Early Care and Education 740

Early care providers increased the quality of their care

Pres-schoolWhat 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.

Our Results

We use 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.

Quality Counts

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). The QIRS in Sonoma County, locally called Quality Counts, is lead by a QIRS Consortium. The Consortium will oversee the development of Quality Counts, including local criteria and messaging.

Learn more about Quality Counts

Supporting ECE Providers’ Professional Growth

Sonoma CARES

Since 2008, First 5 funding has allowed Sonoma CARES to award $3,068,443 in stipends to 2463 child care providers as they work to pursue their higher education goals, totaling:

  • 12,624 ECE Units Completed
  • 757 Enrollments in a degree-focused program
  • 73 Associate’s degrees attained
  • 37 Bachelor’s degrees attained
  • 15 Master's degrees attained

Mother and Daugherty reading

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. In 11 years, TALLK provided coaching to:

  • 54 Child care sites in Sonoma County
  • 220 individual ECE teachers
  • Over 2,000 ECE students

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 2016, 880 child care providers received consultations, each receiving support in working with a child in their classroom.

Learn more about TCP

Preschool Program Investments

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

100% of stakeholders report that First 5 Sonoma County has supported strategies that have helped to increase ECE quality in the County.

2016 First 5 Sonoma County Stakeholder Survey

First 5 Mini-Grants

744 ECE programs have received a mini-grant from First 5 Sonoma County from November 2000 through June 2017, totaling $2,251,533 to support efforts to provide high quality child care

Learn more about Mini-Grants