March 2019 Student Spotlight – Theresa Moore

How did you being your career in early childhood?

At the time I was a stay at home mom/nana to 3 sons and 5 granddaughters. I volunteered with my middle granddaughter Katlyn at Kentucky River Foothills Head Start. The next year my middle and next to youngest granddaughter Katlyn and Addison were both students. Some of the staff members (Ashley Robidoux my granddaughters’ teacher, Patricia Brummett the assistant teacher, and Ashley Overbay the center director among others) encouraged me to continue to volunteer and further my career. I had dropped out of school at sixteen and now was forty-five years old with nothing to stop me. My boys were grown two of which were married with children of their own. So, I decided to go back to school and try for my GED, in which I did in a record time of less than two weeks. I also received a scholarship for college. I then applied for a job at the same head start and was hired. So, around the beginning of September 2018 I started my CDA class and I had completed it around the end of December 2018. I also started college classes to get my teaching degree and I am currently in my second semester.

What program(s) have you participated in with CCEI?

CCEI Online Self-Study CDA
Diversity and Multiculturalism Certificate
Childcare Orientation Certificate

What is your favorite time of day to spend with the children?

My favorite time of day with the children is center time because we get to interact one on one, be silly, teach, learn, and engage in many different ways with them. This is great because no two children are the same and the more you know about each specific child the better understanding you will have for any needs that child may have and you can adjust your teaching for that child.

What is their favorite time of day/activity?

Favorite activity would be reading to the child and letting them use their imagination to join in and become part of the story.

What motivates you to work with children?

When I see those little faces light up when they write their name for the first time or to see how proud they are to show their moms and dads a picture they drew or colored. Knowing one day they will grow up to be something great, and I had a little something to do with their long-life journey.

What do you enjoy most about your job and educating young children?

Knowing that I have made a different in one child’s life each year and improved it in some small way makes it all worth it.

What do you do in your free time?

I am a full-time college student at Somerset Community College. Work full time at The Prep Academy of Laurel County, formally Kentucky River Foothills. I live with my husband of 29 years and my disabled son he has Cerebral Palsy and Charcot Marie Tooth Disease and my granddaughter. So I am a mom, wife, and nana 24/7.

Where do you see your career in the future?

I want to be a teacher in the Head Start or Kindergarten age group.

Do you plan on pursuing your education?

I would like to continue in my education and complete my Master’s if financially possible. Most of all I want to continue to work with children and teach them so that one day they can grow up and be anything they set their minds to. No obstacle is too big to overcome with encouragement and support.

Do you plan on receiving any further CCEI coursework or credentials?

I am currently working on credentials and I plan to continue to use CCEI soon. The CCEI program has been so beneficial to me during my journey and the support that I have received from the team has been overwhelming. It is so greatly appreciated that words can never explain.

Have you been awarded your CDA credential by the Council of Professional Recognition?

I am waiting for my paperwork/appointment to take my final exam hopefully within the next week or two I will be.

Would you recommend CCEI to anyone?

1000 times yes, I would recommend the CCEI program and as a matter of fact I have. The CCEI program has changed my life in so many ways and so many others. I would tell anyone and everyone I know to take advantage of all the things that CCEI has to offer. The people in this program are there to support, uplift, and encourage you to be everything you can be and even more. Guess what THEY DO IT!!!!!

What is your current city and state?

London, Kentucky

Are there any comments, recommendations, or testimonials you would like to share?

I would love to recommend CCEI to anyone who is considering going into any level of child care. The cost is very affordable. The support and the CCEI family are priceless. In closing, I will say if you’re like me and think at 45 your life has passed you by and it is too late to further your education, you are so wrong. Since I have started this journey from volunteering two years ago, my life has only improved and I am reaching for my goals one day at a time. Our life is what we make it, we write our own story and we determine the outcome.

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on The Role of Risk in Early Childhood

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers GUI105: The Role of Risk in Early Childhood as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users March 1-31, 2019.

In the early childhood education (ECE) environment, the focus is often on avoiding unnecessary risks. Keeping children safe and healthy is the top responsibility for any ECE professional. But not all risks can or should be avoided, and some need to be encouraged.  Risk is an essential element of the human spirit. It is the power that propels individuals toward progress and results in either success or failure.

Risks are wrapped in the fear of uncertainty and often involve doing something new, such as using skills we have not used before or changing the direction of our lives. Risks expose people to danger—be it physical, social, or emotional—and providers can’t predict exactly what will happen.  For these and other reasons, adults often shelter children from risks in hopes of protecting them from harm, fear, anxiety, and possible physical or emotional pain.

As an ECE professional, it is the primary role to keep children safe from elements and objects that will cause them harm and injury.  However, ECE professionals should think of risk in terms of anything a child attempts that might result in feelings of disappointment, embarrassment, or failure.  A child might answer a question incorrectly or make a mistake when completing a task. Taking risks requires children to step out of their comfort zones, which might cause anxiety or fear.

