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Little Kids, Big Questions
is a series of 12 podcasts that translates the research of early childhood development into parenting practices that mothers, fathers and other caregivers can tailor to the needs of their own child and family. Click here to listen to or download the podcasts. This podcast series is generously funded by MetLife Foundation.

The PCAN curriculum fills a unique niche by focusing on the prevention of child abuse and neglect. It goes beyond the typical mandated reporter training currently provided to child care professionals. This curriculum offers infant/family professionals' concepts and information focused on helping them to recognize the importance of their relationships with very young children and their parents in reducing some of the risk factors associated with abuse and neglect.  The curriculum focuses on three over arching areas:

Building effective relationships with parents and their very young children;
Understanding the impact of abuse and neglect on infants and toddlers;
Helping directors build workplaces that support staff in reducing the risk for child maltreatment. 
  
Ten units of instruction provide 60 hours of training activities and materials. Eight of these are focused on providing early care and education with concepts, skills and exercises to prepare them to help in the primary prevention of child maltreatment. Two are aimed specifically at directors and/or leaders of organizations. Taken together, these sessions offer the opportunity for infant/family professionals to consider issues of child abuse/neglect prevention from a number of viewpoints. Additionally it builds a core of knowledge, understanding, and skills relating to the prevention of child abuse in families with very young children. Individually, each session provides useful knowledge and skill-building on its own.

Every unit in the curriculum incorporates a relationship-based and reflective approach to learning.  Activities, exercises, and the overall structure of each session provide opportunities for participants to experience learning relationships with their trainers and with one another.  Additional themes integrated into each unit include cultural diversity; the link between the content of that unit and prevention of child maltreatment; and the concepts and skills needed to support effective relationship-building and problem solving.

The curriculum is designed for use by trainers who are experienced in early care and education, early intervention, child welfare, mental health and physical health.  It is highly recommended that trainers co-train with others that have expertise in specific topic areas.  For example if you consider yourself very knowledgeable in early childhood development but feel a bit unsure about delivering content in child maltreatment prevention we suggest that you find a co-trainer to teach those units that focus on child maltreatment.

Directors, others in leadership roles, teachers, and family childcare providers are the intended audience for this training curriculum.  The information in this curriculum is aimed at the introductory and mid-level learner for whom the material may be entirely or partially new.   

Curriculum units may be modified to be presented in lengths varying from 1 ? to 6 hours.  The units are designed for use with groups of 30, but can be adapted for smaller or larger groups.

Curriculum Topics:

Working Effectively With Very Young Children and Their Families:

1. Building Collaborative Relationships with Families
Makes the case for the importance of partnerships with parents and describes core concepts and skills in building effective relationships.  It provides concrete strategies for working with families.

2. Building a Healthy Brain 
Explores the 5 R's, relationships, routines, respect, repetition, and responsive interactions in relationship to healthy brain development.

3. Social-Emotional Development of Infants, Toddlers, and their Families
Defines and discusses social-emotional development and the typical skills that emerge across the first three years of life.  In addition, an introduction to the stages of parent development, from the prenatal period through the toddler years is provided.  This module also assists infant/family professionals in identifying children whose social-emotional development needs more in-depth observation and support. 

4. Helping Parents and Providers Understand Temperament
Introduces the three primary temperament types—flexible, fearful, and feisty—and discusses "goodness of fit" both between child and adult.  There is an emphasis on strategies infat/family professionals use in individualizing their approach with children of each temperament type, as well as a discussion of attachment and its importance to children's healthy development.

5. The Influence of Culture on Caregiving
Explores the many ways in which culture influences parents' child-rearing choices and daily routines.  It provides an opportunity for professionals to explore their own culture beliefs and how those beliefs influence their work with families.  There is discussion of strategies for learning more about families' home cultures as well as for considering whether a parenting practice represents a cultural difference or an instance of abuse or neglect.  The module presents a four-step model for resolving culturally based dilemmas in infant/family work.

Reducing the Risk of Child Abuse and Neglect:

6. Understanding and Responding to Abuse and Neglect of Infants and Toddlers
Defines child abuse and neglect, discusses its prevalence among infants and toddlers, highlights the risk factors for abuse and neglect, and discusses the impact that maltreatment can have on a very young child's development.  Implications for practice in setting serving young children and families are discussed.

7. Supportive Responses to Troubled Parent-Child Interactions
Presents strategies that infant/family professionals can use in partnering with parents when risk factors for abuse and neglect are present.  Strategies range from prevention activities that support the parent-child relationship to suggestions for discussing abuse and neglect with parents.

8. Challenging Behaviors in Infants and Toddlers
Children in our care can be challenging for many reasons. This module gives infant/family professionals an opportunity to reflect on their own beliefs and practices regarding challenging behavior, to learn more about some of the rationale and reasons of challenging behavior, and to practice discussing these challenges with parents in and effective and supportive manner.

Role of the Program Director:

9. Relationship-based and Reflective Organizations
Explores how and why leaders utilize reflective and relationship-based principles in setting serving infants, toddlers and families.  Opportunities to discuss and practice reflective and relationship-based hiring strategies and supervisory techniques are introduced in this session, as is a three-step problem-solving model to use with staff.

10. Supporting Staff in Their Work  with Parents
Addresses the supervisor's role in creating an organizational plan to respond to suspected abuse or neglect.  Issues discussed include supporting staff members in their efforts to prevent abuse and neglect, assessing the readiness of one's program to report suspected abuse, developing procedures to respond to suspected abuse/neglect, and discussing concerns about abuse and neglect with parents.

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RELATED INFORMATION

The Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect: Parent/Provider Partnerships in Child Care (PCAN)
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