Early care providers increased the quality of their care
What We Do
We fund programs that provide training and education to the Early Childhood Education (ECE) workforce, helping them to build the quality of their care. We monitor the emerging research on assessing the quality of early care, and ensure our funded programs promote the use of data to measure and improve child care practices.
Why We Do It
Research shows that children learn best in environments with well-trained and well-educated teachers. Because the early years are the most important time in a child’s development, the higher the quality of early care and education children receive, the more children will benefit.
We are creating a common framework for monitoring the quality of care across all ECE programs in the County, and supporting efforts to build ECE providers’ professional growth.
What is QIRS?
A QIRS rates ECE programs using consistent criteria and provides ongoing support to help ECE programs improve their quality. A QIRS can help families easily identify high-quality ECE programs
Nearly every state in the nation is engaged in improving the quality of early education programs through statewide Quality Improvement and Rating Systems (QIRS). We, along with the County Office of Education, are leading the effort to develop a QIRS in Sonoma County, locally called Quality Counts, through a QIRS Consortium. The Consortium will oversee development of Quality Counts, including local criteria and messaging.
We have received an impressive $978,000 from the state to support these efforts during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years. We credit our ability to secure this funding to the fact that Sonoma County is rich in initiatives, many of which we fund, that are designed to improve the quality of ECE through workforce training and education. These programs are as the infrastructure of Quality Counts.
Learn more about Quality Counts
Supporting ECE Providers’ Professional Growth
Since 2011, First 5 funding has allowed Sonoma CARES to award $884,297 in stipends to 458 child care providers as they work to pursue their higher education goals, totaling:
- 3.2 ECE Units Completed
- 185 Enrollments in a degree-focused program
- 32 Associate’s degrees attained
- 19 Bachelor’s degrees attained
Teachers Acquiring Language Learner Knowledge (TALLK)
We fund the TALLK project to provide ECE teachers with strategies to help non-English speaking children develop language skills in both English and their home language. From 2010 to 2015, TALLK provided coaching to:
- 24 Child care sites in Sonoma County
- 106 individual ECE teachers
The TALLK project has not only transformed how we approach language and literacy in our programs but has provided us with a proven tool to help children develop a second language.
Terri Clark, Regional Director of North Bay Children's Center
Learn More about TALLK
The Consultation Project
We have funded The Consultation Project (TCP) since 2005. TCP provides free behavioral health consultations to ECE providers serving children who present developmental, behavioral, or social-emotional challenges. TCP builds providers’ capacity to work with all children, helping them meet the needs of each child and retain even those children exhibiting the most difficult behaviors in the classroom. From 2010 to 2015, 755 child care providers received consultations, each receiving support in working with a child in their classroom.
Learn more about TCP
First 5 funding has supported the Community Child Care Council (4Cs) to register as an Accreditation Facilitation Site through the NAEYC and NAFCC, increasing the County’s capacity to support ECE program accreditation and meet a national standard of child care quality.
To date, 4Cs has assisted 7 ECE programs in the accreditation process
Learn more about 4Cs
97% of stakeholders report that First 5 Sonoma County has supported strategies that have helped to increase ECE quality in the County.
2013 First 5 Sonoma County Stakeholder Survey
First 5 Mini-Grants
172 ECE programs have received a mini-grant from First 5 Sonoma County since 2011, totaling $568,950 to support efforts to provide high quality child care
Learn more about Mini-Grants