Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to many questions we receive are listed below and organized in four categories:

General   |   Director's Training   |   Staff Workbook   |   Professional Development Credit

If you have additional questions not addressed below, feel free to contact Michele Kostelecky at: New Staff Orientation Program, Iowa State University, 1086 LeBaron Hall, Ames, Iowa 50011; p: (515) 294-5702, f: (515) 294-5507, nso@iastate.edu.

General

What is New Staff Orientation (NSO)?

  • New Staff Orientation (NSO) is a 16-hour curriculum with 30 units covering basic orientation information for new child care center staff.
  • It can be initiated immediately, on-site, during brief period of time when there is appropriate staff coverage.
  • The staff member observes brief 15-minute video clips of best practice and completes a brief activity and an assignment to measure learning outcomes.
  • Worksheet assignments are mailed to Iowa State University for review and a certificate of completion is issued.

What are the benefits of NSO?

  • Training can be completed on-site
  • Training can be completed during paid work hours
  • Training can be completed any time of the year, it is not dependent on time/availability of local or regional workshops
  • Makes it easier to achieve compliance in meeting training requirements
  • Engages director as a partner in review and sign-off process
  • Video examples provide excellent demonstration of best practice for new staff
  • Director's receive training on implementing the NSO curriculum
  • NSO's format provides great statewide consistency in delivery of training.

What topics does NSO cover?
Review the detailed list of workbook unit topics.

Who can use NSO?
NSO is designed for new child care center and preschool staff. Directors or supervisors of each child care or preschool program wishing to use NSO must attend a 6-hour Director's training program to learn how to fully implement NSO.

Is NSO suitable for infant and toddler staff?
Yes. NSO fully addresses infant and toddler care and is in alignment with Program for Infant and Toddler (PITC) principles.

Is NSO suitable for school-age staff?
School-age and after-school program staff may complete the NSO workbook for the full 16 hours of credit. Many of the concepts presented in NSO are very appropriate for school-age staff. However, staff will be required to view video clips of diapering and toddler development and complete related workbook activities. Partial credit will not be given.

Is NSO suitable for Head Start or public school operated programs?
Yes. However, the NSO program requires director/supervisor participation. A director or supervisor must be on-site and available on a regular basis (at least weekly) to respond to questions, review workbook activities, and sign the workbooks.

Can very small preschool programs with only 2 or 3 staff participate in the NSO program?
Yes. There still needs to be a lead person designated to participate in the 6-hour Director's training and to serve as a supervisor to sign off on workbooks.

Can long-term, experienced staff participate in the NSO training?
Yes. Many directors find that it is useful for all staff to participate in the NSO training, have their workbooks reviewed, and receive the 16 hours of training credit.

How is the center director involved?
Directors or supervisors of each child care center or preschool program wishing to to use the NSO must attend a 6-hour Director's training program to learn how to fully implement NSO. Only Director's who have completed this 6-hour training are able to sign-off on staff workbook units.

Workbook assignments frequently require staff to talk briefly with the director about workbook topics. This is a time for directors to give feedback on workbook assignments and work with the staff member on any additional information or corrections that need to be made to the workbook assignment.

Directors are required to sign-off on each completed workbook assignment ( 30 units in all) before sending it in for review and certification.

Note: Directors or supervisors must be on-site and available on a regular basis (at least weekly) to respond to questions, review workbook activities, and sign worksheets.

How do I get the NSO curriculum?
Child care center and preschool program directors must attend a 6-hour Director's training to learn how to fully implement the program. NSO training/curriculum is only available for those child care directors and administrators that have child care sites in the State of Iowa.

Directors must attend the full 6-hour training to receive the curriculum.

At the end of the training, Directors will receive a free copy of the NSO DVD and a Master copy of the NSO workbook.

Is there a cost for the Better Kid Care Iowa New Staff Orientation?
Funding support from Department of Human Services currently allows us to offer the Iowa NSO Director's training, Workbook review, DVD, and Workbook Master for free.

 
Director's Training

How much training credit can I earn?
Directors attending the 6-hour Director's training can receive:

  • 6 hours of Iowa Department of Human Services professional development credit.
  • 6 hours of National Administrator Credential (NAC) renewal credits. Directors must be NAC certified prior to attending NSO Director's training.
  • .06 CEU units from Iowa State University (an additional $25.00).

