“Without it, I would have to find easier work”: a new report describes reflective supervision in the field

How is reflective supervision being implemented in the field? Are individual or group settings more popular? How often are participants receiving reflective supervision? A new report sheds light on these questions and more.

Researchers at the Reflective Practice Center have published a new report, “What Does Reflective Supervision/Consultation Look Like in Practice: Examining Variation in Implementation,” based on findings from a nationwide landscape survey. They conducted the survey in partnership with the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health in 2018. They wanted to find out how reflective supervision is being implemented in different workplaces and what recipients of reflective supervision think of it. Read their earlier report on training for reflective supervisors.

Reflective supervision, also known as reflective supervision/consultation (RSC), is a type of relationship-based professional development. The practice originated in the field of infant and early childhood mental health and has been adopted by related fields because of its ability to help reduce burnout and increase effectiveness among people in helping professions, such as social workers, educators, and health care workers.

The researchers set out to learn how reflective supervision is being implemented in the field. For example, the researchers wanted to find out whether individual or group reflective supervision was more common. The most common format, reported by 49% of respondents, was a combination of the two. Forty percent (40%) said they had group meetings only, and 10% said they had individual meetings only. 

Two women sit at a table talking
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

The researchers also wondered if people in the field were receiving the minimum recommended “dose” of reflective supervision: an hour every month. A minority of survey respondents (21% of participants in individual RSC and just 7% of group participants) reported receiving reflective supervision less than one hour per month.

Frequency of RSCIndividualGroup
Weekly25.6%10.0%
Biweekly21.1%31.7%
Monthly30.8%51.7%
Less than monthly20.5%6.7%
Length of RSC
Less than one hour10.3%3.3%
One hour53.8%15.0%
One and a half hours23.1%41.7%
Two hours12.8%40.0%

The survey also yielded evidence that recipients of reflective supervision found it to be valuable. One common theme that emerged from respondents’ written comments was a sense that reflective supervision helped them process emotions that arose in their work.

“I find myself really valuing reflective supervision to process all the trauma, triggers, and other challenging aspects of the job,” reported one respondent. Another wrote, “Without it, I would have to find easier work.”

Others mentioned that they gained a better sense of how their work mattered, including getting “affirmation of my value.” And many respondents mentioned that reflective supervision, whether in groups or one-on-one, was a helpful way to get new ideas to try out with their client families. Some stated that reflective supervision made them more effective in their work with families and even helped them in their relationships with coworkers.

Because the sample size was limited (n = 67), lead researcher Alyssa Meuwissen, PhD, cautions that this paper should not be read as a definitive statement about the implementation and reception of reflective practice nationwide. Rather, it is an important first step in outlining possible avenues of inquiry for future studies, such as: 

  • How variation in frequency affects the efficacy of reflective supervision
  • How group and individual reflective supervision differ
  • How common online reflective supervision is and whether it is equally effective

“This preliminary study helped us get a sense of who is getting reflective supervision and what they think of it,” says Meuwissen. “It also taught us a lot about the gaps that remain in our knowledge. We can use the information from this survey to start to fill in those gaps with future studies.”

Download the report.

We’re moving!

CEED is relocating to Campbell Hall on the Minneapolis campus of UMN.

CEED is relocating to our new campus home in the Carmen D. and James R. Campbell Hall on the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota. While our phone number will remain the same, our new physical address is:

51 E. River Parkway, Suite 201

Minneapolis, MN 55455

Celebrating our accomplishments

We’re celebrating the work our team has accomplished since CEED officially became home to the TARSS program in October 2021.

We’re celebrating the work our team has accomplished since CEED officially became home to the TARSS program in October 2021! Learn more about TARSS and subscribe to our newsletter, The Source.

TARSS outreach

Infographic detailing TARSS outreach activities; text version follows

Communicating with trainers, RBPD specialists, and other interested parties in Minnesota is an essential activity of the TARSS project. The following methods were employed to reach the intended audiences:

Support Requests

TARSS staff provided responsive customer service to 800 emails and 46 phone calls received.

Newsletters

TARSS sent out 9 monthly issues of The Source as well as 30 weekly round-ups with reminders and announcements regarding courses offered.

Website

Information regarding TARSS trainings and registration as well as informative Q & A profiles were posted online and accessed broadly. We created a total of 10 web pages and 7 blog posts.

Social Media

7 blog posts relating to TARSS were shared via CEED’s Facebook and LinkedIn accounts.

