Train the Trainers Daycare
Research suggests key contributing factors to successful early childhood development are nurturing relationships and engaging environments.
An effective method of creating these conditions is through well designed and delivered daycare which has costs. This model uses resources available to communities to reduce those costs.
Adopting a Train the Trainers model, recruiting and training members of the community to provide daycare for 0 - 5 year olds, would have the following benefits:
A) Create a stimulating and nurturing environment for young children
B) Provide training and development opportunities for members of low-income communities
C) Create in-community experts to help inform and engage communities in good parenting practice
The following are key factors in successful early childhood development:
The best learning happens in nurturing relationships
The brain develops through use
Children’s wellbeing is critical to brain development and learning
Children learn through being engaged
Children learn from watching and copying
Children learn language by listening to it and using it
(source: Engaging Families in the Early Childhood Development Story, http://goo.gl/Tz2FKg)
Well staffed, well planned daycare is one effective way of creating the conditions in which children can benefit from the above factors. However, well delivered daycare is expensive, the training and payment of daycare staff being the primary expenses. Making it a sustainable service therefore, requires a lateral solution.
The Train the Trainers Daycare model is advantageous because it offers the most effective 'learning on the job' (see video for further explanation of this) whilst also mitigating the high cost of training, and maintaining high quality staff.
It does this in the following ways:
1. By partnering with Universities to ensure staff training is accredited. This incentivises becoming daycare staff which has three clear benefits. Firstly, it means daycare staff can be recruited at a reduced salary, since they receive developmental training alongside their work (See
Teach For All and
On Purpose models for successful examples of this). Secondly, it supports the recruitment of the most motivated candidates. And thirdly, because it offers qualification and further opportunities, it mitigates the issue of rural flight: young talent leaving rural communities to find employment (see
here for further information about this issue). Instead, young talent are supported to stay and invest in the development of their communities.
2. By adopting a Train the Trainers model, which has two clear benefits. Firstly, the cost of training daycare staff is mitigated since training can be delivered in the community and there is no need to travel to a central location. Secondly, it offers a career development 'journey' to those involved in the programme. They can train as daycare staff, and later graduate to Trainers, also further mitigating rural flight.
In terms of logistics, the programme would operate as follows:
The programme would operate from a central offices, partnering with a University to recruit and train a cohort of three graduates in the first year, doubling on successful completion of a first year.
The training programme would last for a duration of six weeks, would take place within the communities and would operate using a blend of hands-on and distance, e-learning (see
here for further explanation and
here for a successful, up and running example). It would consist of an initial two weeks of theoretical childcare and leadership training. The first two weeks would also contain a visit to a successful, up and running centre. The second two weeks would comprise of the more practical aspects of setting up a daycare centre; candidates would be supported in completing the set up a centre in their community. The final two weeks would see candidates operating the daycare centre, receiving feedback and support from the trainers. Trainers would remain for a further two weeks, offering support at a distance, and would then revisit the daycare centres a further three times at intervals throughout the first year, remaining available for support should it be requested.
Candidates who have trained through the programme and worked in centres for three years, would then be eligible to apply to undergo a further one year training programme to graduate to train daycare staff. Following period of success in this role, they would again become eligible to work training the trainers.
After an initial investment loan from the programme, daycare centres would be funded by levying a small fee for the service provided to parents. All profit would be reinvested back into the business in the form of staff salary, premises maintenance and paying back the investment loan to the central programme.
The central offices would require minimum funding. Working with university students would mitigate the cost of salarying the initial cohort of trainers. The few centrally based staff needed to operate the programme would be salaried from grant funding or development loans from organisations such as IFC (See
here for information about their commitment to investment in development projects)
Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?
This model is designed to benefit the following groups within low-income communities:
1. Young children aged 0 - 5 whose parents may otherwise find it difficult to provide them with the nurturing and stimulating environment needed to thrive.
2. Parents who could benefit from education and physical support to ensure their children thrive in their first five years.
3. Young adults looking to develop their capabilities to improve their own socio-economic position and that of their communities as a whole. (See this report on preventing youth rural flight in Africa http://goo.gl/cHDpXF)
How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?
The 'Train the Trainers' model has been tested successfully various social enterprise and business organisations with success.
To trial the model specifically in the context of early childhood development in low-income communities, I would do the following:
1. Identify a suitable context.
2. Set objectives for the project i.e. that children aged 0 - 5 will have increased cognitive abilities as a result of the project. Once success criteria are created, design impact evaluation to ensure progress is made.
3. Design a training programme that would educate members of low-income communities in early childhood development, how best to create an environment in which children aged 0-5 can thrive and educating parents.
4. Work with Universities near the community to recruit and train those who will train the trainers.
5. Work with colleges, community organisations and families to recruit and train trainers.
6. Identify daycare site and source any resources needed (toys, books, furniture etc). It may be necessary to apply for one off grant funding or rely on donations for this.
7. Publicise the daycare centre amongst families with children aged 0 - 5. Potentially partner with existing community groups to target those most in need effectively through referral and / or to distribute information about the daycare centre.
8. Deliver daycare.
9. Ensure measurement of the impact of the project against objectives and develop / change the project accordingly.
What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?
I would benefit from support in the following areas:
1. Sourcing initial seed investment
2. Partnering with universities
3. Identifying communities where this model would be appropriate and effective
4. Developing a training programme and 'journey'
Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?
This idea is meant to inspire. I hope someone else takes it on!