January 2020 Student Spotlight – Laura Brown

I began my career as an assistant teacher in the Early Preschool room at Oregon Park Primrose School in 2017.  By 2019, the center had earned the privilege of having the teacher of the year at their school and becoming the Best of Cobb for childcare.

My training with ChildCare Education Institute has helped me meet state requirements for my position.  I have completed the GACE and want to continue my education with CCEI to be a better teacher.

My favorite activity and part of the day is morning Circle Time because the children are ready to start the day and so eager to learn!  As I began working in the school, I felt so drawn to the children as they clearly need love and affection in a safe environment and as such, they can learn so much about life.  The motivation that keeps me going is when they have an “Aha” moment and began to build on their own skill set to improve the language, social skills and cognitive abilities.

I currently live in Marietta, GA.  During my free time I am painting or crafting or refurbishing/recycling household items or I cycle with other bicycle enthusiasts. I am an amateur photographer and love to travel to destinations that lend themselves to photography.  I also enjoy opportunities to spend with my children and grandchildren and for ways to volunteer and give back to my community.

In the future, I see myself as lead teacher at Primrose and eventually running my own franchise or at least being part of their management team.  I have and continue to seriously consider adding CCEI coursework in an effort to have credentials such as my CDA.

I absolutely recommend CCEI to my coworkers and friends as it is incredibly convenient to anyone’s lifestyle and the support is invaluable. I truly feel like my thoughts and opinions matter to the people who work to make CCEI the awesome teaching platform that it is.   I look forward to taking more CCEI courses and continuing to make a positive difference in our youth’s future.

ChildCare Education Institute Renews its Articulation Agreement with University of Phoenix

ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI), an accredited distance education institution dedicated exclusively to the child care industry, is proud to announce its newly revised articulation agreement with University of Phoenix.

CCEI students who complete CDA, CDA Renewal, Director’s Certificate or FCCPC Certificate programs may articulate up to four (4) semester hours of Interdisciplinary/Elective Credit to University of Phoenix through the Prior Learning Assessment process. Additionally, students completing CCEI professional development may articulate their training as elective credit. Thirty (30) hours of training is equivalent to one (1) hour of elective credit. Students must submit an official CCEI transcript when applying to University of Phoenix.

To articulate credit into a University of Phoenix degree program, CCEI graduates should contact the Prior Learning Assessment department at 844.937.8679 or visit the University of Phoenix PLA website.   Students interested in CCEI certificate programs or professional development courses should contact CCEI’s Admissions Department at 1.800.499.9907.

“As requirements for childcare staff increase, educational partnerships open up opportunities for early childhood teachers to meet their goals, which increasingly include a college degree,” said Maria Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.

About University of Phoenix
John Sperling, PhD, a Cambridge-educated economist, professor and entrepreneur, founded University of Phoenix in 1976 in response to the changing needs of the workplace. It was part of his commitment to provide adults with the higher education they would need to fill those needs and for forty years, that’s exactly what we’ve done.

The times have changed, but our objective has remained the same – to help people enhance their lives through education. Together we will keep working to fulfill Dr. Sperling’s vision, improve the lives of our students and strengthen our communities.

We are proud to provide students access to quality education, ongoing support and a range of resources to help them succeed. Through innovation and dedication, we can continue to work toward a better tomorrow.

We invite you to learn about our University and see how we can help you pursue your education and follow your dreams.

January 2020 Newsletter – Exploring Loose Parts: Director’s Corner – Helping Teachers Get Started with Loose Parts

It is important for directors and program administrators to lead the way when it comes to incorporating loose parts. Your guidance, knowledge, and excitement about loose parts will be invaluable to staff members who are new to using these kinds of learning materials.

Use a variety of methods to introduce the concept of loose parts play.  You can share articles, books, videos, or professional development courses, such as the one offered by CCEI (CUR125: Loose Parts: Incorporating Found Objects and Open-Ended Materials into the Classroom).  Once employees have had the chance to review the materials, hold discussions about the benefits that loose parts would bring to the program, as well as the challenges that might arise.

Before collecting any new materials, take some time to guide teachers through a few of the following reflections:

  • Consider your program’s philosophy and mission statement. Work with staff members to align the benefits of loose parts to the overall mission of the program.
  • Work with individual teachers and teaching teams to reflect on how loose parts play relates to the goals teachers are attempting to reach in their learning environments.
  • Ask teachers to evaluate the materials that are currently used in the environment. How many could be considered loose parts? Which materials could be used in conjunction with loose parts? Which areas of the classroom could be enhanced with loose parts?
  • Ask teachers to consider the storage of loose parts. Where will materials be stored when not in use? What needs to happen to make space for the storage of loose parts? For example, do teachers need time to clean out a closet before bringing in new materials?
  • Work with teaching teams to identify a few simple, starter materials that teachers can introduce in to the learning environment. Help teachers decide how the materials will be introduced to children and a few guidelines for the use of the materials – but keep in mind that the use of these materials should be largely child-driven.

