ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Strategies for Success in Challenging Conversations

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers PROF103: Strategies for Success in Challenging Conversations as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users November 1-30, 2022.

Communication is one of the biggest parts of the job of being an educator and caregiver. Each day we communicate with the children, family members, coworkers, people we manage, and individuals who manage us. Many of these conversations are pleasant, social interactions, or general requests for information or assistance.

However, there are times throughout the day when we may need to communicate a more serious need or share information that is less than pleasing. Perhaps you have to talk with a coworker about the tone of voice they use with children. Maybe a parent makes a complaint about something that happened to their child. You may need to deliver concerning results of a developmental screening to a family or tell your employer that you are not happy in your position.

All of these situations would fall under the category of challenging conversations for most of us. Not many people are comfortable delivering bad news, sharing concerning details, or being caught off guard by confrontation.  Everyone is different; some conversations may be easier for you than others. You may hate direct confrontation, but your coworker seems to handle those situations effectively.  Even though challenging conversations are probably not our most preferred interactions, there are ways that we can become more skilled in managing these conversations.  Doing so can reduce our level of discomfort and make us better communicators.

“The topics covered in this course are frequently cited as both essential and neglected in professional development for Early Childhood Education,” says Maria C. Taylor, President of CCEI.  “All providers need to be aware of current research and best practices in the area of effective communication in order to create appropriate environments for young children and build strong working relationships with coworkers and families.”

PROF103: Strategies for Success in Challenging Conversations 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 individual or 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. EDT

ChildCare Education Institute, LLC

ChildCare Education Institute® 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 Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

Boosting Child Satisfaction

In the November newsletter, we explore different ways that programs can measure and address customer and teacher satisfaction. Making sure that families and teachers are happy with the program can reduce disenrollment and teacher turnover.  Both of these scenarios impact the program’s reputation, the bottom line, and the culture of the program.  Most importantly, happy families and employees create a warm, nurturing, and consistent environment for young children.

One audience we neglected to consider when exploring customer satisfaction was the children. How often do we consider the satisfaction level of the children in our care?  As you reflect on overall customer satisfaction with your program, consider ways that you can bring children’s voices into the discussion.

Take some time this month to reflect on what child satisfaction looks and feels like in your program.  Consider talking with the children about the concept of satisfaction using language that is appropriate for their level of understanding.

Some synonyms of satisfaction include:

  • Happiness
  • Enjoyment
  • Joy
  • Delight
  • Fulfillment
  • Contentment

Create opportunities for children to share their thoughts and opinions about different elements of the program. Here are just a few ideas:

Thumbs-up or thumbs-down

Begin to ask children to rate different learning experiences by giving a thumbs up if they enjoyed the activity or a thumbs down if they did not enjoy it.  You can introduce a sideways thumb as a way to express neutral feelings about the situation.

It might be good to ask these questions to children in private conversations to prevent children from copying what their peers are doing.

Visual rating scales.

Create a visual rating scale with 3-5 facial features ranging from excited to neutral to unhappy. You can use illustrations or, better yet, take pictures of the children making these faces. You can rotate images so that children get to see themselves in the rating scale from time to time. Post this scale in the classroom in a place that is accessible to children.

Introduce the rating scale to the children by identifying the facial images and defining the feelings as they relate to satisfaction. From time to time, ask children how they are feeling about their day.  Ask them to point to the face that represents how they are feeling about being in school.  Follow up with a few open-ended questions to see if the children can tell you why they feel that way.

  • What happened on the field trip that made you give it an excited review?
  • I see that you are unhappy with the puppet show. What happened that made you feel that way?
  • What would have made water play better for you today?
  • Last week you were excited about music class but this week you are so-so. What changed?
  • Can you think of a way we can improve the block area?
  • Homework time can be frustrating. How can we make it better for you?

Children may not always be able to answer these questions or provide any helpful information. However, you are asking questions that encourage them to reflect on their thoughts and feelings. Eventually, they will be able to answer with more concrete responses that you can use to make decisions about future events.

Responding to feedback.

Be sure to incorporate more of what the children say they like and create a plan to address any areas in which children are less than thrilled.

Ask children to help you think of ideas for improving the environment and activities.

Create a happiness committee made up of children, teachers, and family members who focus on ways to improve the day-to-day experiences of everyone in the program.

Share summaries of some of the changes that you are making in program newsletters or on social media to show your dedication to a caring community where everyone has a voice!