Back-to-School Reflections

The back-to-school season provides early care educators with the chance to practice their self-reflection skills. This professional practice provides an opportunity to build on strengths, make improvements, and prevent issues from occurring in the environment.

Let’s take a look at a few questions you can ask yourself as you begin a new school year:

  • What do I know about the children in my group? What are their interests, skills, and abilities? What steps do I need to take to find out this information?
  • What areas of the daily routine worked well last year? Which parts of the routine seemed to cause problems for me or the children? Can I add a transition activity or rearrange the routine in any way to address problem areas?
  • Does the arrangement of the classroom define interest areas? Is it easy to navigate? Are traffic areas clear? Are quiet areas separated from active areas? Are work spaces and their storage areas obvious? Are builders protected? Are there blind spots?
  • Are the interest areas arranged to promote play and cooperation? Are the interest areas organized or cluttered? Are there enough materials for several children to play without causing competition for materials? Do I need to add multiple items (i.e. more than one shiny red truck)? Are the areas easy to clean up?
  • Which areas of the classroom did children enjoy the most last year? What materials seemed to engage the children the most?
  • Which interest areas were not used as much as others? Are there different materials that I could add to promote engagement in these areas?
  • Are the classroom expectations (rules) phrased in simple language? Do the expectations communicate what children are expected to do? How can I engage the children in the creation of the classroom expectations?
  • Am I prepared to collect observations about the new children entering my program? What methods and materials will I use to collect my observations? How can my coworker(s) and I work together to gather information about children’s skills and abilities? How will I organize the data I collect?
  • Do the decorations, toys, and materials represent gender-neutral roles? Show people with disabilities in a positive light? Promote cultural diversity? What do I need to add to accomplish this?
  • What are some new topics I would like to explore with children this year? How can I incorporate more of the children’s interests into the curriculum this year?
  • How will I build classroom community between the children in my group? See the CCEI August Newsletter for more information.

What are your favorite self-reflection questions to ask during the back-to-school season? We’d love to hear from you on Facebook. Click Here to join in on the discussion!

ChildCare Education Institute Partnership Offers Online CDA Certificates

WASHINGTON – Aug. 2, 2017PRLog — The Council for Professional Recognition (the Council) announces the renewal of their collaboration with ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) to deliver early childhood education coursework, in both English and Spanish, via an online learning system that provides students with a user-friendly and engaging distance learning environment. CCEI’s certificate programs for Child Development Associate (CDA®) Credential students offer training curricula that support with the CDA’s Eight Subject Areas and 13 Functional Areas required to obtain or renew a CDA Credential in the form of educational training hours and IACET CEUs.

“We are so delighted to continue our partnership with ChildCare Education Institute, who has been a Council partner for many years and graduated thousands of students from their CDA programs. Their online early education structure for training courses offers students balance between work, personal, and student life for people looking to obtain or renew their CDA credentials,” said Valora Washington, chief executive officer, Council for Professional Recognition.

In addition to CDA programs, ChildCare Education Institute offers more than 100 online courses in early childhood core knowledge areas. Students have a selection of courses that are targeted to meet the knowledge-based needs of the early education setting in which they work: family child care, child care center, or pre-k.

Through this partnership, CCEI will continue to identify and share opportunities to expand the Council’s collaboration with other early childhood organizations. They will also inform the Council on any potential policy changes that could affect the CDA program overall, and help to recruit Professional Development (PD) Specialists, including bilingual speakers who can conduct CDA Verification Visits as part of the Council’s Review – Observer – Reflect model.

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The Council for Professional Recognition promotes improved performance and recognition of professionals in the early childhood education of children ages zero to 5 years old. The Council recognizes and credentials professionals who work in all types of early care and education settings – Head Start, pre-k, infant-toddler, family child care, and home visitor programs. As a non-profit agency, the Council sets policies and procedures for assessment and credentialing, publishes the industry leading training books and workbooks, including its CDA Competency Standards and Essentials textbook and workbook (2nd edition).


ChildCare Education Institute® provides high-quality, distance education certificates and child care training programs in an array of child care settings, including preschool centers, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, nanny care, online daycare training and more. Over 100 English and Spanish child care training courses are available online to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials. CCEI is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), and is authorized under the Nonpublic Postsecondary Educational Institutions Act of 1990, license number 837.

CCEI Offers No-Cost Online Course Examining the Process of Launching Learning Centers in Your Classroom

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CCEI450A: Launching Learning Centers in Your Classroom as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users during the month of August.

A learning center is a designated space in the classroom where children, in small groups or as individuals, engage in a specific activity. The use of learning centers allows teachers to focus on individual students’ needs and interests while maintaining effective management over the classroom. The use of a variety of learning centers is now a widespread and commonly accepted practice in early childhood classrooms. The developmentally appropriate classroom should be filled with equipment and materials that encourage children to explore, ask questions, solve problems, and gain knowledge by interacting with the world around them.

This course examines the process of establishing and enhancing learning centers in an early childhood education setting. Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to list common learning centers found in an early childhood classroom and identify the requirements for evaluating and adjusting each classroom center to ensure the appropriateness for young children.

“Organizing the classroom around the use of learning centers is a great way to help children develop a passion for learning while accomplishing curriculum objectives and developing new skills,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI. “While it is important to put time into planning and organizing a learning center, it is more important to remember to observe children closely in order to determine their interests and skill levels. Centers should provide appropriate challenges for all children. We’re pleased to offer CCEI450A as a no-cost trial course for the month of August just in time for back-to-school!”

CCEI450A: Launching Learning Centers in Your Classroom is a one-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.1 IACET CEU upon successful completion. Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST