Appendix: Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

Group of teachers participating in a workshop.Although this resource is primarily for education program leaders like you who directly support teachers, home visitors, and family child care providers, you may also want to share some of its ideas and information. One way to do that is to talk with education staff about their understanding of individualizing care for infants, toddlers, and families as well as their individualized care practices. Share resources such as Early Learning Outcomes Framework Effective Practice Guides, written for staff who work directly with children and families, as part of the discussions.

Use the following questions as discussion starters and add questions that relate to your program:

  • What does “individualization” mean to you? What does it mean to “individualize care” for infants and toddlers?
  • Why do you think individualizing care is important for infants, toddlers, and families? How might individualizing care relate to and support school readiness for infants and toddlers?
  • In what ways do you individualize care for each infant, toddler, and family, including children with suspected delays, diagnosed disabilities, or other special needs? Share some specific examples (e.g., curriculum, interactions, routines, daily schedule, experiences, and the physical environment). How do you decide what, how, and when to individualize?

You might also provide the vignettes for interactions, routines, daily schedule, experiences, and environment for staff to read first. Then, ask them to describe how each vignette represents an example of individualizing as a lead-in to asking them how they individualize care in their daily practice.

  • How do each family’s culture, language(s), beliefs, values, and life circumstances affect how you individualize care? What role do you think your culture, language, beliefs, values, and life circumstances play? How much are you aware of your own cultural identity? What about your professional knowledge and expertise?
  • How do you talk with families about partnership? What do you think families want to know about you to feel they can trust you?
  • What successes do you experience in providing individualized care? What challenges or barriers (if any) do you experience? What supports would lessen or eliminate the challenges or barriers (e.g., reading books and articles, watching videos, listening to podcasts, watching someone model individualized care practices, coaching, more planning time or professional development opportunities)?

How staff answer these and related questions can give you useful information for supporting each staff person effectively.

In addition to talking with education staff, program leaders can assess and discuss with each other how well program structures and practices enable staff to provide individualized care. Consider these questions:

  • How do we articulate the connection between individualized care and school readiness for infants and toddlers? How do we communicate this connection to staff? To families?
  • How well does our curriculum (or curricula if more than one is used) support and facilitate individualized care? Do staff implement the curriculum in an individualized manner? Do they maintain curriculum fidelity as they individualize? How do we know?
  • How do we actively engage families in individualizing care? What strategies, structures, policies, and practices do we use or have in place?
  • How does our program address cultural awareness and sensitivity in relation to providing individualized care?
  • How do our structures and policies regarding group size, staff:child ratio and home visitor caseload, continuity of care, planning time, reflective supervision, and professional development affect staff’s ability to individualize care? How do we know?
  • What do we need as program leaders to deepen our understanding of providing individualized care so that we, in turn, can effectively support staff in doing this important work?