Module 1: The Basics of Cultural Competence
Module 2: Cross-cutting Practices
Module 3: Family Find
Module 4: Communication
Module 5: Child Development
Module 6: Family Centered Asse
Module 7: Inclusive Services
Module 8: IFSP and IEP
Module 9: Home Visits
Module 10: Facilitating Transition
Module 11: Program Change for Cultural Competence
Module 12: Developing an Action Plan
George Mason University (GMU) and the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC) have developed this curriculum to prepare parent and professional teams to work with diverse families of young children with disabilities. The goal of this training is to infuse cultural competence in preschool special education and early intervention programs for infants and young children with special needs and their families. This is a collaborative project which combines the philosophies and experiences of GMU's Helen A. Kellar Center for Human disAbilities (KCHd) and PEATC, the federally funded parent training and information center for the Commonwealth of Virginia.
When this program began, in the Northern Virginia area of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., early childhood programs were serving families from an amazing array of cultures with over one hundred different languages spoken in homes. This inservice model was developed in response to the identification of the need for staff training to respond to the increasing cultural diversity. The approach was to apply what was already known about family/professional collaboration to ensure that families from diverse cultural and language groups felt welcome in early childhood programs.
Who are the project's collaborators?
KCHd is an interdisciplinary campus-based organization of GMU focused on improving the lives and productivity of persons with disabilities. Current KCHd projects provide training, technical assistance, research, and model development. Particular areas of emphasis are early intervention, early education, the inclusion of persons with severe disabilities, and technology. Though PEATC's primary focus is in the state of Virginia, the organization works with other states and national organizations to produce clear and easy-to-understand training and publications to improve family and professional partnerships in the education of children with disabilities. The work of PEATC is based on the belief that individuals with disabilities reach their greatest potential when families and service providers have an equal and respectful partnership.
Who are the developers?
The developers are a culturally diverse team of parents and professionals/education professionals, representing both collaborating organizations, who bring their experience and expertise to this project and contribute their ideas and creative efforts.
Kyppee White Evans, administrative faculty at George Mason University and the Project Coordinator for MECTT, combines a background of social work and public administration, where she has worked with special populations and families from diverse cultures.
Nona Flynn, Ed.D., an early childhood special educator at PEATC, brings expertise and experience to the project from working in university settings and developing training materials for parents and educators for the past 15 years.
Cherie Takernoto, Executive Director of PEATC and parent member of the team, is an experienced trainer and advocate for families of children with disabilities.
Eva Thorp, Ed.D., Associate Professor in GMU's Graduate School of Education, brings expertise in early education, family/professional collaboration, and preservice and inservice training.
Who provided guidance and direction?
A Design Task Force was organized to broaden the expertise of staff and to include consumer input. This group included parents, consultants, and representatives from community agencies and early intervention and preschool programs. The members of the Design Task Force served as our partners in laying the foundation for the project. They provided suggestions and advice regarding approaches and techniques to achieve the program competencies. Members of this volunteer group also met with staff in small topical focus groups, in individual consultations, and provided invaluable links to other families from diverse cultures.
Why parents and professionals together?
Family centered principles and partnerships are key to cultural awareness and sensitivity, and to the success of this project. Research and training experiences of both collaborating organizations have shown that when parents and family members work together, everyone benefits from a climate of mutual respect and trust. In MECTT, the special richness of diverse perspectives, along with a wealth of information from life experiences, is brought into the training environment. The diversity of education, culture, language, and life experiences, results in stimulating interaction and dialogue. The contribution to the team and to the training is beyond measure. Families, educators, and service providers, together and collaboratively, are defining and redefining the way that training is structured and ultimately the way that services to children with disabilities are delivered.
What's different about MECTT training and the training materials?
1. Four key assumptions guided the development of materials:
2. Several cross-cutting themes are integrated throughout the materials and reinforce the content and assumptions. Numerous activities help participants apply these themes to practice. The themes include:
3. The materials address many issues related to culture and collaboration across cultures. We also recognize that there is diversity within all cultures. Therefore, these materials do not specifically describe the characteristics of any one cultural group. The text used to augment the module activities does however, provide discussions of selected cultures.
4. The training curriculum of twelve modules infuses culturally competent and family centered practices within the context of recommended practices for early childhood programs.
How do we use these materials?
The MECTT materials, a Trainer's Guide and a Participant Notebook, are intended for use by training teams of parents and professionals. Two texts complement the training materials:
Lynch, E.W. and Hanson, M.J. (1998). Developing cross-cultural competence A guide for working with young children and their families. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
Linder, T.W. (1990). Transdisciplinary play-based assessment: A functional approach to working with young children Baltimore, MD: Brookes.
The Trainer's Guide is organized to make planning and delivery of training as easy as possible by providing step-by-step activity notes for using each module. To prepare for using the materials, the first sections of this Trainer's Guide provide pertinent information designed for experienced trainers. Throughout the training activities, references are made to video segments. MECTT staff have combined the segments for ease in training. The complete reference for all videos used appears in the back of this section on page T 22.
