Exploring the Relationship-Based Competencies for Early Childhood Professionals Who Work with Families
Shela Jooma: Hello everyone, and thanks for joining us this afternoon. So, hopefully you are here to discuss with us, exploring the relationship-based competencies for early childhood professionals who work with families. And, this is our third webinar in the series for the relationship-based competencies. Earlier in September we had a webinar about the overview of the RBCs, and we’ve already spoken to our teachers and child care providers, and in a few weeks, we’ll round off the series with our webinar for home visitors. So, before we get started with our presentation, I’d like to ask each of our presenters to introduce themselves. I’ll start. My name is Shela Jooma. I am with the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement, and I’m a Project Manager for Resource Development. And, I will pass it off to Cathy.
Cathy Ayoub: Sounds good. Thank you, Shela. Hi, everybody. I’m Cathy Ayoub, and I’m one of the principal investigators for the National Center on Parent, Family, and Community Engagement. And, I’ve had the great fortune to be able to have a part in thinking about and writing these relationship-based competencies for family service folks. So, I’m really excited to tell you about them. I know that you’ve been alongside us and us alongside you in thinking about competencies for a long time, and we hope that this new and improved version is just what you’re looking for. So, we’re anxious to hear from you. And, I’ll pass it on to Brandi.
Brandi Black Thacker: Hi, everybody. My name is Brandi Black Thacker, and I’m the Director of T/TA and Collaboration for the National Center, and we are so excited to be with you today. Thanks for coming.
Shela: Wonderful. I’m excited to be with all of you, as well. So, our objectives for today will be to discuss how the relationship-based competencies, or as we call them for short hand, RBCs, can be used by family services professionals in their day to day work with families. And, we’ll also explore how both staff and supervisors can use the RBCs for professional development. So, as we get started, we are interested to know how familiar each of you is, or how familiar each of you are with the RBCs.
So, you’ll see a poll pop up. Thank you so much, Nina. And let us know through your response in the poll, as Brandi says, do you know it, love it, live it; do you have a general understanding, but maybe not reference them quite so regularly; are you familiar with the RBCs but are here today to learn how to better absorb their contents; or are you here and you’re like, what is an RBC?
All right, Nina, do you want to go ahead and broadcast our results? We see a number of answers in the chat too, so hopefully those are included. So, we have almost an even split between the last two responses, What is an RBC? And folks that are familiar with them in general, but that need to absorb their contents. And then, we have smaller numbers of people here with us today who have a general understanding but don’t reference them regularly, and just a few of you who breathe the RBCs every single day. So, I will now turn it over to Brandi to give us an overview of the relationship-based competencies.
Brandi: Hey, guys, it is an honor and pleasure to give you an overview of these competencies. As Cathy said, we’ve been working so hard to bring these updated new exciting, what I call the ‘sweet suite’ of materials. Let me walk you through on what we’re looking at here.
On the left-hand side, you see a green box, and that represents our universal RBC for our early childhood professionals. It’s the general document that helps to show case what we all need in our toolbox to support and work beside families. On the right-hand side of the screen, you’ll see why we’re here today, it’s what you’ve all been waiting for, which is a discussion about family service professionals, family service folks, family service advocates, workers, gurus, experts. Well, however you identify, we’re glad you’re here, and that’s what we’re going to be thinking about today, the specific document that supports and integrates your work. We also have the more specific documents, as you see in the purple box in the middle. Teacher and Child Care Providers. And also, the very last box on the bottom, for our Home Visiting colleagues. We’re very excited with the suite, and I hope you got [Inaudible].
Can you guys give us drum roll? I want to see what that looks like. Not only do we have the universal book and the family service professional book, but we have these incredible assessments that go along with them. They allow you to look at one of these ten competencies, a few other competencies, and the tiers, that we’ll learn about here in a little bit. And, we advise you to look and see where you’re confident, where you’re excited to celebrate, and you know, where you would like to enhance your own professional development pieces. And turning over, so you add in terms of the value of these documents, because I don’t think that these can be undersold.
