April 2023 Student Spotlight – Chaitanya Ravipati


I started my career in early childhood education as a parent volunteer when my children were attending preschool.  I enjoyed my experience working with early learners and their families.  It was rewarding and fulfilling.  The ability to help instill a lifelong love of learning was very satisfying.

My favorite time of the day to spend with the children is morning greeting circle. It provides a welcoming environment to the classroom and I interact with students to know their thoughts and ideas about the upcoming day’s schedule and on various other topics . I also enjoy reading a book related to the week’s theme during the greeting circle.  We update the classroom calendar, talk about the weather, make our daily commitments and share any important upcoming school events.  I also love playing outside with my students. When the children play outdoors, they have fun and benefit from running, playing and chasing each other which helps to develop their gross motor skills.

It is fun to know how curious children are at observing their surroundings, how they think and what catches their attention. Every child brings their own perception. The love deeply and the attention they give me in return is very rewarding.  Working with children reminds me of how amazing and exciting the world can be.  You’ll love seeing things from their eyes.  It makes me a happier and a more positive person in my day-to-day life. Children also encourage me to use my imagination and find new creative ways to do things.  Being an ECE professional is an opportunity to watch children grow and develop into confident, self-sufficient learners.

I currently reside in Sterling, VA.  In my free time I like to cook and watch TV shows and movies with my family.  I love reading and also spend time listening to music.

I earned my Self-Study CDA Preschool Certification from ChildCare Education Institute.  CCEI’s CDA program was offered at my place of employment.  CCEI’s CDA Certification program helped me to improve my skills in providing high-quality education and care services to young children.  CCEI’s online CDA Certification program also helped me to better learn how to plan for a safe and healthy learning environment and how to nurture and advance the emotional, physical, intellectual, and social development of children as well as how to form productive relationships with families.  In addition, the program helped me to improve skills in planning stimulating and interesting activities for children, to observe and assess children, to understand and resolve challenges in the classroom, and interact and form relationships with children and families of different cultures.  I am very thankful to my Education Coach for guiding, supporting and helping me to work towards my goal of completing my online CDA Certification program.

CCEI’s CDA Certification program content and format was clear and very well organized for me to study at my own pace.  Lessons and handouts helped me prepare for assessments and provide a solid understanding of the course material.  The course goals and format were clear, interactive, and collaborative to enhance engagement and improve knowledge retention.  Completing CCEI’s online CDA Certification program gives me personal satisfaction and confidence at work and strengthens my professional capabilities. Our center encourages CDA Credentials and incentivizes staff to pursue CDA Certification through pay increases once the program is completed.

I see myself continuing to work with children.  I am in the process of applying for the CDA Credential from the Council for Professional Recognition.  I highly recommend CCEI to anyone in ECE!

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course 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, offers PROF107: Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users April 1-30, 2023.

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 says Leslie Coleman, Education Director 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®, 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).


The April edition of the CCEI newsletter focuses on ways that leaders and team members can work to build a workplace culture in which all are included and valued. This requires that all members of the team contribute positively to that culture and take accountability for their contributions to the team environment.

Accountability refers to the act of taking responsibility for your actions and the impact that they have.  Accountability is more than completing tasks on time and following procedures, which are both important. It is a willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions.  It is also taking responsibility for how you show up for others. When we consider how many “others” there are in an early learning environment, the importance of accountability becomes clear.

Accountability is tough. Accountability requires self-awareness. It takes a measure of humility and a ton of honest self-reflection to recognize how your actions influence the environment in which you work.

Beth Strathman, from Firebrand Consulting, shares a few questions that you can ask yourself on a regular basis to build self-awareness and accountability.

  • What did I do that worked/didn’t work? Why?
  • What do my actions/reactions tell me about myself?  What patterns do I see?
  • What excuses did I make (in my head or out loud) for bad results or failures?
  • What did I do that might be part of my typical behavioral patterns?
  • Who do I want to be? How do I want to come across instead?

