Webinar: We Grow Together: Use of Technology to Support Early Care and Education Professional Development

Publication Date: April 27, 2021


Access the audio-descriptive version of this video 

 

Introduction

We Grow Together (WGT) is a professional development (PD) system for caregivers working with infants and toddlers in center-based care and family child care homes. Caregivers are supported in planning and using the WGT practices through relationship- and practice-based coaching from a trained local PD provider who can be a coach, supervisor, mentor, or anyone else who provides ongoing PD. WGT is based on nationally recommended best practices for interacting with infants and toddlers that are measured with the Q-CCIIT observational tool.

Primary Research Question

  1. What did we learn from the field test of WGT about how technology can support the professional development of early childhood professionals?

Purpose

Technology can be a useful tool for accessing and delivering professional development. This recorded webinar describes findings from the field test of WGT related to technology.

Key Findings and Highlights

  • 14 percent of the caregivers reported they did not have reliable access to a computer or Internet connection.
  • 81 percent of the caregivers reported using Wi-Fi to access the WGT website; while only 30 percent reported using cellular service.
  • Although caregivers experienced initial challenges accessing the technological components of We Grow Together, once they logged in, they reported devices and materials were easy to use and navigate.
  • On average, caregivers who reported greater comfort with technology in the fall before We Grow Together implementation reported:
    • Greater satisfaction with the We Grow Together website,
    • Stronger agreement that the We Grow Together practices were helpful for children’s progress, and
    • Stronger agreement that the We Grow Together activities were useful.

Methods

In 2018-2019, Mathematica conducted a field test to examine the implementation of WGT. The field test included 271 caregivers paired with a total of 168 PD providers across Early Head Start and community-based centers, as well as family child care homes. The field test made use of intentional sampling so that the study included a diverse sample of caregivers with a range of qualifications and professional experiences from 10 geographical areas spanning 14 states and the District of Columbia. Caregivers and PD providers worked together using the WGT resources for up to 4 months.

Citation

Monahan, Shannon, Sally Atkins-Burnett, and Louisa Tarullo. Webinar: We Grow Together: Use of Technology to Support Early Care and Education Professional Development. OPRE Report #2021-64, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.