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Opening the Door to Quality A guide to providing effective, on-site, technical assistance in

NACCRRA The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies Washington, D.C.

family child care homes

Opening the Door to Quality

Acknowledgements We wish to thank the authors of

contents TABLE


Opportunity Knocks: Making the Most of Home Visits (revised 2004, from the U.S. Department of the Army, Child and Youth Services (CYS). This guide is an adaptation of this work.

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Chapter 1:

Adapted by: Susan Perry-Manning Debra Foulks

Layout: Patricia Sadiq Concept and Cover Design Phil Deppen

Chapter 2:

Chapter 3:

Chapter 4:

Chapter 5: Š 2005. NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, Washington, D.C.

Overview Of On-site Technical Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Definition of On-Site TA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Goals of On-Site TA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Types of On-Site TA Visits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 The On-Site TA Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Benefits of On-Site TA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

The Technical Assistance/Outreach Specialist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Role of the TA/Outreach Specialist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Characteristics of a Successful TA/Outreach Specialist . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Orientation and Ongoing Training for TA/Outreach Specialists . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

The Basics Of On-site Technical Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Appearance/Dress . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Professionalism and Objectivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scheduling Visits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . On-Site Visit Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Recordkeeping and Reporting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

20 20 21 22 24

Reaching Out To Family Child Care Providers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Outreach and Marketing Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Encouraging FCC Providers to Use On-Site TA Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26

Developing Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Building Rapport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Understanding Providers’ Experiences and Attitudes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Being A Good Listener . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ?? Setting the Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Supporting Change . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31


contents TABLE


Chapter 6:

Chapter 7: Chapter 8:

Chapter 9:

Observing And Assessing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Goals of Observation and Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Preparing to Observe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stages of Observation and Assessment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Providing Feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

34 35 36 38

For the purposes of this guide, technical assistance delivered in a provider’s home is called “on-site technical assistance”. The professionals delivering the on-site technical assistance are referred to as Technical Assistance/Outreach (TA/O) Specialists.

Making A Quality Improvement Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Tips for Developing a Successful Quality Improvement Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42

Although the process for providing technical assistance will vary from CCR&R to CCR&R, and from state to state, the goal of technical assistance is the same: To enhance the quality of care children receive in family child care homes by working with FCC providers to improve their knowledge, skills, practices and environment.

Providing On-site Support And Mentoring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 How to Make the Most of Your Visits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Questioning Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Introducing Concerns Gradually . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Offering Alternatives to Targeted Behavior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Setting Priorities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Role Modeling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Giving Positive Feedback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

44 45 47 48 48 49 49

Monitoring And Evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Minimizing Provider Anxiety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Elements of Monitoring Visits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53

Chapter 10: Is The Door Open Or Closed? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Appendices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Appendix A: TA/O Specialist Job Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58

provide a variety of samples that may be adapted for use when working with FCC providers.

Appendix B: Time Management Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix C: The DO’s of On-Site Technical Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix D: Supporting Changes Scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix E: Characteristics of a Good Listener . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix F: Guidelines for Effective Observations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix G: Observation Summary Form . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix H: Agreement to Participate in On-Site Technical Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . Appendix I: Quality Improvement Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

59 60 61 63 64 66 68 70

There is a knock on the door and a family childcare (FCC) provider answers. You stand at the door, ready to be welcomed in. This is the start of a unique and important relationship and process that can help produce and ensure higher quality family child care for young children and families. This guide is for you, Technical Assistance/ Outreach Specialists or other professionals who provide training and technical assistance to family child care providers in the provider’s home. It covers the basic processes and skills that go into providing quality technical assistance and support for family child care providers – from recruiting providers for assistance to what actually happens once the knock on the door is answered. The Appendices Editor’s Note: Throughout this guide, family child care providers are referred to as “She”, since women represent well over 90% of the field. However, we encourage and support the inclusion of males in the child care profession.

Chapter 1: Overview Of On-site Technical Assistance

Definition Of On-site TA Goals Of On-site TA Types Of On-site TA Visits The On-site TA Process Benefits Of On-site TA

chapter 1

chapter 1 Making the distinction between different types of training and technical assistance can be a challenge. In this guide, training is defined as an instructional, pre-planned presentation, or set of specific training materials that are delivered in group settings, online, one-onone, or through a guided self-study method. Examples: A workshop or seminar on family child care tax preparation; a training on behavior management that includes a formal presentation by the trainer. Technical assistance is defined as consultation that is provided either on the phone, by email, or on-site that occurs in response to a provider question, an observation occurring during an on-site visit, or as part of a quality

d tion an s a v r e s Ob isit ment V s s e s s A t and Suppor g Visits in Mentor sits ring Vi Monito

improvement plan. Examples: a provider calls with a licensing question; a TA/O Specialist is visiting a center or home, and makes some suggestions on room arrangement based on observation of the environment. This guide focuses on how to provide effective on-site technical assistance: the process of working with FCC providers in their homes to improve their knowledge, skills, practices and environment.

Goals of On-Site TA The primary goal of on-site TA is to enhance the quality of care children receive in family child care homes. There are other ways to improve family child care quality, such as through group training, but on-site TA provides many unique and valuable opportunities, including: • Providing an ongoing mechanism for setting and reviewing FCC provider professional development goals; • Allowing for one-on-one training that providers may not necessarily get otherwise; • Serving as a bridge between group training and actual provider practices; • Providing support and mentoring that reduces provider stress, burnout and turnover, and; • Ensuring quality programming and the best care for children.

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Types of On-Site TA Visits There are three basic types of on-site technical assistance: 1. Observation and Assessment Visits 2. Support and Mentoring Visits 3. Monitoring Visits The role of the TA/O Specialist is different in each type of visit. During some visits, you are the model, coach, trainer, and/or early childhood resource person. At other times, you are the mentor and supporter. In other cases, you are the monitor or evaluator. It is important that you maintain a supportive and interactive relationship with the provider, but it is also helpful to identify for yourself and the provider which type of visit you are conducting. Observation and Assessment Visits This type of visit is when the TA/O Specialist visits the FCC home to observe and assess the quality of the program. The TA/O Specialist is there as an objective observer only and should have limited contact with the provider

or children. Typically the TA/O Specialist uses a formal observation and assessment tool to establish a baseline quality level in the FCC program, which will be used to identify areas of strength and weakness, and to measure ongoing progress. Observation and assessment visits provide information on the: • Relationship between the provider and children;

Overview of On-site Technical Assistance

Definition of On-Site TA

• Relationship between the provider and families, and; • Appropriateness of the FCC environment as it promotes safety and health and child development. Support and Mentoring Visits In this type of visit, the TA/O Specialist works with the provider in the home to help develop and implement quality improvement and professional development plans. This may involve bringing resources to the provider or working with the provider on a specific activity that would help the provider’s work with children. Home Visitors Guide [11]

chapter 1

chapter 1

The On-Site TA Process The on-site technical assistance process varies based on the needs of the providers, availability of funding and staff, and overall TA project goals. However, most on-site TA processes include the following six steps: At these times, the TA/O Specialist might: Overview of On-site Technical Assistance

• Have a short, general discussion about how things are going for the provider; • Answer questions; • Listen to the provider’s ideas and concerns; • Model appropriate ways of working with the children; • Provide information on how to obtain a CDA credential; • Provide training in first aid, CPR, menu planning, guidance, techniques, etc; • Give information on opportunities to receive direct and indirect subsidies from local and state programs; • Bring materials from the FCC Resource Library, and; • Offer encouragement for the provider’s efforts! Monitoring Visits Monitoring visits assess the how the provider is meeting the agreed upon objectives and time lines in the quality improvement plan, and/or whether or not the provider is meeting certain quality criteria. During this type of visit, the TA/O Specialist uses a checklist or reviews the

[12] Home Visitors Guide

1. Marketing and outreach activities that encourage providers to use on-site TA services; 2. Developing rapport and trust with family child care providers; 3. Observing and assessing providers and their homes to establish a baseline quality, identify strengths and areas that can be improved, and to measure ongoing progress; 4. Developing a quality improvement plan jointly with the provider; 5. Providing on-site support and mentoring, and; 6. Monitoring progress on an ongoing basis. Chapters 4 – 9 of this guide describe the “howtos” for each of the six steps listed above.

Benefits of On-Site TA Children in care are the ultimate beneficiaries of effective on-site technical assistance. Ongoing on-site TA ensures that children receive care which is safe, sanitary, nutritionally-adequate and where the risk of child abuse is reduced. On-site TA is beneficial to participating family child care providers, to TA/O Specialists, and to parents as well.

Benefits for Family Child Care Providers • A link to the outside world: The relative isolation associated with being an FCC provider is a factor that directly impacts the provider’s motivation and ability to offer quality care for children. Technical assistance visits by knowledgeable, sensitive TA/O Specialists are effective tools for relieving some of these feelings of isolation and the stress accompanying these feelings.

circumstances of their home and the particular group of children they serve. For example, after a group training session on “planning and scheduling,” you might work with a provider during a TA visit to develop her own daily schedule, incorporating the general principles of scheduling with the specific circumstances in her home. Benefits for Technical Assistance/Outreach Specialists

• Additional training opportunities: Providers become confident in their ability to offer high quality care when they learn more about how children develop. Information about developmentally appropriate care and other aspects of caring for children is often introduced during group sessions. Follow-up on-site visits support providers as they put this information into practice.

The benefits to you are complementary to benefits for providers. Technical assistance visits allow you to build a trusting relationship with providers. They are a means to get to know providers well, find out what they do successfully and jointly determine where they need assistance. Personal, trusting relationships serve as a solid foundation for achieving desired quality improvement results.

