Friday, May 25, 2012

Early Achievers expands; opportunity for professional development and incentives for licensed child care providers

Early Achievers, Washington’s quality rating and improvement system, is expanding! Licensed or certified child care providers may choose to participate. This voluntary program helps provide high-quality care to prepare children for school.

The Department of Early Learning is partnering with the Washington State Child Care Resource & Referral Network and the University of Washington to expand Early Achievers beginning on July 1, 2012.

Incentives for providers include:
  • One-on-one coaching: Research shows coaching is key to improving quality! The amount of coaching a provider receives is up to the provider. Coaching is not limited by the type or size of child care facility. Coaches are hired locally by resource and referral agencies. They will have in-depth understanding of the business of child care, but as important as that, they will have expertise in child development and program quality. Their job is to help providers set and achieve goals.
  • Quality improvement awards: Programs get awards for attaining higher rating levels. The awards are used to carry out their quality improvement plans designed with a coach. The state currently is bargaining the award amounts for family home child care providers with SEIU 925.
  • Professional development incentives and awards: Early learning staff will receive individual incentives for achieving training and education at universities and colleges in Washington, and programs can increase their rating levels by having more highly qualified staff.
  • Access to resource hubs: Head Start and Early Childhood Education and Assistance (ECEAP) programs that are evaluated and scored at level 4 or 5 in Early Achievers will receive a bonus to serve as resource hubs, opening their doors to high-quality trainings and other support for local early learning professionals (examples might be: access to computer labs, time for providers and their coaches to observe classrooms).
Please visit or contact your local resource and referral agency to learn more about Early Achievers. Early Achievers is funded by the federal Child Care and Development Fund and Washington's Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant.

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