Tag Archives: daycare

Introducing New Providers to Respectful Caregiving in a Daycare Setting

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The Interview Process

The process of recruiting and training the next generation of early childhood providers can be both the most exhausting and the most rewarding part of our profession. Often we hear, “I love children” from those considering entering the field. But do you know why you love being with children?

While loving the company of children provides a good start, a child in your care will demand much more from you. Working with groups of children in an institution requires the caregiver be well-versed in state laws and regulations ensuring each child’s health and safety. It may require hours on your feet, squatting, or on your hands and knees. At times, you’ll scrub dishes, wipe up floors, catch all the latest viruses, be covered in poo, deal with upset parents- or worse, upset co-teachers. The best early childhood teachers maintain a strong inner presence and calmness through all of this, modeling peace and security towards those in her presence.

They are aware of every child even as they are fully present with an individual in need. Teachers must have the ability to collaborate with other teachers who have a varied belief system regarding children. And they must respectfully communicate and partner with an even larger group of parents, grandparents and family friends all wanting what is best for a child. Through the course of their time spent working with young children, the early childhood professional will be challenged physically, emotionally and cognitively to balance her many duties in supporting the well-being of what is, at first, a stranger’s baby. And she must do this within a social culture seemingly having little care for her profession with long hours, little benefits, and minimal pay.

Amy

When you find someone that has the character and capacity to do all of that, well- that’s exciting.

And also a little dreadful. Will they make it? Next to the fast food industry, child centers have one the highest rates of employee turnover.

In introducing new providers to respectful caregiving in a daycare setting, our first step is being honest with the requirements of the profession. We spend considerable time together at the onset ensuring that new teachers have the information they need to make an informed and honest decision. This is a matter of utmost importance for especially in these early years, young children need to rely on the adults in their lives. The caregiver must be there today and tomorrow. And teachers must be provided the support and tools to ensure each child within the institution feels accepted, valued, safe and free to learn.

Recently, our center went through a tough spell along this process with an unprecedented amount of new teachers leaving after only being with us a short bit. It has caused us to do some soul searching and revisit our introductory time together with teachers new to our center community.

Introducing New Providers to Respectful Caregiving in Daycare Settings must involve first, the interview process. At the center, we include the following in the process:

  1. First contact: the interview process begins by placing a carefully worded job description for potential candidates. Resumes are reviewed with an emphasis placed on where applicants are spending their free time and studies. A central administrator contacts possible candidates and discusses in detail the center history, philosophy, position details, vision and how applicants can obtain more information online about our offering.
  2. Second contact: applicants meet with a school director and at least one other administrator (separately) and have an opportunity to share their beliefs on child development, long-range plans, and what they have learned about our program offering online. Not a good sign if they haven’t checked us out- in fact, if they haven’t done their own research, we will write down several links for them read or demonstrations to watch. This part of the process needs to occur prior to the third contact. After meeting, the two administrators get together to share notes.
  3. Third contact: if a candidate seems to be a good fit and has done some online research, we will move to the “third contact” during the same interview time as above. If a teacher has been asked to do additional digging and returns contact with us to pursue learning more, we will arrange a third interview. This process involves a tour and observation of the facilities- regardless of age, each candidate will have an opportunity to observe at each developmental plane infancy through 5K as the center is all connected. After sharing observations, candidates are asked if they would like to continue the process depending on their natural observational skills. At this time references are checked, necessary DSS paperwork gets completed, and paid training opportunities at the center become available on a part-time basis.
  4. Paid Observational Training: candidates begin their training at our center’s hub, the kitchen. The kitchen connects all of our environments for the way we share meals with infants and young children is an integral part of our curriculum. Side-by-side administrator, co-teachers, and school owners wash dishes, prepare meals, and attend to the laundry. Here we have an opportunity to connect with the many adults comprising the center faculty. Each has an opportunity to share personally and professionally and candidates are able to contribute to the workload without yet directly working with the children. In the classroom, new teachers warm-in slowly tasked with observation, note taking, and environment preparation.