• A “safe” learning environment: Attending a group training session can be an intimidating experience for many providers. During large group sessions, providers may be hesitant to ask questions or to make comments.

Benefits for Parents

Additionally, they may be reluctant to admit that they do not understand or may not want to “take time away from the training for my individual problems.” During a one-on-one TA visit, providers are usually more relaxed and willing to ask questions and make comments.

On-site technical assistance provides a level of quality assurance for parents. Parents recognize that their children’s provider is trained to offer developmentally appropriate care which supports the child’s physical, intellectual, emotional, and social growth. Parents also know that the homes of providers participating in onsite technical assistance are visited on a regular basis to assess if they are meeting health, safety, and program standards and making progress on quality improvement plans.

Overview of On-site Technical Assistance

quality improvement plan with the provider, and indicates to the provider in writing whether or not the provider is making appropriate progress or meeting requirements. If the provider is not making progress or meeting requirements, a corrective action plan should be developed

• Individualized problem-solving opportunities: A key to helping providers grow professionally is to individualize the technical assistance to meet each provider’s needs. But often it is difficult to meet the needs of individual providers during group trainings. A group session, no matter how well-designed, generally cannot meet the individual needs of each provider. During a TA visit, the provider receives your individualized attention. You assist providers in applying broad training concepts to the unique Home Visitors Guide [13]

Chapter 2 The Technical Assistance/Outreach Specialist Roles Of The TA/Outreach Specialist Characteristics Of A Successful TA/Outreach Specialist Orientation And Ongoing Training For TA/Outreach Specialists

chapter 2

chapter 2 Role of the TA/Outreach Specialist

• Self-directed and organized

The TA/O Specialist is in a key position to positively affect the quality of care children and their families receive in FCC homes. As a result, your role has many aspects to it. You will need and use outreach, training, mentoring, counseling, monitoring and reporting skills as a TA/O Specialist. During visits, TA/O Specialists provide support by:

• Energetic • Highly motivated • Positive • Willing to learn • Self-confident and mature

• Serving as a sounding board for the provider’s ideas

• Respectful of the providers and their homes

• Helping providers implement their ideas with children

• Able to convey an attitude of warmth and genuineness

• Answering questions

• Empathetic—able to relate to providers’ feelings

• Recommending resources • Providing feedback on what is observed • Modeling techniques for working with children

• Flexible • Aware and tolerant of, and sensitive to, cultural differences

A sample job description for a Technical Assistance/Outreach Specialist is included in the Appendices, Appendix A.

Orientation and Ongoing Training for TA/Outreach Specialists

Characteristics of a Successful TA/ Outreach Specialist

New and experienced TA/Outreach Specialists benefit from revisiting the basics of their agency’s on-site TA policies and procedures, exploring best practices, and learning about new resources and approaches that can enhance the services they provide.

Providing on-site technical assistance and support is an interesting, exciting and rewarding job. It can also be physically tiring and emotionally draining. Not everyone is wellsuited to be a TA/O Specialist. You will be most likely to be successful if you are:

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New Staff Orientation Before going into a home for the first time, TA/ Outreach Specialists should have at least a minimum knowledge of several areas. Each TA/

1. Supervisor or mentor reviews and discusses state licensing requirements and the agency’s policies and procedures for delivering on-site technical assistance, using this guide as a primary resource. Before going into homes, new TA/O Specialists should know major licensing areas and agency policies and procedures, and be aware of what resource to reference for information they do not have memorized. 2. New TA/O Specialist makes an introductory visit to several FCC homes. The supervisor or mentor should accompany the new staff member to several FCC homes as part of the initial training. The homes should be representative of the various types of homes in the community and include homes that fall in different places along the quality continuum, from the providers who need a lot of assistance to those who are providing outstanding care. 3. New TA/O Specialist attends a family child care home start-up workshop, if available. This help the TA/O Specialist gain a deeper understanding of state regulations, as well as an understanding of the process from the providers’ perspective.

5. TA/O Specialist is given a case load of FCC homes with which to work. To the extent possible, the new TA/O Specialist should be provided with written and verbal information on each home, including: • Current enrollment and ages of children in the home; • Training and background of provider, including any certifications, degrees, or accreditations she has, and; • Documentation of any prior training and TA the provider has received through the agency • An analysis of what quality improvement efforts or training have already been completed and what future goals or plans are in place.

The Technical Assistance/outreach Specialist

Outreach Specialist will have a different level of education and experience, so individual orientation plans will vary. In general, an orientation process should include the following steps:

4. TA/O Specialist accompanies experienced staff on one of each of the three types of visits described in Chapter 1: observation and assessment, support and mentoring, and monitoring. After each visit, the experienced staff person should discuss the techniques that were used and why those strategies were adopted. The TA/O Specialist and experienced staff members should also compare notes on what each of them saw, and review the follow-up that will take place.

Home Visitors Guide [17]

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6. After the TA/O Specialist conducts a few visits, the supervisor or mentor should “debrief” with the TA/O Specialist. Explore questions together such as: • What went as expected? • What were the children doing when you arrived? • Did anything happen that was unexpected? • How did the provider react to the toy/ idea/resource you brought?

Ongoing Training Training does not stop once you have completed your initial training, just as it does not stop for the family child care providers with whom you work. In addition to becoming a more skilled TA/O Specialist, ongoing training will keep you renewed and refreshed. Talk with your supervisor about what kind of professional development opportunities are available to you, and make and follow an annual professional development plan that helps you build your skills and keep you up to- date on new research, resources, and practices.

Chapter 3 The Basics Of On-site Technical Assistance

• Would you do anything differently the next time you visit? The Technical Assistance/outreach Specialist [18] Home Visitors Guide

Appearance/Dress Professionalism and Objectivity Scheduling Visits On-Site Visit Protocol Recordkeeping and Reporting

chapter 3

chapter 3

Scheduling Visits Although it is often difficult, you should try to keep a regular schedule to ensure that quality improvement and monitoring tasks stay on track. Plan your long-range technical assistance schedule, perhaps for a 3 month period, and then build your short-range schedule (often week by week), from these plans. In both your long and short-range plans (in addition to the home visits), be sure to include time for:

Appearance/Dress What you wear can have an effect on how you are perceived by the providers and the community. As a general rule, when you conduct your on site technical assistance visits you don’t want to be “overdressed” or “underdressed”. Your goal is to make sure the FCC provider feels at ease with your visit to their home. While you want to maintain a professional image, it is also important to be comfortable and not “stick out” during your visit.

• Scheduled meetings to develop quality improvement plans • Scheduled meetings to develop provider professional development plans • Planned on-site training and support • Drop in support and monitoring visits during different times of the day

Professionalism and Objectivity One of the most common issues discussed among on-site technical assistance staff is how to balance the relationship that naturally develops between TA/O Specialists and the providers they work with. Often providers develop a very close personal attachment to you – and see you as sensitive, helpful, and supportive, and naturally become a “friend.” Although this bond is very valuable, there is a possibility that the relationship could grow beyond professionalism and negatively influence your ability to do some critical parts of your job. The potential exists to make excuses for a provider’s inappropriate behavior or lack of progress, or to overlook problems because “she’s such a nice person and I really like her.” Overlooking serious problems can compromise the success of an on-site technical assistance program and is potentially dangerous to children. It is important that you are aware of this possibility and continue to remain professional and objective in your interactions with providers at all times. [20] Home Visitors Guide

• Monitoring Part of your role is to listen to providers in order to identify their needs and concerns. Occasionally, however, providers will tell you something which has the potential to impact negatively on the children in the home. You should explain to providers that there are limits to the confidences that you can keep. All incidents that are related to child abuse and neglect or spousal or substance abuse must be reported to the appropriate authorities. It is not your responsibility to decide what the consequences will be for the provider. In these situations, your responsibility is to report promptly and objectively. Experienced TA/O Specialists discover their own ways of developing relationships with providers, while still maintaining a professional, objective attitude. They learn to ask, “Did you and your family enjoy your vacation? We missed you.” or “Has your son completely

• Documentation • Travel to and from homes Careful planning will help ensure you accomplish the tasks you need to complete and that home visits receive the time in your schedule they deserve. As you prepare for a week’s visits, it may help to gather all of the materials you will need for those visits. For example:

• Collect a supply of blank documentation and reporting forms • Gather the materials or resource books to be taken to providers and children • Identify any other necessary items you should bring Keep everything handy for pick-up as you leave for the visits. The timing and scheduling of home visits often determines what you will be able to accomplish. The key to scheduling visits is to know what you want as an end product. Keep in mind that some visits, such as monitoring visits should be unannounced and may not be scheduled with the provider. If during your visit you will need the provider’s undivided attention (e.g., to review records, work on her environmental improvement plan, or discuss a difficult problem), schedule the visit during naptime or rest time, so that you and the provider can work uninterrupted. Visits during children’s activity time will give you the best idea of the kinds of activities that the provider plans for the children. Late afternoon visits will give you an indication of how the provider interacts with parents as they come to pick up their children. Effective scheduling takes into account your project goals and timelines, provider considerations, and also your own needs as a TA/O Specialist. Planning and organizing your schedule will help you become more productive. With a little thought and organization, you will be able to fit more of your responsibilities into your daily and weekly routines.