Directors may also earn 16 hours of DHS professional development credit by completing the NSO training.

When will the NSO Director Training be offered?
We offer 6 online trainings throughout the year and one face-to-face training (in central Iowa). Many CCR&R training calendars and the training registry will also have the NSO programs listed. Check the Iowa Child Care Provider Training Registry for upcoming trainings. 

What is covered in the New Staff Orientation Director Training?
Face to Face workshop- Six hours of instruction (offered in a one day workshop format) provides Iowa Directors and supervisors with an overview of the NSO program, guidance in developing an on-site implementation plan, skill development in providing effective verbal feedback, and a brief overview of professional development portfolio resources. In Iowa, child care center staff wishing to earn Better Kid Care Iowa NSO credit must be working under the direct supervision of a director or supervisor who has participated in the NSO Director training. Directors attending the training receive a NSO DVD and NSO Workbook Master. Currently, there is no cost for the training materials.

Online training- 4 week online course(about 1.5 hours/week)- provides Directors with an overview of the NSO program, guidance in developing an on-site implementation plan, skill development in providing effective verbal feedback, and a brief overview of professional development portfolio resources. In Iowa, child care center staff wishing to earn Better Kid Care Iowa NSO credit must be working under the direct supervision of a director or supervisor who has participated in the NSO Director training. Directors attending the training receive a NSO DVD and NSO Workbook Master. Currently, there is no cost for the training materials.

Is the Iowa NSO director training approved by the National Administrator Credential program for continuing education renewal credits?
Yes. NSO training conducted by Iowa State University is officially approved for NAC renewal.

Is the Iowa NSO director training approved for AEA staff development training?
No. The Iowa NSO director training does not meet the requirements for AEA staff development training.
 

 
Staff Workbook

How long does it take to complete the workbook program?
We recommend for new staff that it take120 days of their hire date, to complete the workbook . To earn QRS points all new staff must complete their NSO workbook in 120 days. This includes getting the workbook through the review process at Iowa State University.

Veteran staff can take as long as they want. We recommend that it is done within 6 months.

Do all 30 units need to be completed?
Yes. Partial credit will not be given. Each unit must be completed in its entirety in order to receive the 16 hour training certificate.

Do the DVD units need to be shown in sequence?
It is recommended that the first three units be viewed first and in that sequence. The other units can be viewed out of order.

I am a director, can I complete the 16 hour workbook training for credit hours? 
Yes. Directors are welcome to complete the workbook training and receive a certificate of completion for the 16 hours. Please note that this workbook training does not meet NAC recertification hours.

I am a director and want to complete the 16 hour workbook training. Who signs off on my workbook units?
You have two options:
1.  If you have another administrator in your program (an assistant director, for example) who also has taken the NSO Director's Training, that administrator may sign off on your workbooks units.
2.  You have permission to sign off on your own workbook units.

Do Directors need to complete the 16 hour training if they move to a different center?
No. Unlike center staff, directors do not need to redo the training should they move to another program, as a director. As administrators are the implementers of the NSO program, they are able to choose whether or not they take the 16 hour training. Staff, however, are required to take the 16 hour training each time they begin employment in a new child care program.

Can we use the DVD units for other staff training?
The videos may be used for staff in-service refresher training, however, no training hours will be awarded by Iowa State University.

Can the DVDs be taken off-site for viewing by a staff member?
If you feel confident the DVD will be returned to you. Legally, programs are required to pay the staff member for the time spent working on this at home.  Visit the US Department of Labor for more information on this topic.

Can staff view these as a group and work together on the worksheets?
Staff may view videos as a group, however, the responses to the worksheets need to be done independently. Similar answers in certain units may occur, particularly when answering questions regarding standardized practices, such as state ratio guidelines. However, overall work should be individualized and relate to each staff members own experiences and interactions with children, staff, and parents. Please note that workbooks lacking in original responses from staff will be returned and the staff member will be required to redo the workbook and resubmit.

