June 2020 Newsletter – Preparing Children and Families for the Return to Care: Establishing and Communicating Policies

Prior to reopening, administrators will need to establish a number of new policies and procedures. The CDC is recommending that all children be screened each day before being allowed to enter the facility.  Your program will need to determine the best way to conduct those screenings.  You will also need to have the protective gear and equipment on hand to meet new requirements.

There is much to consider before opening to the public.  Use local, state, and national recommendations to create these new policies and procedures. Here is a link to the CDC recommendations. You will also need to consult your local health department for additional recommendations specific to your region.

Your planning should address:

  • How you will respond when a child becomes ill while in your program
  • How you will respond when an adult becomes ill while in your program
  • Staffing to cover teachers who become ill
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing measures
  • Appropriate social distancing
  • Changes to daily routines
  • Changes to teacher ratios
  • How you will enforce new policies

Use a variety of methods (in writing, in person and electronic) to share new procedures and policies with families.  Be sure to do so well in advance of reopening so that families have time to prepare themselves and their children for the changes in routine.

For the main article Preparing Children and Families for the Return to Care, CLICK HERE

For the article Preparing for New Routines and Separation Anxiety, CLICK HERE

For the article Talking to Children about COVID-19, CLICK HERE

For the article Managing Adult Emotions, CLICK HERE

June 2020 Newsletter – Preparing Children and Families for the Return to Care: Managing Adult Emotions

Many adults are going through this pandemic with a great amount of stress on their shoulders.  Around the world, people are experiencing feelings of fear and apprehension. As our nation reopens, family members may be feeling forced to go back to work. Others are eager get back to work, needing to reestablish their income.  And still others are feeling like this has all been a waste of time. Be prepared for the fact that some of these strong emotions are going to be expressed in your presence.

Maintain professionalism when engaging with families and coworkers:

  • Establish firm boundaries. If another adult tries to pull you into a conversation about the politics surrounding the shut-down, simply acknowledge that this is a challenging time and remind them that your focus needs to be on the children.
  • Do not engage in disagreements about COVID-19. If you disagree with the person’s statement, you could respond by saying, “That is an interesting point of view.” or “I hadn’t looked at it from that perspective.” Remember, you don’t need to attend every disagreement you are invited to!
  • Consider sharing informative articles and resources with families and coworkers. Here are a few possible sources of reliable information:
    • Local health departments
    • gov websites
    • CDC
    • AAP

For the main article Preparing Children and Families for the Return to Care, CLICK HERE

For the article Preparing for New Routines and Separation Anxiety, CLICK HERE

For the article Talking to Children about COVID-19, CLICK HERE

For the article Establishing and Communicating Policies, CLICK HERE

June 2020 Newsletter – Preparing Children and Families for the Return to Care: Talking to Children about COVID-19

Chances are, at some point during this pandemic, you have been confused with all of the information out there about COVID-19.  Recommendations and safety practices change weekly as scientists and health department officials learn more about the virus. If you are confused, you can bet that children are confused as well.  Not only have children’s routines been turned upside down, they are likely overhearing bits and pieces of adult conversations about the pandemic.

Children are probably hearing new vocabulary words, paired with the underlying anxiety family members are expressing related to health and economic concerns.  It is important to talk honestly with children about COVID-19, using words that they can understand. Be prepared to repeat yourself often as children process the information you are sharing. This article discusses why it is important to discuss COVID-19 with young children and natural, child-led ways to do so.

It is a good idea to get in contact with families prior to reopening to find out how they have been talking to their children about COVID-19.  What words and phrases are they using? Share resources with families to help them with these conversations.

Children’s literature can also help start conversations with children about current events.  Here is a list of children’s books recommended by Bank Street College of Education.  For older children, one expert recommends encouraging children to read science fiction and fantasy books as a strategy for developing resilience. Characters in science fiction and fantasy novels often find themselves in situations where they have to survive, and eventually thrive, in extremely challenging conditions.  Sound familiar?

For the main article Preparing Children and Families for the Return to Care, CLICK HERE

For the article Preparing for New Routines and Separation Anxiety, CLICK HERE

For the article Managing Adult Emotions, CLICK HERE

For the article Establishing and Communicating Policies, CLICK HERE

June 2020 Newsletter – Preparing Children and Families for the Return to Care: Preparing for New Routines and Separation Anxiety

Many children have been home with their families for several weeks, or even months. They have adjusted to a different routine and possibly become accustomed to spending lots of time with their parents who will soon be returning to work. Returning to care is going to be yet another adjustment children need to make in a short period of time. Even children who have been in your program for multiple years may show signs of separation anxiety during the first few weeks after reopening.