The Basics Of On-site Technical Assistance

recovered from the flu?” Then they move on to the remainder of the visit. They learn how to balance warmth and friendliness with professionalism.

safety note: Your safety is an important consideration when doing technical assistance visits. Knowing the neighborhood you are visiting and what parking options are available is extremely important. You may also want to check with the local police jurisdiction

for crime statistics and the general safety of an area, and if necessary, plan to visit only during daylight or with a colleague. If you believe your personal safety is at risk, discuss it with your supervisor and determine an appropriate course of action. Home Visitors Guide [21]

chapter 3

that these are private residences as well as places of business. You are a guest in the provider’s home. When you arrive, there are four important things to remember. 1. If the visit has been scheduled with the provider in advance make every effort to arrive at the agreed upon time. Arriving on time gives providers the message that you understand that they have a schedule and that you will do everything possible to keep from disrupting their routine.

The Basics Of On-site Technical Assistance

See Appendix B for some helpful time management strategies.

On-Site Visit Protocol Going Through the Visit Timing is important. Generally, most technical assistance/support visits should last about 30 to 45 minutes. Providers who know the purpose of the visit will be able to estimate how long you will be in their home. If the visit is different from the usual time frame, plan well in advance with the provider, or cue her when you arrive: “I just dropped in to deliver this book and stay about 15 minutes. Then I have to make a visit to another home.” “You were concerned about the transition to naptime so I thought I’d come at lunch time and stay until the children are down for a nap. Then we can brainstorm some ideas for that period of time that’s giving you problems. Does it fit into your schedule if I’m here that long?” Arriving for the Visit The tone that you set as you arrive for a visit is critical to your relationship with the provider and to the success of the entire visit. Although you are coming as a representative of the CCR&R, it is important for you to remember

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2. State the purpose of the visit when you arrive (even though it has been agreed upon before your arrival). “I’ve brought you the books that you asked for,” or “I’ve come to look at your fire evacuation plan and see your fire drill.” 3. If the visit is unannounced, ask if you may come in. If you have made an agreement with providers to perform unannounced monitoring visits, they are aware of these requirements. It is especially important that you maintain a professional and friendly attitude during these type of visits, as they have not been scheduled and may not always coincide with a convenient time for the provider. 4. Introduce yourself to any guest in the home or to the provider’s spouse if he is present. Tell the guests why you are there and take the opportunity to mention something positive about the provider’s program in front of the guest. It is NEVER appropriate to discuss problems with the home or children while a guest is present. If you have a problem to discuss, you should schedule another visit to meet with the provider privately.

During the Visit In most cases, children will be present when you make a technical assistance visit. It is to be expected that some of children will be excited and interested in meeting you and finding out why you have come. Depending on the type of visit you are conducting, you may have little contact with the provider or children. However, it is okay to acknowledge the children’s presence and demonstrate interest in them and their activities. Here are a few steps: 1. Greet the children briefly if they are aware of you or approach you. You do not have to get involved in their activities, just acknowledge then. “Hi, I see you are about to each lunch.” 2. Reinforce the knowledge that the provider’s interactions with the children take precedence over anything else. Sometimes when you arrive and children are present, providers may make unreasonable demands on children. For example, they could tell all of the children to sit on the sofa and be quiet until you leave. Or they might ignore children’s inappropriate behavior, rather than interrupt a discussion with you. It is your responsibility to see that the goal for the visit is not met at the expense of children’s

needs. For example, you might say to the provider, “It’s hard for young children to sit without something to do. Perhaps if they are involved in something first we’ll be able to talk while they’re busy.” 3. Be sure to let the provider know she does not have to stop an activity because you are there. Do not allow your visit to disrupt the provider’s routine any more than is absolutely necessary. Respect everyone’s right to finish what they are doing. This includes the children. 4. During a visit when children or other adults are present, NEVER discuss specific children’s behavior or their families. This type of conversation must always be held in private. If a provider initiates a discussion about a child or about a family, suggest to her that professionally you need to postpone the conversation until the two of you can speak privately. 5. If the purpose of the visit is monitoring you should be especially sensitive and tactful when you have to enter the private areas of the home. You might say, “I know you don’t use the master bedroom or this bathroom for child care. However, it’s possible for a child to accidentally wander in there, so I need to take a quick look.” As always, you should remind providers that the reason for the monitoring visit is to

The Basics Of On-site Technical Assistance

chapter 3

When a provider’s spouse is in the home, take the opportunity to thank the spouse for his support. This is especially effective if you can mention a specific example. For example, “the baby seems to love playing with you while your wife helps the older children set the table for lunch.” Home Visitors Guide [23]

chapter 3

check progress on quality improvement efforts and assess the safety and wellbeing of children. 6. Whenever safety concerns are identified during a monitoring visit, assist the providers in correcting some items immediately. For example, you might say, “These adult scissors are in a drawer that the children can reach. Where can we move them right now that is convenient for you, but that the children can’t reach?” When on-the-spot correction cannot be made, you should develop a plan with the provider which outlines what needs to be done and when the changes will be completed. The Basics Of On-site Technical Assistance

Concluding the Visit When the visit is over: • Thank the provider for her time • Summarize the purpose of the visit-recap what you saw and what follow-up will be provided, if any • Remind the provider of any future visits, upcoming events, or other important agreed-upon information • Say good-bye to the children and any guests • Leave quickly to minimize disruption to the routine • If there is an issue of potential suspension, follow established procedures and policies and act accordingly. Your goal as you leave a provider’s home is to leave with the provider looking forward to your next visit. She should recognize you as a positive supporter of her efforts. She should feel that your visit in some way benefited her and her children.

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Recordkeeping and Reporting No matter what type of on-site TA visit you make, it should be documented. It is also important to document TA phone calls, and any group training the provider attends. The documentation you keep serves as a basis for evaluating and planning for providers. By reviewing the written records of your technical assistance visits, you can detect general trends in providers and in the program itself. You will then use the information to influence decisions on:

Chapter 4 Reaching Out To Family Child Care Providers

• Program goals and objectives • Provider training

Outreach and Marketing Strategies

• Resource lending library needs To be effective, written records of visits should be current, complete, specific, and objective. Even when a report details negative findings, it should be written professionally and reflect respect for the provider and the job she is doing. Documentation of visits concerning serious health or safety issues should be completed immediately in the providers’ presence and signed or initialed by them. You should let the provider know that you may be required to report the issues to the appropriate authorities. On some occasions the reports that you write about providers will include sensitive information. Remember that this information is confidential. It is to be shared only with the other CCR&R staff or appropriate professionals who need to know the information. See Appendix C for a list of the DOs of on-site technical assistance.

Encouraging FCC Providers to Use On-Site TA Services

chapter 4

Chapter 5

Outreach and Marketing Strategies

Developing Relationships

Part of your responsibility is to make continuous efforts to offer your services to new and existing family child care providers in your community. To identify potential participants, try the following avenues:

Building Rapport

• Work with your local licensing agencies for family child care providers

Understanding Providers’ Experiences and Attitudes

• Contact your local FCC association • Send out newsletters to parents and other customers

Being A Good Listener

• Put up flyers in local libraries

Setting the Example

• Attend FCC provider trainings and workshops • Recruit new providers from parents who contact you to locate care and tell you that they can’t find care and/or would rather stay home with their children

Encouraging Family Child Care Providers to Use On-Site Technical Assistance Services Often the hardest providers to get to use your services are the ones who need them most. The best way of encouraging these providers to use your services is the “word of mouth” strategy­— ask some of your satisfied and successful FCC customers to spread the word!

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Supporting Change

Another approach is to “get your foot in the door” through another service that your CCR&R is providing. For example, if your agency administers child care subsidies, ask to come and speak at one of the subsidy meetings or training sessions. If your agency offers the Child and Adult Care Food Program, ask the Food Program staff to take out brochures and “talk up” the on-site TA services. Once you are able to make an initial connection, you can use the tips for developing relationships described in Chapter 5.

chapter 5

Rapport-Building Strategies Get to know providers initially.

chapter 5

Find out about their families and home life. Document their professional goals.

with whom you will work. Getting to know people takes time and effort, but it can be very rewarding. On the next page are some suggestions for getting to know providers and starting off on a positive note.

Developing a positive and guiding relationship with each provider is also the key to providing good technical assistance and support. The type of relationship you build with providers will set the tone of the work you do and have a longlasting impact on the outcome of the visit. Once a good relationship is established and nurtured on an ongoing basis, half of your goals are met.

There isn’t a magic formula for building good relationships, but it is helpful to remember that a person’s personality, culture, and experiences play an important role in how they relate to others. It is also important to remember that providers are working inside of their personal homes. Most providers have their own families and it is critical to consider their families when building a good relationship.

Understanding Providers’ Experiences and Attitudes As you are making technical assistance visits, consider each provider as an individual. Look at what she does well and where she needs help. Remember that each provider is at a different stage in her professional development. The stage that she is in depends upon her: • Training and Education • Experience

Building Rapport

• Innate abilities

Good relationships are built on trust and respect. The trust and respect you nurture with providers will be crucial when providing technical assistance.

• Level of motivation

Ideally, before providing technical assistance, you will have spoken with and met the providers [28] Home Visitors Guide

Work with providers where they are in their development, not where you want her to be. The role you assume and the strategies you adopt during technical assistance visits will depend on the provider’s level of professional development.

Let them know you are there to support and guide them. Make follow-up calls on a regular basis. Show that your work with them is important to you.

Demonstrate your enthusiasm for making technical assistance visits. Display an attitude your visits are a pleasant and natural part of CCR&R services. During the initial home visit, and each subsequent visit, explain what your responsibilities will be when you visit. Find out what the provider expects from each TA visit.

Demonstrate that you genuinely care about the providers, their children, and the success of their program.

Respect the provider’s home as a place of business. Respect and minimize disruptions to the schedule. Follow through when you agree to do something with or for a provider.