Cathy: Well, Brandi, I think these are so important, first of all, to let you know that the relationship-based competencies that support family engagement. And by the way, you can find them if you look on the left-hand side of your screen under the section that’s called “Files for download,” and you can actually download both the Exploring the RBC Overview, as well as the RBCs for early childhood professionals who work with families. So, you can have them in your hands. The RBCs for professionals who work with families, the total document is 31 pages, and it gives you tremendous detail about the kinds of, the kind of knowledge, skills, and practices that really make up the practice of a family service professional. But then, as Brandi said, we also have these self-assessment guides, so that both you and your supervisor can go through item by item, and really take a look at what you do well, what are you really excited about that you’re, you really can do an exemplary way, what are some things you’d like to know more about, what are some of the knowledge, skills, or practices that you really aren’t quite into yet and you want to do more. So, there are lots of different options, and we hope you’ll really take advantage of the resources.
Brandi: The next thing we’re going to look at is the definition of relationship-based competency, and as you see on the screen, it’s a set of knowledge, skills, and individual practices. Now, I want you guys to remember these three words. Oh, thank you guys. Thank you for the confirmation. These three words. Knowledge, skills, and individual practices, because we’re going to come back to this a couple of times. And all these other characteristics that include attributes, behaviors, and actions that are absolutely necessary to be effective in this work. Cathy, you always add richness to this. What else would you say?
Cathy: Oh, let me see, Brandi. Well, one of the reasons that we really are using these three categories, knowledge, skills, and individual practices, is that we looked across the competencies written across disciplines, and we also looked deeply into the way in which competencies had been written for family service professionals in the back. And so, we really did a lot of background looking, and landed on these terms. We are talking about practices. Those of you who really lived and loved our previous version of the relationship-based competencies may remember that we used the words individual actions. We have stepped up here and used the word practices, because we want to ramp up the wonderful work that you’re doing, and to let you know actions are included in there. But these are really the practices that you really put together as you take the knowledge and the skill and each individual practice that you learn. So, we are moving ahead. The other thing is that these are just for you, family service professionals. The other -- the prior version of the RBCs, I think that many of you saw yourselves in it, but you know what, these are just for you. So, we’ve really built on the prior version, and have really developed these for you. So, let me stop there. And, Brandi, do you want to take the next one? Let me move ahead, and I will tell you about this until we get Brandi back on. So, you heard me use the words knowledge, skills, and practices. And, as Brandi always says, this is one of our great secrets, because we want everybody to know, a secret that everybody needs to know. So, knowledge is what professionals need to know. It’s what we learn. Then, we take that knowledge and we apply it to skills. Skills are what professionals need to be able to do. Then, you take a group of skills, and they become an individual practice, and, of course, you take a group of practices, and we put them together, and that’s the way we think and we act and we do every day. So, just to remember, professional practice, or your professional practice as a family service professional, is a combination of knowledge, skills and individual practices. And, they’re measurable, and they’re observable, and they describe what a person, what a professional needs to know, and how to do the work successfully. And, when you take a look at the document, which, again, you can download now, when you take a look at the relationship-based competencies, you will find under each competency, a list of knowledge, skills, and practices for those of you doing the direct work with families. And, next to it, you will find knowledge, skills, and practices for those of you who are supervising family services professionals. So, with that said, let’s talk about some key terms. Brandi, you want to join me for this one?
Brandi: Yeah. Let’s see how the sound works, Cathy.
Brandi: We’re going to get college draw, how about that, you guys will keep you posted? I think, Cathy, another thing that we want to offer here is that there is general terminology here for the entire early education field, and I’m wondering if you can speak through the way the language is expanded so it really makes a connection with everybody in early childhood. I’ll tell you what I’m thinking about. I know, like, family service professionals, a lot of folks across the country have a lot of incredible titles in how they represent family engagement, and I’m wondering if, especially if you look at teachers, childcare providers, education, like, group care folks in the way that we wrote the language across this suite, we hope that it applies to folks in many different fields, specifically in early childhood, and we made the language broad enough, with a lot of stakeholder guidance, to hopefully do just that. And, other things that are important here. We want you guys to know, love, and live the way that we think about family engagement, which so many of you have embraced.
