Preparing home visitors to partner with families of infants and toddlersedit
Home visitors provide individualized services to families of infants and young children in their homes. Due to their unique role, home visitors must develop a specialized set of critical competencies—specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes. They therefore require preparation that differs in distinct ways from the preparation typically available to those who will teach young children in classrooms. This article outlines key considerations for higher education programs preparing the home visiting workforce. We present a comprehensive framework of competencies for home visitors and identify empirically supported knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for effectively working with parents who are adult learners from diverse backgrounds, who face their own unique challenges, and who nearly always have strong emotions about their children and their parenting. Using the competencies as a guide, we propose three major recommendations for higher education to ensure adequate preparation for home visitors who serve families with infants and toddlers—(1) interdisciplinary coursework, (2) cross-sector integration of students in child development courses, and (3) multiple home visiting experiences with a range of families.