Fall 1990 // Volume 28 // Number 3 // Research in Brief // 3RIB2

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Educational Needs of After-School Care Providers


Mike Davis
Associate Extension State 4-H Leader, Specialist in Charge
North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service
North Carolina State University-Raleigh

Eddie Locklear
Extension 4-H Specialist
North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service
North Carolina State University-Raleigh

Howard Scott
Extension 4-H Agent
North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service-Wayne County

In North Carolina, like many other states, we've considered the most appropriate and feasible roles of Extension in programming for school-aged youth in child care settings. The ES-USDA ad hoc committee report, "Extension and School-Age Child Care," suggests that viable roles for Extension are offering educational services to child care providers, accessing new audiences, and contributing to increased quality of services for children and families. Quality of care is the area where Extension may make its most immediate contribution with many 4-H and home economics professionals already providing educational services.

Recognizing that adequate training of child care providers is a major impediment to increasing the quality of after-school child care, our task force felt a training needs assessment of this target audience was required. The study was to determine the training needs of after-school care providers and if the training needs identified were significantly different for tenure, number of children served, and the specific role of the provider (aide, teacher, owner).

All North Carolina after-school programs that were child care facility-based programs (not home-based) and served more than five after-school youths on a regular basis were mailed a questionnaire asking respondents to provide basic information about their position, tenure, and the number of children served and rank order their top five training needs. The list of potential training needs was developed by a panel comprised of day care professionals and Extension agents. Respondents were given the opportunity to list additional training needs. A total of 906 programs received the questionnaire and 423 usable responses were returned (46.7%).


Table 1 provides a synopsis of prioritized needs identified by all respondents. No significant differences were found in the rank order of training needs for the variables tenure, number of children served, or position of respondent based on Kendall's Coefficient of Concordance (.05 level). Most respondents indicated that training on most topics wasn't currently readily available to them in their communities.

Table 1. Rank order of training needs of after-school care providers.

(1=greatest need)

1. Structuring activities to meet needs of after-school youth.
2. Discipline for after-school participants.
3. Working with different skill/age level youth at one time.
4. Communication with after-school participants.
5. Self-esteem development of after-school youth.
6. Understanding the developmental stages of youth.
7. Working with parents of after-school age youth.
8. First aid.
9. Safety.
10. Recognizing and responding to child abuse and neglect.
11. Providing recognition for after-school youth.
12. Recognizing and responding to substance abuse by after-school youth.
13. Nutritional meals and snacks.
14. Internal evaluation of educational programs.
15. Recognizing and responding to health/disease concern of program participants.
16. Business concerns (bookkeeping, regulations, etc.).


This study indicates significant consensus of opinion related to the training needs of this adult audience. Most of the high priority needs identified are within the mission, scope, and knowledge base of Extension education programs. Certainly, the design, structure, and delivery of age and developmentally appropriate curriculum have been Extension 4-H strengths. A real need exists to package, market, and deliver educational programs for school-age child care providers that target specific needs and take into account time and economic constraints on child care workers. This adult education opportunity for Extension can make a significant contribution in improving the quality of after-school care for school-age children.