Conferences

TARSS attended, presented at, sponsored, or staffed vendor tables at multiple events throughout the year. We made 2 presentations and staffed 2 vendor tables.

Trainings offered through TARSS

Infographic enumerating trainings offered through TARSS; text version is below image

As new trainer requirements were implemented in March 2022, TARSS personnel launched the following trainings (in person or online).

Course Writer Sequence

Course Writer Orientation

  • 99 people attended

Course Writer: Crafting and Drafting a Course

  • 80 people attended 5 events offered

Course Writer: Design Skills

  • 81 people attended 5 events offered

Trainer Sequence

Trainer Orientation Module 1

  • 64 people attended

Trainer Orientation Module 2

  • 54 people attended

Adult Learning Module 1: Delivery Skills

  • 33 people attended 4 events offered

Adult Learning Module 2: Design Skills

  • 41 people attended 4 events offered

Other events

The following events were each offered once between October 2021 and June 2022.

RBPD Credential

  • 15 people attended

Exploring Instructional Design: Considerations for Trainers

  • 13 people attended

Coaching Strategies: Social-Emotional Supports for Children and Caregivers

  • 22 people attended

Trainer and RBPD Specialist Symposium

  • 50 people attended

TOT: Course Writer Training

  • 8 people attended

RBPD Retreat

  • 95 people attended

A vicious circle: how the child care staffing crisis leads to real consequences for children

CEED Director Ann Bailey reflects on a young child’s expulsion from preschool and what his story reveals about the difficult choices that child care professionals and parents are forced to make.

By Ann Bailey, PhD

Ann Bailey

One of the most rewarding parts of my job as a program evaluator is interviewing early childhood professionals about their perceptions of the programs in which they work. I love talking with people who are in the field every day, and their observations often make me think differently about the work that we do at CEED.

Recently an educator told me a story about her work that stayed with me. She told me about a young child who was displaying challenging behaviors in his center-based preschool program. This child–let’s call him Ryan–was expelled from the program. Expulsions from preschool and child care, unfortunately, are not news to anyone in the early childhood sector. Walter Gilliam and others have been publishing research on suspension and expulsion in early childhood settings since 2006. As an early childhood researcher, I know that expelling a child because of challenging behavior is often a result of adult intolerance, adults not having the necessary skills to support the child’s needs, and/or implicit and explicit bias.

The educator explained, however, that in this case the reason for Ryan’s expulsion was staff retention. The program director told her that it was more important to retain staff than to work with Ryan to develop more appropriate behavior. The director explained that it is just too difficult to find qualified personnel these days. If a staff member became so frustrated with Ryan’s behavior that they decided to quit, the director would have trouble finding a replacement. Once a replacement was found, they would need to spend countless hours–and dollars–getting that new teacher the training necessary to do the job well.

I’ll be honest: my initial reaction to the story was judgmental. Ryan needed help learning new skills and behaviors through caring relationships with adults. I was incensed that he had been expelled. After a moment, however, my reflective training kicked in, and I realized that the story I had just heard was much more complex than it had originally seemed.

Perspective-taking

As CEED staff members, we do our best to put the tenets of reflective supervision into practice. In the words of the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health, reflective supervision can “help professionals develop the capacity to shift perspective, address personal biases, set boundaries, and slow down, observe, and listen.” I thought about the other people who were involved in Ryan’s story. What might they be thinking and feeling? How might their needs and wants have influenced the director’s decision?

The educator

First, I thought about Ryan’s teacher. Early childhood professionals expect a certain level of challenging behavior from all children in their care, as it’s often the way young children communicate their needs. We know that some toddlers bite. Maybe it’s for attention; maybe it’s because they’re teething; maybe it’s because they’re frustrated; maybe it’s because they’re dealing with trauma. We can expect some preschoolers to hit, yell, cry, and “act out” for similar reasons.

Early childhood professionals must try to determine the root cause of behaviors like these; it’s their job. They must also help children learn appropriate, alternative communication methods. But as anyone knows who has worked with or parented young children, behavior changes don’t happen overnight. Success requires a lot of time, energy, and practice. And it usually requires all the adults in a child’s life to be coordinated and consistent in their responses to the child.

I pictured myself as the lead teacher in Ryan’s classroom. I’m in charge of 20 preschoolers in a room with one other adult. Let’s say that at least three children regularly display various challenging behaviors. I’m responsible for maintaining all licensing requirements, including the health and safety of all the other children. My job also includes helping all the children meet appropriate learning outcomes. That means I must implement an evidence-based curriculum and collect assessment data to demonstrate developmental changes.

