High quality early childhood care and education providers fill an essential societal role preparing children to be socially, behaviorally, and cognitively “ready to learn” upon school entry, yet many care settings in the United States are mediocre to poor in quality, particularly for infants and toddlers. Many professional development opportunities aim to change provider characteristics such as knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs, assuming that this will lead to a change in caregiving behavior, but the relationship between such characteristics and actual behavior has not been well-established. In the current study, data were analyzed from a longitudinal randomized control intervention study examining the use of the Ounce Scale™—an authentic, observational assessment tool—by 98 child care providers of infants and toddlers. It was hypothesized that provider characteristics would be positively associated with, and predictive of, caregiving behavior, and that use of the Ounce Scale™ would deepen providers’ complexity of thought regarding children’s behavior and actual caregiving behavior as reflected in the provider-child relationship. Knowledge of infant development and complexity of thought regarding child behavior predicted many aspects of caregiving behavior. Beliefs about spoiling, traditionalism of child-rearing, and dissatisfaction with caregiving predicted specific aspects of caregiving behavior, and many other attitudes and beliefs did not predict caregiving behavior at all. Although learning and using the Ounce Scale™ had little overall effect, several interaction effects suggest that it did impact the caregiving behavior of providers with certain characteristics.
University of Ph.D. dissertation. March 2012. Major: Child Psychology. Advisors: Amy R. Susman-Stillman, Ph.D. and Richard A. Weinberg, Ph.D. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 127 pages, appendix A-D.
Pleuss, Jessica Catherine.
Improving the quality of early care and education through professional development: evaluation of an observational assessment tool..
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