and youth camps.

One exception to this is when OEC is an adjective modifying a noun that would normally have “the” in front of it, for example:

TheOEC report outlines next steps.OECwebsite will answer your questions.

Referring to programs

We can help users find what they’re looking for faster when we’re consistent about program names. Here are the correct names and abbreviations for some OEC-related programs. 

  • Care 4 Kids (not Care4Kids), or C4K with logo
  • Even Start (not EvenStart)
  • Smart Start (not SmartStart)

Terminology for professionals

OEC has the highest respect for professionals who dedicate their careers to early care and education. To make sure your content reflects that, keep this guidance in mind.

  • Early childhood professionals is a catch-all term for everyone working in the field. 
  • Early care and education providers is replacing the older term “child care providers” to better reflect the scope of their work and training. While the new terminology is intended to be more respectful, note that some professionals may not be familiar with it yet. For the time being, you may want to use both terms and explain that they’re the same.
  • Home visiting providers is preferable when addressing professionals, but be aware that parents may respond better to the term “family support providers” (since they may associate “home visits” with care for older people).
  • Remember that people may assume “provider,” on its own, means “healthcare provider.”

Abbreviations and acronyms

While they save space, abbreviations and acronyms can pile up on the page and confuse readers. In general:

  • Avoid abbreviations if possible
  • Write out the full name the first time you use it and put the abbreviation in parentheses
Last updated February 26, 2021