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Conference Update: NAFCC 2014

28 Jul 2014 by Ginny Vitiello

I recently attended the National Association of Family Child Care (NAFCC) annual conference in Orlando. I love going to provider-focused conferences like this one, because it’s great to stay grounded in the day-to-day experiences of child care providers. NAFCC is extra special because it feels like a big family reunion, with shared meals, award ceremonies, family activities, and even a dance on the last night.

I went to great sessions, too, so here are thoughts on a few of those.

  • I sat in on a lunchtime discussion of QRISs led by Sheri Fisher. My impression is that there was a mix of interest and resistance. Several providers were already participating in their state QRISs. Others were waiting to see if the parent outreach components took on a higher profile, because the value of the QRIS would be to drive interest and enrollment in their programs. The resistance was most clear around states that do not account for accreditation, like NAFCC’s accreditation program, in assigning ratings. Providers felt they had worked hard to get accredited and were proud of their accreditation status, so it was frustrating for it to be discounted in the new QRISs.

  • I went to a session on effective coaching led by Joy Humbarger. She emphasized relationship building and meeting providers where they are to form strong alliances. Those alliances allow the hard work to be done by establishing a foundation of trust. It reminded me of some of the principles embedded in MyTeachingPartner Coaching and our newer coaching programs.

  • I went to a session on Head Start/Family Child Care partnerships led by Gay Delaughter and Beverly Manda. I came away with an appreciation for what it takes to be part of a Head Start grantee system and the dedication it shows on the part of family child care providers who participate. The speakers were working hard to ensure that they had more capacity to serve families on their waiting list. They underscored that Head Start is about providing quality, and talked about how they work with providers to get ready to partner with Head Start if they’re not quite ready yet.

My own session was on interactions with infants, toddlers and preschoolers and how those apply to family child care homes. We had good discussions around the special challenges that family providers face, especially balancing interactions across children with different developmental needs.

If you are interested in teacher-child interactions in family child care homes, make sure to read my white paper, Using the CLASS Tool in Family Child Care Homes.