My Friends’ House: Empowering caregivers to give their best

Haley Puckett (left)  and Amairany Alvarado are lead teachers at My Friends’ House. Haley and Yazmin Ramos received video coaching through the FIND Project.


My Friends’ House (MFH) preschool and childcare center is a safe, nurturing place for kids.

Recently the staff earned Early Achievers certification from the state of Washington, a program that helps centers create the best environment for early learning.

Filming Interactions to Nurture Development (FIND) is a video coaching program for caregivers of young children. The program uses video to reinforce and strengthen supportive interactions seen between young children and the adults in their lives.

FIND uses the concept of Serve and Return developed by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. Children “serve” when they initiate an interaction using sounds, words, or gestures. Caregivers “return” when they notice and respond in a developmentally supportive way.

First, the caregiver is filmed for 10 to 15 minutes interacting with the children in the classroom doing regular activities such as playing or eating. At the next meeting, the coach and caregiver meet for about 30 minutes out of the classroom to review the film and discuss. The coach and caregiver continue to meet for 10 sessions.

Yazmin Ramos, an aide who works mostly with toddlers, was one of the first to be videotaped. She is new to working with children, and she found the program very reassuring. “I’d watch the video with the coach, and she’d point out things I was doing that would help build [the child’s] brain!”

Yazmin is bilingual, so she can speak to children in Spanish or English. She uses mainly English, but she finds Spanish to be useful when a child is upset. “For comfort, I like to talk to them the way their parent would.”

“Working with Tabitha Vance and My Friends’ House is one of my most sincere pleasures,” says Lisa Mathias, Infant/Toddler Coach with the FIND Project. “Tabitha’s skill and willingness to build strength in her staff is outstanding.”

Lisa adds, “Haley and Yazmin’s personal attention to each child’s unique developmental stage and genuine, consistent interaction style create a classroom that is warm, supportive, and highly effective. They are two of the most engaged and thoughtful teachers I have ever coached.”

My Friends’ House has provided quality childcare services since 1987.
7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 509-525-7034 to learn more.