August 2020 Newsletter – Remembering the Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Reflecting on Play and Motivation

In light of the stress that is impacting so many children and families, teachers must ensure that the very best practices of teaching and learning are present in the classroom.  The additional stress of improper teaching strategies can be avoided when teachers reflect on research-based best practices of encouraging play and following children’s motivation to learn.

Here are some things to think about to ensure that children are receiving high-quality early learning experiences despite the restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation and promoting language, cognition, and social competence.
    1. What are a few ways that I can incorporate academic concepts into children’s play, using a variety of safe materials?
    2. How can we use the outdoor environment as an extended classroom?
    3. Is there an opportunity to alter the daily schedule to allow for longer, uninterrupted periods of play?
    4. How can we modify the dramatic play area to promote exploration that doesn’t require dress-up clothes?
    5. What can we learn about children by observing their play from a distance?
  • Children’s experiences shape their motivation and approaches to learning.
    1. We are responsible for enforcing new policies in order to maintain a safe environment. How can we do so in a positive and motivating manner, rather than a punitive manner?
    2. How does the tone of my voice and the language I use when speaking to children help them discover a love of learning and education?
    3. Fieldtrips and class visitors are likely off-limits right now. How could we leverage technology to explore the world outside of the classroom?

What are some ways we can engage with children that will strengthen their approaches to learning and spark curiosity and exploration?

For the main article Remembering the Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Development and Relationships, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Variety and Influences, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Creating Community, CLICK HERE

August 2020 Newsletter – Remembering the Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Reflecting on Variety and Influences

Restrictions and policies tend to shrink learning experiences. Teachers will need to plan curriculum and interactions with children and families with the intention of expanding learning opportunities, rather than restricting them.

Here are some things to think about to ensure that children are receiving high-quality early learning experiences despite the restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Children learn in a variety of ways.
    1. Are there ways that we can use familiar materials in new and different ways to promote learning and exploration? Are there new materials, such as loose parts or recycled materials that will enhance our learning environment, both indoors and out?
    2. Are there opportunities to meet children’s needs in different ways? Are there classroom rules about combining materials that can be set aside to promote new exploration?
    3. What do we know about how the children in my care learn best? How can I gather more information about how they learn?
    4. Is this a time to explore new curriculum topics? Are there new concepts that we can teach children in light of the pandemic?
    5. Perhaps this is a good time to have meaningful conversations about our responsibilities to one another, working together as part of a community of learners. What is the best way to start those conversations with the children?
  • Development and learning occur in and are influenced by multiple social and cultural contexts.
    1. Vygotsky believed that social interactions were the basis for learning and cognition. How can we maintain a social environment and still keep children safe and free from fear?
    2. What impact has COVID-19 had on the economy of my community and are there children and families who need additional support during this time?
    3. Children are highly influenced by the culture in which they are raised. How does culture play a role in the lives of the children in our care? How can I respond to individual children and families in culturally responsive ways?

For the main article Remembering the Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Development and Relationships, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Play and Motivation, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Creating Community, CLICK HERE

August 2020 Newsletter – Remembering the Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Reflecting on Development and Relationships

Restrictions to activities and social distancing protocols may have a big impact on your program. Teachers need to ensure that children are provided a balanced curriculum within the context of strong supportive relationships.

Here are some things to think about to ensure that children are receiving high-quality early learning experiences despite the restrictions put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • All areas of development and learning are important.
    1. How can we create a learning environment that promotes development across all domains of learning?
    2. Children have been at home for months. How might we intentionally plan activities that encourage children to practice social skills?
    3. Many children and families are under a greater amount of stress than usual. What steps can we take to help children identify, communicate, and manage strong emotions?
    4. Now that sensory tables are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of germs, how could safer sensory activities be made available to children?
  • Children develop best when they have secure relationships.
    1. What steps do we need to take to build strong relationships with children from a distance?
    2. How will we manage our own frustration and stress, to prevent them from getting in the way of relationship building?
    3. If we are wearing masks, how will children perceive our facial expressions? Are there ways we can be more expressive with our eyes, tone of voice, or body language?
    4. Are there any rituals or routines I can put in place that will help build relationships and trust in the classroom?
    5. What is the safest way to greet children each day, celebrate successes, or comfort them when necessary?

For the main article Remembering the Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Play and Motivation, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Variety and Influences, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Creating Community, CLICK HERE

August 2020 Student Spotlight – Susan Viers

I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Secondary School Education.  My career in Early Childhood Education began in 2003. I previously taught high school for 5 years and then moved on to a legal assistant career for 12 years. My husband’s job pulled us from our home in Atlanta, GA to Napa for a while and then brought us back.  At that point, for family reasons and two children, I didn’t want to go back to working full time so I interviewed for a teaching position in a neighborhood preschool.  This is where the story begins with my love for the little ones.  Every day brings me joy and happiness in seeing those young curious learners become successful students.

