Date of Award

12-20-2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

John A. Anderson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Alex Heckert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Richard J. Fiene, Ph.D.

Abstract

Research on early brain development and early childhood demonstrates that the experiences children have and the attachments they form early in life have a long-lasting impact on their later development and learning. The link between high quality early childhood experiences and positive child outcomes is well documented. Quality child care is comprised of the combination of classroom environment and caregiver interaction. While there are measurement tools that adequately assess the environment of child care classrooms, the measures to assess caregiver interaction are lacking. Based in developmentally appropriate practice and current research, the Child Caregiver Interaction Scale(CCIS) has a real potential to dramatically understand and improve quality child and caregiver interactions. The Child Caregiver Interaction Scale was created to assess the quality of child caregiver interaction. This scale was largely based upon the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) position statements (Bredekamp and Copple,, 1997). These statements represent the current best understanding of theory and research about what practices are most supportive and respectful of children’s healthy development (p. vi. The Child Caregiver Interaction Scale is a valid and reliable measure to assess the interactions of child care providers and the children they care for. The CCIS measure demonstrates high internal consistency and strong utility across all age groups, including infant/toddler, preschool and school aged caregiving. The CCIS measure demonstrates strong criterion validity between the Environmental Rating Scale overall and associated “Interaction” and “Space and Furnishings” subscales. The CCIS is a valuable and much needed measurement tool to assess child caregiver interaction across age groupings and settings. This measure not only provides a scale that can be used for research purposes to compare child care quality, but also serves as a noteworthy tool for training and technical assistance. By helping child caregivers understand their strengths and areas most in need for improvement, the CCIS is a tool that can be used to improve quality child care.

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