We think of family engagement as a very deep way of being the side of family where they take the lead, and we also believe that family engagement is where the proverbial magic happens. That really means to us that parents and children progress best and most, like, perfectly when the family is engaged. So, we want you to have a deep connection to the way we think about together collectively, in the Head Start community specifically, around family engagement, and certainly as we’re doing our work within the childcare community, this is something that we’re all embracing together. The next part about parent and family is really key, because although we use those terms interchangeably here in this document, we usually lean into family more so, because we want to honor all constellations of a family. And, we want to make sure that we -- even in language, and where they are, so if it’s a biological family, foster family, adopted family, chosen family, we want to make sure that even our language represents our reverence. Cathy, could you tell us a little bit about the strengths-based perspective?
Cathy: I certainly can. So, as all of you know, we really often talk about the importance of focusing on a strengths-based perspective. And, we wanted to make sure that everyone had a definition of strengths-based perspective from the family engagement perspective or point of view. So, again, this is an approach to working with families that focuses on their interests, abilities, motivations, and resources. So, instead of focusing first on problems and needs, a strengths-based point of view sees families as capable, of capable of their own change, and capable of working toward their own goals.
Now, I want to be clear, this doesn’t mean that you don’t talk to families about difficult topics. Matter of fact, when we take a strengths-based perspective, and we really respect families and honor them as the experts, oftentimes it’s easier to talk to them about some of the difficult topics, because we’ve already acknowledged their strengths. So, this is a really important component, and a really important overview in thinking about the relationship-based competencies. So, that said, let’s really take these competencies apart. We’re going to talk about the components of the competencies, and then we’re going to really try to think about how they might fit. So, before we do that-- and Brandi, feel great to step in here -- we’d like for you just to take a minute or two, and think about the competencies if you know them, which is what competencies do you think might apply most commonly to your work, and which do you want to spend more time understanding. And, if you could tell us what you think, we’re looking, a bunch of people are writing. This is really helpful. We really want to think about this as we talk about the individual components of these competencies.
So, it looks like family engagement and family well-being seem to be really critical competencies. So, Heidi is telling us parents- child relationships really important, giving empathy, but look at all these comments. Family well-being. Parent-child interactions. That’s a big one. Family well-being. Families as learners. A lot of emphasis on family engagement, and how important it is to really engage with families. Respecting the family and understanding where they are as a family; families as advocates and leaders; positive parent-child relationships, again. That one comes up over and over again, doesn’t it? And, positive goal-oriented relationships. I think that’s all that, a number of people, I think, are using family engagement to mean that. Respect of cultures. That’s another really important one. Families as leaders. Meeting the family’s needs. Wow. You guys are really right-on.
This is really great. Really great. So, we’re harkening to the outcome. So, now you have all these great thoughts. Take a look at how the things that you’re thinking match with the relationship-based competencies that we’re going to talk about with some specificity right now. And, I can tell some of you are familiar with them, but others, I love it, data-driven services. Wow. You’re making me feel wonderful. I feel like we really are kind of hitting a home run here in terms of thinking about what these all mean.
So, please keep writing, keep giving us suggestions, but I’m going to move, and really unpack the competencies. So, see, as you consider these two questions, whether or not you can find the things that you think you use most commonly in your work in the competencies. So, let’s take a look. What are they? And, we’re going to take these one by one. We’re really going to talk about them. Here are the first four. And, let’s unpack them a little bit. The first one is positive goal-oriented relationships.
And, there’s a reason why this one is first. Matter of fact, I challenge you to take a look at the order of the competencies, because they’re not just random. We really did try to put them in an order that would be really meaningful for you. And, many of you have talked about family engagement. You’ve talked about connecting with families. You’ve thought about really having a way to connect with families and their goals, and that’s really one of the reasons. Those are all the reasons why positive goal-oriented relationships are first.