Enrolling in the Director’s Certificate program was my first experience with CCEI. I was looking for a course that would meet my leadership hours required for accreditation by Cognia (formerly SACS and Advanced-Ed). CCEI has made it very easy as well as informative for my current position as Director of St. James Preschool. The knowledge I have gathered from my courses will go a long way to facilitating aspects of my job and all that it entails.  I never thought that I would be a Director of a Preschool but here I am.  So I would never rule out anything happening in my career.  In addition, I would like to go back and be re-certified which would require more coursework from CCEI.

My favorite time of day to spend with the children is snack time because of their stories and conversations. It is such a  joy to listen to their thoughts, ideas and opinions. It gives me a little window into their life and soul.  Hands down their favorite time of day is playground time. Our playground is a natural playscape wherein nothing is made from metal or plastic except for the slides. The area is also shaded so children can spend as much time out there without getting sunburned.

What motivates me and and what I enjoy are interrelated. Seeing the sheer joy on a child’s face as he/she tastes a snap pea for the first time, which he grew in our garden. Experiencing the delight of a toddler when he puts blocks one on top of each other and then claps or when a child sounds out a word for the first time and gets it right. Watching as children have light bulb moments in Makerspace studio when something they have designed works in the way in which they wanted. All of these things are what motivates me to work with children and creates the joy I find in my job.

I would recommend CCEI to everyone as it is very thorough in what it offers with each course encapsulated in a 1-2 hour online slide show. It’s very easy to operate and self gratifying. With each assessment question answered incorrectly, the program directs you back to the slides that talk about that specific question.  I learned so much that helps in my daily work as a Director at a Private Preschool. I have always wanted to set up a Mentor program for my staff and the CCEI course on Mentoring, greatly facilitated this idea with a rationale for how and why it works. It gave specific examples of what to do and strategies that are beneficial. I have begun to implement this and I am already in discussion with my staff.

Talking to Children About COVID-19

It is likely that the young children in your care have heard adults and siblings talk about coronavirus and CODIV-19. It is also likely that each child in your care has a different understanding, and maybe even a different capacity to understand what they are hearing from their family members.  One thing children do understand is that life has changed. Perhaps one or both parents have been home for an extended period. Perhaps there have been financial struggles as a result of unemployment. Time at home with family members could have been joyous for some children and scary for other children.

When considering conversations with children about the coronavirus, it may be a good idea to speak to children individually first, to gauge what children know and understand.  This initial investigation will help you make decisions about how best to move forward with conversations.  If you have a conversation with a group of 15 children, you risk confusing some of the children who may not have as much information as other children.

At first, just ask questions.  Ask children what they think is happening. Ask them to tell you more, or attempt to clarify their responses with additional questions. You don’t need to impart facts at this time, just listen.

Be sure to validate any feelings of fear or unease that children communicate. Let children know that it is a confusing time for everyone and that they are not alone in the way they feel.  Also, let them know that you are doing all you can to keep them safe. Don’t force children to talk, if it appears that they are not interested in the conversation. Let them know that you care about them and if they ever want to talk, you are there to listen.

Once you have a sense of what children understand, you can create a plan for small-group or large- group discussions.  You may choose to start the conversation with a book or a social story, like the example here.  If you use a prewritten story, be sure to modify the language to meet the understanding of your audience. You might also ask for some keywords to be translated into the home languages of your students.

Keep in mind, children may have experienced the loss of a loved one, or are currently separated from a loved one because of isolation protocols. It is important to have open lines of communication with families so that you can offer as much support as necessary.

Here is an excellent resource entitled, Supporting Young Children after Crisis Events, written by David Schonfeld from the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement.  Be sure to seek out additional information as children’s individual situations become apparent.

August 2020 Newsletter – Remembering the Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Director’s Corner: Creating Community

As a member of leadership, it falls on you to ensure one of the most important aspects of developmentally appropriate practice: Creating a caring community of learners.  It is a safe bet that everyone you encounter as you open your program will have experienced some type of disruption or stress due to the coronavirus.  Leading from a place of positivity, empathy, and possibility will help normalize the new regulations and safety practices that are now in place.

Whether you are interacting with employees, children, or family members, be sure to acknowledge the challenges that are now on all of our minds. Recognize stress and frustration, validate the emotions that others feel, and then create a plan to move forward. Encourage teachers to think outside of the box, to evaluate previous practices, and to practice flexibility as they plan experiences for young children.

Listen to the tone of voice that teachers use with children, families, and one another.  Gently, but firmly, make teachers aware of how their tone communicates just as much as their words do, if not more. It is possible that even your most patient teachers will have moments when the stress becomes too much.  Coach employees to watch out for one another and to step in to support each other when necessary.  It is going to take strong teamwork to move through this pandemic.

Check in frequently with staff members and families so you can address any issues proactively. Provide stress-reducing ideas and activities for families and employees to try over the weekend. And while you are doing all of this to lead your team, be mindful of your stress level.

