HOUSTON – (Oct. 28, 2013) – In the state of Texas, 59 percent of our child care operations are located in home-based environments, yet state and local quality improvement programs often overlook this important group. The Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), in partnership with Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas Early Learning Council, has taken a step forward in addressing the quality of these operations by offering free training for up to 300 home-based child care providers in the state.
This training is an online professional development system called Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home, or BEECH. BEECH is an in-depth, online approach to improving quality where these providers can sign up, take free online courses in critical early childhood subjects, and receive professional development hours for their participation. The system, which is available in English and Spanish, includes informative videos, knowledge checks and clear and easy to understand recorded audio.
“It is as if providers have access to their own expert in early childhood; however, they can attend the classes according to their schedule. Best of all, they can do it for free,” said Susan Landry, Ph.D., founder and director of the Children’s Learning Institute and one of the creators of the BEECH system.
Early data collected from two research trials on BEECH show the system to be effective. Child care providers using BEECH demonstrated improved practices in classroom environment skills, sensitivity behaviors, book reading behaviors, oral language usage, written expression learning opportunities, print and letter knowledge opportunities and mathematical concepts. Early data is showing positive results in child outcomes as well, as preschoolers and toddlers in BEECH child care homes had gains in language and behavior skills.
“The BEECH system is a key component of the vision laid out by the Texas Early Learning Council to improve school readiness in our state. We cannot overlook home-based providers when thinking about improving early childhood education,” said John Gasko, Ph.D., founding chair of the Texas Early Learning Council and associate director of the Children’s Learning Institute.
The Children’s Learning Institute is looking for home-based child care providers in Texas who would like to enroll in the free online system. Enrollment is open through Nov. 30, 2013. Interested providers must commit to completing 20 sessions over a two-year period. The BEECH system requires access to a computer with a high-speed internet connection. To enroll, email firstname.lastname@example.org.