In the ECE environment, most unnecessary/avoidable health and safety risks can be mitigated by adhering to basic health/safety guidelines and recommendations including—above all—proper supervision. Guidelines will help child care professionals eliminate unnecessary risks; from there, it is up to the provider to incorporate the necessary, appropriate risks into the learning environment.

This course explores the important role of risk-taking during early childhood development. Course participants will learn about safe, appropriate risks in all areas of the learning environment, including physical and social-emotional risks that help all young children—including those with special needs— develop advanced skills and self-confidence.

“It is important for teachers to use intentional strategies to increase opportunities for young children,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “Educators will learn how to take appropriate risks with regard to social-emotional as well as physical development.”

GUI105: The Role of Risk in Early Childhood is a two-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.2 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).

Superhero Play

In our March 2019 newsletter, we explore the benefits that risk-taking and big body play provide to children in early learning environments. One theme that often promotes both risk-taking behaviors and big body play is superhero play. Children are drawn to the action and power that superhero play provides. It excites children, engages their creativity, and offers a wide variety of scenarios to explore. And yes, it can sometimes become aggressive, which is why teachers should be prepared to guide children away from the aggressive aspect of superhero play, back to a more creative and pro-social interactions.

Placing a ban superhero play is rarely the best choice, and can be extremely difficult to uphold. Superhero play allows children to:

  • Explore elements of humanity such as bravery, and the difference between right and wrong
  • Build confidence
  • Experience a sense of control over their lives, which is dominated by adult control
  • Improve physical skills, strength, and coordination
  • Let their imaginations soar as they look for new ways to solve problems
  • Work as a team to accomplish a goal
  • Communicate with peers in a way the promotes collaboration
  • Practice taking on the perspectives of others, which is key to developing empathy
  • Develop leadership skills

Instead of banning this type of play, consider how you might build upon it and incorporate superhero play into engaging learning activities.

  • When it seems that children are “fighting” each other, encourage them to both take on the superhero roles and figure out a way to defeat the villain together.
  • Encourage children to create a back story for their superhero. Perhaps these stories could be illustrated and turned into a class book.
  • Measure how far the superheroes in your class can jump or throw a ball as a way to incorporate math skills into superhero play.
  • Ask children to think like a team to solve a problem that you “discovered” in the block area.
  • Discuss the notion of “good guys” and “bad guys”, make links to the actions of these two characters and the actions children can take in the classroom.

For more ideas, check out these articles:

March 2019 Newsletter – Children and Risk: Director’s Corner – Managing Risk

Leading a program that promotes risk-taking requires a certain level of comfort with risk. If we want teachers to trust children’s capabilities and allow them to take on new risks in the classroom, we must model that by trusting our teachers to do the same.

Hold a team meeting to discuss risk in the learning environment. Talk with staff about how they define risk and their feelings about children engaging in risk-taking activities.

Identify safe risks that are present in the environment and ones that could be added. Implementing these learning opportunities also requires an understanding of what licensing regulations and quality initiative tools in your state say about risk-taking and big body play so you can work within those standards.

Collaborate with employees to create an environment that maintains adherence to licensing regulations and provides children opportunities to take on new challenges. It will also be important to have clear supervision guidelines for activities that involve risk.

Encourage staff to consider individual children’s comfort with risk, just as you work with individual teachers to increase the amount of risk they are comfortable with. Communicating the value of risk-taking to families can help them to accept the new activities you are implementing in the classrooms. It might even encourage them to promote some risk taking activities at home or at the local park as well.

For the main article Children and Risk, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Risk Taking, CLICK HERE

For the article Encouraging Risk in the Classroom, CLICK HERE

For the article Big Body Play, CLICK HERE

March 2019 Newsletter – Children and Risk: Big Body Play

Children often take risks with their bodies. They seek to understand the strengths and limitations of the vehicle they are using to move around the world. Encouraging physical risk-taking is something that many adults are uncomfortable with. We have been trained since the beginning of our careers to make sure children are safe and that they never get hurt. These are very important rules, but is there a way that children can explore their capabilities that involves minimal risk?

The answer is “Yes!” according to proponents of Big Body Play (BBP). Frances Carlson, author of the book Big Body Play: Why Boisterous, Vigorous, and Very Physical Play is Essential to Children’s Development and Learning, defines BBP as “the very physical, vigorous, boisterous, and sometimes bone-jarring play style many children love and crave.”

