First 5 Contra Costa recently awarded a total of $220,000 in financial stipends to child care providers who completed a rigorous year-long training program designed to improve child care quality, especially for low-income children. A majority of participants also earned college units in child development.
“Research shows that children learn best in stimulating environments with well-trained and well-educated teachers,” said Dr. Debi Silverman, First 5 Contra Costa Early Childhood Education officer. “Our program helps child care professionals advance their education and training and improve their teaching techniques. The higher quality of care, the more children will learn, develop and grow during this critical period of life.”
A total of 171 child care providers received a stipend ranging from $800 to $1,800. All but four providers completed the year-long training, making Contra Costa’s retention among the highest in the statewide effort.
More than half of the providers had not earned an associate’s degree and were required to earn at least three college units leading toward an AA degree in child development – an important indicator of quality child care. One-third exceeded this requirement and earned between six and 18 college units. Participants earned a total of 556 college units in early childhood education.
Eighteen child care centers, and an additional 125 teachers, also carried out program-wide improvements focusing on quality teacher-child interactions and received $1,300. These quality improvement efforts will result in higher quality child care for approximately 2,800 children through age 5.
“This training has helped me to try new things and has given me the confidence I needed to become a great teacher,” said Pittsburg-based family child care provider Bonnie Duncan, who also earned 11 units in early childhood education courses last year. “It has strengthened my interactions with the children, which is improving their language, math and early literacy development skills.”