5 Stages of Family Child Care

Pathway in an Early Childhood Education Career – Overview

Community Coaching has identified 5 sectors of the family child care field that together create a spectrum of both people and businesses that represent family child care. In order to effectively support quality improvements, it is crucial to identify where in this spectrum the business owner currently exists and if their goal is to obtain high quality within this sector or move to a new sector. We recognize and respect that family child care business owners come to this business for different reasons and see for themselves a range of roles in this field ranging from continuing their business for caring for family, friends and neighbors, to becoming an ECE Educator, to deeply getting involved as leaders in their broader field.

The Family Child Care Spectrum© is about the different places in a broader early childhood education career path. These are not levels of quality, in fact, high quality can and does exist in every sector! It is about recognizing family child care business owners for what sector of the field their career is currently in and what sector they aspire to be in, even if it is right where they are now, then becoming the highest level of quality WITHIN THAT SECTOR possible.

Community Coaching® has also identified that achieving high quality in family child care requires a focus in three areas: business practice, educational practice and personal well-being. These factors become akin 3 wheels on a tricycle. If the wheels are unbalanced, it makes forward movement difficult. To determine balance, Community Coaching® has developed a Family Child Care Balance Evaluation© that looks at the individual practices, or “spokes”, in a wheel —when all are present and strong, the wheel is strong and can move forward, but if a spoke is missing, or fragile, it makes the wheel unstable. By identifying the fragile or missing spokes, coaches can concentrate their efforts in the right areas and be more effective at improving practices and raising quality.


The Family Child Care Balance Evaluation©

Three Wheels of the Family Child Care Tricycle


  • Policies
  • Contracts
  • Meeting Standards
  • Marketing
  • Fiscal Management
  • Organization


  • Environment
  • Teacher/Child Interactions
  • Curriculum
  • Assessment
  • Challenging Behaviors
  • Parent Communication


  • Commitment to Field
  • Family Support
  • Self Care
  • Professional Development
  • Community
  • Security