Entrusting your child to a childcare provider takes a leap of faith, especially when you’re new to American culture. Having a trained and registered provider who speaks your language and knows your cultural preferences makes it easier to leave your child and go to work or classes.
Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) is funded with a grant from the Iowa Women’s Foundation to provide interpreted childcare provider training. This is coupled with assistance in completing the requirements for registration as a self-employed, home based provider, and follow-up assistance for enhancing skills and retaining registration.
LSI staff partner with Child Care Resource & Referral staff to create an effective path to registered provision of care and blossoming early learning environments. Women who were persecuted in their own African, Middle Eastern and Asian homelands have a chance to develop their existing skills while meeting a crucial need for others from their culture.
One effective component is the in-home literacy training, provided by volunteers and interpreters. Over the course of 20 weeks they teach fun, professionally created hour-long lessons and deliver supplies for the provider to use to enhance learning. Providers learn to “point and label” through a book, tell stories in the home language to go with pictures (picture walk), sing educational songs, and more.
“Recently I was with a provider and the children in her care,” says Fatuma Aynab, VISTA & cultural broker for the program, “and the nine-month old started dancing to one of the songs we sing with the children. The provider, volunteer, and I were just clapping and laughing. We had such a good time that no one wanted the visit to end.”
Providers must be certified in pediatric first aid and CPR, take mandatory child abuse reporter training, and receive extensive training on health and safety issues. When Heather McNamara, the Child Care Specialist does pre-registration home visits, she prepares providers for fire drills, keeping children safe from all home dangers, recording attendance and having emergency contacts at hand.
Parents leave their children with confidence they will have good food to eat, a safe place to play, learn and rest, and opportunities to extend their mental and physical capabilities. Blending the comfort and security of the home culture with the health and safety components needed in America, and the nurturing early learning environment is what the program is all about. In the process, everyone learns, the providers make money, and the children have a good time while being prepared for kindergarten. Parents also have more financial security and peace of mind.
This level of service to some of the state’s newest residents and citizens wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of Iowa Women’s Foundation.
Cutline: Nasro Muhumed recently completed the training, including learning sand art techniques. She opted to watch children in their home at this time. She’s using her training and enthusiasm to create happy experiences, and has many years to build expertise as she enriches young lives.