ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Children and Grief

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers SOC111: Children and Grief as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users March 1-31, 2023.

Loss, including the death of a loved one, is a universal and inevitable part of the human experience. In other words, it happens to everyone. We all lose people we love and care about due to death.  Unfortunately, we can experience loss and death as early as infancy. Early childhood educators often feel unprepared to help children grieve losses so early in life. This course is designed to help educators be more prepared and confident in supporting children when instances of loss occur.

Although children can experience a variety of losses, the death of a loved one is one of the most difficult losses any person will experience. Loss, especially a death, can be hard for adults to understand and face. How children react to loss will be affected by what they know about loss.  Culture and family beliefs will also influence how children grieve. In other words, children’s understanding of loss (and death) depends on their experiences with loss, how people around them react, and what others tell them about loss. Children’s understanding of loss also depends on their age and developmental level. It can be helpful for childcare professionals to know about different types of loss to better understand what the children in their classrooms are experiencing in their lives. This understanding can, in turn, help educators to respond in ways most likely to meet students’ needs.

This course will explore how children experience grief and loss during the early years. Participants will explore recommended practices for helping children cope with the death of a loved one and other associated losses. Participants will learn how to be more culturally responsive to students and families who are grieving. Participants will discover the potential impact of supporting others in their grief and self-care strategies for teachers will be shared.

“This course equips educators to better understand how children move through the stages of grief so they can engage with children in developmentally appropriate ways,” says Leslie Coleman, Education Director of CCEI.  “Students will also learn strategies to address a loss in the program, or with in a family, using culturally responsive language and approaches.”

SOC111: Children and Grief 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. 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 200+ 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 approved training partner, 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).

March 2023 Student Spotlight – Karen Simmons


When my children were 3-months and 2-years-old, I suddenly found myself in a situation where I needed a job and one that would allow flexible hours. I applied for a job at a non-profit youth serving agency where I began as a part-time secretary. Over the years, my children grew and became of age to participate in the programs at the agency. I eventually became a full-time employee and was able to go to school part-time to earn my Associate and Bachelor of Science Degrees. My career grew from secretary to program manager to director.

I’m motivated to work with children because I am currently working with a second generation of children who’s parents were participants in my program when they were children.  What a great honor. Also, I raised my three children at the agency. They learned how to swim, received mentors, participated in leadership programs, non-traditional sports and residential overnight camp, just to name a few.  I continue to work with children to impart my skills, talents, positive words of encouragement and to be the best role model possible for the children and their parents. My husband and I now have six adult children and ten grandchildren. Six of our grandchildren attend the agency summer program along with seventy-five other children.

Children are among the most engaging and most intriguing people you can work with. They have the same rights to culture as adults, but their circumstances create challenges that can only be met with determination, creativity and integrity.  I think it is the challenge that makes working with and for children incredibly rewarding.  The joy of working with young people is that every day is different.  You never know what to expect. Each young person is unique, they bring their own life experience, needs and expectations. They bring their belief that anything is possible and in the space where their creativity is explored and encouraged, there are no limits to what can be achieved. Each young person is on their own individual journey and where it will take them can’t be predicted.  Snack time is my favorite time of day to spend with the children. After being in class all day, the students who are registered in our after-school program are picked up from their classrooms and served a snack before academic and recreational activities. I get a chance to hear about their day, what they learned and any special interests or program ideas they may have.

The Director’s Certificate program with ChildCare Education Institute is the first program I participated in.  I learned so much from the content in this certification course and will use the quality material for professional development requirements in my career.  I would highly recommend CCEI to others.  It was a great experience especially working on the course content at my own pace.  The research-based material was organized and easy to follow.

I currently live in Milwaukee, WI.  This year marks 39 years of working in the youth serving field.  My next chapter is teaching scrap-booking to children, adults and special groups.  Besides hanging out with my retired husband as he tends to his gardening, I love making scrapbooks and following two of my favorite scrapbookers on YouTube.


Understanding Secondary Trauma

Working in the early learning field, it is essential that you are aware of and understand the impact of secondary trauma. Secondary trauma is sometimes called compassion fatigue and it can occur when educators support children and families who have been directly impacted by a traumatic event.

Traumatic events are those that disrupt a family’s sense of security and safety. Traumatic events include everything from the death of a loved one to natural disasters to experiencing homelessness, just to name a few.

Secondary trauma is the result of the indirect exposure to trauma and can occur after prolonged exposure or even a single incident. According to the Administration for Children and Families, signs that someone may be experiencing secondary trauma include changes to attitudes, behaviors, and physical health such as:

  • Lowered concentration
  • Apathy
  • Rigid thinking
  • Perfectionism
  • Numbness
  • Helplessness
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Sleep and appetite changes
  • Body pains
  • Immune system issues

The first step in combatting secondary trauma is awareness.  From there, educators can put in place strategies to help address the issue.  Many of the strategies are related to establishing a healthy work-life balance and practicing self-care. These terms are often scoffed at as being impractical, however, they are essential for preventing burnout and addressing trauma.

Educators and program leaders must create supportive working environments that encourage self-care, not as a frivolous practice but as one that is vital to the continued mission of the program.  Ideas include:

  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle (diet, exercise, adequate sleep, etc.)
  • Stress relieving activities (time in nature, meditation, journaling, etc.)
  • Creative outlets (art, music, dance, poetry, etc.)
  • Support (peer-to-peer support, counseling, outside support groups, therapy, etc.)
  • Celebrating (recognizing efforts and successes, taking time to identify what is working, etc.)
  • Ongoing education (workshops, speakers, online learning, etc.)

To download a factsheet on secondary traumatic stress, click here.