The materials address a variety of training needs and may be adapted and mixed and matched for use with different audiences. A majority of the activities in the twelve modules center around active participant involvement, including individual and team surveys, role plays, team projects problem solving, and an analysis of case studies. Learners are continually involved in the training process. Activities were designed to support team building and collaboration, with the flexibility to ensure the participation of individuals with diverse educational backgrounds and experiences.
With pleasure, we reach out to those who share our interest in culture and cultural competence, especially as it relates to early childhood programs. It is our hope that leadership teams will replicate this training and share these ideas and information in their respective communities.
Further, we hope that the benefits gained from this training will enhance personal growth and professional opportunities. This is a fun way to learn, grow, and teach. We hope your outcomes will be as memorable as ours. Welcome!
The curriculum is designed to be taught by a professional who is knowledgeable about early intervention and/or preschool special education programs and a parent of a child with disabilities. The parent may be a past or current recipient of early childhood services. At least one member of the team (either the parent or the professional) needs to be an experienced trainer who may coach the rest of the training team and take the lead responsibility for making arrangements for the training. The training team should include at least two to three members. Ideally, the trainers should be from different cultural, racial or ethnic backgrounds, and should be familiar with their community.
The activities are designed so that participants with limited or no ability to read English may be actively involved. Partners may read instructions aloud and share content information. Translators may be needed for participants with limited fluency in English and for anyone with a hearing disability.
Why parents and professionals together as a training team? When the training is delivered by a diverse training team of a parent(s) and a professional(s), the learning experience is much more powerful. When presenters model partnership, credibility regarding the value of parents and professionals working together is vastly increased. When participants can see the parent/professional training team complementing each other, they have a better understanding of how they can work more collaboratively as diverse family/professional teams in their programs. Many activities are structured to allow discussions to be enriched by the insight of parents and professionals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, experiences, and educational levels.
This module provides participants with an overview of the course and introduces the underlying philosophies and cross-cutting themes of Multicultural Early Childhood Team Training. Participants are guided through exercises addressing cultural awareness and sensitivity.
This module addresses culturally competent family centered practices and effective teamwork. A problem solving process is presented in this module and will be revisited in other modules.
This module addresses the requirements in IDEA to identify children who may have special needs and to inform diverse communities about early intervention and special education services. Participants identify innovative strategies and techniques for finding and establishing alliances with culturally diverse families.
This module offers participants an opportunity to explore communication, especially between families and professionals from different cultural backgrounds. General principles of communication and specific cultural factors that influence interpersonal communication are addressed.
Participants recall their own childhood and child rearing practices, and how these experiences influence their views of others. Various cultural perspectives on child growth and development are discussed and tied to implications for family centered services and related to cultural competence.
Assessment is defined; family centered assessment practices are described; and cultural factors influencing assessment are identified. The role of the family throughout the assessment process is discussed.
This module focuses on strategies for providing services to young children with disabilities in places where other young children, who do not have disabilities, are typically found. Participants will explore parent/professional collaborative approaches for planning and will address dimensions of culture that may affect planning for services in natural or least restrictive settings.
This module addresses the required components of the Individualized Family Service Plan and the Individualized Education Program from the perspective of how families from diverse cultures may participate as partners with professionals.
Small group activities address cultural issues at IFSP/IEP meetings.
This module explores the meaning of home and the importance of home visiting in early childhood special education. Participants are provided with strategies and techniques for conducting family centered home visits with culturally diverse families.
This module focuses on the importance of the transition process. Participants identify strategies for planning and adopting transition approaches that are family centered and culturally responsive.
Participants review what they have learned and share segments of the modules with program administrators. A process for identifying a target for program change is presented as the first step in action planning to increase family centered culturally competent practices.
Participants apply what they have learned by problem solving and developing an action plan for change for their programs. Factors necessary for successfully making major system changes are identified.
Individualized outreach agreements will be established with each of the identified outreach partners. A variety of outreach resource options are available. The goal of outreach activities will be to work with early childhood programs and communities to adapt and use the MECTT curriculum in their sites. The philosophical assumptions of the MECTT inservice program will continue to guide outreach efforts. They include:
Parent and professional teams learning together can effectively reach parents and promote systems change.
All outreach sites will receive a twelve-module training curriculum that focuses on a parent/professional approach to cultural competence and recommended practices in early childhood services. The package includes a Participant's Notebook and Trainer's Guide with an orientation section guide developed to include suggestions and direction for adapting the training materials for use at individual sites.
The role of outreach staff will be to provide training, modeling, coaching, support to outreach partners for recruiting, and follow-up to parent/professional teams in their communities.
Support resources that MECTT Outreach can offer include:
Technical assistance will include a preliminary problem-solving meeting to identify possible outreach activities, as well as ongoing support for implementation.
Staff will demonstrate segments of the parent/professional training model. Outreach partners will become familiar with the training materials. They will have an opportunity for interaction, exchange, practicing training activities, and feedback.
Ongoing technical assistance will be provided to outreach partners As teams deliver training, outreach staff will be available to help them adapt the training for specific needs, to coach them in the effective delivery of materials, and to support them as needed.