Some of the normal recommendations to help with separation anxiety, such as comfort items from home or parents spending time in the classroom before departing do not align with new CDC guidelines. It will take some creativity and collaboration with families to support children who experience separation anxiety.  Perhaps parents could drop off a comfort item (that is able to be cleaned and sanitized) prior to the child’s first day.  Teachers could sanitize the item and have it ready for the child on their first day.

Communicate with families about separation anxiety and provide ideas for how they can begin to talk about the back-to-school transition in a positive way with their children.  However, at drop off, everyone should be prepared for anxiety. Comfort children as best you can, walk them through the new drop-off procedures, and allow them to engage in an activity of their choice upon entering the classroom.

It is best that programs prepare for children to experience stress upon returning to care. That means deliberately making adjustments to the morning transition to keep it as stress-free as possible. Don’t expect children to be able to follow the drop off routine independently, even if they were doing so prior to the shut-down. Provide prompts and visual cues to remind children of tasks, such as hanging up their bag and washing their hands. Posters that illustrate the steps of the transition can be placed by the classroom door, especially if you are introducing new safety steps into your routine.

Teachers will also need to adjust other elements of the routine, such as circle time.  It is recommended that teachers refrain from gathering children in groups where they have to sit close to one another. This is a time to adapt your typical teaching methods to incorporate small group work and individual exploration that allow children to spread out.

For the main article Preparing Children and Families for the Return to Care, CLICK HERE

For the article Talking to Children about COVID-19, CLICK HERE

For the article Managing Adult Emotions, CLICK HERE

For the article Establishing and Communicating Policies, CLICK HERE

June 2020 Newsletter – Preparing Children and Families for the Return to Care

As many communities begin to re-open after COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders are lifted, child care programs are going to be crucial to the success of the economic recovery. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have developed guidance for programs that have remained open to care for the children of essential employees. The CDC has also created decision trees for child care programs and youth programs/camps to help administrators decide whether they are prepared to open their doors to children and families.

While the recommended strategies are necessary at this time, some go against many of the practices that one would see in high quality programs.  Examples include adaptations to drop-off/pick-up routines, family style dining, and teacher/child interactions due to social distancing.

It is important that program leaders and employees meet prior to reopening to discuss the new recommendations and determine the best way to put them in place while maintaining as many high quality practices as possible. For example, what language will teachers use to remind children to keep their masks in place or give their peers extra personal space?  How will these concepts be introduced and reinforced in a positive manner, rather than in a punitive one?  What are the social distancing measures that your program will put in place that still allow children ample time to play and learn together?

It is clear that there will be enhancements to cleaning routines to maintain a safe physical learning environment, but programs must also spend time planning for ways to maintain a safe and nurturing emotional environment for young children.

For the article Preparing for New Routines and Separation Anxiety, CLICK HERE

For the article Talking to Children about COVID-19, CLICK HERE

For the article Managing Adult Emotions, CLICK HERE

For the article Establishing and Communicating Policies, CLICK HERE

Practices to Reduce Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Last month’s blog explored some of the common signs of stress that people may be experiencing during COVID-19 related shut-downs.  Even though some states are opening up or loosening restrictions on stay-at-home orders, stress is not going away.  Now we will face new stress-inducing experiences, such as returning to work, venturing out using public transportation, and facing crowded business.

The Medical University of South Carolina suggests a number of tips for reducing stress related to COVID-19:

  • Recognize that we are all in this together. Knowing that you are not alone in what you are feeling and experiencing can be helpful.
  • Be sure to breathe. This means creating time each day to sit quietly and get in touch with your breath.
  • Reach out for support and help. You don’t have to navigate this situation in isolation, even if you are alone at home. There are people in your social network willing to help you.
  • Be kind. Engage in quiet acts of kindness. They don’t have to cost money. Look another person in the eye and greet them warmly when you pass them on the street.
  • Look for the positive. It is easy to focus on the negative at a time like this. Make an effort to notice positive things going on around you.
  • Limit your exposure to social media and news coverage. Put yourself on a media diet and only seek information from reliable resources.
  • Adjust your language. If you notice that you are repeating negative phrases, such as “Everything has changed for the worse,” try to change that to, “Things are definitely different, but I will be able to adjust to the new normal.”
  • Use technology for good! Explore apps (Calm) and podcasts (Ten Percent Happier) that promote healthy living.
  • Stay connected with friends and loved ones in creative ways. Attend religious services online, organize a sing-along over Zoom, or challenge someone to a friendly game of online Scrabble.