Examples include jumping, leaping, chasing, tumbling, rolling, spinning, swinging, bumping, crashing, tagging, tugging, pushing, and wrestling. These activities help children develop physical skills, strength, and coordination. Additionally, children practice language skills, listening to peers, and interpreting body language during BBP. These skills are used to ensure that the play remains play and does not transition into aggression. Children explore concepts of competition, fairness, and cooperation, each of which leads to better developed self-regulation skills.

To learn more, check out these resources:

For the main article Children and Risk, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Risk Taking, CLICK HERE

For the article Encouraging Risk in the Classroom, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Managing Risk, CLICK HERE

March 2019 Newsletter – Children and Risk: Encouraging Risk in the Classroom

Before you can begin to incorporate risk-taking activities, it is important that you reflect on your own relationship with risk. You can take a few quiet moments to think about how you feel when risky situations, either personally or professionally, arise in your own life. What emotions arise when you see a child engaged in a risky activity?

Next, you will need to work to create a safe environment in which children can explore risks. Of course, through supervision and careful selection of materials, you can ensure safety, but in this case, we are talking about more than just physical safety.

Consider the level of emotional safety that exists in your learning environment. How safe do children feel to take chances? What messages do children receive when they make mistakes? Are children encouraged to try new things or are they shielded from challenges and possible frustrations?

Teachers should work to create a classroom culture where children feel comfortable reaching beyond their current skill-level. Mistakes should be seen as welcomed learning opportunities and children should be encouraged to bring their ideas to fruition, even if they don’t know how things will work out. Risk taking will look different for each child so it is important to observe children carefully in order to notice when they appear to be avoiding a particular challenge. When you notice this, you can attempt to support the child’s efforts through encouragement, modeling, scaffolding, or just simply by letting them know you are there if they need you.

For the main article Children and Risk, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Risk Taking, CLICK HERE

For the article Big Body Play, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Managing Risk, CLICK HERE

March 2019 Newsletter – Children and Risk: Benefits of Risk Taking

Risk is part of everyday life – from infancy through adulthood. Effective risk management involves numerous skills that develop over time. In order to navigate risks effectively, children need to learn to assess risk, think about the risk critically, create solutions, implement them, and evaluate how their decisions worked out in the end.

In other words, learning to navigate risks requires the opportunity to encounter risks and work through them. Here are a few additional things that children learn or develop during risk-taking activities:

  • Balance, physical strength, and coordination of movements
  • Using materials appropriately and safely
  • Self-regulation, patience, and impulse control
  • Perseverance, determination, and resilience
  • Collaboration and cooperation skills
  • Bonding with peers
  • Listening and respect for others
  • Practice reading body language of others
  • Creativity and ingenuity
  • Problem solving and curiosity (What will happen if…?)
  • Decision making
  • Learning from mistakes – adjusting actions in the future
  • Understanding of cause and effect
  • Confidence, self–esteem, and belief in their abilities
  • Recognize the limits of their capabilities
  • Opportunities to push the limits of their capabilities

Were any of these skills on your list of things that you remember learning from your risk taking activities?

For the main article Children and Risk, CLICK HERE

For the article Encouraging Risk in the Classroom, CLICK HERE

For the article Big Body Play, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Managing Risk, CLICK HERE

March 2019 Newsletter – Children and Risk

Think back to some of the different times in your life that involved taking a risk. Does anything come to mind? Probably so; but why do these memories stand out? In very simple terms, our brains create stronger memories when events are accompanied with strong emotions. In terms of risk-taking memories, many of these events are tied to strong feelings of independence, accomplishment, or thrill. There may even be a touch of fear tied to these risk-taking memories.

We all have unique stories about our risk-taking experiences and what we learned as we navigated the risks of childhood. Despite the differences, one thing is common; taking risks taught us many things.

In her 2011 study, Children’s Risky Play from an Evolutionary Perspective, Ellen Sandseter identified several types of risky play that children tend to explore:

  • Heights – Children explore their physical prowess and bravery by exploring the world from different heights.
  • Speed – Children explore how fast they can run, ride, sled, roll, swing, and eventually drive.
  • Tools – Children are drawn to explore the use of tools from sticks to knives to hammers and many others.
  • Elements – Children are drawn to natural elements such as fire, water, and ice.
  • Play fighting – Children tend to explore their physical and social strengths through chases and wrestling matches.
  • Disappearing – Children test their independence by hiding, wandering away, or getting lost.

As uncomfortable as we may be now, as adults, with these forms of exploration, most of us probably have memories of engaging in at least one of these types of risky play.

As early childhood professionals, we are not in a position to give children knives or allow them to play with fire. We cannot let them wander off or swing from the highest branches of a tree. We are, however, in a position to incorporate a variety of safe risks that children can explore and use to learn valuable skills.

For the article Benefits of Risk Taking, CLICK HERE

For the article Encouraging Risk in the Classroom, CLICK HERE

For the article Big Body Play, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Managing Risk, CLICK HERE