This interview process takes at least one to two weeks. At the close of the observational training, we meet again with new teachers to discuss the experience. The last question being, “Are you interested in making this work part of your profession?” with an emphasis on it being a one to two year minimal commitment.

Mutuality
Photo: David Vigliotti

With a “yes”, we move onto the next phase of Introducing New Providers to Respectful Caregiving in a Daycare Setting- the observation.

We would love to hear how you recruit and retain early childhood professionals. What would you add to the above? What would you change?

Resources:

Recruitment Ad Sample

Daycare Turnover Research

 

 

 

New Video Training Series!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Launch of new Video Course

Being with Infants and Toddlers: A Curriculum that Works
By Beverly A. Kovach, MN

After fifteen years in psychiatric nursing, Beverly Kovach began her early childhood profession with the founding of Little Learners Lodge daycare in 1977. She has spent the past four decades researching and studying best practices as it relates to the care and well-being of children in centers and institutions and is considered an expert in the field. We are excited to announce the launch of Ms. Kovach’s curriculum guide, Being with Infants and Toddlers, in video format.

This course provides early childhood providers with direct access to Beverly Kovach’s expertise in easy to digest chapters of philosophy, body care, play and learning, administration & more. Beverly concretely describes how to integrate the curriculum immediately into childcare situations involving demonstrations by certified Infant and Toddler Teachers.

Photo: David Vigliotti
Photo: David Vigliotti

The course fee of $390.00 includes over five hours of video content and a copy of the curriculum guide Being with Babies and Toddlers. During the promotional period until January 1st, participants will receive the course at the promotional offering of $200.00 which will include the guide and live webinar support.

BEVERLY KOVACH MMPSchool Founder AMS 0-3 Teacher Trainer RIE Associate Pikler Trainer, USA Author
BEVERLY KOVACH
MMPSchool Founder
AMS 0-3 Teacher Trainer
RIE Associate
Pikler Trainer, USA
Author

About Beverly Kovach, MN
Beverly Kovach is a renowned Infant/Toddler Specialists and founder of Little Learners Lodge. Ms. Kovach mentored directly with Magda Gerber and is one of only two North American pedagogues certified by Anna Tardos to train in the Pikler® Model of education for young children. Beverly is published in the field and has authored two books on the topic of infant/todder curriculum. She is a keynote speaker, Trainer of Trainers facilitator, and is certified to train in Montessori (MACTE 0-3), Pikler® and Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE®). She currently serves as President and Founder of Waverly Place providing childcare training and consultation services. Contact: theCHILDcentered@gmail.com

Infant Play

About Little Learners Lodge
Little Learners Lodge provides childcare services for children ages infancy through Kindergarten on a year ‘round daily basis. The center serves as a demonstration site for Beverly Kovach and resource center for educators and parents. Little Learners Lodge provides the video demonstration and bonus features for the video course, Being with Babies and Toddlers.

For more information please contact
Nicole Vigliotti, Executive Director
Little Learners Lodge
208 Church Street
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
http://www.mmpschool.com
theRIEway@gmail.com

Cultivating Cooperation in Center Base Care- what works and what doesn’t

Cultivating Cooperation with infants and toddlers at home or in center base care requires an investment in time with focus on continuity in routines and relationships. Continuity being the cornerstone.

In center base care, continuity also being the crux.

Unlike its professional counterparts of the 1920s, the early childhood frontline caregiver remains underpaid, under supported, and under valued by the mainstream. As a result, continuity- keeping the early childhood professional happy, fed and resourced in the field- remains the number one challenge in center base care.

Yet, without a stable and reliable primary caregiver spanning the first two or three years, toddlers are less likely to spontaneously cooperate. Why is that important?

Cooperation demonstrates an individual’s sense of belonging to the group (society) by demonstrating that person’s desire to contribute to the betterment of her community. Along Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs, it smacks right at the center.

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What does spontaneous cooperation in center base care look like?

Let’s take a look at a group of 8 Early Toddlers ranging in age from 13mths – 19mths as they come together to put on their shoes and venture outdoors under the guidance of their two caregivers. Warning: it’s an almost 10 minute observation, but I’ve had a hard time taking out even a minute, even those first few shoe chomping ones.