Developing Relationships

Relationships are at the heart of family child care: the relationship between children and their families; the relationship between providers and children; and the relationship between providers and the families they serve.

Call them and introduce yourself and let them know you will be working with them. Find out about why they became a provider and their history with children and child care.

Minimize disruptions to children’s activities. Find as many opportunities as possible to go into provider’s homes that are supportive and helpful, rather than inspecting or unannounced. For example, take new materials from the Resource Center that they may enjoy; or stop by to help them with a special event they are planning (such as a party) that you know about. Ensure that you are knowledgeable about the local and state requirements of the FCC program and the practices and procedures of developmentally appropriate practice for caring for young children.

Study and keep up-to-date on local and state FCC Program regulations. Review and stay informed on NAEYC’s guidance on developmentally appropriate practices for children birth through age 8. Become familiar with professional resources in the early childhood field. Continue your professional growth and identify opportunities to further your professional development. Regularly discuss difficult questions or situations that arise with your supervisor or your colleagues.

Home Visitors Guide [29]

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Recognizing that providers are individuals with different strengths, needs, backgrounds and levels of motivation is the key to helping providers grow professionally. Each home visit requires you to take on different roles and to adopt different strategies. See Appendix D for examples of three providers with different levels of experience and motivation and how they each can be supported. A good way to learn about providers and to establish a good relationship with them is to listen to what they have to say.

Developing Relationships

If you take time to listen, you will find out what providers think, know, and care about. You can find out how providers have interpreted issues addressed in training, or comments and suggestions made during previous visits. In addition, listening shows you genuinely care about what providers think of themselves as professionals, about children, and about the program. You can use the information you have gathered to offer optimum support and training for each provider. Being a good listener is important in any relationship and in any line of work. Hearing someone is not the same as listening. Listening is a skill that involves understanding the intent and message beneath the words. It is important that when talking with a provider, you focus on what they are saying and the meaning behind it. How people communicate with others involves a lot of variables — background, experience, and cultural norms, to name a few. It is important not to be quick to make assumptions about what people are saying or doing without knowing something about the person.

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Provider Characteristics

TA/O Specialist Roles and Strategies

Inexperienced, unskilled, but willing

Coach • Explaining and clarifying • More directive

Experienced and able, but unwilling

Supporter • Motivating • Listening • Discussing • Less directive

Experienced, able, willing

Advisor/mentor • Discussing • Reinforcing

See Appendix E for a summary of good listening skills. Below are some basic principles of being a good listener that will help with developing and strengthening a good rapport with providers:

today,” or “Is there something you’d like to discuss?” or “Tell me what’s been going on.” After the door has been opened, encourage further talk with statements such as “Tell me more. . . I see . . . Can we good listeners talk about that further? . . . Go on . . . What happened then?” • Show interest through your body language. Sit or stand upright, facing the provider, perhaps leaning forward. Make sure your body movements are relaxed and natural. Use appropriate eye contact, comfortably looking at the provider, and looking away. Use facial expressions to indicate that the provider’s message is of real interest to you. • Attend to content, not delivery. Things such as style of dress, quality of voice, accent, mannerisms, and physical characteristics can be distracting. Good listeners direct their attention to what is being said and away from the distractions.

• Give the other person a chance to talk. Stop talking and give the provider time to complete her thoughts. Feel comfortable with silence and know that attentive silence gives the provider time to process what has been said.

• Listen to the complete message. We all have a tendency to anticipate what someone is saying. Be patient and listen to the total message before you begin to form your response. Make an attempt to fully understand the speaker’s point view.

• Create a comfortable environment for talking. Remove distractions and assure confidentiality where desired and appropriate. Eliminate interruptions as much as possible and remove physical barriers between you and the provider. If distractions do interfere, talk about them openly and establish another time to talk.

• Listen for the main ideas. Since it is impossible to remember everything a person says, you should attempt to focus on the central idea and remember the less important facts only long enough to understand what is being said.

• Ask appropriate questions. Questions can help you better understand what the provider means as well as encourage the provider to explore her thoughts. “Can you give me an example of what you mean when you say that it’s frustrating when you are being ignored?” • Lead the other person to talk. Use dooropening statements which invite the provider to talk, such as “You seem hassled

• Look for areas of common experience and agreement. This is done by briefly recognizing a similar past experience or a brief account of a similar point of view that you may have heard before. This can help you better relate to what is being said. • Deal effectively with your own roadblocks to listening. Realize that everyone has blocks to listening to some people in some situations. Be aware of your commonly used blocks and catch yourself in the act of using them.

• Practice listening. Like any other skill, listening can be learned and perfected, but it takes practice. Put yourself in a variety of listening situations such as adult education classes, parent meetings, discussion groups, and informal talks with friends where you can practice listening.

Setting the Example Just like a provider’s moods, attitudes, and actions affect the children in their care, yours will effect the providers you work with. Remember to model the traits you want the provider to display. Here are a few tips: • Try to leave your bad mood or negative feelings outside of the provider’s home. Arrive with and maintain a positive attitude, even if the provider is having a bad day. Remain professional, proactive, and encouraging – your attitude will be infectious! • Follow through on your agreements. If you tell a provider you are going to bring her a particular resource, or get back to her by a certain date, make sure you do so. It will be easier to gently hold the provider accountable for following through on her tasks if you have demonstrated that behavior to her.

Developing Relationships

Being A Good Listener

chapter 5

Supporting Change The ability to provide quality care is an ongoing learning process for FCC providers. Your job is to help providers develop or improve their caregiving skills and subsequently their level of professional satisfaction and self-confidence. It is also important to remember that most providers have a great deal of pride, but they may be insecure. They want to do their best for children, but may be unwilling to admit, for example, that they do not know how to read to a group of preschoolers, how to diaper an infant appropriately, or how to deal with a toddler who responds “no” to every request. It is your responsibility to help these providers without damaging their self-esteem. Home Visitors Guide [31]

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One of the most difficult parts of establishing a relationship with providers is that it takes time. Helping providers learn to trust you and to value the technical assistance visits is not something which happens immediately. It also is not something which occurs at the same rate with all providers. There are some providers who are naturally open and accepting and who will “hit it off� with you, while there are other providers who are more reserved and wary. Skilled TA/O Specialists understand these differences and plan accordingly. It is also important to now that adults learn best when they are actively part of the learning process, meaning involved in setting goals and determining how they will achieve those goals.

During initial visits, you will not only be establishing rapport with providers, but you will also be observing and making preliminary assessments of the providers’ strengths and weaknesses. Try to get a feeling about the attitude that the providers have toward home visits in general and toward you in particular. Obviously, these initial impressions may change with time. However, you can use the information as a basis for planning objectives and approaches that you will use during future visits.

Chapter 6 Observing And Assessing Goals of Observation and Assessment

Developing Relationships [32] Home Visitors Guide

Preparing to Observe Stages of Observation and Assessment Providing Feedback

chapter 6

Observing providers in their homes as they work with children is an essential source of information about a provider’s abilities and the quality of care that she provides. In some cases, you will be using a formal observation and assessment rating tool or checklist, in others, you will be observing less formally but still recording your observations.

chapter 6

Use the following steps to plan observations:

No matter what type of visit you are conducting, you will always be observing in a FCC home. It is the very nature of your role. You should always be alert, aware, and ready to take note of what is going on around you while you are doing a home visit.

Goals of Observation and Assessment TA/O Specialists observe in order to: • To make changes to the environment. By observing the way children use play spaces and materials, you can determine whether materials are meeting the children’s needs, if duplicates are required, or if traffic patterns interfere with play. • To identify concerns. Observation helps you see if children have special requirements that need to be addressed. These can range from a hearing problem to a need for extra attention. If indicated, you [34] Home Visitors Guide

will want to refer the family child care provider to appropriate resources and give her tips on how to raise the issue with the parents. • To make changes to the curriculum. Using observation, you can determine if themes should be changed or if the schedule needs to be more responsive to the children’s needs. For example, changes in gross motor activities may need to be implemented if children are spending most of their time with manipulatives and books, or in small spaces. • To help providers and parents learn more about their children through observation. You can help providers, and through them, families, use observation to learn more about their children’s strengths, needs, and behavior. • To enhance your abilities to communicate with providers. Using observational insights, you will become a better listener and responder.

ones will only be used by you. Include identifying information on all observation forms that includes: • Provider’s name • Purpose of the observation • Description of the activity • Date and time of the observation • Observer’s name

1. Decide on a purpose for observing. What do you hope to observe or discover? In many cases, you will be looking at general indications of quality care, adult-child interactions, cleanliness and safety concerns, evidence of planning, compliance with state regulations, etc. On other occasions, you will be observing a specific area, arrangement of materials, planning outdoor activities, menu planning, and naptime procedures. Knowing your purpose ahead of time will help you focus on relevant information as you observe.

5. Focus on recording objective information. Objective recordings include only what is actually seen and heard. These records describe, but do not evaluate or interpret what was observed. Direct quotes of what children and providers actually said are especially valuable. Your opinions and impressions are a part of the observation process, but they should be discussed with your supervisor, another child care professional, and when appropriate, with the provider. They should not be included in a provider’s permanent record.

2. Choose a suitable observation format. There are several methods for conducting and recording observations, checklists, rating scales, and narrative anecdotal observations. Each method has benefits and drawbacks and the choice you make depends on the purpose of the observation.

6. Observe more than once before making a judgment. Before forming a judgment about the quality of care in a home, it is necessary to observe on several occasions. What you see is only a snapshot of a period of time and does not indicate a true picture of day-to-day care.