We all know the importance of creating a safe and clean physical environment for children and employees but is also vital to create a supportive and caring emotional environment as well.

Be well.

For the main article Remembering the Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Development and Relationships, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Play and Motion, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Variety and Influences, CLICK HERE

August 2020 Newsletter – Remembering the Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Practice

As early learning environments reopen and attempt to provide safe and nurturing spaces for children to learn and grow, it is an important time to revisit the fundamentals of developmentally appropriate practice.  By reflecting on the guidance provided by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), teachers and administrators can work to address the challenges of the times while maintaining high-quality programs.

There are likely many new procedures that teachers and children must follow in light of COVID-19, such as wearing masks and social distancing.  Your classroom and the materials children have access to are also likely to look quite a bit different than previous years. Perhaps you have rearranged to allow for more space between children, or maybe you have removed items that are difficult to sanitize daily, such as soft toys or dress-up items. Sensory tables may be temporarily closed and close adult contact with children may be limited as we navigate this new reality.

Under these circumstances, how can programs ensure they are providing the best possible care?  In this newsletter, we will explore some of the core ideas associated with developmentally appropriate practice to find out.

NAEYC has identified 12 Principles of Child Development and Learning that inform the decisions that educators make on a daily basis.  These fundamental principles are a good starting point for determining what the curriculum and environment will look like moving forward. Let’s take a look at a few of these principles and some reflection questions you might want to consider with your teaching team.

For the article Reflecting on Development and Relationships, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Play and Motion, CLICK HERE

For the article Reflecting on Variety and Influences, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Creating Community, CLICK HERE

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on The Developmentally Appropriate Classroom

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CCEI350: The Developmentally Appropriate Classroom as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users August 1-31, 2020.

The developmentally appropriate classroom is a safe, respectful, stimulating environment in which each child can grow physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Children learn by interacting with people, ideas, and materials that match their developing interests and abilities. They also learn through exploration and experimentation. Appropriate materials and activities should challenge young children to develop new skills and knowledge. Thus, developmentally appropriate should be challenging, but not too challenging.

Teaching practices in the developmentally appropriate classroom must meet the needs of individual children. Curriculum decisions should not be made based solely on age, gender, or cultural assumptions. Age is especially important, since parents and caregivers sometimes assume that the “manufacturer′s recommended age” on a toy means that the toy is developmentally appropriate for all children that age. It′s not. What is appropriate for one three−year−old may be totally inappropriate for another.

Developing and implementing a curriculum that meets individuals′ needs does not mean that you have to develop a separate curriculum for every individual. As ECE professionals will learn in this course, success in the developmentally appropriate classroom can be achieved—for the most part—through simple adjustments in the things teachers do every day

This course is designed to assist teachers in making appropriate decisions regarding teaching practices and curriculum. With a better understanding of the link between practices and developmental appropriateness, teachers will be able to set realistic expectations and goals and implement effective practices that will help meet the individual developmental needs of all children.

“Early childhood teachers should encourage children′s independence and exploration,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “However, caregivers also have a responsibility to promote appropriate social behavior, which includes maintaining a safe and orderly environment. Children should feel free to explore and experiment in their environments, but they must also understand that there are limits and rules.”

 CCEI350: The Developmentally Appropriate 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 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 Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, is proud to introduce PROF107: Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace to the online child care training course catalog.

In this era of “MeToo” and “Time’s Up”, people are becoming increasingly aware of institutionalized sexual harassment. While these two movements helped bring women’s struggles in the workplace to the forefront of people’s thoughts, neither movement pioneered sexual harassment awareness.  The “MeToo” and “Time’s Up” movements brought to light a huge gap in people’s understanding of what exactly is considered sexual harassment. Many things that previously may have been considered commonplace or acceptable are now understood to be inappropriate and a violation of policies against workplace sexual harassment.

There are two forms of unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace. They are quid pro quo and hostile work environment.  Quid pro quo is the most universally recognized form of sexual harassment, however, a hostile work environment occurs the most, often going unreported. This is due to the fact that quid pro quo harassment often feels easier to prove in the eyes of the law, where people may find justifications for actions that create a hostile work environment.

While sexual harassment has two categories under the law, there are five types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment. They are gender harassment, seductive behavior, sexual bribery or favoritism, sexual coercion, and sexual imposition.  When it comes to conduct that violates policies against workplace sexual harassment, it doesn’t just end at face-to-face interactions. Electronic sexual harassment is becoming increasingly common as technology grows, it currently includes emails, cell phone calls or texts, internet or intranet posts, online comments, blog posts, and social media

This course is designed to help early childhood education staff to better understand conduct that will violate policies against workplace harassment. Participants will learn what sexual harassment is, what some of the laws are, what to do if they feel they are being harassed or witness harassment, and how to prevent such conduct from occurring.

“Sexual harassment affects everyone involved: the victim, the harasser, and the company,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “Employees need to be trained in what sexual harassment is, how to avoid it, and how to report it.”

PROF107: Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace 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 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).