I thought about everything that needs to be accomplished in a classroom like that. If I were Ryan’s teacher, how would I balance maintaining a safe environment where children could learn with addressing a few children’s behaviors? How would I prioritize these different, important tasks? Who would I prioritize?

The parents of Ryan’s classmates

Next, I thought about the parents of other children in Ryan’s classroom. How would I respond if my young child was the target of another child’s challenging behavior? How many times would I be expected to forgive and forget about my child being harmed by a peer before I started looking for a different provider? Even in the absence of physical harm, I would wonder how regularly occurring interruptions impacted my child’s learning and classroom relationships. Perhaps Ryan’s behaviors had been disruptive enough that classmates’ parents had become concerned.

Further complicating matters, many child care programs were forced to close during the pandemic because parents lost jobs or kept children home. This worsened an already critical shortage of providers. Now, as people return to work and demand increases, it may be next to impossible to find another provider if a parent is unhappy with their child’s experience. If I was the parent of one of Ryan’s classmates, I’d be daunted by the process of finding alternative care. Yet I might feel my family was being driven away by Ryan’s behavior.

The program director

Child care directors answer to many different people. On the most basic level, they must ensure that children are safe and that their program meets licensing requirements. If the program is part of a larger organization, they have obligations towards the parent company. They are, of course, responsible for the care and education of the children in their program and are answerable to their families. And they are also responsible for their employees.

I put myself in the director’s shoes. If I was in charge of a child care center, I would be highly attuned to the risk of my staff experiencing burnout. The World Health Organization states that burnout results from “chronic workplace stress” and has three main symptoms: “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Clearly, child care professionals have difficult jobs. They work long hours and are poorly paid; our society also does not give their work the respect it deserves. It should come as no surprise when people who feel unsupported in their work of managing children, including children with challenging behaviors, leave their job for something with less stress and better pay.

Research shows teacher retention is associated with better outcomes for children. As director, I would do my best to keep my staff for the benefit of the children in their care. Furthermore, it isn’t easy to find a replacement when a child care worker quits. Pre-pandemic, turnover rates in child care programs were already between 26-40%. In November 2020, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) reported that of 6,000 survey respondents, 69% stated that recruitment and retention had become even more difficult.

My first instinct had been to blame the director for failing to support Ryan and try multiple solutions to a complex problem. But as I reflected on the sometimes competing pressures on directors, I realized that Ryan’s case presented a genuine dilemma. Ryan desperately needed support and consistency, but the other children in his class also needed their teacher and deserved a calm environment in which to learn and grow. Neither they nor Ryan would be well served if their teacher left. Did Ryan’s needs outweigh those of the other children? Should the director have prioritized supporting Ryan over supporting a staff member?

Ryan’s parents

When a child is expelled from an early childhood program, it is disruptive not just for the child but for their parents. We’ve already seen how difficult it is to find a spot given the severe shortage of providers. I wondered: when Ryan was expelled, how did his parents cope? Were they able to find another high-quality provider, or did they have to settle for a program they didn’t like as much? How long did they have to wait until a spot opened up? Unless they had support from family members, their work schedule might have been disrupted. They might have lost income or even left the workforce altogether.

Then I wondered if the pattern would repeat itself. A child who is expelled from one educational setting often continues their challenging behaviors in the next, risking another expulsion. Would this happen to Ryan? If I were his parent, how would that make me feel? I might be angry or even embarrassed. I might feel powerless to help my child. Or I might come to believe that Ryan was being treated unfairly by the adults who were supposed to help him grow and learn. If that was the case, where would I turn for help?

Ryan

I spent a lot of time thinking about Ryan. We know that for children, healthy learning and growing occurs in the context of quality relationships with important adults in their lives. Ryan, for example, will likely only succeed in changing his challenging behaviors when he receives specific, consistent, age-appropriate support from those important adults.

What if Ryan ends up going from provider to provider without the opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with an educator? Will other adults in his life, such as family members, have the knowledge, skills, and capacity to provide the kind of support he needs? How will disruptions in his early years affect his academic trajectory going forward? Will he learn to dislike school because of his experiences in child care? Will he develop quality friendships with peers? There are just so many unanswered questions.

No easy answers

Although perspective-taking helped me move beyond my knee-jerk reaction to Ryan’s story, I didn’t come up with a solution for this difficult situation. On the contrary, I ended up with more questions and concerns than when I started.

