Date Submitted: 09/08/2021
Carri Hicks Chief Executive Officer
1105 NW 45th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
Rating Category: Promising Practice
Focus Area: Social Emotional Learning
Focus Population: Children, Teachers, Owners, Caregivers, Guardians, Administrator, Parents
Goals and Outcomes:
The Rainbow Fleet Family Child Care Quality Enhancement Initiative (QEI) is a comprehensive training and technical assistance initiative that seeks to improve the quality of early care and education in Family Child Care Homes (FCCH) in Oklahoma County. This goal aligns with our mission to enhance the quality of life for children, families, and child care providers. Oklahoma currently has a quality driven initiative referred to as Reaching for the Stars and child care providers have the opportunity to be categorized in one of four star levels of quality based on specific criteria. A 1-star facility meets the basic licensing requirements. A 1-star+ facility is working on the criteria to be awarded a 2-star rating. A 2-star facility offers: teachers who have received formal education and additional training in child development; arranges space for a variety of activities including block building, dramatic play, art areas, and ready to children; weekly lesson plans, which promotes cognitive, social and emotional development for each child interaction with parents through planned activities; and program evaluation and goal setting.
A 3-star facility is nationally accredited in addition to meeting 2-star quality requirements. Therefore, providing hands-on training, practical application and mentoring to move facilities to a high stars ranking benefits the children, families, and child care providers themselves. To quote an anecdote from a study entitled the Cost, Quality and Outcomes study of Child Care Centers (Family Child Care Homes), "Children attending high quality child care perform better in math and language, and get along better with other children. These advantages continue in school." The intended outcome for the QEI and the programs we will support is to increase the "best practices" among FCCHs. The way this is achieved is through the process of improving their stars level and/or their accreditation. Achievement of either scenario requires the program to self-reflect and make effective changes accordingly, with much consideration given to the needs of the children, their families and the FCCH provider themselves. Within achieving accreditation, the benefit affects everyone. The children are better cared for and have developmentally appropriate settings and materials with a provider who now has a greater understanding of meeting the needs of children of all ages.
The FCCH provider is expected to and should know and understand their children and families and the impact they have on a child's social-emotional and cognitive well-being. As such, QEI will support the child care provider to be well-trained and encouraged to achieve additional education. These best practices will hold the provider accountable for short and long term goals, with the expectation that a "team" approach will prepare children and families for future successes. A QEI Specialist will provide and/or facilitate the FCCHs' intensive, on-going support that includes training, technical assistance, and funds/resources to improve and maintain the quality of care and education that young children and families receive.