The WVIT Professional Development Program for Caregivers interfaces with WV STARS and begins with a 50–hour training program. Because professional development is an ongoing process, trainers and administrators work together to monitor the personal and professional growth of infant/toddler caregivers and help to develop a plan that responds directly to the needs of the children in their care. The training consists of four modules which are outlined below and includes onsite follow-up, or Technical Assistance for Caregivers of Infants and Toddlers (TACIT), to ensure training objectives are met.
Module I – The Caregiver
The purpose of this module is to instill in child care professionals the importance of the role they play in the development of infants and toddlers. Caregivers contribute directly to a child’s healthy development and ability to learn and build relationships. This module emphasizes basic health and safety practices that are provided by caregivers to protect and nurture children. The health, nutrition, and safety of the caregiver are also covered.
Module II – The Family
This module is intended to heighten caregiver awareness of how family structures and culture influence their work in establishing stable relationships with families and in providing a safe, healthy environment for infants and toddlers, including those with special needs. This module also is designed to strengthen partnerships between families and child care professionals to ensure seamless transitions between the home and the early child care program.
Module III – The Child
This module is intended to provide caregivers with information about developmental domains and the typical and atypical growth and development of infants and toddlers, along with strategies to support optimal learning. The module focuses on how the integration of all domains and meaningful interactions and relationships promote healthy social, emotional, cognitive, language, and physical development for infants and toddlers.
Module IV – Quality Programs
This module is intended to provide caregivers with the information they need to identify elements of program quality and how these support infant/toddler growth and development. In addition, caregivers will learn how their vision of the children in their care helps them understand their critical role as early childhood professionals and the impact of quality care on child and adult outcomes. Caregivers will explore how the daily routines, the infant/toddler environments, and health/safety policies and procedures contribute to the quality of their programs and help to reduce discipline problems.
Technical Assistance for Caregivers of Infants and Toddlers (TACIT):
Follow up to Modules 1 & 2, and Modules 3 & 4
Participating in professional development is an important step in strengthening caregivers’ skills and knowledge in early childhood education. Training provides an opportunity to gain new information during the activities and to experience informal networking between caregivers from different settings. A balance of training and on-site support helps beginning caregivers learn what is expected of them and enables them to make choices that are crucial to their growth and sustained learning.
Therefore, Technical Assistance for Caregivers of Infants and Toddlers (TACIT) is incorporated into West Virginia’s Infant/Toddler Professional Development Program. The purpose of TACIT is to provide individualized support that links training to everyday experiences.
The TACIT process includes these steps:
- Caregivers assess their progress toward achieving specific training objectives.
- Trainers meet with caregivers to review their self-assessment and discuss the type of assistance that will support their goals.
- Trainer provides on-site follow up, which includes observations, modeling, and coaching.
- The trainer and caregiver meet together to review goals and identify together the next steps in training.
- The trainer and caregiver meet with the program administrator to share and discuss plans.
TACIT is designed to assist caregivers in putting into practice the information they received in training and to respond to their specific interests and needs. In addition, it furthers their professional development, highlighting strategies such as self-reflection and action.