The Irving B. Harris Foundation

The Irving B. Harris Foundation

The Irving B. Harris Foundation

Video-Aided Supervision Program

Evaluative Study - Final Report

June 2001


Brief Summary2


Theoretical background4

Assessing Quality of Care in Early Childhood Settings4

Supervision and Quality of Interaction between Caregivers and Children4

Video-Aided Supervision5

Video-Aided Supervision: The model6

Goals of Video-Aided Supervision6

The evaluation study: Method8



Statistical considerations11

Results and Discussion12

1. ‘patterns of response’ of family day-care caregivers12

2. ‘control and restrictive’ behavior of caregivers14

3. sensitivity and responsiveness of caregivers in ‘negative’ situations15

4. caregivers’ responses regarding positive behaviors of the child (“the occupied child”) 17

5. Video-aided supervision, empathic understanding and developmentally appropriate thinking 18

6. Developmentally appropriate understanding in relation to negative interaction between children 20

Conclusion and recommendations for future application21


Brief Summary

Studies on the effects of non-parental child care on child development stress the importance of “Quality of care” in daycare settings for the attainment of developmental goals. Findings of recent studies carried out in Israel are particularly disturbing, portraying very low-quality interactions between daycare caregivers and infants and toddlers. In order to foster more sensitive caregiving practices among Early Childhood staff, a model of video-aided supervision was developed by the Schwartz Graduate Program for Early Childhood Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The project took place in early childhood settings in Israel over a period of three years thanks to the generous contribution from the Irving B. Harris Foundation.

This study set out to evaluate the video-aided supervision model and learn how the use of video-observations during supervision sessions may influence the quality of care. Forty family day-care caregivers in the Jerusalem district, divided into a “study group” and a “control group”, participated in the study. Forty 14-month-old infants were randomly selected, one from each family day-care setting. Pre-test and post-test observations were conducted to assess the quality of adult caregiving behaviors and the child's daily experiences in the family day-care settings. The caregivers were interviewed following the viewing of a short videotaped episode, in order to evaluate their “empathic understanding” of children and their understanding of “Developmentally Appropriate Practice” (DAP).

The results identified specific patterns of caregiver-child interaction characteristic of family day-care caregivers, and showed a unique change in these patterns among the caregivers who participated in the video-aided supervision program. Changes in caregiver interaction patterns included:

Diminished use of restraints and prohibitions, and the incorporation of positive behavior when controlling children (i.e. sensitive touch, positive speech, mutual affect, cognitive and social stimulation).

 An increase in positive caregiving practices as a response to a greater variety of children’s behaviors.

 Enhanced differentiated responsiveness to different distress behaviors of the child.

 A more attentive and sensitive approach to children when they are occupied and playful, when they seem satisfied and do not signal an urgent need for an adult.

More developmentally appropriate understanding and behavior vis-a-vis peer relations and conflicts.

Video-aided supervision is well documented in empirical and theoretical literature on the training of professionals in the fields of education, psychotherapy, social work and medicine. It has been found effective in parent intervention. The results of this study indicate the significance of this visual medium also for early childhood edu-care and in the training of paraprofessionals.

Video observation may facilitate an improved insight into the child’s behavior, intentions and emotions, as well as provide an opportunity for the caregiver to observe her own patterns of interaction. The video-aided supervision model enables adults working with infants and toddlers to focus on observable behaviors that represent sensitive and responsive care for children. An ongoing process of supervision accompanying this self-observation may produce a more developmentally appropriate approach to childcare.

As a result of this study, the initial model had been modified, and a two-stage model of video-aided supervision was developed. At the first year of participation in the program (stage 1) the aim is to enhance general sensitivity and responsiveness in caregiver-child interaction. During the second year (stage 2) the video-aided supervision focuses on a specific aspect of interaction in daycare settings.

In the third year of the project we approached ‘graduate’ supervisors who participated in the project during one of the previous two years, and offered them to “specilize” during stage 2 on issues of social interaction among peers – promoting empathy and resolving conflicts in daycare.

In the future we propose to repeat the two-stage program, focussing during stage 2 on additional issues such as sensitive interactions with parents and among staff members.


This evaluative study assesses the effectiveness of the video-aided supervision program that was developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in theSchwartz Early Childhood Graduate Program. The project took place in early childhood settings in Israel over a period of three years thanks to the generous contribution from the Irving B. Harris Foundation. This paper presents a one-year evaluation study of the video-aided supervision program in its first year.

Theoretical background

Assessing Quality of Care in Early Childhood Settings

Since the 1970’s there has been a growing number of young children who spend many hours each day in non-parental group care. Accompanying this worldwide trend, there is a wide range of research investigating the effects of daycare on children’s development. Today, many findings support the claim that when the educational setting offers high quality care, there is a positive long-term influence on children’s social and cognitive development (Lamb, 1998).