So, this is really when the family service professional engages in mutually respectful, positive, and goal-oriented partnerships with families, to promote both the positive family and the positive child outcomes. Really core to everything you do, our relationships with families really help us execute all the rest of the competencies. But the second competency actually goes along with the first. It’s self-aware and culturally responsive relationships. This is where as a family service professional you respect and respond to the cultures, languages, values, and family structures of each family.
So, if you take competencies 1 and 2, and you really put them together, that really sets the stage for your approach as a family service professional in working with families. Then, if you take 3 and 4, these competencies begin to really identify and designate specific areas of focus or of content for you as a family service worker when you or a family advocate, when you’re working with families. And so, number 3 is -- Many of you mentioned it. Right? Family well-being and families as learning, as learners. So, you’re supporting a family’s reflections on planning for and implementation for their well-being. So, we’re talking about safety, we’re talking about health, physical and mental health. We’re talking about their education, their own learning as adults. We’re talking about their well-being in a number of different ways. Do they live in neighborhoods that are safe? Do they live in neighborhoods that are healthy? Do they have relationships with family that are positive and supportive? And then, their life
goals: where do they want to be? How do they see their lives moving forward as they identify as parents in the context of their everyday work? And then, there’s 4. Parent-child relationships and families as lifelong educators. So, these are essentially partners, ways in which we partner with families to build strong parent-child relationships, to support those relationships, and to support parents as they’re first and lifelong educators for their children. So, this is where we’re moving from our relationships which we build with families and wanting to -- we think about their well-being, and then we move to thinking about how do we support them in their relationships with their children, and as teachers for their children.
So, these are critically -- these are four critical areas. But we’re not done yet. So, let’s look at the next set. Well, before we do that, actually we’re doing an example, and Shela, feel free to jump in if you’d like, because we’re going to talk about an example of the knowledge, skills, and practices for family service professionals. And, we’re going to look at competency 1. So, we’ve gone from this larger view of positive goal-oriented relationships, but what does it mean from the perspective of knowledge, Skill, and practices?
So, let’s look. If you take a look at the very first knowledge bullet, for those of you that have the document, you’ll see it really talks about having the family service professional understand effective relationship-building practices with parents, families, children, and professionals. Once you have that knowledge base, what’s the skill? It’s a skill that you have that helps families feel safe and respected. And, how do you do it? You do it by building mutually trusting relationships over time.
Then, you embed that skill into the practice, which allows you to meet families when they first enroll in a program, and you learn about each family’s situation and their goals. So, this is an example that’s very specific to those of you who are doing family service work. Now, let me point it out to you that this is not the only knowledge bullet, skill bullet, or practice bullet under positive goal-oriented relationships. I’m looking at them here now, and when you look at the knowledge area under positive family goal-oriented relationships, there are five additional bullets around knowledge; there are six for skills; and I believe there are seven for practices.
So, as we build out each competency, there are a whole series of knowledge bullets, skill bullets, and practice bullets that really provide a whole list of the areas in which you might choose to concentrate to build your practice skills. So. And I see that Brandi is pointing out that you can go download the RBCs, and if you go to files for download on the left of your screen, you can actually download them now. You can also find them on ECLKC. So, please feel free, and you can even follow along in the document if you’d like. I’m going to move forward, and let’s take a look at the next three RBCs. Okay.
Before I go on to describe each of these, I want to say to those of you who know the RBCs, you’re going to find that these are the same RBCs that were in our prior materials where we had a single resource that was called relationship-based competencies. And so, we didn’t -- we didn’t start all over; we built on those RBCs that some of you know and love. And, we did move forward. We did add one, and some of you -if anyone knows which one we added, I won’t tell you right away. But see if any of you can guess. You can let me know in chat. But let’s talk about these. So, you can see with RBCs 5, 6, and 7, we’re moving from the core issues around how are we with families around goal- directed, building goal-directed relationships, and really understanding the important practices around culture and cultural sensitivity, to then thinking about two key areas of family well-being, and parent-child relationships and parents as teachers. We’re now moving first from how we are to the core work with families, and now – now we’re thinking about families in the context of community.
