Holding a baby, looking and smiling at her, talking to him, responding quickly and sensitively when he cries, talking to her while feeding or changing her diaper-these activities all build trust, said Diane Bales, a Cooperative Extension child development specialist in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Four groups of child care providers are enrolled in the program for a total of 67 people. The one in northeast Georgia meets in Crawford, the southwest one meets in Moultrie, the southeast one meets in Savannah and the northwest one meets in Dallas. The course requires them to meet after work for two face-to-face sessions.
Individually, each woman logs onto Moodle to complete six 30-minute training sessions. As a group, they post photos and share stories with one another on Ning, a password-protected social networking site.
The Ning site and Moodle training sessions were developed by UGA graduate and undergraduate students. Shetterley called them the "driving force behind the project."
Once the program gets going, Bales plans to turn the training sessions over to county Cooperative Extension agents who work in family and consumer sciences.
For some of the child care professionals, this is their first experience with online learning and social networking. But Bales says they're willing.
"We had a woman in Moultrie who told us she had never touched a mouse before," she said. "It took us 10 minutes, but we got an e-mail address set up for her."