Doherty, G., McCormick Ferguson, T., Ressler, G. & Lomotey, J. (2015). Enhancing child care quality by director training and collegial mentoring. Journal of Early Childhood Research and Practice, 12(1).
Although considerable evidence confirms that a director with good leadership and administrative skills is vital for developing and sustaining a high-quality child care program, many directors assume the role with little management experience or training. This paper reports on a training program in Canada that combined a formal curriculum to increase director administrative knowledge and skills with a mentoring component emphasizing peer support and collegial learning, delivered in a way that enabled participants to continue working full time. The participants in each of the 28 locations across the province formed study groups with facilitators and held monthly three-hour meetings for a year. During the meetings the participants and their facilitators discussed specific aspects of center administration and their implications for practice. Between meetings participants engaged in self-reflection, shared reflective journals, and worked as a group or in pairs on assignments such as doing a critical analysis of a case study. Graduates showed significant improvement in their administrative practice as measured by the PAS (t = 4.31, p < .001) and in the global classroom quality in their centers as measured by the ECERS-R (t= 3.32, p < .01). Eighteen months after graduation, members of all study groups reported ongoing contact with each other (e.g., seeking and receiving assistance and working on joint projects). These reports confirm the program’s success in developing local, ongoing director support networks.