More Than Baby Talk: Improving Child Care Providers' Capacity to Promote Infant/Toddler Language and Communications

Many infants and toddlers in Forsyth County, North Carolina may not be receiving the high quality language exposure needed to promote development of the language and communication skills necessary for success in school. Nearly half of the Forsyth children entering kindergarten (43%) are at risk of falling behind in reading, with low-income and Black and Latino children at greatest risk. Moreover, in Forsyth County, there is a need to support teachers of infants and toddlers in promoting young children’s language and communication development. More Than Baby Talk (MTBT), a professional development program, seeks to address these needs by providing approximately 120 Forsyth County infant/toddler teachers with training and coaching support. Teachers will receive a 3-hour workshop with information on children’s language and communication development, a review of 10 evidence-based teaching practices shown to support children’s language development, video exemplars, small group activities to problem-solve teaching challenges, working with dual-language learners, and information on classroom activities to use with infants and toddlers. Based on teacher interest, we will invite 48 workshop participants to participate in nine months of individualized coaching. To reach the teachers working with the most financially needy children, we will use the Training and Professional Development mechanisms of the Smart Start of Forsyth County to target the centers serving the highest proportion of children receiving subsidies. We anticipate that teachers will show an increase in the observed quality of their teacher-child interactions, based on research on the effectiveness of training combined with coaching to impact changes in teaching practice.

FPG Project Staff:
Nicole Gardner-Neblett, Principal Investigator
Allison C. De Marco, Co-Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust
Funding Period: 05/01/2015 - 10/31/2017
Award Amount: $165,000