So, number 5 is family connections with peers in community, and this is ways in which the family service professional works to strengthen their support network and connections with other parents and community members who can address the family’s strengths, interests, and challenges. So, here’s where family service folks really work to connect families beyond the program, to community members that, and to their peers, for support and for resources. Then, number 6 follows quite nicely, because this is around family access to community resources. And so, there’s very specific focus on really helping families and walking alongside them to understand how to use community resources to make progress toward their outcomes. And then, finally here, number 7 is leadership and advocacy.
And so, I’m wondering, did anyone guess which one is new? Actually, it’s leadership and advocacy. Because it was so important. I would say, look, look, Erica knows, Olivia knows, Anna knows, 777. Yes. Yes. Look at this. Elizabeth. Wow, you guys are great. You’ve got it. Leadership and advocacy, how often can you think about -- can you think about the times when you’ve really connected and worked and walked alongside parents to support their ability to build their own strengths as advocates for their families, and leaders, both in the program and in the community. So, this is really what we thought was a critical RBC, and you told us it was.
And so, now we've -- we have definitely added it. So, let’s look at an example, and here’s an example for supervisors of family services professionals. And, what do you know, we’re talking about leadership and advocacy. So, what are the knowledge, skills, supervisory practices, and even leadership practices that the supervisors of those of you working on the ground with families should be providing? First of all, a supervisor should understand how the professionals with whom she or he works can support parent leadership and advocacy, both in the program and in the community.
Having that knowledge should then lead the supervisor to have skills to be able to offer skills-based training for family services professionals, and how to engage and support families. How do we really help as family services professionals to support families to be leaders and advocates? And so, the expectation here is that supervisors would really be able to offer that skill. So, now, a supervisor may deliver training directly, or they may arrange for someone with expertise to deliver the training on their behalf to their staff. So, those of you who are supervisors, don’t panic. You really don’t have to do it all yourself. But the aim here is to really say that those of you providing direct service should be looking for the support of your supervisors to be able to provide you with this information, and that that should then lead to supervisory practices that build opportunities for parent input, advocacy, and leadership in all aspects of the program. And, that the leaders in the program, even beyond supervisors, but the entire leadership of a program, should be involved -- that leadership team should be involved in enacting policies and processes that engage families in planning, implementing, and evaluating change at the program level. And, this should be part of the program decision-making and governance processes that make sense. I see a number of comments here which are really interesting. I see Olivia talking about parent community members as well as policy council. Think those are just some of the people we were talking about around advocacy.
And, also comments about supervisors, because most supervisors and staff can provide skills around leadership and advocacy. It looks like Rebecca has some really interesting comment around a discussion of a depressed mom and the first step to leadership would be to get out of bed and take that first step and get the child to school. Yes. Sometimes it’s step by step, and interesting if we see that as leadership and advocacy, it may be a way to capture that parent. There actually is some really wonderful material for parents that says, “Are you a depressed parent? Can you be a good parent?” Yes. You bet you can. And, that kind of positive approach, and interestingly enough, using advocacy and leadership may be one helpful one. Oh, keep going. I love these examples.
And, absolutely, I’m counting on Shela and Brandi. Brandi, keep giving us comments in chat if you’d like, and Shela, feel free to step in. But I’m going to keep going because I want to get through all of these. Okay. Here are the last three. There are 10. So, these last three take us from the specific, kind of, areas of work that we have as family service professionals, to the more global responsibilities that we have to our organization and to ourselves. So, let’s take a look at them. So, we’re switching gears here a little bit, folks. Number 8, coordinated, integrated, and comprehensive services. And, more than almost anyone else, in a center, the family service professional is the person who connects the dots, who works with the other professionals and agencies to really support the coordinated, integrated, and comprehensive services that families need. And, you often do it across, within the organization, across the organization, in the community, and really, throughout those systems. Really important job. Really, really important job. Number 9 is data-driven services and continuous improvement. The notion here is that each of you as family service professionals should collect information, build your knowledge all the time, and collect information joining families with families, and then reflect with them to help inform goal setting, planning and implementation.
And, hopefully, this will affect a number of things. It will affect progress and outcomes for the families, for their children, for your program, for your community, but also to help you reflect on your own practices. So, data-driven services lead to continuous improvement, lead to continuous learning on your own part, and continuous learning for families, children, programs, and communities. So, this is particularly important, or these two are particularly important, when we know that we tend to have siloed systems.
And, I think -- Oh, Heidi’s already said it for me. Look at this. And she’s even mentioning number 8 here. There are so many siloed systems. Heidi, you’re so right. And, it’s really important to think about how we can bring those silos together. I had a great mentor say to me early in my career that I had to be very active in bringing people together and bringing silos together, because it didn’t happen naturally; that in our professional lives, we would kind of do what they say, put your nose to the grindstone, and I do my work and I have lots to do, and when we work with families, oftentimes we’re very busy, and there’s lots to do and lots to think about. But thinking about how to make the connections and how to make those for parents, how to integrate services for them so things aren’t quite so siloed, is something that takes active work. And, I always remembered that.
That was a very wise, wise person who said that to me. And, I see that you all are really having some great discussions about a number of issues that may relate to these three, and we’ll get to the third one in a minute. And, I see lots of agreement here, you know, discussion about some of the difficult things to handle. What do you do when children are absent? You know? You call their parents, do you make those connections for them, do you integrate systems in your community, do you look at early intervention, do you pull those things together? Lots of ways to do this, both within your own organization and out in the community.
Anna’s saying it’s always important to keep in touch with parents and to make sure the children are safe, and let them know we care. So important, so important to make those connections. That is part of coordinated, integrated, and comprehensive, isn’t it? So, let me go to number 10. Professional growth. This is the competency that reflects back to you as a family service professional, as a family advocate, the kind of professional presentation and the kinds of guidelines and ethics, as well as the active opportunities that are really yours to seek around ongoing professional development related to family engagement. So, this is the competency, last but not least, that really helps think about -- so what -- if I take a step back, what does my professional practice look like? What are the things that I need to consider for my own growth? What do I need to think about around my issues?
How do I manage boundaries? How do I handle difficult situations? How do I really look for and expect support from my supervisor? So, there we are. So this is all 10. Let’s actually go back to chat, and I’ve asked, you guys have been talking to each other a lot, this is wonderful. But I’d like for you to think about these questions. Let’s take the first question first. Tell me, now that we’ve talked about all 10, which of the RBCs apply most commonly to your work? Which one, or ones, would you pick out first and say “Yes, this is what I really need to think about in doing my work?" And, I can even -- Shela, you’re welcome to help me if you want to help me think about and look and see what people say.
Shela: Sure, I’d love to. And, as folks are entering their -- they’re taking some time to think about it and entering their thoughts, I just wanted to point everyone to the resources that we have on the left side of the screen. So, there are two different pods where you can access resources for today’s webinar. There’s one that’s called web link, where you can go to the ECLKC to view and download the Relationship-Based Competencies. There’s a two-step process to access; one, you actually have to click on the link that you want to open, and then a button right underneath it will become available to you that says browse to.
And, the same process would work for the files to download, so in that pod, there’s a one-page handout that has all ten of the RBCs, as well as another handout that has the slides for today’s presentation. I just wanted to point folks there as you’re entering your responses to these check questions, and I see folks coming in with all different competencies that they want to work on next. I see a lot of 4 and 6 and 9, you know, everything ranging from 1 to 10, Cathy. There’s really, you know, all of them are almost equally popular. Family connections to peers and communities is the number 5, culturally responsive and self-aware relationships is number 2. I think they range all the way throughout.
