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Early Head Start Lessons Learned About American Infant Toddler Care. Lillian Sugarman, MA, MSW Pilar Fort, MA Judith Jerald, MSW Tammy Mann, PhD. The Foundations of Early Head Start. Critical Developments Influencing the Creation of Early Head Start. Advances in developmental research

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Early Head Start Lessons Learned About American Infant Toddler Care

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Early Head Start Lessons Learned About AmericanInfant Toddler Care

Lillian Sugarman, MA, MSW

Pilar Fort, MA

Judith Jerald, MSW

Tammy Mann, PhD

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The Foundations of Early Head Start

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Critical Developments Influencing the Creation of Early Head Start

  • Advances in developmental research

  • Advisory Committee on Head Start Quality and Expansion

  • Social and Political Forces

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The Beginnings of Early Head Start

  • 1994 reauthorization of The Head Start Act

  • Creation of the Advisory Committee on Services for Families with Infants and Toddlers

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Primary Goal of Early Head Start

To support families in their efforts to ensure that infants and toddlers served in Early Head Start Programs have access to comprehensive services that promote healthy outcomes across all domains of development.

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The EHS Vision

  • …all children from birth to age three need early child development experiences that honor their unique characteristics and provide love warmth and positive learning experiences

  • …all families need encouragement and support from their community so they can achieve their own goals and provide a safe and nurturing environment for their young

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The Four Cornerstones

  • Child development

  • Family development

  • Community development

  • Staff development

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Program Structure & Head Start Performance Standards: A Framework for Quality

  • Child Development and Health Services

  • Family and Community Partnerships

  • Program Design and Management

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Early Head Start Infant/Toddler Child Care: Philosophy & Policies

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Babies are…

  • Born competent and able to think, learn, and feel.

  • Born to communicate with the external world.

  • Influenced by: parent education, income, and environmental influences.

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Babies need…

  • Strong, caring, and

    continuous relationships

  • Closeness

  • Security

  • Responsiveness

  • Childcare regulations that

    promote nurturance

  • Solid educational foundations

    and quality of services

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Relationships: Right from the Start

  • Group Size of 8

  • Small Adult/Child Ratio (1:4)

  • Primary Caregiving

  • Continuity of Care

  • Qualified Teachers

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Babies are part of their culture which is…

"the shared way of life of people, including their beliefs, their technology, their values and norms...transmitted down through the generations by learning and observation."

Meredith F. Small (1998). "Our Babies, Ourselves: How Biology and Culture Shape the Way We Parent." p. 72 

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Babies deserve…

  • Support for their home language

  • Care responsive to their family and cultural background

  • Programs that welcome their families

  • Family participation in program planning

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Early Head Start and Its Impact on Child Care

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  • Head Start Performance Standards

  • Training and Technical Assistance

  • Monitoring

  • Evaluation

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Training and Technical Assistance

  • National training contracts

  • Materials development

  • Building the work force

  • Raising the awareness and knowledge about unique needs of infants and toddlers

  • EHS/Child Care partnership training

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Monitoring for Implementation of Performance Standards

  • “The purpose of program monitoring is continuous program improvement.”

  • Raising the bar for child care partners

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Child Care Partnerships

  • Need for center based child care

  • Impact of community based child care serving EHS children

  • Head Start polices supported collaboration

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Early Head Start National Evaluation

  • Studied both EHS operated child care centers and community based centers

  • Provided ongoing feedback to programs and the child care field

  • Continuous program improvement: Research to Practice papers

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Dissemination of Promising Practices

  • Infant/Toddler Mental Health

  • Kith and Kin (Non-Regulated Care)

  • Serving Children in the Child Welfare system

  • Research to Practice Papers

  • Second Language Acquisition/CRADLE

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Early Head Start and Its Impact on Large Systems

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State Child Care Partnerships

  • Kansas and Missouri

  • Head Start Collaboration Offices

  • State Supplements

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Important Activities

  • 20 years of PITC!!

  • Establishment of Infant/Toddler Specialist Networks

  • National Infant/Toddler Child Care Initiative

  • Early Learning Guidelines

  • Philanthropic Investments

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Infant/Toddler Specialist Networks

  • First appeared in 1986 in CA

  • 17 States have Networks in place

  • Public (CCDF) and private funds support these Networks

  • Many utilize CCRRA as managing agency

  • Responsibilities of Specialist vary from state to state:

    • Training, consultation, program assessment, technical assistance, mentoring, training for parents, resource materials, health and safety consultation and support, accreditation, starting infant/toddler care programs, etc.

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First Steps: Ohio Example

  • Funded through infant/toddler quality earmark

  • Managed by OCCRRA

  • Components of approach:

    • 12 Infant/Toddler Specialists (PITC certified)

    • 900 providers recruited

    • Pilot focused on understanding current quality and impact of TA provided at various levels of intensity

    • Utilizing ITERS & FDCERS to measure quality

    • Testing 3 different levels of contact intensity

    • Currently analyzing data from their pilot test

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National Infant/Toddler Child Care Initiative

  • Operated by ZERO TO THREE

  • Phase I: (2002-2005)

    • Worked with 20 states

    • Supported state strategic planning activities

    • Developed materials

  • Phase II: (2005-2007)

    • Targeted work related to: quality rating systems, infant/toddler credentials, infant/toddler specialist networks

    • Tracking activities at the state level (investments, child care supply, initiatives)

    • Responding to TA requests

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Early Learning Guidelines

  • Activity in 17 States and one territory as of April 2006

  • State vary in how guidelines are being used

  • Challenges reported associated with work in this area:

    • Rapid variation in development

    • Alignment issues (academic vs. developmental)

    • Relational context in which development unfolds

    • Cultural considerations

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Important Philanthropic Investments

  • BUILD Initiative

  • Birth to Five Policy Alliance

  • Thrive by Five

  • Educare Expansion

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Continuing Challenges and EHS as a Catalyst for Quality Care

  • Collaboration at the national and state levels

  • Funding

  • Developing a qualified infant/toddler work force

  • Family Child Care regulations

  • Unregulated Care: Family, Friend & Neighbor

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How can you help keep the spotlight aimed on the needs of infants and toddlers?

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You can Join the ZERO TO THREE Policy Network!

And Be a Voice For Babies!!

Because all babies & toddlers need:

  • Good Health

  • Strong Families

  • Positive Early Learning Experiences

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Who Should Join?

  • Providers of infant-toddler care & services

    • Child care

    • Mental health

    • Medical

    • Child welfare

    • Early Intervention

  • Researchers studying infant-toddler development & related issues

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The Baby Monitor: ZERO TO THREE Policy & Advocacy News

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How Will the Policy Network Make an Impact?

Members of the ZTT Policy Network will:

  • Be Informed

  • Be Connected

  • Be Active

  • Login