To read more of the ideas shared in the article, click here.

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Supporting Children and Families Who Have Experienced Trauma

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers SOC110: Supporting Children and Families Who Have Experienced Trauma as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users June 1-30, 2020.

The CDC has recently called childhood trauma a public health concern for which intentional prevention efforts should be established. A CDC study found that close to 60% of Americans have experienced at least one type of childhood trauma and about 15% have experienced 4 or more types of childhood trauma. Traumatic experiences can have detrimental effects that can impact both mental and physical health well into adulthood, including a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, and depression.

Traumatic events affect everyone differently. The way individuals react to traumatic events will vary based on the person’s age, developmental level and environmental factors, as well as the degree of exposure to the trauma. Traumatic events can leave psychological symptoms long after any physical injuries have healed. As an early childhood educator, it is your job to support the development of the whole child. It is also your responsibility to offer support to families. Sometimes, this will require you to respond to the stress and emotions children and their families are feeling due to traumatic events in their lives.

According to the study results, people who reported having experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) were more likely to experience the following conditions in adulthood:

  • Chronic health problems
  • Infectious diseases
  • Mental health diagnoses
  • Risky behaviors
  • Injury

There are a number of potentially traumatic events that occur during childhood that can have a detrimental impact on children’s health and wellness and follow them into adulthood. This course examines the impact of different forms of trauma that children may experience and explores ways that child care professionals can support children and families in these situations.

This course explores the developmental impacts of different types of family trauma, from parent incarceration, family separation and military deployment, to domestic violence, addiction, and loss of a loved one. Participants will learn ways, based on current brain research, to structure support for children and families who have experienced trauma. Specific classroom strategies and parent resources are also provided.

“Child care providers work with children and families who have experienced a wide variety of family trauma,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “It is important that providers understand how events in a child’s life will impact a child’s mental health and their day to day interactions and behaviors. With this deeper understanding, teachers will be able to build skills necessary to support children and families who are managing the effects of trauma in their lives.”

SOC110: Supporting Children and Families Who Have Experienced Trauma 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).

New Course from ChildCare Education Institute on Practicing Positive Guidance with Preschool and School-Age Children

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, is proud to introduce GUI108: Practicing Positive Guidance with Preschool and School-Age Children to the online child care training course catalog.

During the preschool and school-age stages of development, children should be given many opportunities to make choices and plan their own experiences. Activities and spontaneous conversations focused on children’s plans for their play should occur regularly. It is fine if children’s play shifts away from the original plan; the goal isn’t to hold children to their plans but to get children to explore their ability to take initiative.  Teachers should also be available to guide children through challenging peer interactions, to teach children skills they can use in the future when similar problems arise.  These general approaches align with both the stage of development children are in and positive guidance practices.

When caregivers understand the skills that children are working to develop, they can put in place strategies and learning opportunities that promote those skills. It can also relieve some stress when caregivers understand that many behaviors are linked directly to skills that children are missing, rather than outright “misbehavior” or defiance.  To use positive guidance, caregivers must:

  • Regulate their own emotions.
  • Practice effective communication.
  • Be facilitators and guides, not directors or dictators.
  • Understand the child’s world and developmental appropriateness.
  • Focus on solutions, not punishment.

This course focuses on positive guidance tools that are appropriate for use with preschool and school-age children. Preschool and early elementary school years is typically ages 3–6 years of age and the term “school-age” refers to children between 6 and 12 years of age. In this course, participants will explore the concept of positive guidance and why it is so important to use positive guidance in their work with preschool and school-age children. This course focuses on the use of developmentally appropriate practices as well as the child development theories that support positive guidance practices.

“Positive guidance strategies are designed to give children the tools they need to strengthen their self-esteem and confidence in their skills,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “Using the strategies found in this course consistently will create an environment where children can develop self-regulation and problem-solving skills with the guidance of trusted caregivers.”

GUI108: Practicing Positive Guidance with Preschool and School-Age Children is a two-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion. The course is also offered in Spanish.  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).

