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PREPARE for Care

“Promoting Resilience, Enriching Practices in Anti-Racist Education”

What is the PREPARE for Care program?

The PREPARE for Care program is an anti-racist and trauma-informed curriculum designed for early child care providers. The curriculum specifically provides an anti-racist approach to early childhood education and encourages providers to implement trauma-informed practices in their care environment.


The Imagine Institute and its partners envision a vibrant system designed to counter the effects of systematic racist and colonial practices and systems that have detrimental effects on the development of underserved and economically disadvantaged children. Through implementing anti-racist and trauma-informed practices in early learning environments, child care providers will provide an opportunity for children to develop into resilient learners by educating providers on both unconscious and conscious biases that affect children in their care, as well providing the historical contexts that influence these beliefs and practices. Cohorts of licensed family child care providers and center staff throughout King County will learn about trauma and anti-racist pedagogy over the course of ten months, implement practices to buffer children from trauma resulting from racism and build relationships to transmit knowledge to the families of the children in their care.

Earn FREE STARS hours and up to $1500

for successfully completing the 10-month training program


*2021 PREPARE for Care will be an 8-month program


Participants will complete a total of 10 modules over the course of 10 months. Each module is comprised of one six-hour training and one assignment aimed at assessing participants’ learning and ability to implement theory and practices in their child care environments.


For each completed module, participants will receive a $100 stipend. If a participant successfully completes the program, they will receive a completion award of $500. The total amount a participant can earn is $1500. Depending on program interest, classes may be conducted in three languages, English, Somali and Spanish.


Due to the fact that all PREPARE for Care modules will be conducted online, the 2021 PREPARE program will consist of 8 modules instead of 10. Please plan accordingly.

Program Qualifications

  • Be a Licensed Family Child Care provider or work at a licensed child care facility in the King County area
  • Provide care for a least one child receiving a child care subsidy
  • Have the ability to implement new trauma-informed and anti-racist practices into your learning environment
  • Center staff must receive authorization from supervisory staff to introduce new practices into environments.

Program Requirements

  • Attend a program orientation
  • Attend all 10 monthly trainings
  • Complete all monthly assignments designed to implement anti-racist, trauma-informed practices in your child care environment
  • Complete program evaluations and surveys as needed


PREPARE is now statewide!

Individuals unable to take the full training series or providers residing outside of King County can now take individual PREPARE modules.

Make sure you check our website often for new updates on our schedule for these courses.


Relationships are the center of all children’s early learning and development, especially for children who have experienced trauma. Supporting healthy relationships with children and their families is the child care provider’s most important role. Child care providers can develop their ability to build not only healthy relationships, but truly healing relationships. In this module, participants will explore essential foundations in relationship-building and practice three relationship-building tools that can help. Following the module, participants will be able to explain and apply these tools and discuss how they are important in their work.

After understanding the importance of healthy developmental relationships in Module 1, providers will begin to understand the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) on developing children and how to recognize and identify the impacts of childhood trauma. The term ACES is used to describe all types of abuse; however, ACES have the most significant impact during childhood development. While the prevalence of ACES does not always determine a child’s outcome, it is important to determine protective factors to support children and their families which include: parental resilience, social connections, concrete support in times of need, knowledge of parenting and child development, and social and emotional wellness.

Providers working with traumatized children may also suffer from the impact of vicarious trauma. An examination of the causes and indicators of vicarious trauma will be reviewed using the guide, “When Compassion Hurts.” Providers will then determine what self-care practices work best for them and plan for additional self-care practice to promote general health and well-being.

From very early on in their lives, young children begin perceiving attitudes about their racial, cultural and ethnic identities from the world around them. These forces can leave enduring marks on their senses of self and self-esteem, impacting their development and ability to thrive. Early childhood educators can help build safe and affirming spaces for children to grow and learn in order to counteract the toxic effects of racism. Through this module, providers will learn how whiteness was invented as a social, political and legal construct and how it continues to disproportionately harm children of color. Participants will gain a better understanding of structural racism, race, and whiteness, and learn how to shift their personal perspective on race in order to support children’s healthy development.

As with all institutions, systemic and structural racism has profoundly shaped early childhood education. From policies governing early childhood educators to the curriculum we teach, racism has privileged those deemed white and disadvantaged those who are not. Once racism is discussed in the context of early childhood education, participants will brainstorm ways to disrupt racism’s impact on children and innovate new ways to interact and set up their environment for children to thrive.

The transition from understanding the impact of whiteness to decolonization in this module builds on the previous conversations about the construct of race, its effects and how we may shift our practice in response. This module discusses the importance of understanding the effects of colonialism and it’s impacts of our work and on decolonization as a way of building resilience, increasing self-esteem and changing the perception children have of their status in society, which is often based on the child’s racial or ethnic identity and the social status of this identity.

An inclusive education for children is one that supports the child’s participation, ideas and identity while creating a sense of belonging. This includes providing a wide range of activities that allow each child to promote their own unique way of learning. It also often involves a shift from Eurocentric norms. Decolonization in early childhood education changes the narrative of communities and children from a single-story point of view by encouraging providers to examine their own attitudes and behaviors. This will allow providers serving children from diverse communities to provide care and connection in a way that works for the provider and supports the self-esteem of the children they serve.

A child’s awareness of racial differences and the impact of racism begins much earlier than many people realize, often in pre-school. At this age, children may begin excluding their peers of different races from play without understanding their behavior. Because of this, providers are uniquely situated to teach and learn with children about these critical and complex issues. An important first step is to work with family to understand their attitudes about race.

