This research concentrates on the developing, implementing, and evaluating of a practical training program for the caregiver of an infant in order to provide in the infant’s primary needs and development. The research problem of quality care for the infant during the time that his mother is working was identified and discussed in chapter 1. Intervention research was used as research methodology. This methodology implies a combined quantitative and qualitative approach. The first part of this research (chapters 2&3) addresses the problem analysis and information gathering linked to the development of a theoretical basis for the intervention model. Infancy as developmental stage is discussed as well as the developmental tasks that the infant must achieve during this phase in order to grow and develop as a self-actualized individual (chapter 2). It is essential for the caregiver to gain knowledge and skills about infancy, the needs and the developmental tasks of this phase. The tasks, roles, and responsibilities of the caregiver were discussed in chapter 3. The second part of this research (chapter 4) is related to the design of the intervention program, the conducting of a pilot test and the refining of the intervention. This in-home care program is theoretically funded, and it is divided practically into the five workdays of the week, in accordance with the five developmental tasks that the infant must achieve in this developmental phase. Ten caregivers willingly participated in this intervention program. In chapter 5, the empirical findings with the development and implementation of the training program for in-home care of an infant are discussed. From the information gathered during the focus groups with the mothers of infants and caregivers as well as the results from the questionnaires from pre-tests and post-tests, the researcher came to the conclusion that the research problem of quality caretaking of an infant for the time his mother is working is addressed. Through internalizing theoretical knowledge and practical skills during the training program, the caregivers are able to care optimally for an infant at home. They are equipped with play techniques and mediums which are adapted within the gestalt approach and supported by relevant aids. The caregiver is able to stimulate the infant’s developmental needs and tasks in this developmental phase. Conclusions and recommendations (chapter 6) of this study are put forward in accordance with the process that was followed in developing and implementing the training program for optimal caretaking of the infant in the safe and familiar environment of his own home.
Thesis (DPhil (Social Work))--University of Pretoria, 2006.