Northern Virginia Community College, which sponsors a day care program in which infants and preschol children are cared for in private homes, is looking for participants.

"Quality day care is hard to find in this area," said Betsy Shelsby, program coordinator. "I receive 80 to 100 calls every week from parents looking for day care, and I have to turn most of them away because I don't have a place for them. When I do have an opening, NVCC students and staff have first priority."

The NVCC program currently serves about 400 children in 22 day care homes. All day care providers must meet certain criteria involving their personal qualifications and the suitablity of their homes for the service. State law requires that the providers care for only four children, including their own, at a time. With one child of her own, a provider may earn up to $165 a week.

The home-centered program is offered throughout Northern Virginia as a supplement to the four NVCC day care centers operating in Annandale, Alexandria, Loudoun and Woodbridge.

"Our emphasis is on nurturing the children and helping them to learn through play. We aren't interested in children learning to say the Gettysburg Address in 30 seconds."

Each participant is trained in early childhood development in a University of Virginia course called "Family Day Care" and in an on-going series of workshops.

Anyone wishing further information about the program may call 321-9040.