As teachers become more comfortable and confident with the implementation of loose parts, challenge them to continue to think outside of the box about the materials they use in the classroom.

You can find more tips for getting started in this resource here.

For the main article Exploring Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

For the article Loose Parts for Infants & Toddlers, CLICK HERE

For the article Loose Parts for Older Children, CLICK HERE

January 2020 Newsletter – Exploring Loose Parts: Loose Parts for Older Children

Once children have stopped mouthing materials and have better muscle coordination, many different loose parts materials can be introduced.  Practically any safe material can be used as a loose part in a preschool classroom. The items provided to infants and toddlers can be enhanced with:

  • Various lengths of string, yarn, and ribbon
  • Sand paper scraps
  • Wooden sticks, disks, and logs
  • Polished and unpolished stones and rocks
  • Prisms, sea glass, and glass pebbles
  • Wire
  • Items made from cork or sponge
  • Dried and fresh flowers
  • Various seeds and pine cones
  • Clothes pins
  • Straw bales
  • Tires
  • Milk crates
  • PVC pipes and tubing
  • Pool noodles cut to different lengths
  • Buttons
  • Clothing made from a variety of fabrics
  • Dirt, mud, clay, etc.
  • Magnets
  • Dice and other random game pieces
  • Popsicle sticks or tongue depressors

Check out tons of other ideas on our Pinterest page here!

For the main article Exploring Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

For the article Loose Parts for Infants & Toddlers, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner – Helping Teachers Get Started with Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

January 2020 Newsletter – Exploring Loose Parts: Loose Parts for Infants & Toddlers

When choosing loose parts for infants and toddlers, avoid materials that are choking hazards. That being said, there are many different materials that can be introduced to infants and toddlers:

  • Cardboard food and packing containers
  • Plastic bottles, yogurt cups, and empty spice containers
  • Various fabric scraps or doilies
  • Pots, pans, funnels, and utensils
  • Large spools
  • Baskets and tin containers
  • Various lids
  • Paper towel rolls and tubes of various sizes and materials
  • Pompoms and cotton balls
  • Various sizes and shapes of foam
  • Large beads and napkin rings
  • Nature items such as mini gourds, leaves, shells, etc.
  • Wooden pegs and dowel rods
  • Tile samples
  • Wooden planks

There are many other materials that you could use – what loose parts have you used with infants and toddlers?  Tell us on Facebook here!

For the main article Exploring Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

For the article Loose Parts for Older Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner – Helping Teachers Get Started with Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

January 2020 Newsletter – Exploring Loose Parts: Benefits of Loose Parts

Because loose parts can be used in many different ways, they are a great tool for strengthening all areas of development.  Sometimes, children will use materials in ways that support hand-eye coordination and fine muscle development. Other times, they may use those same materials in a cooperative way that promotes communication, negotiation, and problem solving. Some loose parts lend themselves to the exploration of early literacy concepts, mathematics, or scientific thinking.

Loose parts are open-ended, meaning there is not a predetermined right way to use them. Using loose parts is an active, child-led process. This gives children an opportunity to express themselves creatively and use their imagination. Children can use materials that have multiple purposes in their storytelling and pretend play. These activities typically involve a group of children, meaning that they are also practicing cooperation, collaboration and negotiation skills.

As children explore, they are able to make connections to prior knowledge, learn from others, and conduct their own experiments. Because the exploration is child-driven, children strengthen their concentration skills, increasing their ability to focus their attention and ignore distractions. These learning experiences improve critical thinking and self-regulation skills, which are essential to success in school and in life.

Introducing loose parts outdoors can have the benefit of helping children connect to nature, which has scientifically proven benefits to health and well-being.  Items from nature can be used as loose parts that children can use to construct new creations and explore engineering and design.

What other loose parts benefits can you think of?  There are many, many more!

For the main article Exploring Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

For the article Loose Parts for Infants & Toddlers, CLICK HERE

For the article Loose Parts for Older Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner – Helping Teachers Get Started with Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

January 2020 Newsletter – Exploring Loose Parts

Happy New Year!  Happy New Decade!  What a great time to adopt new strategies to promote children’s creativity and exploration!

An easy and inexpensive way to do so is by incorporating loose parts into the learning environment.  “Loose parts” is a term used to describe any material that can be used in an open-ended manner.  These are materials that can be used in many different ways, or for many different purposes.

Loose parts can be recycled materials, found objects, or items from nature. Ideally, the materials are free, but some loose parts can be found in stores or from supply vendors for very little investment.

In this newsletter, we will explore the benefits of loose parts and materials that are appropriate to use with children of different ages. If you are interested in learning more about bringing these valuable learning materials into your environment, be sure to check out one of CCEI’s newest courses, CUR125: Loose Parts: Incorporating Found Objects and Open-Ended Materials into the Classroom. This course is the free trial course of the month of January 2020 for individuals who are new to CCEI, so be sure to share with your colleagues!

For the article Benefits of Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

For the article Loose Parts for Infants & Toddlers, CLICK HERE

For the article Loose Parts for Older Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner – Helping Teachers Get Started with Loose Parts, CLICK HERE

Children’s Interactions with Loose Parts

The January edition of the CCEI newsletter focuses on ways to introduce loose parts into your learning environment.  These open-ended materials provide countless developmental and learning opportunities – once the children get used to using them.  Have you ever known a child who needed to have the directions to create something out of Legos?  Have you ever heard a child ask you how they should draw a tree or ask you to make a person out of playdough for them?  Of course, all children are different, some are more creative than others.  However,  in some cases, children come to us with a need to expand their creativity and build confidence in their own skills.  Loose parts can help with this!

After introducing new loose parts, you may notice that children use the materials in very ordinary ways.  They may line up and stack the materials or sort them into piles (very important skills, by the way).  As an adult educator and conference goer, I have witnessed this first hand in sessions I have facilitated and attended as a participant with other adults.  In the first few minutes with a new material, even adults revert to these simple forms of play.  But given ample time, I have noticed adults testing out materials, seeing what they can do, how they can be used, how they work with other materials. I have watched the expressions on adult’s faces change from, “Is this what I am supposed to be doing?” to “I love what I just created!”  In other words, the expressions changed from worry to joy and contentment.

For this reason, it is encouraged to allow children ample, uninterrupted time to explore loose parts. Observe children carefully, watching for signs that they are excited about their work.  They may not be using the materials in the way that you had intended, but as long as they are being safe, let the exploration continue. Let the creativity flow. Let children know when they use materials in ways that you had not thought of.  Help children build the confidence to be creative and use materials in new and exciting ways.

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Loose Parts: Incorporating Found Objects and Open-Ended Materials into the Classroom

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CUR125: Loose Parts: Incorporating Found Objects and Open-Ended Materials into the Classroom as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users January 1-31, 2020.

According to Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky, authors of the book Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children, loose parts are “alluring, beautiful, found objects and materials that children can move, manipulate, control, and change while they play.”  Here are a few additional features of loose parts:

  • They come with no specific set of directions and can be used alone or combined with other materials
  • They can be turned into whatever children desire
  • They promote social competence as they support creativity and innovation

Open-ended loose parts, such as items from nature, have multiple outcomes. They can become anything the child wants them to be. Loose parts can be combined with traditional learning materials to promote a wide variety of developmental skills. The versatility of loose parts provides children with endless ways to create.  Combining loose part materials will expand the learning possibilities of these experiences.

The use of loose parts can support children in their physical development – both in large motor skills (the way they use their arms and legs) and fine motor skills (hands and fingers).  Teachers can help children progress in these skills by giving them plentiful opportunities to use different equipment and materials.  Providing materials that require a child to practice their pincer grasp or adding tree stumps to your outside area gives children a chance to explore new materials and build on physical skills.

Children prefer materials that give them the opportunity to be creative, be curious and be independent. One of the most effective ways to encourage this is to incorporate materials in your classroom that support children’s natural curiosity. In this course, participants will explore theory, implementation and ways to include loose parts into their curriculum in developmentally appropriate ways. After this course, participants will have the tools and strategies to embark on their own loose parts journey that will benefit children’s learning on all levels.

“ECE professionals will benefit from the content of this course as they deepen their understanding of the benefits of loose parts exploration in early learning environments,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “By implementing loose parts exploration in the classroom, teachers will be adding another curriculum and child engagement strategy to their practice. Children will also benefit from these open ended experiences as they strengthen their creativity, problem-solving skills and critical thinking abilities.”

CUR125: Loose Parts: Incorporating Found Objects and Open-Ended Materials into the Classroom to is a two-hour, intermediate-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 www.cceionline.edu 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 accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).