Early Toddler Cooperation from MMP School on Vimeo.

“Cooperation is an invitation; otherwise, it’s not cooperation.” -Anna Tardos

Remarkably, even though the door is wide open, each child chooses to stay with the group until all are ready. Although caregivers put shoes on a bit differently, the fluidity of the routine unfolds organically. Limits are tested, then reinforced. The children have free movement, are relaxed, and demonstrate cooperative gestures. At times the adult may need to break from the routine. Yet, she maintains a calm sense of order and control.

Do opportunities for improvement exist? Most certainly- to err is human. However, take a look a the intimacy in the relationship each child is able to enjoy nestled closely with his primary teacher who has been with him all of his infant life. Amazing to witness in center base care. Necessary for the toddler to cooperate without rewards or punishments on her compliance.

Given the time, commitment, and resources any early childhood center has the opportunity to cultivate toddler cooperations from the start- continuity being key.

What works- Small Group Size- children under two years of age should remain in group sizes no larger than eight. Even so, plan for times of the day where the child can break from the group individually and also in smaller groups of four or less.

What doesn’t work- Even an adult/child ratio relatively lower- for example 10 babies and 3 adults- can be less beneficial than a group size with a 1:4 ratio as the larger group overstimulates the infant brain.

What works- Primary Caregiving- dedicate one adult to be the primary caregiver for each child. She should have no more than four children under her supervision. As an advocate and resource to the parent, the primary caregiver should remain consistent over long periods of time.

What doesn’t work- Staggering caregivers or combining groups for before/after care to accommodate extended service times.

What works- Continuity of Relationships- keep the Primary Group of Four together with their Primary Caregiver as they transition through environments while in center base care. This means when a child develops the environment changes to meet that development rather than the child changes environments to meet the development. When transitions from one room to the next become necessary, the child moves with his Primary Teacher AND group of three friends. The longer the infant is with his friends and provider, the more likely he is able to be understood to get his physical needs met, feel safe and secure in a trusting relationship to explore, and then- feel a sense of belonging facilitating his cooperation.

What doesn’t work- Moving children up to the next level when they are ready physically or cognitively without considering his social or emotional needs. Severed relationships over time may inhibit the child from coopering in groups later on.

What works- Support the Early Childcare Provider with the time, resources, and salary enabling her to invest in her profession and be fully present to care for the well-being of infants and toddlers. We recommend the RIE® Foundations course as the precursor for this development. For those working in centers and institutions, Pikler® offers several advance training opportunities in the US and abroad.

What doesn’t work- Low pay, long hours, without opportunity for advancement results in a higher degree of teacher turn over.

What works- Share your experiences with parents. We’ve found coming together at least every quarter instrumental in developing consistency between home and center. A half hour in the morning every three months or so when parent, teacher, and child in primary groups of four connect is all it takes to pull the whole thing together. When parents have a sense of belonging with their center community the feeling is translated and absorbed by their child.

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Witnessing the young child in cooperation in center base care demonstrates that all components are in place for a happy, healthy and full early childhood experience.

How Little Learners Lodge Became a RIE Certified Center

By happenchance our paths crossed with Magda Gerber.  A spark was lit and, with a little help from our friends, the flame ignited.  Now every member of the center team is Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) trained and the Infant Environment Certified by RIE.  When teachers from other centers visit, they often ask HOW?

How do you get your co-teacher to buy-in to trying the RIE principles of caring for babies and toddlers with respect?

How do you communicate with parents the benefits for using the RIE Approach at home?

How do you wean a program off the need for bouncy seats, high chairs, or pacifiers?

How do you do primary caregiving?  …keep the children together for two years?  …get the parents to respect your caregiving routines?

As the center continues to mature and develop on its journey to modeling best practice, we reflect back on the Five Year Strategic Planning that initiated Little Learners Lodge becoming a RIE Certified Program.  This is how we did it-

Starting with one.

(click on the photo to view Strategic Plan)

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And ending with a team of 15 RIE Trained Early Childhood Professionals committed to demonstrating that we need not compromise quality or best practices in center base care.  In fact, we can not.