Self-Efficacy and Transformed Practice: Using Family Child Care Provider Experiences to Create a Model for Sustainable Change

Jen Cortes, M.S. | July 31, 2019


I can still remember my “aha” moment as a family child care provider when I realized that I actually was making a difference in the lives of the children and families I served. It was the most empowering, life changing experience up to that point in my career; one that made me realize that being a provider actually was a career. A few years later I had the opportunity to provide technical assistance to a group of family child care providers as they made quality improvement efforts within their own programs. During this time, I began to see similar mind shifts in three of the providers and became more and more curious in what I soon realized was an increase in selfefficacy (Bandura, 2010). Questions began to surface about how can we strengthen family child care provider’s beliefs in their abilities to impact children’s early learning experiences and possibly influence their trajectory in life because of their relationship and interactions with them?

We know from research that this does not happen by circumstance, but through intentional strategies carefully planned by thoughtful, reflective early childhood practitioners. Do current systems routinely incorporate activities that increase self-efficacy, or foster provider’s beliefs in their abilities, and encourage them to reflect on deep-rooted beliefs that ultimately transform their practice? If not, what more can we do to do to help make this shift? In a time where advocates in early childhood continue to push for policy reform, make efforts to increase standards across the field and provide supports to meet those standards through training/technical assistance, it is essential that we also not lose sight of the providers, teachers, administrators and even those professionals that provide support to them. As part of our efforts, we must also ensure we are creating opportunities for cultivating deep-rooted beliefs within them of their effectiveness in the skills they have in order to transform practice that is sustainable.

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