The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Ark. developed and tested a new training program called Educare for persons providing child care for infants and toddlers.
Despite evidence that the first three years of an infant's life are critically important for development, training requirements for those who provide early childhood care are minimal in most states.
The project director planned to develop a year-long curriculum in which graduation would lead to a state-recognized certificate program called educaregiver. After a one-year pilot project, the director hoped to expand it to other schools in Arkansas and elsewhere.
- Project staff developed the year-long Educare curriculum, which was designed to enable students to acquire skills and become qualified to work in either center-based or home-visiting programs dealing with all children, including infants and toddlers with special needs.
- The curriculum was comprised of courses in:
- Child Development.
- Special Health Issues for Infants.
- Developmental Disabilities.
- Communication Skills.
- Teaching Methods.
The curriculum also offered work experience through practicums held both at QTI's child care center and at off-campus locations. (See the Appendix for details.)
- The program was offered for one year at Quapaw Technical Institute, a state-funded educational institution based in Hot Springs, Ark. Nine students enrolled in the program and six completed it.
- The program closed after one year and the educaregiver certificate was not recognized by the state of Arkansas.
- Curriculum materials were folded into Quapaw Technical Institute's Child Care Guidance and Management program.
- In 1998–99, the project director offered a shortened version of the Educare program at a children's hospital under a contract with the Arkansas Division of Child Care.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided partial funding for the project with a grant of $15,028 between October 1994 and September 1996.
Other funding for the project came from the Arkansas Early Childhood Commission, an agency of the Arkansas Department of Education ($60,118); the Irving Harris Foundation ($39,695); and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation ($25,000).