As a leader, it is vital that you model for others how to take accountability for your actions and contributions. Remember though, leadership does not require a title. Anyone who has someone following in their footsteps is a leader – How will you be a leader for accountability in your program?

April 2023 Newsletter – Employee Relations: Boosting Motivation

Boosting Motivation

Burnout plagues the child care industry across the nation, and improving morale is one way to combat burnout which improves motivation. It is worth noting that when it comes to employee motivation, no two individuals are exactly the same. So it is important to take time to learn what motivates the center staff members.

Motivators can be broken into two main categories:

  • Intrinsic motivation is driven by the personal satisfaction of doing the task (internal). Someone who climbs a mountain or completes a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle does it simply for internal feelings of accomplishment and pride.
    • Other examples of intrinsic motivation include:
    • Positive feelings about contributing to a cause.
    • Making a difference in the lives of others.
    • Collaborating with others.
  • Extrinsic motivation comes from outside (external). It can result in receiving something positive or avoiding something negative. In the workplace, money is the most familiar extrinsic motivator. Rewards and recognition are examples of extrinsic motivation. Fear is another: fear of punishment or losing one′s job.

If you are interested in using a questionnaire to find out more about what motivates your employees, here are some suggested questions from Indeed:

  1. Are any outside factors impacting your motivation or ability to complete your work by deadlines?
  2. What makes you excited to work at this company and complete your tasks?
  3. What improvements would you make about this company or your role?
  4. Which company values do you believe align well with your values?
  5. Do any of your responsibilities feel too difficult or time-consuming to complete?
  6. Do you completely understand your role and what is expected of you?
  7. What inspires you to be successful in your role every day?
  8. What do you enjoy the most about our company culture?
  9. Do you feel comfortable speaking your mind at this company?
  10. What are your career goals? Do you believe we are helping you achieve those goals?
  11. Do you feel I support you as a manager?
  12. What career advice can I give you?

Finding what motivates staff members can help leaders boost morale, build a team environment, and improve communication.


For the main article Employee Relations, CLICK HERE

For the article Building a Team Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Encouraging Effective Communication, CLICK HERE

For the article Managing Conflict, CLICK HERE


April 2023 Newsletter – Employee Relations: Managing Conflict

Managing Conflict

Conflicts will sometimes arise, even on the most successful teams.

Conflicts can arise for various reasons, including:

  • Poor communication
  • Stress
  • Misunderstandings or lack of knowledge regarding expectations or policies
  • Rumors and gossip
  • Skill deficits and lack of training
  • Differing communication styles or personality conflicts

Most issues can be eased or prevented altogether before they become full-blown conflicts. Workplace conflict can turn a workplace toxic when not handled correctly. It can lead to resentment among staff members and a decrease in the overall function of the center.

UC San Diego recommends these strategies for resolving workplace conflicts:

  1. Talk with the other person: Make sure to find a time and location that works for both of you where you will not be interrupted.
  2. Focus on behavior and events, not on personalities: Make sure to focus on the event and not the person. Try using the phrasing, “When this happens…”
  3. Listen carefully: Use active listening techniques from the previous section to reassure the other person that they are being heard.
  4. Identify points of agreement and disagreement: Pinpoint where you both agree and disagree, then fine-tune until you both agree on the conflict.
  5. Prioritize the areas of conflict: Decide what needs to be resolved for both parties to walk away resolved.
  6. Develop a plan to work on each conflict: If needed, plan follow-up meetings.
  7. Follow through on your plan: Maintain a let’s work it out attitude.
  8. Build on your success: Celebrate progress.


For the main article Employee Relations, CLICK HERE

For the article Building a Team Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Encouraging Effective Communication, CLICK HERE

For the article Boosting Motivation, CLICK HERE

April 2023 Newsletter – Employee Relations: Encouraging Effective Communication

Encouraging Effective Communication

It is important for all staff members to feel seen and heard for a program to function properly. Each person needs to feel that they have value and that their input is appreciated. Improving staff communication skills can help programs reach this goal.

