8.1 Support for Home Visitors

What Is It?

Good planning and preparation lead to meaningful, purposeful group socializations that support children's learning and development by strengthening the parent-child relationship. Home visitors need the right skills and knowledge to work with parents in a group setting as well as individually. As the supervisor, you think about the strengths and needs of your home visitors to plan and conduct effective group socializations. You provide support, including observations during socializations, supervision, and professional development opportunities. You also eneed to develop a budget to ensure the financial resources needed to provide all the required services are available.

How To

Here are some strategies for supporting home visitors in planning for effective group socializations:

Provide training and support for the following topics:

  • Engaging parents in planning and implementing socializations (per the family partnership agreement), capitalizing on the cultural knowledge and skills that each family brings to socialization experiences
  • Infant/toddler development
  • Child safety/injury prevention
  • Offering age- and culturally appropriate experiences
  • Addressing the needs of dual-language learners, both children and parents
  • Supporting parent–child interactions in a group setting
  • Facilitating groups of parents and children together/managing groups/group process skills
  • Using group socializations as part of the ongoing child assessment process, including parents observing their children and sharing their observations
  • Linking individual goals for children and parents as well as program goals for school readiness and family outcomes to group socialization experiences
  • Connecting socialization experiences to what happens during home visits
  • Collaborating with health managers on how to encourage families to prioritize health issues and follow up when needed
  • Collaborating with community partners to provide information on topics of interest to families and/or provide on-site services such as early intervention therapy or observations by mental health professionals
  • Ensure home visitors’ caseloads are manageable enough so that they have sufficient time to participate in planning and implementing socializations.
  • Ensure that home visitors have dedicated planning time with other home visitors and a space for planning.
  • Develop a schedule that shows which socializations home visitors are responsible for planning and conducting. Create a planning form or template that includes socialization elements, for example,
    • goal(s) for the socialization;
    • connecting the socialization goal(s) to individual goals for children and families as well as the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, program school readiness and family outcomes goals;
    • parent–child experiences that reflect and extend what is focused on during home visits;
    • parent education/discussion and networking opportunities; and
    • nutritious snacks and meals.
  • Pair up home visitors to plan and conduct socializations. Invite parents to sit in on socialization planning meetings to offer input and ideas.
  • Consider a multidisciplinary approach to planning. For example, invite community partners to planning meetings.
  • Develop a budget to provide for food for infants, toddlers, and adults; transportation; and needed materials and supplies.

Experience It

Supervising Socializations: Support for Home Visitors

Tweety Yates, a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, describes and demonstrates the PIWI (Parents Interacting with Infants) model for group socializations.

The PIWI model is described in this clip as having the following:

  • Hello Song
  • Opening Discussion
  • Parent/Child Observation Playtime
  • Snack Time
  • Games
  • Closing Discussion
  • Closing Song

To view this PIWI video online, go to: http://csefel.vanderbilt.edu/piwi/PIWI%20Videos/Clip%205a.mpg

Reflection Questions:

  1. How does this model compare with the group socializations in your program?
  2. How does your program set the stage to welcome families and prepare them for the group socialization?