Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 1: Staffing

1.4 Professional Development/Training

1.4.4 Continuing Education/Professional Development Continuing Education for Small Family Child Care Home Caregivers/Teachers

Small family child care home caregivers/teachers should have at least thirty clock-hours per year (2) of continuing education in areas determined by self-assessment and, where possible, by a performance review of a skilled mentor or peer reviewer.
In addition to low child:staff ratio, group size, age mix of children, and continuity of caregiver/teacher, the training/education of caregivers/teachers is a specific indicator of child care quality (1). Most skilled roles require training related to the functions and responsibilities the role requires. Caregivers/teachers who engage in on-going training are more likely to decrease morbidity and mortality in their setting (3) and are better able to prevent, recognize, and correct health and safety problems.

Children may come to child care with identified special health care needs or may develop them while attending child care, so staff must be trained in recognizing health problems as well as in implementing care plans for previously identified needs.

Because of the nature of their caregiving/teaching tasks, caregivers/teachers must attain multifaceted knowledge and skills. Child health and employee health are integral to any education/training curriculum and program management plan. Planning and evaluation of training should be based on performance of the caregiver/teacher. Provision of workshops and courses on all facets of a small family child care business may be difficult to access and may lead to caregivers/teachers enrolling in training opportunities in curriculum related areas only. Too often, caregivers/teachers make training choices based on what they like to learn about (their “wants”) and not the areas in which their performance should be improved (their “needs”).

Small family child care home caregivers/teachers often work alone and are solely responsible for the health and safety of small numbers of children in care. Peer review is part of the process for accreditation of family child care and can be valuable in assisting the caregiver/teacher in the identification of areas of need for training. Self-evaluation may not identify training needs or focus on areas in which the caregiver/teacher is particularly interested and may be skilled already.

The content of continuing education for small family child care home caregivers/teachers should include the following topics:
  1. Promoting child growth and development correlated with developmentally appropriate activities;
  2. Infant care;
  3. Recognizing and managing minor illness and injury;
  4. Managing the care of children who require the special procedures listed in Standard;
  5. Medication administration;
  6. Business aspects of the small family child care home;
  7. Planning developmentally appropriate activities in mixed age groupings;
  8. Nutrition for children in the context of preparing nutritious meals for the family;
  9. Age-appropriate size servings of food and child feeding practices;
  10. Acceptable methods of discipline/setting limits;
  11. Organizing the home for child care;
  12. Preventing unintentional injuries in the home (falls, poisoning, burns, drowning);
  13. Available community services;
  14. Detecting, preventing, and reporting child abuse and neglect;
  15. Advocacy skills;
  16. Pediatric first aid, including pediatric CPR;
  17. Methods of effective communication with children and parents/guardians;
  18. Socio-emotional and mental health (positive approaches with consistent and nurturing relationships);
  19. Evacuation and shelter-in-place drill procedures;
  20. Occupational health hazards;
  21. Infant-safe sleep environments and practices;
  22. Standard Precautions;
  23. Shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma;
  24. Dental issues;
  25. Age-appropriate nutrition and physical activity.

Small family child care home caregivers/teachers should maintain current contact lists of community pediatric primary care providers, specialists for health issues of individual children in their care and child care health consultants who could provide training when needed.

In-home training alternatives to group training for small family child care home caregivers/teachers are available, such as distance courses on the Internet, listening to audiotapes or viewing media (e.g., DVDs) with self-checklists. These training alternatives provide more flexibility for caregivers/teachers who are remote from central training locations or have difficulty arranging coverage for their child care duties to attend training. Nevertheless, gathering family child care home caregivers/teachers for training when possible provides a break from the isolation of their work and promotes networking and support. Satellite training via down links at local extension service sites, high schools, and community colleges scheduled at convenient evening or weekend times is another way to mix quality training with local availability and some networking.

Early Head Start, Head Start, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Continuing Education for Directors and Caregivers/Teachers in Centers and Large Family Child Care Homes On-Site Occupational Hazards Caring for Children Who Require Medical Procedures Disaster Planning, Training, and Communication Written Plan for Seasonal and Pandemic Influenza Emergency and Evacuation Drills Policy Training Record
  1. Whitebook, M., C. Howes, D. Phillips. 1998. Worthy work, unlivable wages: The national child care staffing study, 1988-1997. Washington, DC: Center for the Child Care Workforce.
  2. The National Association of Family Child Care (NAFCC). 2005. Quality standards for NAFCC accreditation. 4th ed. Salt Lake City, UT: NAFCC.
  3. Fiene, R. 2002. 13 indicators of quality child care: Research update. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.