The California Early Childhood Mentor Program is a state-wide effort to improve the quality of child care. It provides training and support for early childhood professionals so that they, in turn, will be able to continue providing high-quality services. Through the Mentor Program, community college early childhood departments develop a mentor selection process and mentoring networks for students, caregivers and directors.
Activities supported by the Mentor Program
Researchers have established the links between the education, support and compensation of child care staff, and the quality of care that young children receive. The Mentor Program offers benefits to many sectors of the child care system:
The Mentor Selection Process recognizes exemplary programs and promotes quality standards. Staff turnover is reduced as caregivers are recognized and compensated for their expertise. Mentors and Director Mentors share their expertise with staff in other programs, while all directors gain valuable support in Director Institutes and Seminars.
Training in mentoring, plus increased recognition and stipends give dedicated professionals the skills and support necessary to keep them working effectively in a challenging field. All staff benefit from an expanded career ladder and a more responsive and diverse training system.
Early childhood students have more options for the completion of required student teaching courses. Links with the community are strengthened as theory is integrated with practice in high-quality settings.