Child Care Consumer Education on the Internet. ERIC Digest.Reportar como inadecuado

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One of the most important decisions that parents make is choosing child care for their children. Child care consumer education provides parents with the information they need to help them assess their needs, locate services, evaluate quality, and choose the best possible care for their children. There are two broad strategies for disseminating child care consumer education information: direct consultation with parents and multimedia public awareness campaigns. Many parents obtain information about choosing high-quality child care through telephone or face-to-face contacts with community-based child care resource and referral agencies. To augment these individualized strategies, national, state, and community organizations develop multimedia public awareness campaigns designed to provide consumers, potential consumers, employers, and others in the community with general information on the importance of high-quality child care. States and local communities have also begun exploring the use of computer technology to deliver child care related information to families. There are, however, a number of challenges to providing effective child care consumer education on the Internet. In designing online strategies, consumer educators need to provide information that is: (1) responsive to the needs of families looking for high-quality child care and presented from the consumer's point of view, with literacy and language needs met; (2) easy-to-find, continually updated, and well-publicized to the target audiences; and (3) one of many child care consumer education strategies used in a community. The Internet provides the opportunity for families to access an enormous amount of information; however, it also has obstacles around which a family may have to maneuver in order to be successful in accessing needed information. As more information is made available through the Internet, we will need to continue to study, evaluate, and improve consumer education initiatives to best meet the child care needs of all children and their families--both online and off. (LPP)

Descriptors: Community Information Services, Consumer Education, Day Care, Day Care Centers, Early Childhood Education, Educational Quality, Family Needs, Information Dissemination, Information Needs, Internet, Multimedia Materials, Parent Materials, Parents, Referral, School Age Day Care, State Programs

Autor: Goldstein, Anne


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