Penn State offers these tips for speakers:

  • Decide if the purpose of your message is to obtain information, initiate action, or persuade.
  • Clearly state your idea.
  • Consider the environment to maximize understanding.
  • Check your tone and body language. These can easily turn the listener off, which means whatever you are trying to communicate is lost.
  • Verify that the message you intended to convey is the message received by the listener.

Mind Tools shares these active listening techniques for listeners:

  1. Pay attention: The speaker should have your full attention.
  2. Show that you are listening: Use body language to show you are listening.
  3. Provide feedback: Paraphrase what the speaker said to clarify their meaning. Use, “What I hear you saying is…” or “Sounds like you are saying…”
  4. Defer judgment: Do not interrupt.
  5. Respond Appropriately: State your opinions respectfully.

Another strategy that can help improve communication between team members is learning their personality types.

The most common personality type tests are:

Additionally, Teambuilding.com offers 24 free personality tests for team building.


For the main article Employee Relations, CLICK HERE

For the article Building a Team Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Managing Conflict, CLICK HERE

For the article Boosting Motivation, CLICK HERE


April 2023 Newsletter – Employee Relations: Building a Team Environment

Building a Team Environment

Child care will always have its challenges, but you will have a much better chance of overcoming those challenges and achieving your loftiest goals if you make it a team effort. A collaborative team environment is essential for the team’s success. While it is impossible to create the perfect environment, it is possible to create a team that is willing and able to tackle the challenges that arise. This is done by instilling a sense of team spirit and shared responsibility.

Individual team members need to:

  • Feel safe and secure.
  • Know that their skills, ideas, and experiences are important and recognized.
  • Understand their job expectations.
  • Feel motivated to achieve personal and team-based goals.
  • Feel empowered to solve problems and bring new ideas to the table.
  • Have a feeling of belonging and a special position on the team.
  • Give and get feedback on their job performance.
  • Laugh and have fun.
  • Be trusted to do their jobs.
  • Hold themselves accountable.

All team members need to:

  • Get to know each other.
  • Work together as well as play together.
  • Learn to trust each other.
  • Complete and take credit for projects together.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management recommends the following practices to create a collaborative team environment:

  • Have a common purpose and goal: A team is defined as a group of people working together toward a common goal, so without a goal, there is no team.
  • Trust each other: Team members must trust each other if they are to work together successfully.
  • Clarify roles: Knowing everyone’s role and being familiar with the responsibility of those roles create efficiency and flexibility.
  • Communicate openly and effectively: Miscommunication can create hard feelings and undermine the success of the team.
  • Appreciate diversity: Team members come from all walks of life with different backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Balance the team’s focus: Sometimes team members get so involved in the process of becoming a team they forget the reason they were made the team in the first place or vice versa.


For the main article Employee Relations, CLICK HERE

For the article Encouraging Effective Communication, CLICK HERE

For the article Managing Conflict, CLICK HERE

For the article Boosting Motivation, CLICK HERE


April 2023 Newsletter – Employee Relations

Employee Relations

Happy April, everyone! As we jump into spring, it is a great time to evaluate your program’s culture and your contributions to that culture. At this point, many have forgotten all about their New Year’s Resolutions or their intention for the year.  Some people may have even reverted to old habits. This is a good time to reflect upon the elements of your team dynamics.  Every member of the team is responsible for maintaining the culture of the program, but as always, guidance from leadership is essential.

“An employee’s motivation is a direct result of the sum of interactions with his or her manager.”

-Bob Nelson

In this newsletter, we will explore the benefits of building strong, healthy relationships among employees.

PROF107: Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace is the free trial course for individuals new to CCEI, so be sure to share it with your colleagues!


For the article Building a Team Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Encouraging Effective Communication, CLICK HERE

For the article Managing Conflict, CLICK HERE

For the article Boosting Motivation, CLICK HERE