3. Consider the time of day of the observation. For example, the activity period is the best time to observe adultchild interactions and evaluate the appropriateness of planned activities. Mealtimes will give you valuable information on how well a provider in implementing the USDA menu guidelines. Early morning or late afternoon is probably best for seeing provider-child communication

For example, the provider or the children could be excited or nervous and reacting differently because of your presence. It is possible that the provider’s schedule could have been disrupted because a child arrived at the home distressed and needed comforting. Children of deployed parents are especially vulnerable to distress. Or, perhaps, the provider knows some appropriate activities, but not enough to incorporate them consistently into her program. Only after subsequent observations will you have a true picture of the provider’s program.

4. Decide how you will record your observations. Use appropriate forms and checklists to record your observations. Think through which observation forms you will share with providers, and which

Observing And Assessing

Preparing to Observe

(Adapted from the Portage Special Training for Special Needs materials) Home Visitors Guide [35]

chapter 6

chapter 6

Red Flag Words

Compare the following examples of observational records:

Red flag words are those that are subjective. Because they do not describe behavior in a factual way, they do not belong in observations.

1. It was activity time and Jason was painting at the table. He began to paint on the table next to the paper. Ms. Stewart walked to Jason’s side and said, “Be sure to paint on the paper, not on the table, Jason. Do you need a bigger piece of paper?” Jason said, “Yes, I want red.” Jason then began to paint on the large sheet of red paper that Ms. Stewart gave him.

Feelings cannot be objectively observed. Avoid these red flags: happy, sad, mean, kind, angry, mellow, apathetic, bored, interested, proud, sympathetic, understanding, nasty, mischievous, lazy, crabby, laid-back, cooperative

Observing And Assessing

Stages of Observation and Assessment There are three stages of the observation and assessment process: 1. Objective observing 2. Interpreting 3. Implications for planning and implementation (adapted from Beaty, (1990), and the University of Western Sydney School of Learning, Development, and Early Education, Early Childhood Education Self Study Modules (2001)

Intelligence cannot be objectively observed. Avoid these red flags: smart, stupid, bright, dumb, mediocre, aboveaverage, overwhelmed, overachiever, underachiever Reasons for doing things cannot be objectively observed. Avoid these red flags: provoked, helpful, forced to, tricked, determined, undirected, out-of-control, motivated, spiritual, conscientious, frivolous Self-concept cannot be objectively observed. Avoid these red flags: selfesteem, competence, weak, pretty, ugly, athletic, strong, secure, insecure

Objective Observing

special reminder:

During the objective observing stage, you should:

Any observation which indicates that children’s health or safety may be at risk must be addressed immediately.

• Record only the facts • Record the facts in the order they occur

• Do not interpret as you observe

• Describe appearance and actions in accurate, vivid detail

• Do not record anything you do not see

• Record every detail without omitting anything [36] Home Visitors Guide

• Use words that describe but do not judge or interpret

What do you notice about the two observations? Take a minute to highlight words in each observation that are not factual or concrete.

During the interpretation stage of observing, you will: • Make meaning of the observation

As you can see, the first example is objective and describes exactly what happened. It is a specific description of what the problem was and how Ms. Stewart managed the situation. The second example is a general, subjective account of the episode. The description tells little about what actually happened. It states the observer’s impressions and opinions as facts – that the behavior was “unacceptable;” that Jason worked “happily;” and that Ms. Stewart knows how to guide children’s behavior effectively. See Appendices F and G for helpful observation tips and a sample observation summary form. Interpreting Observations Review your observation notes as soon as possible after the visit. During the visit, you will be recording information using personal “shorthand” that enables you to capture as much information as possible in a short period of time. As soon as possible after the visit (with your observation still fresh in your mind), review the notes to make sure that they are legible, accurate, and complete.

• Put the observation into perspective • Draw conclusions • Identify issues that require action Conclusions are the final step in interpretation. You always need to ask: Is there sufficient evidence to make a conclusion possible?

Observing And Assessing

Here are some of the more common red flag words–avoid them!

2. J  ason was painting at the table. He began to paint on the table next to the paper. Ms. Stewart handled the situation well and Jason stopped the unacceptable behavior and worked happily for the rest of the time. Ms. Stewart knows how to guide children’s behavior using appropriate techniques.

Using the example in the sample observational record above, after you have seen and documented similar interactions between Ms. Stewart and the children, you may conclude that Ms. Stewart knows how to guide children’s behavior appropriately. However, you should reach this conclusion only after making several observations and reviewing the objective recordings of the visits. Implications for Planning and Implementation Once you have drawn conclusions after repeated observation, you should begin to combine your specific knowledge of the provider with your general knowledge of developmentally appropriate practice to identify strengths and weaknesses. This will serve as a basis for developing a quality improvement plan with the provider, described in Chapter 7. Home Visitors Guide [37]

chapter 6

chapter 6

1. Be objective and focus of the provider’s behavior, not personal traits. Concentrate the feedback on the behavior, not on conclusions and judgments. “When I arrived at 9:30, you were in your bathrobe and the breakfast dishes were sitting on the table” is an objective statement about what you saw. “You are disorganized and unprepared for children in the morning” is a subjective evaluation. This information is not helpful to the provider and is also open to dispute.

Observing And Assessing

Providing Feedback After observing in a FCC home, you are able to provide valuable feedback to providers. On many occasions, the feedback is positive and reassures providers that they are giving quality care to children. Delivering this kind of feedback is, of course, what you will enjoy doing most. Communicating less positive feedback is obviously more difficult. However, relaying both types of feedback is a necessary part of your job. The techniques that you use determine whether providers accept the information with apprehension and animosity or understand and welcome suggestions and incorporate them into their programs. Most providers are anxious to receive feedback about “how I’m doing” from TA/O Specialists they know and respect. They recognize that this information, whether it is encouragement of their successes or suggestions for improvement, is part of their professional development. They know that the information is valuable as they work with their children. Effective feedback helps providers become aware of what they are doing. Generally, the feedback should help them learn how their behavior affects children and their programs.

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Focusing on behavior, rather than on personal traits, is beneficial to the providers and also less threatening to them. Providers know that they can change their behavior if they choose. On the other hand, their personal traits are part of them. They may not be as able or willing to change these characteristics. The result may be that the provider becomes defensive or even antagonistic. 2. Be specific. Tell the provider exactly what you have observed. “I’ve noticed that Jason participates in group activities without bothering the other children now that you’ve shortened the amount of time you have the children all together.” This comment is more valuable to a provider’s professional growth than “your schedule changes look good.”

4. Concentrate on sharing ideas and information rather than on always giving advice. This technique allows providers some flexibility in determining how to use the advice and information. “I’ve noticed that you don’t have any books for children. Even the youngest children love to look at books. Plus it will help them learn to love books and reading.” These comments are more effective and less threatening than “You have to get some books and read to children every day.” 5. Ask for the provider’s perspective; ask how SHE thinks the activity went. Remember to LISTEN effectively. Sometimes providers may have a different opinion than you do about how an activity went. Asking for the provider’s perspective on the activity shows a respect for the provider’s opinion. As the provider is explaining her thoughts, she may revise her original opinion about what occurred. As you listen to the provider you may get some new insights into why the provider directed the activity as she did. 6. Focus on the effects of the behavior. “Giving children responsibility for doing things for themselves helps them feel good about themselves and become more

special reminder: Beware of ignoring problems hoping they will go away, and then offering numerous suggestions and criticisms all at once.

independent”, is a valuable comment. It focuses attention on something the provider can do. It is more helpful than “It’s not good that you are always doing everything for the children.” As you get to know the providers better, you can determine when providers have the experience and knowledge to understand and use the feedback to improve their programs for children. You will know which providers need more assistance before they can understand an idea or concept. You will also know which providers will be overwhelmed by hearing about another area that they need to work on immediately and which providers will welcome input and suggestions. As you gain experience, it will be easier to determine when to provide immediate feedback and when to postpone it. You will recognize what must be said today and what input can wait for a more appropriate opportunity.

Observing And Assessing

Consider the following guidelines when you are giving providers feedback:

3. Offer feedback as soon after the behavior is observed as appropriate. The closer the feedback comes to the observed situation, the more helpful it is to a provider because the details are fresh in her mind. It is also easier for you to remain objective and specific when the observation is recent. In some cases, you must also use your professional judgment to decide when to give providers feedback. Feedback on healthy and safety issues must be given immediately. However, in less critical situations, you should weigh the advantages of providing immediate feedback with the advantages of delaying the input until a provider is “ready.”

Home Visitors Guide [39]

Chapter 7 Making A Quality Improvement Plan Tips for Developing a Successful Quality Improvement Plan

chapter 7 Once you have established a relationship with the provider, and completed initial observations and assessments, you will want to develop a quality improvement plan with the provider. The quality improvement plan will be the roadmap that you and the provider use to guide future activities and visits. It is a goal-oriented plan that includes: • What specific changes are needed in the program • How those changes will be achieved • When they will be achieved • Who is responsible for helping to make the changes See Appendices H and I for a sample agreement to participate in on-site TA and a sample quality improvement plan.

Chapter 8 Tips for Developing a Successful Quality Improvement Plan 1. Involve the provider in goal setting and setting timelines. 2. K  eep goals specific, measurable, and achievable. It can be overwhelming for a provider to see a huge list of items to improve on and tasks to accomplish. 3. M  ake sure that there are tasks for the provider and for you to complete on the plan.

special reminder: Necessary health and safety improvements should be made on-the-spot or as soon as possible.