Can the program be implemented in a workshop-type training?
No. Typically a workshop-type training is done off-site, or on a weekend, and neither of these settings will give staff the opportunity to complete many of the units as they are intended, particularly any unit where child observation is required.

I work in a preschool program that follows the public school calendar.  Can I work on the workbook during our summer break?
If you have access to children in a childcare/preschool group setting during this time, then yes. Many assignments require child observation or access to materials that are in your facility. The program is intended to be completed on-site.

Can a new staff member complete a unit every day and then meet with their supervisor on Friday to go over several worksheets at a time?
Yes. However, it is recommended that no more than four per week are done before reviewing with a supervisor. Staff should meet with the supervisor at least weekly. There needs to be a peer mentor or "go to" person designated to answer questions related to the worksheet assignments if the supervisor is not available. This could be a co-teacher or a teacher in another room.

Who reviews the completed worksheet assignments?
Workbooks are reviewed by experienced child care center directors who have been trained in the review process.

Are comments made on the workbook confidential or can Directors see them also?
The workbook and certificate of completion will be mailed back to the staff person. Teachers/staff should keep the reviewed NSO workbook and certificate in their personal professional development portfolio/file. The workbook does not receive a score or grade. The staff person can choose to share reviewer comments with their supervisor, but is not required to do so.

How long after sending in the completed workbook will staff receive their certificate of completion?
Allow and average of 4-6 weeks for review of completed workbooks and to receive their certificate.

Why is it so important to send the completed workbooks to Iowa State for review?
NSO has a unique teaching format. Evaluation results show that all components: video, observation, activity, written assignment, reflection and discussion with director, and feedback/review process are needed for successful learning. Independent review and feedback by Iowa State University provides the teacher with an additional perspective and allows for independent documentation of workbook completion. Documentation from an ISU reviewer allows us to grant credit to meet DHS professional development requirements, Continuing Education requirements, and CDA training requirements.

 
Professional Development Credit

Does NSO satisfy Iowa Department of Human Services training requirements for licensed child care centers and preschools?
Yes. NSO satisfies Iowa Department of Human Services requirements for 10 contact hours of training during the first year of employment. Four hours can be counted toward sponsored group setting and six hours toward self-study.

Does NSO meet the criteria for the Iowa Quality Rating System (QRS)?

  • Yes. The NSO program meets criteria for the Iowa QRS (Leadership and Administration level 3-5). In order to receive three points, programs must ensure that all staff who have direct contact with children complete the NSO within four months of starting employment. Completion of NSO means that staff view the videos and have the accompanying workbook reviewed by Iowa State University. For programs who do not have new staff at the time the director takes the NSO Director's training, the point will be awarded if the director has completed the training and agrees to implement the program at the time new staff is hired.
  • Yes. The 6 additional contact hours can be applied as "approved training beyond the regulatory requirements" under the Professional Development category level 3-5.

How much training credit can I earn?
Child care center and preschool staff who complete the NSO workbook and submit it to Iowa State University for review can receive:

  • 16 contact hours of credit is earned and can be applied to meeting the  Iowa Department of Human Services annual professional development training requirements.
  • 1.6 CEU units from Iowa State University (an additional $25.00 fee applies).

Directors attending the 6-hour Director's training can receive:

  • 6 contact hours of credit, recognized by the Iowa Department of Human Services professional development credit.
  • 6 contact hours National Administrator Credential (NAC) renewal credits. Directors must be NAC certified prior to attending the NSO Director's training.
  • .06 CEU units from Iowa State University (an additional $25.00 fee applies).

Directors may also earn 16 contact hours of DHS professional development credit by completing the NSO workbook training.

Can NSO training hours  be applied to my Child Development Associate (CDA) Credit hours?
Yes. Better Kid Care Iowa – New Staff Orientation (NSO) offers 16 clock hours of training credit that may be applied toward the 120 clock hours of formal child care education required for a CDA credential. See how NSO content is applied to the CDA credential.

Is NSO approved by the National Administrators Credential (NAC) program for continuing education renewal credits?
Yes. NSO training conducted by Iowa State University is officially approved for NAC renewal.

Is NSO approved for AEA staff development training?
No. The NSO training program does not meet the requirements for AEA staff development training.

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