Head Start Teaching Center: Differential training effects for Head Start personnel

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Date of Original Version



Driven by research findings regarding the positive relationship between training and enhancement of services, as well as literature on adult learning, the New England Head Start Teaching Center (NEHSTC) was created in 1992 to test the efficacy of participatory, hands-on training. The purpose of this paper is to examine the outcome evaluation results from 4 years of training at the NEHSTC, 1 of 14 federally funded sites, as well as to discuss the implications for delivering this type of participatory training throughout Head Start. Findings suggest that the NEHSTC was successful in implementing high quality, participatory training within the context of an ongoing Head Start program. Head Start staff who participated in the NEHSTC trainings demonstrated gains in knowledge, skills, and expertise compared to similar Head Start employees who did not receive training. Results also reveal a sustained effect of training over time, with NEHSTC participants continuing to demonstrate enhanced knowledge and skills 6 months after training. Similar positive outcomes of training were found for staff with varying levels of experience and holding different Head Start positions. Thus the participatory, hands-on training implemented by the NEHSTC was found to produce positive and lasting outcomes for diverse Head Start staff. An effective and cost efficient model of training Head Start personnel is particularly relevant and timely as Head Start strives to establish universal quality and expansion of services in the 21st Century. The findings are also relevant for improving the quality of all early care and education programs.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Child and Youth Care Forum