California Early Childhood Mentor Program
What is the Mentor Program?
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
- Courses in mentoring/adult supervision
- Selection of mentors
- Stipends for the mentoring of early childhood students
- Ongoing professional development, including monthly seminars, stipends for in-service training, statewide institutes
- Two-day institutes on mentoring
- Local monthly seminars
- Selection of Director mentors
- Stipends for the mentoring of other directors
How does the Mentor Program Improve Child Care?
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:
Centers & Family Child Care Homes
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.
Caregivers & Directors
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.