While writing grants and promotional materials may not be exactly what I hope to do with my life, my current job is the best I’ve had in terms of both management and program quality. I recently shot some photos and wrote this feature story to build awareness for the program to help it expand.
MSU program improves childcare quality
If home is where the heart is, then it’s no wonder that 54 percent of Mississippi children attend unlicensed home childcare programs.
Known by a variety of names, these businesses whether called “family childcare,” “in-home childcare,” or “family home care,” are places where caregivers open their homes to create safe learning environments. As part of the Mississippi State University Extension Service, the Nurturing Homes Initiative (NHI) partners with these businesses to increase the quality of care.
As the only employees of their own small business, home care providers often operate with limited access to materials that encourage emotional, social, physical, and intellectual growth in children. To fill that void, the Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development, funds NHI to teach best practices and provide supplies.
NHI has worked with over 1,200 in-home child caregivers to improve learning opportunities for over 6,000 children. By meeting with providers in their homes, NHI field technicians provide one-on-one, hands-on mentoring by reviewing lesson materials, discussing challenges and concerns, and modeling age-appropriate activities. While the state requires child caregivers at licensed centers to earn 15 hours of staff development each year, home providers have no state-mandated education requirements and can face challenges accessing education. Continue Reading »