Cathy: Look at this. And, some people are really saying like, 1 to 10. You’d take them all. And then, some people have really Said, “I’m going to focus on 9. I really want to do, you know, data-driven services and continuous improvement.” Or even number 10 and think about professional growth. So, I’m so pleased, it sounds like these are really resonating with you. And, the other thing that we really wanted you to see as we’re thinking about this is that each of you may have a different place where you want to start with these RBCs, and you don’t really -- Don’t ever feel like you have to right now address all of them at the same time. Ideally, in the future, we’re really building our practice as happens with any of us who are working with families every day. And, yes, there are effective things you can do around all 10. But you may want to focus on three of them. Some of you, like, Brandi, I see here, is energetic. Wow, they’re 1 to 7 there. But they are all connected, aren’t they? That’s the other thing.
Shela: Cathy, we’ve got an interesting question coming in about how the RBCs for the different roles- the different role-specific RBCs are similar or different from each other. Linda asks, “Are the RBCs for family service professionals different from the RBCs for home visitors, or are they pretty similar?”
Cathy: Oh, that is a great question. And, my answer is in some ways they’re very similar, but in some ways they really are very specific to each role. And, let me tell you a little bit about what’s similar and what isn’t. The ten that you see up on your screen now, with our chat questions, those ten RBCs, you will find across the role of family service, the role of a teacher, and the role of a home visitor. But once you dig down underneath those general categories and you take a look at the individual knowledge, skills, and practices, that’s where you will begin to see the differences, because, you know, our notion is that family engagement is everybody’s business. And, if that’s really true, shouldn’t we all share at a high level a set of relationship-based competencies that can be applied?
So, if you’re a family service professional, you should be able to go to your fellow teacher, or to the home visitor in your early head start program, and have some common language around the relationship-based competencies. And, that’s the reason that at a high level of these 10, we kept them the same. But when you take a look at what the knowledge, skills and practices are that lead to having you as a family service professional, for example, practice number 3, family well-being and families as learners, on the ground that’s going to look somewhat different than the way the teacher is going to be actually executing that RBC. And so, you’ll find, when you get into the details, that the knowledge, skills, and practices are really fairly different. Now, there are some -- there are some areas of knowledge, some areas of skill, and some areas of practice that are really similar across all three of these roles.
And so, you may find, you may go -- and I challenge you -- take a look at the resource, the guide for early childhood professionals who work with children and groups, a.k.a. teachers and family childcare providers. In that case, you will essentially be able to track and to see that there are some skills that are really important for everyone to have. And, as you might imagine, in RBCs 1 and 2, a lot of the ways in which you build goal-oriented relationships may be similar if you’re a teacher, if you’re a family service worker, if you’re a home visitor. There are some specifics that are going to be different. Ways in which you may be self-aware and develop culturally responsive relationships.
There may be lots of similarities that you can talk to your colleagues about. However, when you get down to some of the details, because of your individual roles, you actually may have different opportunities and different ways of engaging with families. And, as a family service professional, your responsibility to families is in some way more directed and broader than the role of a teacher who is going to be working and dealing with families in the context of his or her classroom and children. That doesn’t mean that the teacher won’t have very strong and important relationships with those families, but she is seen in a different context. So, this is part of the reason why we did what we could to make, to show the similarities across roles, but also wanted to make sure that they were very specific; I hope for each role, as well. So, I hope that answer made some sense. So, we have another question here: which do you want to spend more time understanding? So, let’s move to the next question, and let us know, is there one of these competencies that you’re thinking, “Ah, I need to work more on this one?”
And, I see Heidi’s saying number 7. Now, number 7 is our new one. Anna’s looking at number 9. I’m a data person, so I love that one. Number 2. really around culture and cultural sensitivity and responsiveness. This is interesting. Look, we’re getting some patterns here. I’m a real data person, so look at a lot of 9’s, of 8’s and 7’s. So, it’s really interesting. Thank you, that’s really helpful. So, thinking about data-driven services and continuous improvement is something that people. Oh yes, Brandi, I’m elated that there are 9’s. Brandi knows me way too well. Absolutely. But I think that’s interesting. And again, people may have really different ideas, but this is so interesting, that a lot of folks are really interested in thinking about data-driven services. Also, again, I mean, but Heather’s saying also number 7. Again, very important to think about in respect to families, i’s not always easy to get them involved in leadership. That is very true. That is very true. And Phyllis is really saying number 2 because she thinks that there often may be cultural barriers. Absolutely. Wow. Lots of great ideas.
