Using Learning Communities to Support Cantonese/Mandarin Family Child Care Providers in a Professional Development Intervention Program

High-impact educational practices can promote student involvement and learning outcomes, but are rarely tested in the community college setting—where involvement is a typical challenge to student success. For Family Child Care (FCC) providers, who tend to be older and overworked, higher-education training can be especially difficult. The present study examined the use of learning communities as a high-impact practice in Project Vista Higher Education Academy (PVHEA), a two-year professional development intervention program for Cantonese/Mandarin FCC providers at the East Los Angeles College in California. Quantitative and qualitative data during the inaugural term (January 2012-December 2013) indicated that PVHEA successfully helped FCC providers access and complete college coursework towards Child Development degrees and credentials. Course completion rate reached 100%, and the providers gradually increased course load while maintaining above-average grades. Positive changes were also observed in self-efficacy, aspirations, and professional image. The associated program challenges were discussed.