I’m concerned about the crisis in recruiting and retaining early childhood workers. Staff are experiencing intense burnout because the expectations of them are just too high. They can earn more and experience less stress working at the local big box store. Leaving the child care sector is a rational decision under such circumstances.

I worry that there will be generations of children who experience expulsion more regularly than consistent care. I worry that the children who need high-quality care the most will be expelled rather than have access to relationships and settings where they can grow and learn. Will their progress towards developmental milestones be affected? What behaviors should providers expect to see from these children? Will their attachment to adults beyond their parents or guardians suffer in the long term?

I’m concerned about parents, too. They need high-quality care for their children while they work. When problems arise, I worry that parents will be unable to work with providers to solve them. Will they have other child care options? Will they have the knowledge and skills–and the bandwidth–to advocate for their children? Will setbacks like expulsions impact parents’ relationships with their children?

I’m concerned that Americans don’t understand that quality child care is essential to creating a qualified workforce, a thriving economy, and a functioning society. What does it say about our priorities as a nation when retaining staff and keeping a program’s doors open must take precedence over a child’s need to learn social-emotional skills?

I wish I had easy answers to these questions. My heart aches for children like Ryan who need support. But I can take the perspective of the teacher who is charged with caring for a whole classroom of young children. I can also consider the viewpoint of the director whose livelihood, as well as that of her employees’, depends on the program remaining open. And when I think about the work that we do at CEED–asking the questions and doing the research to untangle these complex problems–I feel hope that they are solvable.

Building Family Resiliency: a new podcast for early childhood professionals

A new podcast from CEED and the Institute on Community Integration presents accessible information about child development and family relationships. The podcast was inspired by a desire to address the additional stressors that Minnesota families have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deborah Ottman
Deborah Ottman

A new podcast aims to support professionals who work with young children and their families by providing accessible information about child development and family relationships. The podcast, entitled Building Family Resiliency: Community Voices, Community Perspectives, is the result of a collaborative effort by Deborah Ottman, professional development coordinator at CEED, and Jennifer Hall-Lande, PhD, research associate at the Institute on Community Integration and CDC Act Early Ambassador to Minnesota. The podcast grew out of a desire to address the additional stressors that Minnesota families have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. These stressors, say Ottman and Hall-Lande, may impact the ability of families to build resiliency.

Jennifer Hall-Lande, PhD

Building Family Resiliency was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of their Learn the Signs Act Early initiative, which encourages families, communities, and organizations to screen children for potential developmental delays early on. Learn the Signs Act Early also offers a wealth of free developmental tools for parents and professionals.

For each episode of the podcast, Ottman interviewed one or more experts or helping professionals from different communities and early childhood fields. Listeners will hear from these guests about different facets of resiliency, from the science of brain development to self-care for child care providers. They will learn about what resiliency can look like across the richly diverse cultures and communities that make up our state. And they will gain information on how adults can best support the healthy development of the children in their lives.

“It was a privilege to sit down with researchers and professionals from different fields, all of whom have children’s wellbeing at heart, and talk about the concept of resiliency,” says Ottman. “My hope is that listeners will find the podcast format to be an easy, enjoyable way to access the information that our experts shared.”

All nine episodes of Building Family Resiliency are available to stream on the Institute on Community Integration’s MN Act Early website and on CEED’s YouTube channel.

Episode 1: “Welcome to the podcast!” with Deb Ottman and Jennifer Hall-Lande, PhD

Episode 2: “What contributes to building resiliency in early childhood?” with Anne Gearity, PhD

Episode 3: “Resiliency and early childhood development” with Alyssa Meuwissen, PhD

Episode 4: “Learn the Signs, Act Early and Help Me Grow: joined links in the resiliency chain” with Jennifer Hall-Lande, PhD, and Anna Paulson

Episode 5: “Filling the resiliency well: childcare providers caring for children, families and themselves” with Priscilla Weigel and Palm Walz

Episode 6: “Community voices, community perspectives: building resiliency in the Latino community” with Andrea Castillo

Episode 7: “Community voices, community perspectives: building resiliency in the Hmong community” with Julie Li Yang and Bao Vang

Episode 8: “Community voices, community perspectives: building resiliency in the African-American community” with Andre Dukes and Sierra Leone Williams

Episode 9: “Community voices, community perspectives: building resiliency in the Native American community” with Karla Sorby Decker

Episode 10: “Community voices, community perspectives: building resiliency in the Somali community” with Deqa Farah

“We’re really excited to share this new resource with early childhood practitioners as well as parents,” says Hall-Lande. “I was delighted to be interviewed for Episode 4, which relates to my work on Learn the Signs Act Early. In that episode, we talk about the importance of screening for developmental delays such as signs of autism spectrum disorder. The science shows that the earlier we catch those signs and intervene with kids, the better the outcomes for kids and their families.”

