Family Child Care Providers’ Perspectives Regarding Effective Professional Development and Their Role in the Child Care System: A Qualitative Study
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This study examines family child care providers’ perspectives regarding effective professional development and their role in the early learning and care system. Four focus groups were conducted annually for 3 years involving a total of 54 licensed family child care providers. Supportive social relationships emerged as an important dimension of family child care providers’ professional development experience. Providers preferred a cohort design which enabled them to establish relationships with colleagues and a long-term relationship with the same instructor. Trust and a non-judgmental atmosphere were critical to the learning environment. A collaborative approach to evaluation and assessment that focused on a small number of specific items each month supported the continuous quality improvement process better than a single annual assessment by an objective evaluator. Family child care providers valued professionalism, but viewed their services as a unique segment of the early learning and care system worthy of distinct professional development and respect. Recommendations for designing and delivering effective professional development for family child care providers are discussed.
KeywordsFamily child care Professional development
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