The quality of interaction between caregivers and children has been acknowledged as one of the central factors in determining the general quality of care of an early childhood educational setting. The quality of interaction has a direct and immediate effect on the quality of the child’s daily experiences. Focusing on the caregiver’s behavior as major contributor to quality of care is especially relevant in light of the accumulation of research pointing to the fact that children in non-parental group care develop an attachment to their caregivers. Just as secure attachment of an infant to her mother is related to the mother’s sensitive responsiveness, similarly the quality of attachment to a caregiver is influenced by the caregiver’s sensitive responsiveness and the stability of care over time (Howes & Hamilton, 1993; Howes, Phillips & Whitebook, 1992; Howes & Smith, 1995; Howes, 1998).

The aim of training and supervision for daycare staff is to enhance sensitive and responsive behavior of caregivers and promote positive interaction with children.

Supervision and Quality of Interaction between Caregivers and Children

Although some studies claim that caregiver education is a better predictor of sensitive care than specific training in early childhood education (Arnett, 1989), there are unequivocal findings indicating that caregivers, who are trained for educational work in early childhood, have better quality interaction and higher quality attachment with children (Galinsky, Howes, Kontos & Shin, 1994; Howes, Smith & Galinsky, 1995; NICHD, 1996; Honig & Hirallal, 1998; Howes 1988). Further, in-service training has been found to be more effective than pre-service training, especially where the caregiver has a low level of education and minimal qualifications for thejob (Rosenthal, 1990; 1994).

Academic literature indicates that the method of supervision is crucial. In order to make specific changes the supervision needs to be individualized and take place within the daycare setting. This stems from the importance of joint observation by the supervisor and supervisee (Kontos, Machida, Griffin & Read, 1992). Detailed joint observation may be facilitated by the use of video.

Video-Aided Supervision

The use of a video to analyze interactions between adults and children is commonly found in research, but is not used enough in supervision of Early Childhood staff (Honig, 1994). Video-aided supervision is also common in training programs for various helping professions: teaching, social work, psychology, psychiatry, nursing and family doctors, and in parent guidance (Bakermans-Kranenburg, Juffer & Van Ijzendoorn, 1998; Juffer, VanIjzendoorn & Bakermans-Kranenburg, 1997; Weiner, Kuppermintz & Guttman, 1994).

The aim of this study is to ascertain whether this type of training may also be applied to paraprofessionals in educational settings, and whether it improves the daily experiences of the infants and toddlers in daycare. Is the medium of video-aided supervision more effective than regular supervision in attaining such improvements?

Video-Aided Supervision: The model

Video-Aided Supervision is a training model for early childhood practitioners working in childcare settings. This model allows for highly intensive guided observation of children’s behaviors, caregivers’ interactions with the children and her understanding of these interactions.

Senior co-ordinators and supervisors working in Israeli programs for young children are trained by the Schwartz Graduate Program in Early Childhood Studies on the use of video in supervision. During their training, supervisors are required to provide intensive supervision to caregivers working with infants and toddlers in group settings. Each supervisor meets with her supervisee individually for bi-weekly supervision sessions. Daily events in daycare are videotaped approximately five times throughout the year, and are viewed jointly by the supervisor and supervisee. The supervisors themselves receive supervision, bi-weekly and individually, from a staff member of the Schwartz Graduate Program. In addition, monthly workshops are held for all the supervisors participating in the project on theory of supervision, and assessment of quality of adult-child interaction. During the workshops’ supervisors have a chance to view each others videotapes, and share the dilemmas they face in their supervision sessions.

Caregivers participate in the program for a period of 8 months and the supervisors participate for 10 months. These additional two months provide the trainees with the skills and insights necessary for the use of video in supervision. Overall each supervisor participates in 10 monthly group meetings and approximately 16 one-on-one sessions, and each caregiver takes part in approximately 14 one-on-one sessions.

Goals of Video-Aided Supervision

Two principal goals aim at improving the quality of care in the group setting:

1.Improving the quality of interactions between caregivers and children - by increasing the caregivers’ sensitivity to children’s signals and enhancing their self-awareness of their own response patterns.

2.Enhancing caregivers’ awareness of the developmental needs of infants and toddlers, and increasing their understanding of the principles behind Developmentally Appropriate Practice. In the context of the training sessions, the supervisor can link the subjects arising from the videotaped observations to relevant developmental knowledge. This learning is neither theoretical nor detached from experience and does not require formal learning skills. As such, it is congruent with the principles of adult learning and is adjusted to the paraprofessional population of Israeli early childhood caregivers.

The evaluation study: Method


Forty family day-care caregivers in the Jerusalem district were recruited to this study at the beginning of the school year 1999. Family day-care is an educational setting for infants and toddlers, located in the home of the caregiver, providing care for groups of five young children.

The caregivers were divided into two groups: twenty were placed in the ‘study group’ and received video-aided supervision. The additional twenty caregivers, the ‘control group’, received their regular supervision without exposure to a video.

The sample also included forty children, one from each of the family day-care centers mentioned above. A 14-16 months old child was randomly selected from each setting to be the ‘target’ child for observations of interactions between the child and the caregiver.

Why Family Day-Care Settings?