Providing On-site Support And Mentoring How to Make the Most of Your Visits Questioning Techniques Introducing Concerns Gradually Offering Alternatives to Targeted Behavior Setting Priorities Role Modeling Giving Positive Feedback

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3. Direct feedback toward behavior that the providers can change. It is frustrating to providers if they are asked to do something for which they do not yet have the skills. For example, if you suggest to a provider that she stop bribing children for good behavior before she has learned alternative methods for guiding children’s behavior, she will have no means of influencing children’s behavior. Consequently, she may become frustrated and the children will be confused. Postpone any feedback on the inappropriateness of bribing children until the provider has learned other methods for guiding children’s behavior.

chapter 8

With the goal of improving the quality of the program so that children and families receive the best care possible, your role is that of counselor, coach, and mentor. Once you have assessed the skill level of the provider, start with where she is at and help to improve by working with her on setting goals and timelines for any needed changes—using the quality improvement plan as a guide. The goal of on-site support and mentoring visits is to help the provider achieve the goals of the quality improvement plan. However, you should also be flexible—addressing issues as they arise.

How to Make the Most of Your Visits Your visits will be most successful if you keep the following guidelines in mind: 1. Offer suggestions as an investigation of alternatives, rather than as absolute solutions. Providers need help in [44] Home Visitors Guide

recognizing that there are often several possible ways to solve problems and that it is important to maintain an open mind about the outcome. “Next time Jarrett won’t participate in an activity, ask him if he’d like to do something with you and see if that works. Some providers have found that to be a good way of involving children. However, if that doesn’t work with Jarrett, we’ll try to think of something else.” This technique keeps providers from feeling defeated and frustrated when they try one alternative solution to a problem and it does not work. When you encourage providers to try more than one solution you are motivating them to be experimental, resourceful, and creative – important characteristics for providers to possess. 2. Present only as much feedback the providers can receive. Overloading providers with feedback increases the possibility that they will reject or misunderstand the information.

4. Be careful when using humor; avoid sarcasm and ridicule. Individuals often use humor when giving feedback to hide their discomfort. However, humorous comments can also hide the true intent of the feedback and thereby diminish its value. Sarcasm and ridicule are never appropriate techniques and should never be used. 5. Avoid combining criticism with praise. Sometimes you will feel more comfortable mixing criticism with praise because you think that providers will be less sensitive to the criticism if they hear both types of feedback at the same time. However, this technique tends to confuse providers. It is more effective to concentrate on problems as they arise, and save the praise for another time. 6. Offer praise honestly and in ways that support providers’ efforts. Giving feedback should NEVER be understood to mean “always finding something wrong.” Often, feedback means offering positive encouragement to providers. But this praise must be sincere and specific. Offering lavish or unearned praise reduces the value of the comments and dilutes the

effect of honest praise when it is given. A specific comment like, “Using the first two shelves of the linen closet for the children’s personal belongings is a good idea” is more encouraging to providers than a general, “You’re doing a good job.” Providers know that, in order to make the former comment you were really looking at their program. 7. Be prepared. If the provider needs more training, come prepared with knowledge about upcoming workshops and trainings at your CCR&R or other venues; if more materials are needed, bring them with you or find out where the provider can go to get the needed resources. Let the provider know how to access all the available resources in the community, or state programs that may be of help.

Questioning Techniques Effective TA/O Specialists are skilled at asking questions that: • Promote a positive relationship with providers • Help them gather information

Providing On-site Support And Mentoring

If a provider asks a question about a specific area or behavior, address that area and avoid adding statements on other topics.

• Facilitate communication • Show the providers that they are interested in what the providers are thinking The best kinds of questions are open-ended. Open-ended questions do not restrict the answer and encourage the provider to give more than just a yes or no response. “What happened today when you set up the water play activity for the first time?” is an openended question. “Did the children like the water play?” is not open-ended, as it invites a yes or no response. You will learn more about what a provider is feeling and what she knows from open-ended questions because she is obliged to explain her answers.

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chapter 8

• Obtain missing information or clarify a point that will help the provider explain more clearly what she means • Verify that you understand exactly what the provider is saying • Help the provider focus on specific parts of a situation • Redirect the discussion Following are examples of things providers might say and questions you might ask to assist them. Providing On-site Support And Mentoring

What Providers Might Say

Questions You Might Ask “Whom do you mean by ‘no one’?” “What happened to make you say that?”

When a provider makes a statement like the one above, your first instinct is often to try to reassure her by saying, “I’m sure that is not true.” However, that type of response might cause the provider to end the discussion because she thinks you are not taking her feelings seriously. [46] Home Visitors Guide

“Family-style dining doesn’t work. The toddlers can’t set the table or serve themselves. The preschoolers don’t want to help, and everyone makes a big mess.”

Questions You Might Ask “You’ve really set out three different problems here. Which area concerns you the most?” “I’ve noticed that you often mention that the preschoolers don’t do what you ask them to do. Could that be what’s really bothering you?”

Most of us, providers included, often start talking about one subject and then stray to other subjects. It is this process that keeps conversations interesting and free-flowing. But if you feel that the provider’s initial topic is an important one, you can use questions to bring the provider back to the issue at hand. In this example, the provider was acknowledged for her work, yet brought back to the fact that children need outdoor experiences regardless of the weather. What Providers Might Say “My teenage daughter gets very belligerent when I tell her she can’t watch R-rated videos when my FCC children are here.”

“What part confuses you?”

Asking the provider to explain exactly what she means is more effective than immediately launching into a review of the creative art workshop. Proceeding without more information may mean that you will miss what the provider is really saying. In this case, she may be saying “I don’t understand . . . ”, but she means, “I don’t agree with . . . ”

“No one thinks I do anything right as a provider.”

What Providers Might Say

Questions You Might Ask

“I really don’t understand the difference between creative art activities for children and project art.”

What Providers Might Say

By questioning the provider, you will help look at the situation more objectively. You will also be gathering more information that will help you determine exactly the areas about which the provider feels insecure.

In this situation, the provider has mentioned several problems. If she is actually having trouble in all three areas, it is important to identify the aspect she considers the most important, so the two of you can work on that first. However, it is possible that the provider may be using the situation as a scapegoat for another concern which is not related to family-style dining at all. The provider may not even realize that she is doing this. Your questions and some careful listening will help you and the provider determine what the true problem is. What Providers Might Say “The weather has been so cold I haven’t taken the children out at all this week. But, I planned some other great activities. Let me show you some of the games that I have made.”

Questions You Might Ask “Lotto games are fun for children and valuable. They’re great for your activity time. What are the plans, though, for giving children fresh air, vigorous exercise and outdoor experiences?”

But remember to use these kinds of questions carefully. In these situations, you, not the provider, are determining what is important and should be discussed. You are controlling the direction of the conversation. Because your main goal is to discuss what the provider considers meaningful, you should limit the times that you are manipulating the discussion to selected situations.

Questions You Might Ask “You mentioned last week that your daughter is having difficulty with not being able to watch her videos when she wants to. How is that situation working out now?”

Sometimes providers will want to avoid certain sensitive topics even after raising the issue. If you believe that the issue is important, you can What You Can Do

use questions to direct the conversation to that topic.

Introducing Concerns Gradually Once you have identified an area of need for a provider, introduce the concern gradually and begin with an aspect of the area that the provider already does well first. If the chance for success is low and providers fail when they try something new, they are more likely to reject future suggestions. If the suggestions are beyond their abilities, providers may become increasingly depressed and ineffective with children. These are the providers who quickly develop burnout and leave the field.

How You Might Do It

Break a task into manageable parts so the provider is more likely to be successful.

For example, in the area of family-style dining, help providers: • Recognize the importance of sitting with children • Organize the children to set the table and to clean their own places. • Give children opportunities to serve themselves.

Identify what the provider is interested in and what she does well.

Ask her what she enjoys doing most with children and what she has the most success with.

Providing On-site Support And Mentoring

When the provider is talking, you will often use questions to:

Listen as she talks about her leisure time activities. Brainstorm with the provider appropriate ways that she can incorporate her interests (e.g., cooking, gardening, into her program.)

Identify how one concept applies to many situations or activities.

Help providers see how the various aspects of their programs are interrelated and how they all have an impact on children. For example, if the provider is working on fostering self-help skills during meal times, the concept also applies to dressing, handwashing, and even working out conflicts with other children on their own.

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Providers who are told to stop one behavior without being given the opportunity to find an appropriate alternative may end up not doing anything at all or doing something even more unacceptable. Remember that you do not always have to give providers all the answers. In most circumstances, you are a resource. You should be available to recommend reading material, to listen to and help providers evaluate their own ideas, and to offer encouragement and suggestions for additional approaches. Providing On-site Support And Mentoring

What You Can Do Help providers learn new ways of managing their program and interacting with children.

What You Can Do During TA/O Specialist visits, carefully observe providers and identify the areas where you believe they need assistance.

Use a formal observation summary form.

Solicit input from the providers.

Ask providers what they think are their strengths as well as their areas for improvement. Ask providers what areas they think are the most important for them to concentrate on first.

How You Might Do It Present options to the targeted behavior. Discuss how these behaviors benefit children or the provider’s program.

Work with the providers to prioritize the various areas of concern.

Estimate the ease or difficulty associated with the change. Is the change a minor adjustment that the provider can make easily? Or does the change involve principles that may be difficult for the provider?

Setting Priorities

Establishing a set of priorities for each provider does not mean that you and the provider will work on only one area at a time. In addition, the list of priorities is flexible. It may change as you and the provider work together. [48] Home Visitors Guide

Remember that issues involving the health and safety of children are ALWAYS a first priority. Consider the provider’s preferences for which ideas she would like to learn more about.

Demonstrate, do not just explain, techniques (particularly in the basic skills area, e.g., diapering or reading to a group of children).

Often providers and TA/O Specialists will agree on the area that the providers would like to change and improve. But change does not come easily or quickly to most people even when they are willing. Set priorities and timelines for and with providers so that the process of change is manageable for them.

How You Might Do It

Formulate a plan for the provider’s professional growth.

Identify materials, resources, or training that you can recommend to the provider. Determine what you will do during future home visits to support the provider as she works to make changes.

Role Modeling One important aspect of a TA/O Specialist’s job is “role modeling” to providers appropriate ways of interacting with children. The terms “model” or “role model” appear, on the surface, to represent a concept that you may believe you are familiar with and understand. Actually, the concept is a very complex one. • Modeling is an extremely effective technique, but it must be used cautiously. You may feel that if you are a role model, then you must be the “expert” and do everything perfectly, with no mistakes or second-guesses. This is unrealistic and places a great deal of pressure on you. Modeling involves exploring options. • Modeling is an opportunity to demonstrate ONE way of handling a situation that is based on sound early childhood principles. However, there are often other appropriate strategies. Remember that the selected strategies may or may not work with a specific group of children at a specific time. It does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with the strategy, TA/O Specialist, provider, or children. It merely means that the strategy did not work in one instance. You and the provider should brainstorm other ideas. • Modeling can be a particularly enjoyable responsibility. You may do it well because you have experience working with children and like being around them. However, sometimes it is possible to model too well and destroy a provider’s self-confidence. For example, after seeing you demonstrate how to read to a group of children, some providers might feel defeated because “I’ll never be that good, so why try.”

on the provider’s relationship with the children. Remember, it is the provider’s home and she is ultimately responsible for the children. • If you need to demonstrate a specific technique, ask the provider’s permission. Remembering all the steps of the diaper changing procedure can be difficult. May I change Justin’s diaper while you watch and it will refresh your memory?” is a non-threatening introduction. Generally, the provider will accept your offers of assistance if they have been presented sensitively and if you have a solid rapport with the provider. • After you have modeled a procedure or technique, it is important that you find ways to have the provider practice the approach. This method allows you to see that the provider has understood the process or the principle. You will also be able to support and encourage the provider as she tries something new so that she is more likely to be successful.

Giving Positive Feedback FCC staff must consciously look for and comment to providers on the things that they are doing well. Early childhood professionals recognize the importance of fostering selfesteem in children. The same principle is true for FCC staff when they are working with providers.

Providing On-site Support And Mentoring

Offering Alternatives to Targeted Behaviors

Providers who have strong sense of self-esteem are better able to promote that in children and are more likely to stay with the program longer. One technique for enhancing an individual’s self esteem is by identifying the positive things that they are doing.

It is also possible to model too well and damage the relationship between providers and their children. When children want you to “read the book because you are better” it is time for you to consider what effect your interactions are having Home Visitors Guide [49]

Chapter 9 Monitoring And Evaluation Minimizing Provider Anxiety Elements of Monitoring Visits

chapter 9

Elements of the Monitoring Visit

chapter 9

There are usually three main parts to an indepth monitoring visit: 1. The entrance interview 2. The program/records review 3. The exit interview Entrance Interview When you first arrive, you should explain to the provider: • The monitoring process, • The monitoring schedule, and; • Areas to be reviewed during the scheduled visit. Program/Records Review

The role of monitor is very different from that of coach, mentor or trainer. When you are conducting a monitoring visit, your purpose is to assess how the provider is meeting the agreed upon objectives and timelines in the quality improvement plan, and/or whether or not the provider is meeting certain quality criteria or basic health and safety standards. Most CCR&Rs do not license or regulate providers. However, they often serve as monitors in their roles as Child and Adult Care Food Program sponsors, child care subsidy managers, or quality improvement project managers. During this type of visit, you will most likely use a checklist, evaluation form, or the quality improvement plan to evaluate how the program is doing. Monitoring visits should be documented in writing and signed by the [52] Home Visitors Guide

provider. If the provider is not making progress or meeting requirements, a corrective action plan should be developed.

Minimizing Provider Anxiety Monitoring visits – particularly if they are unannounced – are often upsetting to providers. You need to be especially sensitive to this, and carefully explain the purpose of the monitoring visits.

During this part of the monitoring visit, you will be using your observation and recordkeeping skills. You may:

Exit Interview Before departing, take a few minutes to go over the results of your monitoring visit. You should: • Debrief the provider about the preliminary results of the visit • Listen to any response, additional information, or comments which the provider may wish to make • Provide a copy of the monitoring checklist or any documentation form, and have the provider sign it It may be difficult at first for you and for the provider to make the transition from your role as supporter to that of monitor. Although it is important for you to be sensitive to the provider’s feelings, you must also be firm in your commitment to quality and accountability.

Monitoring And Evaluation

• Conduct the monitoring process as inconspicuously as possible with minimum disruption to the children or provider.

• Complete a Monitoring Checklist • Review provider records • Review and update the Quality Improvement Plan

To minimize the anxiety providers might feel during a monitoring visit, you can: • Reassure the provider that monitoring visits are designed to help you both stay on track with improvement efforts and to ensure that quality care is being provided to children and; Home Visitors Guide [53]

Chapter 10 Is The Door Open Or Closed?


chapter 10

Appendix A: TA/O Specialist Job Description

On-site technical assistance visits have the potential to be the most exciting, interesting, and valuable responsibility that TA/O Specialists will have. They also have the potential to be difficult, threatening, and unsatisfying for both you and the providers. Will the door to the FCC homes be opened in mutual warmth and expectation, or closed in distrust and disappointment?

Appendix B: Time Management Strategies Appendix C: The Do’s Of On-site Technical Assistance

The attitude that you, the TA/O Specialist, adopts can make the difference.

Appendix D: Supporting Changes Scenarios

• Do you see yourself as an early childhood specialist with resources for providers? • Do you consider ways to make the role of inspector and evaluator less threatening to providers and more effective? • Do you recognize that the visits are opportunities to work with providers to ensure that children are well cared for? • Do you commend providers for the important contribution they are making to the quality of life of the families in the community? • Are you aware that technical assistance and support is a top priority, and is as important if not more important than paperwork or any other responsibility? If you believe that technical assistance visits are a critical part of ensuring quality in family child care homes, you can make the most of this unique opportunity and—when you knock on the door, providers will welcomingly open their doors to higher quality. [56] Home Visitors Guide

Appendix E: Characteristics Of A Good Listener Once the door is open, you have begun a partnership between you and the providers with whom you work. With the goal of continuous improvement in mind, keep exploring these questions: • What goals are we trying to achieve? • What is each of us accountable for, and by when? • What happens next? Look at the many forms and charts in the Appendices, and feel free to adapt them to fit your own needs. Together, you and the providers you work with will get to see the many positive results of your efforts—for the providers themselves, for families, and most importantly, for the children who are receiving higher quality care.

Appendix F: Guidelines For Effective Observations Appendix G: Observation Summary Form Appendix H: Agreement To Participate In On-site Technical Assistance Appendix I: Quality Improvement Plan


1. Get a good start. Frantic mornings can set the stage for a chaotic day. To reduce last minute anxieties, plan and prepare the night before.


2. Plan activities on a daily, weekly and longrange basis. Refer regularly to the plans and try to stick to them.

appendix A: Technical Assistance/Outreach Specialist Job Description

• Assist family child care providers in developing and implementing quality improvement plans.

Position Goal:

• Assist family child care providers in developing and implementing individual professional development plans.

To improve the quality of care children receive in family child care homes by providing on-site support, training and mentoring to family child care providers. Qualifications: Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in child development, early childhood education, or related field, or equivalent combination of education and experience. Master’s preferred. At least 3 years’ experience in early childhood field and in training adults. Knowledge of state child care licensing, child care observation and assessment practices and tools, and national child care accreditation systems strongly preferred. General Duties And Responsibilities • Engage in marketing and outreach efforts to identify and recruit family child care providers to receive on-site technical assistance services. • Provide on-site technical assistance in family child care homes, including: observing and assessing environment and provider practices; mentoring and role modeling; on-site training and consultation.

• Provide appropriate training including, but not limited to, child growth and development, child abuse prevention, identification, and reporting, child nutrition, child guidance, etc. These may be in conjunction with other agencies. • Assist providers in utilizing resource lending library materials, and identify and provide other materials and resources as needed. • Consistently monitor homes to ensure progress on quality improvement/ professional development plans and ensure licensing and other requirements are being met. • Report any suspected child abuse and neglect or other incidents that jeopardize the health and safety of children.

3. Develop routines. Doing the same things at the same times each day or each week both conserves energy and promotes continuity. Organize regular daily and weekly activities and develop routines for completing them. 4. Take advantage of your mood. Work on activities that require more concentration and thought during those times when you are most productive. Perform routine tasks when peak performance is not essential. 5. Organize the work environment. Arrange you desk, files, and workspace to maximize your performance. Have resource materials organized and easily accessible. Perform quiet activities in a place where you are least likely to be distracted by interruptions from other conversations, continuous traffic, and other noises.

7. Overcome procrastination. Force yourself to tackle tasks you dislike and tend to avoid. Dividing large tasks into smaller chunks often helps the tasks appear less threatening. 8. Become a “speed” reader. This skill will prove invaluable in helping you to keep abreast of the tremendous volume of information on adult education, child development, curriculum methods, and child care. 9. Eliminate unnecessary tasks when possible. Constantly reassess your procedures and activities to identify ways to streamline them. 10. Prioritize your activities. Do the important tasks first.


appendix B: Time Management Strategies

6. Learn to say no. Try not to accept tasks that someone else could do or that are not your responsibility. Offer concrete alternatives for how the work could be completed.

