August 2018 Student Spotlight – Jasharondra Mitchell

My very first job as a teenager was at a local early childhood center. I remember being in awe of the teachers who were able to engage toddlers for a full 8 plus hours daily. They made it look effortless and fun.  Hearing the laughter of children is what drew me to the field. Children’s laughter is therapeutic, as it does not simply indicate happiness. It also signifies safety, security, and normal development. It means that they are learning to feel comfortable in their own skin. Their self-concept and esteem are growing. They are learning that they possess a unique place in the universe.

I absolutely adore activities that are science, creative arts and literacy based. Older toddlers and early preschoolers love cause and effect experiments. They adore looking at nature and asking why questions. Creative arts cause children to think critically about how they perceive the world. The world is colorful, abstract, unaligned and theirs for the taking. Process is more important than finished product. Seeing their proud expressions as they present a finished work is priceless. I have a tendency to incorporate literacy in every aspect of the day. Receptive and expressive language skills can be encouraged throughout the day.

In my opinion, my job is the best job in the world. Each day, I have the opportunity to change a child’s world view, to introduce new concepts and to scaffold knowledge. Additionally, I have the opportunity to help develop the character of children. Human beings are natural change agents, and most of what we become and believe begins in early childhood.

I currently reside in Forest Park, GA.  My free time is full of family, fun, advocacy for women, children and animals. I love studying religions, playing word games, trivia, reading, music and numerous outdoor activities. I love living.

In the future, I’d like to work as an early childhood consultant because the need for quality early childhood professionals is critical. The trainings I’ve received from CCEI have fueled my desire to train other professionals. The trainings have challenged my previously held beliefs and broadened my knowledge base. They are always based on time tested research which ensures relevancy. I would recommend CCEI to anyone interested in the field of early childhood education.

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Parent Communication: Building Partners in the Educational Process

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CCEI520: Parent Communication: Building Partners in the Educational Process as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users August 1-31, 2018.

The goal of both parents and teachers is to provide children with the best learning and growing environments possible. Good communication between parents and teachers can play a big role in achieving that goal.  Teachers are better able to help children learn when they know their needs and parents are a good source of this information. Parents can contribute information about a child′s family, culture, home life, and language. This knowledge allows teachers to implement curriculum that is developmentally and individually appropriate.  Parents can also learn things from teachers that will help reinforce learning at home. Teachers can share things about the curriculum and any current events happening in the child care center.

Communication creates a positive bond between parents and teachers. Children benefit from the positive relationship between their parents and teachers. The example that is set by parents and teachers provides children the opportunity to see authority figures in their life cooperating.  Through good communication, parents are encouraged to get involved with events at the child care facility. According to the National Parent Teacher Association, parents′ involvement in their children′s school is a tremendous benefit to the child. A parents′ involvement in the school has a positive effect on the child′s self−esteem.

This course examines the importance of open communication between parents and teachers. Participants will learn about positive listening and speaking skills, overcoming communication barriers, and other methods and strategies that will help ensure parents are active partners in education.  Upon successful completion of this course, participants should have a greater understanding of the need for positive communication and should be able to apply positive listening and speaking skills.

“Humans communicate by listening, speaking, using non−verbal communication such as body language, and writing,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “Using the positive and open communication methods taught in this course, early childhood professionals can get to know parents and encourage a trusting relationship.”

CCEI520: Parent Communication: Building Partners in the Educational Process 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

ChildCare Education Institute, LLC

ChildCare Education Institute®, a division of Excelligence Learning Corporation, 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 150 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, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard™ training provider, is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

Areas of Family Involvement to Consider

When you hear the words family involvement, you may think of planning events for families to attend or establishing a family committee.  It turns out that family involvement is much deeper than that.  An important voice in the drive for strong family school partnerships is researcher Joyce Epstein.  Epstein’s work provides us with a number of important points to consider as we deepen our understanding of family engagement and involvement.

First, let’s consider the terms school-like homes and home-like schools. According to Epstein, the outcome of positive family engagement initiatives results in home environments that incorporate elements of the school environment and vice versa:

School-like homes:

  • Family members have an understanding of child development and how to apply that knowledge
  • Educational activities and opportunities are provided and valued
  • Family members observe their children and adjust their approach to interactions

Home-like schools:

  • Nurturing and love provided to children
  • Individualized care and education is provided
  • Comfortable environment created for learners

Early childhood learning environments are typically most likely to be home-like, compared to elementary, middle, and high schools.  However, it is still important to consider ways that you can reflect children’s home lives in your learning environment.

Epstein also identified 6 different types of family involvement.  Does your program incorporate all 6 of these elements?

  1. Supporting Parenting: Programs share resources and strategies that support parents in their efforts to raise their children. This is done in a supportive and strengths-based manner that builds relationships.
  2. Communicating: Programs ensure ongoing communication with families about children’s needs and progress.  Methods of communication are reflective of families’ ability to access information through various means.  Technology is used as a tool for communication in creative and appropriate ways.
  3. Volunteering: Programs create multiple opportunities for family members to participate with the program as volunteers.  These opportunities should reflect the unique skills and strengths of family members.  Programs recognize that volunteering will look different for each person who participates.
  4. Learning at Home: Programs provide resources and activity ideas that families can use to incorporate more educational opportunities into home life.  The programs share information about developmentally appropriate practices and help parents gain an understanding of learning through play and open-ended activities.
  5. Decision Making: Programs create opportunities for families to contribute to the decisions made by the program. Typically, this is accomplished through the use of family committees or creating spots on the program’s advisory board for family members.
  6. Collaborating with Community:  Programs act as a central hub for family resources. Programs create strong collaborations with community resources and plan events that encourage families to connect with these community service agencies as necessary.

As you start a new school year, reflect on your current program practices relating to family involvement.  Are you able to identify any opportunities to enhance your current practices?  Discover more specific examples and strategies relating to the 6 types of family involvement in this document:

August 2018 Newsletter – Planning for Family Engagement

As you head into the new school year, you may be creating a set of goals or aspirations for the year. Hopefully, family engagement is on the list of things you would like to focus on with more intention this year.  Family engagement has shown, in study after study, to have a positive impact on program quality and family experience, in addition to helping children be more prepared for kindergarten.

According to the National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement, there are a few key features the programs use to create an environment that is optimal for family engagement:

  • Cultural & Linguistic Responsiveness – the program reflects the diversity of families (including but not limited to: gender, employment/occupation, disability status, culture, language, income, age, race/ethnicity, etc.).
  • Equity – which may be described as the elimination of privilege, oppression, disparities, and disadvantage.
  • Inclusiveness – every child truly is included and the individual needs of each child are considered and valued
  • Positive & Goal Oriented Relationships – program staff create and sustain relationships with families through positive communication that is responsive to families’ preferences. Program staff also collaborate with families to identify family and child goals, develop action plans, and jointly make decisions about how to achieve goals.

Whether you are a member of leadership, or work directly with children and families in a classroom, now is the best time to evaluate your environment and your program practices to ensure that they align with these key features.

Be sure to check out the resources shared in this newsletter below that will help you create positive and valuable family engagement initiatives.

For the article on Why Focus on Family Engagement, CLICK HERE.
For the article on Goals of Family Engagement Initiatives, CLICK HERE.
For the article on Family Engagement Reflection Tool for Staff, CLICK HERE.
For the article on Director’s Corner Family Engagement Competencies for Supervisors, CLICK HERE.