The choice of family day-care setting was mainly a methodological decision. Family day-care caregivers form a uniform group: all caregivers work in their homes, solitary without additional help, six days a week, with five children, for eight to nine hours. Children in family day-care centers are exposed to similar experiences, similar physical environments and similar daily schedules. Therefore a study of adult-child interaction is possible without interfering variables.

Video-aided supervision could be used as a model of supervision for caregivers in other early childhood settings as well: day-care centers and kindergartens. Indeed, in the second and third year of the project we reached out also to these settings.

The following tables describe some demographic characteristics of the caregivers in the family day-care centers.


Age / Study group / Control / Total
20-30 / 2
(11%) / 2
(11%) / 4
30-40 / 11
(61%) / 7
(39%) / 18
40-50 / 3
(17%) / 6
(33%) / 9
50-60 / 2
(11%) / 3
(17%) / 5


Education / Study group / Control / Total
Less than 12 years of study / 7
(39%) / 10
(56%) / 17
Israeli matriculation exam / 8
(44%) / 4
(22%) / 12
More than 12 years of study / 2
(11%) / 3
(17%) / 5
BA or more / 1
(6%) / 1
(6%) / 2


Training / Study group / Control / Total
None / 0 / 0 / 0
Course for family day-care provided by the employer / 5
(28%) / 3
(17%) / 8
Course classified by the Ministry of Labor (in addition to the basic course for family day-care providers) / 11
(61%) / 14
(78%) / 25
Academic education in the field / 2
(11%) / 1
(6%) / 3

Co-ordinators – Supervisors:

The budget for the supervision program enabled only ten supervisors to participate. These supervisors, who work as co-ordinators of family day-care settings, have academic education in the fields of education or social work and have experience in supervision. They expressed willingness to take part in the video-aided supervision program after they were offered either personally or by the organizations in which they work.Each co-ordinator supervised four caregivers who work under her administration – two from the video-aided supervision group and two from the control group.



In order to evaluate the interactions between the caregiver and child the Observational Record of the Caregiving Environment (ORCE) was used before and after the intervention. This observational instrument assesses the quality of caregiving provided by an adult to a specific child, and evaluates the daily experience of this child (NICHD, 1996).


The caregivers were interviewed before and after intervention, using a structured interview based on the Empathic Understanding Procedure (EUP) (Oppenhiem, Koren-Karie & Sagi, 2001). The original EUP involves watching a video clip that documents the interaction between a child and his mother and an interview with the mother following this viewing. In this study, each caregiver watched prepared video clips, showing typical situations in an unknown family day-care setting. Two different video clips were used for the evaluation, one for the interview before the intervention and a second for the interview after the intervention. Both vignettes documented social interactions among toddlers without an adult present. After watching the video clip, the caregiver was interviewed by her supervisorregarding the following questions: how she understands the child’s behavior, how she would feel in a similar situation, how she would act should a similar event occur in her own family day-care setting.

Analysis of the interview

Two measures were constructed to analyze the interview:

1) Empathic understanding assesses the caregiver’s ability to identify the child’s signals and emotional expression. It also assesses the caregiver’s interpretationsof the child’s signals: her understanding of his needs and intentions, and her acceptance of these emotional needs.

2) Developmentally appropriate understanding assesses whether the caregiver’s responses reveal her use of developmental theory and understanding of principles relating to developmentally appropriate practice. This involves two dimensions: the caregiver’s ability to relate to typical developmental characteristics of young children and her ability to plan an intervention in a manner appropriate to the child’s age, which will support and foster developmental achievements.

Statistical considerations

Before presenting the results, below is a description of the statistical procedures that were used. The data was analyzed using MANOVA and SSA and POSAC procedures. The latter are based on ‘Facet Theory’ (Guttman, 1968; Shye, 1985). These statistical analyses assess different aspects of change in the caregivers’ behavior.

The MANOVA procedure measures the frequencies of various behaviors of the caregivers. Higher frequencies of “positive” behavior and lower frequencies of “negative” behaviors will lend support to the effectiveness of this model of supervision. However responsive behaviors of caregivers cannot be measured simply by frequencies. The Facet theory procedures allow us to identify more than just quantitative changes in the caregiver’s behavior. Correlation between the child’s various behaviors and the adult’s responses are described graphically as a “map”. By comparing the maps of the pre-test and post-tests, we can detect changes in the caregivers’ tendencies to respond in certain ways to children exhibiting different behaviors. If indeed there exist typical patterns of response that are characteristic of the family day-care caregivers in the presence of different child behaviors and if these patterns change following video-aided supervision, it will be shown in the maps.

Results and Discussion

The statistical analysis lead to the following six conclusions.

1. Video-aided supervision influences the ‘patterns of response’ of family day-care caregivers:

Typical response patterns of caregivers towards children in different situations were identified in both the study group and the control group. The caregiver responses were divided into three discernible categories:

positive behavior (positive speech, mutual effect, sensitive touch, cognitive and/or social stimulation)

restrictive and controlling behavior (giving instructions, making prohibitions)