It is true to say that quality matters in child care programs. At BANANAS, we’re committed to providing early childhood educators with the tools and resources to help them build, and sustain, successful child care programs. With that goal, we partner with First 5 Alameda County and the City of Berkeley to offer Quality Counts on-site coaching to child care providers.
The Quality Counts program helps early care and education providers improve their programs so that children are prepared for kindergarten and succeed in school and life. Our quality improvement coaches spend time at licensed child care centers and family child care homes to discuss ways to improve and support the implementation of health and safety practices and create nurturing environments. The coaches also provide support in child development and school readiness through child observation, developmental and health screenings. The coaches connect providers to workshops and trainings, prepare them for assessments and ratings, and help them identify their program’s strengths and areas where they need more support.
Recently, one of our quality improvement coaches, Sue Mei offered individualized on-site coaching to support teachers at Golden Gate Learning Center in Berkeley. Su Mei’s work has been incredible and helped dramatically improve quality of the child care center.
“I meet providers where they are, talk about what is possible, and map out a continuous plan of quality improvement,” says Su Mei who has worked in early childhood for more than 10 years. “I work with providers to improve the environment and create more enriching teacher-child interactions. When you have these elements in place, the programs run more smoothly and teachers are motivated to improve quality care for children.”
Routine, enriching teacher-child interactions are critical to a child’s development. It’s one of the most important areas where coaches help providers. For example, Su Mei observed a teacher say “good job” to a child pouring water in a cup. Su Mei suggested the teacher that saying “good job” is nice. It is also important to acknowledge child’s efforts by saying “I could see you are pouring water carefully without spilling.” Small changes like these are more likely to keep a child motivated to learn and challenge their cognitive and thinking skills.
Nadia Rivera, Program Director at Golden Gate Learning Center says that Su Mei has made immense contributions to the school. “She helped guide me in the direction that our center would most benefit. The workshop she gave us on health and safety turned our view on cleaning around. Every time she visits, the teachers feel excited to learn.”
Su Mei also suggested behavioral management strategies to address challenges such as biting or sharing issues amongst children. Providers also receive videotaping, observation, and feedback sessions that prepare them to meet these challenges better. Children thrive in programs that provide quality care and opportunities to learn through play. Su Mei ensures that her quality improvement efforts create lasting benefits for children and families.
“Ms. Su Mei is a delightful ray of sunshine for all of us. She has helped turn our classrooms around immensely. She’s very insightful and always strives for us to be our best selves as teachers. She’s great at listening to our concerns and advocating for both the children and teachers. Thank you for all that you do Ms. Su Mei,” says Fergie Acosta, Teacher.