Santa Barbara Public Library Offers Series of Caregiver Classes

Families in Santa Barbara with young children face a shortage of high-quality childcare; there is more demand for childcare than space available. Many working families are using a combination of friends, family, and neighbor caregivers to piece together care for their young children before they go to school. Santa Barbara Public Library (SBPL) wants to be part of the solution. After learning about the needs of friends, family, and neighbor (FFN) caregivers during the pilot phase of Stay and Play, an innovative, grant-funded early literacy program that focuses on providing support and building community with FFN caregivers, SBPL is launching a series of classes to help not only support the skills of FFN caregivers, but help those who are interested pursue becoming licensed childcare providers. Classes will be offered in English and Spanish. 

The Nurturing Know-How Series will offer free virtual learning opportunities for caregivers on topics of daycare licensure, early literacy, child health, safety practices/first aid, small business skills, school readiness, and developmentally appropriate learning activities, and related topics. Presenters include representatives from a variety of community organizations as well as library staff. The Nurturing Know-How Series will allow opportunity for caregivers to sharpen their professional skills in either English or Spanish. The first class focuses on boosting school readiness and will be presented in English on March 11th at 1 pm in English and in Spanish on Thursday, March 18th at 1pm.

SBPL hopes to increase the number of credentialed childcare providers in the county as well as increase the competence and confidence of existing caregivers by offering these classes. Community needs assessments have indicated that there are many informal caregiving arrangements in our community due to the shortage of affordable, licensed childcare. 

Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) reported that in 2018, 68% of students were “not ready” for kindergarten. By providing free classes in both English and Spanish, anyone in the community who cares for young children can improve their skills and learn how to begin taking steps to formalize their status as a childcare provider. “Providing high-quality early literacy classes has always been a library goal, and now we are working with community partners to expand our offerings to broaden our reach and impact,” said Library Director Jessica Cadiente. “We’re grateful for the grant funding from the California State Library that allows us to expand Stay and Play and offer these additional services for caregivers.” 

Understanding that not everyone might have the tools and access to join virtual programs, SBPL offers laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots that can be checked out to enable this connectivity. Anyone with a library card can check out an Acer Chromebook and Wi-Fi hotspot or a Lenovo Chromebook and Wi-Fi hotspot or just a Wi-Fi hotspot. Library cards are available at Grab N Go Service upon presentation of a photo ID and are not required for program participation.

English classes will be offered on the second Thursday of each month at 1pm. Spanish classes will be on the third Thursday of each month at 1pm. Additional classes are offered in the evenings depending on community partner presenters’ availability. Registration is currently open for scheduled classes. 

Nurturing Know-How Caregiver Classes Schedule:

3/11 at 1 pm – Boosting School Readiness: Social/Emotional Development and Language

3/18 at 1 pm – Preparación para la Escuela: Desarrollo Social/Emocional y de Lenguaje

3/25 at 6 pm – So You Want to be a Childcare Provider Panel Presentation

4/8 at 1 pm  – Boosting School Readiness: Science and Math

4/15 at 1pm – Preparación para la Escuela: Ciencia y Matemáticas

4/22 at 6 pm – Let’s talk! How to create opportunities to foster the language and socialization of young children with Koegel Autism Center

4/29 at 6 pm – ¡Hablemos! Como crear oportunidades para fomentar el lenguaje y socialización de los más pequeños

Registrants can sign up to be notified of upcoming classes by providing contact information to, calling (805) 564-5602, or texting 805-764-4542. Funds to support this program were awarded to SBPL as part of the State Library of California’s Shared Vision Early Learning Grants. 

Santa Barbara Public Library is a department of the City of Santa Barbara. Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library online at for information about programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.


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