“Both CEED and the Institute on Community Integration have a shared purpose of supporting the helpers who work with children and families,” adds Ann Bailey, PhD, director of CEED. “This podcast is a new way of providing support, and it’s also a way of saying to that community of helpers: we see you, and we value the work you are doing.”

Listen to the podcast.

A preschool theater arts program goes virtual. Does it still work?

When the Children’s Theatre Company took their preschool Creative Play program virtual, they turned to CEED to evaluate its effectiveness.

The Children’s Theatre Company, a Twin Cities-based arts organization, offers a program for preschool classrooms called Creative Play. Teaching Artists (TAs) work with young children from birth to 5 years old using trauma-informed practices. Each session with the TAs lasts around 20 to 30 minutes and involves imaginative play, mindfulness activities, and physical movement. These exercises encourage and empower children to name and explore emotions, make decisions, and share ideas.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Creative Play was delivered in a virtual format for the first time in the spring of 2021. The Children’s Theatre Company has an ongoing research partnership with CEED, and they engaged with our staff to evaluate the effectiveness of the new format. Research Associate Alyssa Meuwissen, PhD, and Research Assistant Meredith Reese observed virtual workshops, interviewed TAs, and surveyed preschool staff about their perception of the program’s effectiveness.

Preschool staff did feel that children remained at least moderately engaged in the three main components of Creative Play: emotional literacy, mindfulness activities, and imaginative play. However, Meuwissen and Reese heard from classroom staff that when children lost focus during virtual Creative Play sessions, it was harder for TAs to re-engage them. Rather, classroom staff intervened to redirect the children’s attention.

Meuwissen brought undergraduate student Rachel Deng onto the project to analyze the first round of data that had been collected. Deng also co-developed a research poster which she presented with Meuwissen and Reese at CEHD Research Day on March 24, 2022. Deng is a senior at UMN majoring in theater arts and early childhood education.

Rachel Deng, Meredith Reese, and Alyssa Meuwissen with their research poster
From left: Rachel Deng, Meredith Reese, and Alyssa Meuwissen

“This project has been a really great opportunity for me because of my joint interest in two very distinct major fields,” says Deng. She added that working on this research project gave her a glimpse of how she might integrate her two areas of interest in further research or even in her career.

“Part of my passion includes using dance and theater arts as therapeutic methods for children and youth,” Deng says.

Meuwissen and Reese will collect more data on the effectiveness of Creative Play in its virtual format when the program recommences in the fall. Stay tuned for an update on their findings!

Top 10 reasons to attend the 2022 Summer Institute

Looking for another reason (or 10) to attend the Summer Institute?

A person's hand holds an ice cream cone with sprinkles in front of the words "Life is amazing" painted on the street
Photo by Fallon Michael on Unsplash

Need another reason to register for the Summer Institute? We’ve got 10!

  1. All-you-can-eat soft serve ice cream
  2. Relive your college days: sleep in the dorms!
  3. Small “class” sizes so you can get all your questions answered
  4. Socialize at a lunchtime BBQ and evening dessert reception
  5. Reconnect with your peers in person
  6. R&R on the banks of beautiful Lake Sagatagan
  7. Network with other dedicated professionals
  8. Amazing plenary speakers discuss urgent topics in early childhood
  9. Mini-retreat for self-care and centering
  10. Deep, focused learning directly from the experts

See you June 21-22 at St. John’s University!

The Pre-K CLASS® Emotional Support domain

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS®) is a tool that assesses classroom quality. View our video introducing the CLASS®. It looks at three overall areas of classroom quality called “domains.” This video provides an overview of the Emotional Support domain. It presents an example of a classroom interaction that would earn a high score in the Emotional Support domain.

Driven by curiosity: a Q & A with Mary McEathron

Mary McEathron, PhD, joined CEED as lead evaluator of the TARSS program. In this Q & A she explains what evaluation is and why it’s important, as well as sharing what inspires her the most when working on evaluation projects.