Shela: Cathy has spoke, think about what they are interested in learning more about. Can we jump ahead to the part on professional development?
Cathy: Yep. Yes. And I will do that quickly. We wanted to share with you some of the key terms related to professional development, that is really highlighted in competency number 10. So just to mention, we wanted to start by mentioning coaching. And many of you may have heard about coaching in the context of the classroom. We’d like to suggest that this is really also great medium for moving from knowledge to skills to practice around family engagement. And so, this is really a type of professional development which I think many of you know, in which an individual with knowledge and experience and skill in being a coach comes into a partnership with you as the family service professional, and they observe your work, they encourage reflection, they offer feedback and they support goal setting to really help you master these skills and really turn them into really effective practices. Now, coaching isn’t the only medium of professional development, and I want to go to the bottom here. Reflective practice is also a really helpful way of moving from knowledge to practice. And that is really taking the time to think about what’s happened, what’s happening and what should happen next. And reflection really informs our professional practice and improves our daily ability to communicate. And we take that a step further and think about reflective supervision, which is also critically important, again, we never want to talk about all of us doing the work on the ground without thinking about our supervisors. So, to really engage with supervisors that facilitate reflection on all of the hard work that we do every day with families, is really important. A couple of other key terms here: we want you to think about organizational cultures, culture, and really have you think about that shared assumptions, beliefs, values and goals that help guide you as staff and guide your interactions and the functioning of an organization.
So, the organizational culture will make a great deal of difference in how you are able to do your work. We then want you to acknowledge parallel process. That’s a process that occurs when an individual’s behaviors and practices are similar to behaviors and practices and interactions of others working in parallel, and you often model for families and supervisors often model for their supervisees, do with each other. And finally, professional boundaries. And this is always one, at least for me, that is so important. What are the limits of my professional responsibility and role in working with families? So the RBCs encourage professional relationships with families, but it does mean that boundaries identify lines to be respected and not to be crossed in interactions with others, and we have to think about that as a two-way street. So as professionals, we carefully consider the difference between professional and personal relationships, and turn to our peers, our supervisors, for guidance and support in assessing how this works. And also know about ethical guidelines and relationship boundaries.
So, I will leave you with those thoughts, because I know we’re getting very close to end of time. I think we mentioned these resources, and we’ve told you where to find them urge you to take a look at them, both the resources around the RBCs for family service professionals and the self-assessments. And we’re going to remind you that this is all about building your capacity and your professional growth and development. So keep thinking about knowledge skills and individual practices. I’m going to move ahead a little bit and say a little bit about additional resources. We want to make sure that you know about the credentialing option for family service professionals that are on ECLKC, and the hope would be that you would take a look at these competencies, and if you’re looking at a degree credential or certificate, you would
ask: do they give me these skills? Do they really help me? And this is just a picture of what the degree program’s database looks like on an ECLKC, and I urge you, if you are, if you don’t have a credential yet, if you’re thinking about credentialing, take a look at the database. We hope it will help you. But also now you have a guide to match to what you’re going to be learning in a given credentialing program. So, I’m going to move on, just remind everybody. And Shela, do you want to jump in here? But we have one more relationship-based competency webinar, and that will be relationship-based competencies for home visitors. And that’s on November 1.
Shela, any last words?
Shela: Okay. Just one final point, that everyone who’s joined the webinar today will receive an email with a link to our survey, and after you complete the survey you’ll be able to download a certificate. If you joined with colleagues, then ask your colleagues to forward that email to you so that you can also fill out the survey, so that everyone gets their own certificate. And then finally, stay on for 15 minutes after the top of the hour, so that we can continue chatting. There are so many great questions and comments, and we want to be able to continue networking with you.
Thanks so much, everyone, and have a great afternoon.Close
In this third webinar, explore ways that family services staff can support the well-being of the families they serve. Learn about ways staff can apply the relationship-based competencies in their work with families.