• Collect, prepare, and maintain information needed to ensure satisfactory progression and completion of quality improvement/ professional development plans, or for statistical data necessary for reporting purposes. • Prepare reports and complete other paperwork as required. • Conduct other duties as assigned.

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appendix C: The DOs Of On-site Technical Assistance

appendix D: Supporting Change: Three Providers, Three Approaches

DO dress appropriately.

These three providers each have a different level of experience and motivation. Below are strategies for how each provider can be supported.

DO have a purpose in mind. DO be prepared; review the files before going.

1. Anna (Inexperienced, unskilled, but willing)

DO be on time for schedule visits.

Anna is a new provider. She has never taken care of a group of children before, and she admits that she has a lot to learn. She says that she truly enjoys doing things with her four-year-old daughter and her friends. Anna was an intelligent, enthusiastic participant during the initial training. Already she has begun implementing the health and safety guidelines to make her home safer and ready for children.

DO minimize disruptions to providers’ schedule. DO state the purpose of your visit when you enter the home. DO expect some providers to be somewhat nervous. DO treat the provider as a professional. appendices

DO maintain professionalism by not commenting on personal items in the homes. DO discuss only positive issues if guests a represent. DO use language that is simple, direct, and understandable. DO stay calm when you see something inappropriate.

DO explain the intent (the “whys”) of a requirement of suggestion. DO give the provider a chance to talk and use effective listening skills. DO assist providers in correcting deficiencies on the spot, whenever possible. DO remember that change is sometimes difficult for adults.

DO offer constructive suggestions.

DO follow through on whatever you promise or agree to.

DO demonstrate in addition to explaining.

DO thank the provider as you leave the home.

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Anna is typical of most of the providers with whom you will be working. She wants and needs your assistance. She is anxious to be an effective FCC provider, but because of her inexperience she does not yet have all the skills she needs. It will be important for you to visit Anna often. You want to help her use the information that she received during the initial training in her work with children. You want Anna to be as successful as possible from the beginning. When you visit her, you will need to do a lot of modeling to help her grow professionally. Perhaps you will have to demonstrate how to diaper an infant or how she can talk to toddlers in ways that will promote their language development.

She will need clear, specific direction to help her learn these new skills. You will need to observe Anna carefully and coach her as she works with children. For example, when children will not pick up toys, you can suggest that she try giving them a “five minutes ‘til clean-up” notice or that she offer to be the child’s “assistant” during clean-up. Coaching is different from modeling because you are making suggestions or talking through a solution with a provider—you are not showing her how to do it. With providers like Anna, it is likely that initially you will be more directive than you will be with more experienced and able providers. It is especially critical that you explain to them why you are asking them to do things a certain way. They want to be effective and will be better able to use the information if they understand the rationale behind the principle or technique. You need to provide the kind of assistance that will help them develop the skills they need and still sustain their enthusiasm and high level of motivation.



2. Kira (Experienced, able, but unwilling) Kira is an experienced provider. She knows how to offer quality care for children, but recently she has not been doing all that is necessary. She seems to have lost her enthusiasm for being a provider. Kira needs you to be her supporter and motivator. You need to be less directive about telling providers like Kira how to handle problems than you would be with less experienced providers. Ask their opinions often. Have them tell you what their needs are or what they think is the best method for solving a problem. Show them that you have confidence in their knowledge and ability. It is possible that providers like Kira are poorly motivated because they feel they have learned everything that they need to know to provide acceptable care. They may be losing interest because they feel they are not learning anything new. If this is the case, your responsibility is to highlight their current Home Visitors Guide [61]


To renew their sense of professionalism, encourage them to take increased responsibility for setting their own learning goals and for participating in their professional growth.


It is also possible that the lack of motivation that a provider like Kira exhibits has to do with the goals that you have set for her. Does she see that what you are asking her to do or the suggestions that you are making are beneficial to her and her children? Are the goals you have set personally meaningful to her? If the answer to this questions is “no,” then you have to consider how valuable and lasting the change in her behavior will be. You may decide to postpone or drop a suggestion until the provider appears more willing to accept it as her own goal. Of course, if the change in behavior is critical, i.e., it affects the health and safety of children, then you will have to address the issue whether it is currently meaningful to the provider or not.

3. Linda (Experienced, willing, and able) Linda has been caring for children for more than five years. She consistently provides high quality care to her program’s children. She attends many training sessions and is an enthusiastic participant. Linda is always looking for ways to improve her program.

appendix E: Characteristics Of A Good Listener

Providers like Linda need minimum direction and minimum encouragement and support. They know what to do and are confident of their abilities to do it. Their need for support from an outside source is not as immediate as that of other less able and less motivated providers. However, they still appreciate feedback and confirmation from you that they are providing quality care of children. You are their advisor and their “sounding board.” It is easy to overlook providers like Linda because there are so many urgent matters for you to manage. Although you recognize that Linda is perfectly capable, and effectively running her FCC home without your assistance, you must still allocate time to visit her in situations other than mandatory inspections.

Good Listeners: • Give the other person a chance to talk.

• Listen to the complete message.

• Create a comfortable environment for talking.

• Listen for the main ideas.

• Ask appropriate questions. • Lead others to talk. • Show interest through their body language.

• Look for areas of common experience and agreement.


abilities, but also to challenge them to do some increasingly sophisticated thinking and activities.


• Deal effectively with their own listening blocks. • Practice listening.

• Attend to content, not delivery.

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appendix F: Guidelines For Effective Observations

Appendices Appendix A: TA/O Specialist Job Description Appendix B: Time Management Strategies


1. Decide on a purpose for observing.

6. Focus on recording objective information.

2. Choose a suitable observation format. 3. Include identifying information.

7. Have the provider read and sign each observation form. When possible, leave a copy for the provider.

4. Observe more than once before making a judgment.

8. Review the observation form as soon as possible after the visit.

5. Be as specific as possible when documenting the observation.

9. Share the observation record with your supervisor, as appropriate.

Appendix C: The Do’s Of On-site Technical Assistance Appendix D: Supporting Changes Scenarios Appendix E: Characteristics Of A Good Listener Appendix F: Guidelines For Effective Observations

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appendix G: Observation Summary Form

Objective Summary of Observation: x

Observers Name:


Provider’s Name:


xx x x

Date of Observation: Start Time:


End Time:

x xx


Purpose of Visit:




















Time in the Daily Schedule, e.g. lunch, nap, activity time, etc:





Follow Up Needed:









Children’s Names and Ages:
























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appendix H: Agreement to Participate in On-Site Technical Assistance

Agency agrees to:

o Provide an initial assessment of the program to identify strengths and improvement areas o Work with the provider to develop and implement a quality improvement and professional

Name of FCC Home:

o Offer on-site and electronic technical assistance, and individual and group training to support

Street Address:

the provider in meeting the quality improvement and professional development plan goals

City Accredited:

development plan

License #:

o yes o no

Zip Code Expires:

o Provide assistance to develop program policies and handbooks as appropriate o Treat all information about your program in a professional and confidential manner

Contact Person: Phone



o Provide information on referrals and subsidy assistance o Provide referrals to Child and Adult Care Food Programs

# Enrolled

Less than 1 year old


1 year olds 2 year olds 3 year olds

Other Child Information

# Enrolled

demographics, evaluations or surveys

Special Needs Receiving state child care subsidy

o Communicate any concerns regarding the fulfillment of this agreement and reserving the right to terminate this agreement

ABC Employee


XYZ Employee


4 year olds 5 year olds

o Inform provider of any information that will be collected for reporting purposes such as appendices

Age of Children


School age

::x x

Family Child Care Home Provider agrees to:

o Work with the Technical Assistance/Outreach Specialist to develop and implement a Quality Improvement Plan

o Maintain compliance with all program and state licensing standards and requirements at all times

o Report any suspected cases of child abuse or neglect immediately to the proper authorities, as required by law

o Participate in on-site technical assistance visits, which will include support and mentoring,

x x ::x

o I understand I will receive a copy of a Quality Improvement Plan and any monitoring report forms completed by myself and the Technical Assistance/Outreach Specialist.

o I understand I may receive additional items for my child care setting based on the results of a self-assessment and observation conducted by the Technical Assistance/Outreach Specialist. Signature of Family Child Care Provider:


Signature of TA/O Specialist:


monitoring, and assessment visits, both scheduled and occasionally unscheduled

o Work with the Technical Assistance/Outreach Specialist to develop and implement a professional development plan

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Signing this form does not obligate you to continue to participate in the program once the services have begun. The form is only to clarify expectations for you, the Family Child Care Provider, and for the Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. Home Visitors Guide [69]



appendix I: Child Care Quality Improvement Plan

Created/Revised by: FCC Provider Signature:


TA/Outreach Specialist Signature:


Name of CCR&R:

Twelve Month Objectives Objectives TA/Outreach Specialist and FCC Provider have identified

appendices [70] Home Visitors Guide

Plans for Action Actions to be performed

Person Responsible

Resources Needed

Time Frame

FCC Provider, TA/O Specialist or Other

Materials, equipment, funding, etc.

Next visit, 1 mo., 2 mo., etc.

Status Progress update (each visit or other specified times)


Name of FCC Provider:

Home Visitors Guide [71]

Opening the Door to Quality: Home  

A guide to providing effective, on-site, technical assistance in family child care homes.

Opening the Door to Quality: Home  

A guide to providing effective, on-site, technical assistance in family child care homes.