Children’s awareness of racial differences begins early. In child care they may learn that adults and peers may judge the way they look, what they wear, and how they speak. Peers may favor other children in their own racial/ethnic/language groups and distance themselves from children they see as different. Due to this, a provider needs to create an environment for children to establish and sustain positive relationships. This can be done with open communication, discussion of differences among peers, and embracing each child’s uniqueness. This may help children develop a mindful perspective that they will then carry on for the rest of life.

Because children of color and white children develop their racial identities in different ways, providers can create balance where all children are supported throughout development. This may include different techniques for children.

The experience of racial trauma causes physiological effects on developing children such as increased levels of stress hormones, and psychological impacts such as higher levels of anxiety and depression compared to children who do not have these experiences. This of course, impacts learning and academic performance. Analysis of the WAKIDS kindergarten readiness report illustrated that finding that children of color are less ready for kindergarten compared to white peers. Negative racial experiences can also impact a child’s ability to interact with peers and sustain positive relationships by decreasing a child’s own feelings of personal value and disconnection from providers and peers.

Promoting social emotional learning can benefit children in many ways. It can provide children an opportunity to understand and process their own emotions and communicate these emotions to others. It increases children’s ability to feel and show empathy for others and helps to establish healthy relationships. Providers can promote social emotional learning in their classroom by shifting from a teacher-led classroom to an environment where every person’s contributions are valued.

Families are a system of interconnected individuals, where movement of one part of the system will affect other parts of the system. How a family operates is often understood by individuals in that family system, but can be nebulous to those outside of it. Family roles and communications styles often operate under a series of unspoken rules that create a type of homeostasis within that system.

Before trying to understand the family dynamics of the children in the provider’s care, the provider should evaluate their own strong attachments, history and intentions. Engaging with families requires a partnership between the provider and family that can facilitate healthy decision making. This involves consistent two-way communication in a manner that works well for both the family and provider. This also involves working with families on setting goals both at home and at school, to allow commonality in different care settings.

Tools that a provider can use to help in challenging conversations with families are: empathy, reflective listening, and validation. These tools may assist the provider in creating a sustaining relationship with families that can benefit the child in the most crucial years of brain development.

In early childhood education, providers face many stressful situations that can take an emotional toll on them throughout any given day. While facing these demands, providers are also faced with the responsibility of serving children who have often also experienced trauma. In this situation, it is important that providers work on building personal resilience in themselves. This will be a vital factor in building resilience in the children they serve.

Resilience is a quality that is not innate. It can be practiced and developed over time. Providers must understand that it is important to become a resilient educator before promoting resilience in your students. Part of building resilience in adults include nurturing a positive view of yourself and maintaining a positive outlook on their everyday experiences. It also includes the ability to avoid seeing crisis at insurmountable problems and understanding that change is a part of living.

Children who are experiencing trauma in their earliest years need an environment that cultivates positive ways for them to later prosper and understand, manage, and communicate their emotions. In children, resilience can be learned through caring and positive educational settings, community support and positive peer relationships. In ECE environments, providers can create a place setting that will help children build trust and improve self-regulation. A charismatic adult can help a child see competencies in their own lives and understand that they have experienced success.

2020Jan 2020How Relationships Heal
2020Feb 2020Trauma and Vicarious Trauma
2020Mar 2020The Invention of Whiteness
2020April 2020Inclusion and Decolonization
2020May 2020Racism and Development
2020June 2020Understanding the Psychological Effects of Racism on Children of Color
2020July 2020Family Dynamics
2020Aug 2020Promoting Resilience
2020Sep 2020Collaborative Approaches
2020Oct 2020Anti-Racism in Practice


Participants must meet one of the following criteria to be eligible to participate:

  • Be a Licensed Family Child Care provider or work at a licensed child care facility in the King County Area
  • Provide care for a least one child receiving a child care subsidy
  • Have the ability to implement new trauma-informed and anti-racist practices into their learning environments
    (Center staff must receive authorization from supervisory staff to introduce new practices into environments.)

The Imagine Institute has partnered with experts in child development, infant/child mental health and trauma-informed care to build a program that helps early childhood educators create supportive and welcoming environments for all children, in order to reduce trauma and buffer against its impacts on the developing child. Educators will partner with families to create networks of support, providing protection against trauma for both the individual child as well as the larger community.

Children learn best in the context of relationships, engaging with the important adults in their life, leading their own learning through hands-on activities inspired by their daily routines and environment. Research shows that teaching very young children requires just as much skill and complexity as teaching older students. Early childhood educators will learn how to engage children to become curious and enthusiastic learners prepared for kindergarten.

PREPARE for Care is designed with the understanding that racism, systemic oppression and historical trauma result in trauma for the developing child. Racial and cultural trauma is unlike many other forms of trauma in that its root cause permeates the entire world around us, including, of course, the classroom or early learning environment. This trauma, whether perpetuated in the learning environment or not, is intrusive and recurrent and will negatively impact a child’s development.

During the first five years of life, a child’s brain undergoes tremendous growth and development. Simultaneously, children’s understanding of their racial and ethnic identities begins to emerge. Attitudes about their own identities and outside perceptions of their identity have an impact on a child’s self-esteem, social interaction skills, and ability to navigate the world. Children from underserved populations, children of color, and English language learners (ELL) begin to understand themselves in relation to the dominant culture’s perception of their communities. Therefore, just as the architecture of a child’s brain rapidly develops, the child also begins to absorb and assimilate negative and racist attitudes and assumptions about themselves which can lead to cumulative, long-term negative impacts that can hinder future language, cognitive, social, and emotional capacity and well-being.