Mary McEathron

We’re excited to welcome Mary McEathron, PhD, as research associate and lead evaluator of the Trainer and RBPD Specialist Support (TARSS) program. McEathron received her doctorate in evaluation studies at the University of Minnesota and has more than 20 years of experience conducting evaluations and research projects. Before joining CEED, her experience included leading Rainbow Research, a nonprofit community-based research and evaluation organization, as executive director; she was also director of the Evaluation Group at the Institute on Community Integration.

What was the educational or career path that led you to focus on evaluation?

MM: My path to evaluation was very indirect, which is something that I’ve heard from a lot of people in this field. In my case, I studied biology and creative writing for my undergraduate and master’s degrees, after which I worked in nonprofits and program management locally and internationally for a number of years. During that time, program evaluation started to become a more common practice, so I had some familiarity with the basics.

The real pivot point in my career, though, came when my husband and I moved back to the Twin Cities in 2001. When we first arrived here, I worked in a temp job at the University of Minnesota. The unit I was working for needed to do focus groups. I happened to see a flyer for a 3-day workshop offered by the Minnesota Evaluation Studies Institute (MESI) that included a course on focus groups. I said to my manager, “How about I go to this workshop and learn about focus groups?” I got the go-ahead, and at the workshop I met a lot of local leaders in the field and learned that UMN had a degree program in evaluation studies. At the end of the first day of the workshop, my husband asked me, “How did it go?” I told him it looked like I would be going back to grad school!

How would you define evaluation for a layperson?

That’s a great question. When I tell people that I’m an evaluator, they sometimes ask, “What do you evaluate?” When I say I evaluate programs, many people ask, “Why?” People who have worked in grant-funded programs tend to know about evaluation simply because they are required to do it, but unless you have that experience, it may not be at all clear what it means or why it’s important.

What I usually say to people who aren’t familiar with this type of work is that evaluation is applied social science research. An evaluator works with a client or project staff and figures out how to answer questions about their program or project. These can be questions like, “What is working? What is not working? How do we know?” Evaluation pulls from the same set of quantitative and qualitative tools as research. It’s a little hard to generalize about the specific activities involved in evaluation, because there are literally hundreds of approaches.

The bottom line is that programs and organizations want to learn about what they are doing. They want to know what is working and what is not working and why. Sometimes, because evaluation is required by funders, the focus is on accountability. Accountability is important, but my favorite thing is to work with people who are curious. They want to make discoveries about their programs using evaluation tools. I love to help people get in touch with that curiosity—even when they start out thinking that evaluation just means checking a required box on a grant report.

Talk about your role at CEED.

The major focus of my role is evaluating the TARSS program. I’ll also help with other evaluation projects at CEED and provide technical assistance to the whole team for their qualitative research and evaluation programs. Part of why it’s so wonderful to join CEED is that curiosity piece that I mentioned earlier. This team has a great feel for the best uses of evaluation. They approach their work with a desire for knowledge and understanding. So I’m thrilled to join forces with my colleagues and add even more momentum to their work.

What will evaluating the TARSS program look like?

Right now, we are reviewing and implementing our evaluation process. What I can say at this point is that the work of TARSS is to support the full community of early childhood trainers and coaches in Minnesota. That means making sure that the feedback loop through which we gain knowledge about the program is working. What I mean by that is we need to create a cycle of knowledge sharing that includes all our stakeholders: TARSS staff, DHS staff, the practitioners in the field, and the educators whom they serve. We obtain data using different methods—focus groups, one-on-one interviews, surveys, training evaluations, etc.—and then we analyze that data and share it with the early childhood professional development field to help create change and improve programs.

Whatever data-gathering methods we use, it’s important to honor the time and effort it takes for stakeholders to provide us with feedback. We’ll ask people in the field what they need with an emphasis on inclusion so that all voices have the opportunity to be heard. The best decisions are made through that cycle of knowledge sharing.

What are some of your interests outside of work?

I love long walks and hikes in the woods, writing, and cooking dinner with my husband. I’m also really looking forward to farmers markets opening up soon.

Summer Institute registration is open

The Minnesota Early Intervention Summer Institute will be held in person June 21-22 at St. John’s University. Choose from six intensive learning tracks and connect with early childhood professionals from across the state!

The Minnesota Early Intervention Summer Institute will take place June 21–22, 2022 at St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN.

  • Choose from six intensive sessions
  • Attend daily keynotes
  • Gain new insights and additional skills to put into practice right away
  • Interact with other professionals who support young children and their families
  • Enjoy networking and community-building activities like a lunchtime barbecue and evening dessert reception

We hope you will join us!