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Research Findings: This article reports on family child care providers’ views about their engagement with professional development programs, including providers who were and were not participating in Quality Rating and Improvement Systems in Los Angeles, California. Most providers participating in the study were taking active steps to improve their work with children, but only a few providers described themselves as satisfied with the programs available. First, we report on why providers chose to engage (or not) in formal professional development activities; specifically, we explore the relationship between career phase and engagement and the levels of participation reported by seasoned providers. Second, we describe the way many providers strategically self-customized their quality improvement (QI) activities by drawing flexibly on available programs or by finding a coach who would work with them on their specific needs. Practice or Policy: Our findings suggest that in order to increase engagement with formal QI systems, designers of professional development supports must better align these supports with the needs and interests of family child care providers in terms of content and modes of delivery. We propose the concept of just-in-time professional development as 1 way to make QI offerings more responsive to some family child care providers’ needs.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Journal Article

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