Carescapes: Promoting Children's Social Competence


Carescapes: Promoting Children's Social Competence


This book and DVD teach childcare providers how to nurture healthy social skills and provide children with opportunities for social development.

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Carescapes: Promoting Children's Social Competence is an effective training for family child care providers and contains fundamental information and guidance that is ideal for the training of all caregivers working with children in preschool and other early childcare education settings. Carescapes was funded by a NICHD grant and received high ratings by the family child care providers who participated in the development study.

Many early childhood education caregivers enter the field with minimal experience. It is demanding work and usually low paid. Little in the way of professional development training is offered and staff turnover is often quite high. Carescapes provides new caregivers with fundamental skills and knowledge that can help them experience greater job satisfaction and provide better care to the children they work with.

An important role for child care providers is to create a place where children learn how to be friendly, cooperate, take turns, share, follow directions and help each other. Carescapes shows providers how to nurture healthy social skills and how to provide children with opportunities that enhance social development. Studies show that children who have positive relationships early in life are more likely to enjoy friendships, school success and emotional well-being.

The 72-minute, 3-­part DVD and companion 75-­page, spiral­-bound book (which summarizes content covered on the DVD) offers ideas for cooperative play activities, contains parent handouts on social development, and includes Behavior Support Guide forms. The program addresses the following topics:

Module 1: Setting up the Environment to Support Social Development (23 minutes)

  • Arranging physical space
  • Choosing toys and materials
  • Scheduling the day's activities

Module 2: Approaches for Guiding Children's Behavior (23 minutes)

  • Creating a positive relationship with children
  • Planning ahead to promote positive behavior
  • Developing and teaching rules and expectations
  • Providing clear directions
  • Monitoring behavior
  • Providing positive attention and encouragement

Module 3: Understanding and Dealing with Challenging Behavior (26 minutes)

  • Responding appropriately to challenging behavior
  • Knowing the three key goals of behavior
  • Teaching positive behavior
  • Understanding challenging behavior and encouraging positive behavior

Sample Videos

The Child Care Environment

Positive Attention

Understanding the Development of Problem Behavior

Program Evaluation

The initial development study demonstrated that the intervention was highly appealing to family child care providers. This was demonstrated both by their attendance rates and by their feedback on usefulness. The most salient findings of the study were that caregivers in the intervention group improved their observed effective behavior management practices and those improvements were associated with reductions in children's problem behavior.

In a second study the Carescapes program was presented in a workshop setting. Caregivers participating in Carescapes reported significant reductions in children's problem behavior and parents reported improvements in their child's relationships with peers. A large majority of workshop participants reported learning "some" to "very many" new things, and that they planned to make "some" to "very many" new changes or try new things.