New Course from ChildCare Education Institute on Practicing Positive Guidance with Infants and Toddlers

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, is proud to introduce GUI107: Practicing Positive Guidance with Infants and Toddlers to the online child care training course catalog.

Positive guidance is an approach to working with children, the goal of which is to teach self-control and good decision making skills. The strategies associated with positive guidance are designed to promote and preserve a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence.  One of the keys to positive guidance is the use of positive language. The teacher encourages, promotes, or guides desired behaviors by focusing on what children can/should do (positive) instead of what they cannot/should not do (negative).

Positive guidance is a teaching tool for social emotional learning.  For early childhood professionals, positive guidance is a beneficial classroom management tool. It takes time for children to learn self-control and decision making skills. In a room full of energetic, curious children who are working to develop these skills, teachers need easy and effective classroom management tools they can use to create an optimal learning environment.  Using positive guidance, teachers can help toddlers:

  • Build a strong sense of self
  • Be self-confident
  • Make good choices
  • Be responsible
  • Learn self-control

Learning opportunities matter. The more opportunities children have to explore, the more knowledge they stand to gain. As knowledge grows, cognition grows, along with the sense of self.  As children begin to see themselves as separate from parents and caregivers, they begin to explore their autonomy and will. This is an important stage of development that must be carefully managed by caregivers in a way that allows for the development of these skills without instilling a sense of shame or doubt.

This course focuses on positive guidance tools that are appropriate for use with infants and toddlers children ages 18 months – 3 years of age. Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to identify strategies for promoting self-identity, self-confidence, and self-control in infants and toddlers. This course also reviews and expands upon theories, theorists, and concepts regarding human behavior and early childhood development.

“By putting the strategies discussed in the course into effect, teachers can promote self-confidence, which in turn promotes exploration and the building of knowledge and skills—and ultimately a greater self-identity,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.

GUI107: Practicing Positive Guidance with Infants and Toddlers is a two-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion. The course is also offered in Spanish as ESP_GUI107.  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).

In Times of Uncertainty, ChildCare Education Institute Offers a Free Course to All Users on Coping with Crises and Traumatic Events

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers ADM107: Coping With Crises and Traumatic Events as a free course to all CCEI users as a special promotion during these unprecedented times May 1-31, 2020.

ChildCare Aware of America reports that there are nearly 11 million children under the age of five in child care each week. In the event of an emergency or disaster, all child care providers need to have a written plan that is integrated with the community and state’s emergency management plan to ensure the safety of children. This is especially important because children may not be mobile or able to communicate basic information to a rescuer.

After an emergency or disaster occurs, your children, staff, and families may feel overwhelmed and stressed about the events or dangers they have experienced or may anticipate. The actions your program takes to offer relief can reduce the stress and enable individuals to rebuild their lives. Anticipating these needs makes the delivery of food, water, and clothing, as well the identification of shelter more efficient. Systems also need to be in place to deal with mental health needs, such as post−traumatic stress disorder.

Children’s coping with disaster is often tied to the way parents and teachers cope. They detect the fear and sadness from the adult so you can make disasters less traumatic for children by taking steps to manage your own feelings and plans for coping. Encourage children to share feelings about the incident and listen to their concerns. If they have trouble expressing their feelings, allow them to draw a picture or tell a story about what happened. Clarify misunderstandings about the situation, if any, and answer any questions simply without elaboration. You can maintain a sense of calm by validating the children’s concerns and perceptions and by discussing concrete plans for safety.

Emergencies and natural disasters can happen suddenly with little or no warning. This course provides essential information on recommended practices and strategies and other important resources to help guide the process of planning to survive and recover from disasters, emergencies, and other types of potentially traumatic events.  Security and emergency preparedness at home and school is everyone’s responsibility. It requires coordinated prevention, protection, response and recovery actions. Early childhood educators and administrators should be trained to respond appropriately and effectively to a variety of potential crises and disasters.

“Providing information to the ECE community and beyond that will reduce the threat to children, families, and the facility in the event of an incident and other traumatic events in a child’s life such as the current COVID-19 pandemic we are currently experiencing is of the upmost importance to us at ChildCare Education Institute,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “We are happy to give back and provide this course for free during the month of May.”

ADM107: Coping With Crises and Traumatic Events is a three-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.3 IACET CEU upon successful completion.  The course is also offered in Spanish as ESP_ADM107.  New CCEI users can follow simple steps for accessing the free course by visiting https://www.cceionline.com/free-course-instructions/.  Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses, including this course, at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account.

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).