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Self-Study for Family Child Care Home Providers

Welcome to the page specifically designed with you in mind. Discover what a self-study is, why it is beneficial, and find helpful resources for your journey. These tools are designed to support family child care home (FCCH) providers in meeting the requirements of NC Child Care Rule 10A NCAC 09.2828. According to this rule, earning two points in program standards for NC's Star Rated License involves documenting a self-study using the Family Child Care Rating Scale, Revised Edition (FCCERS-R) over a three-month period. Your DCDEE Child Care Consultant will review documentation such as the FCCERS-R with score sheets, self-assessments, and details about program adjustments.

Why is Self-Study Important for FCCH? 

Every group of children and learning environment is unique. Self-study enables providers to adapt their planning and teaching to the specific needs of the children they serve. With busy schedules, self-study provides the flexibility needed for learning, allowing providers to focus on areas that matter most for their programs. 

Initially, review the documents below to gather more information about the requirements, how to prepare, and to learn more about developing an intentional plan. 

Getting Started

Getting started may feel overwhelming and there may be uncertainty about where to begin. As a family child care home provider, we understand your time is valuable and limited. First, it is most important to have the FCCERS-R to read and refer to during the self-study.

Check out this document for additional thoughts on getting started. 


To make the most of your time, we created a series of short videos to guide you through getting started and understanding the requirements. 

Initial Self-Assessment

When thinking about where to start, consider an approach that begins with gathering information about current situations and what you would like to prioritize.

Ask yourself: 

  • What is important to me as I think about my program, values, and priorities? 
  • Where and how do I spend most of my time during the day? Is this in line with what I value and prioritize? 
  • How and where am I going to document my self-assessment? What tools will I use? 


This step is when to start using tools like the "Thinking More" worksheets, the FCCERS-R and a scoresheet, or note paper to jot down thoughts, questions, and ideas. This is the perfect time to begin a self-assessment, by gathering the information needed to move forward.  


After collecting some data on the current program practices, it's time to think about your findings and review the FCCERS-R to think about the various items, indicators, and requirements. 

Begin to think about the following: 

  • Identify areas that are working well
  • What areas would you like to focus on making changes or improvements?
  • Are there areas where you may need additional training or support? 

You can also begin to think about and/or research resources you have or know about that could be helpful (e.g., websites, webinars related to the topic, etc.). There are also many options for documentation as you reflect and look towards the next step. It is fine to create your own system or look at some of the options we have created. 

Creating a Plan of Action

Once areas have been identified to focus on, it's time to create a plan of action. This plan includes brainstorming ideas, figuring out how to make changes that are important and breaking these down into steps or a list, and being realistic about the number of tasks to plan for at the same time. Some tasks may be smaller and easier to change and implement, while others may take more time.

When creating a plan of action think about: 

  • What is your goal? It's OK if there is more than one.
  • What action steps do you need to accomplish to meet the goal? 
  • How long will each action step take to complete? 
  • What do you need to do to ensure your plans are carried out and your changes are made? 

In this step, documenting the answers to these questions will help you keep track of progress and changes as they happen. 

Implementing A Plan of Action

As you get ready to implement the action steps, remember not everything is an easy fix and not all plans are successful the first time around. It can take time and consistency before some positive changes become visible. You may need to consider changing strategies or adjust along the way and always keep in mind that change doesn't happen overnight, it takes time.

During this phase, ask yourself these questions: 

  • How is implementation going? 
  • What plans worked and which ones should be tweaked? 
  • How do you know growth was achieved? 
  • Did you have any obstacles arise that you did not initially plan for? How will you handle those in the future? 

Once the action plan has been implemented and you have documented the actions and progress, start a new cycle by using that documentation to self-assess and shift into the next reflection phase. Ideally, the process will continue by assessing whether the plans were effective and goals were met. Then you can determine what to work on next and set new goals.

If you are finishing up your self-study process, congratulations! To prepare for your DCDEE Child Care Consultant's visit, gather the documentation so it is ready to share and be ready to talk about the process, any lingering questions, anything you learned, and any changes that were made.  

If you would like additional information on self-study, take our webinar NCRLAP 210: An Introduction to Self-Study Focused on The Environment Rating Scales. This webinar is approximately 1.5 hours and goes more in depth. It covers several aspects of self-study such as what it is and why it can be of value. We also discuss some ideas about mindset and approaching a self-study process. Each step of a thorough self-study process is explained, along with some examples and tips.  


Register for Self-Study Webinar

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