November 2019 Newsletter – Promoting Mathematical Thinking

Math is one of the most important elements of our lives.  Math helps us understand and organize the world around us.  Math is much more than being able to count, add, and subtract – it is an approach to life and a way of thinking about the world.

Some important skills that fall into the category of early childhood mathematical thinking include:

  • Observing and understanding how things are related
  • Comparing/contrasting
  • Understanding size and shape
  • Systems of measurement (height, weight, volume, speed, time, etc.)
  • Number sense, one-one correspondence, counting, etc.
  • Understanding symbols
  • Spatial awareness
  • Classifying, ordering, patterning, sequencing, etc.
  • Organizing data, charting, graphing, etc.
  • Problem solving, reasoning, estimating, predicting, calculating, etc.
  • Understanding whole/part – foundation of understanding fractions

Mathematical thinking offers us a way to solve a variety of everyday problems and it is used in virtually every profession imaginable.  Math skills have also been found, in studies, to be a better predictor of school success than even early literacy skills. 

This does not mean that early childhood educators should begin teaching math skills that are traditionally taught to older children.  We don’t need to invest in math workbooks or abandon what we know about child development and developmentally appropriate practices. 

We should, however, become more thoughtful and intentional about how we integrate math and promote mathematical thinking in our learning environments. In some cases that might include introducing different activities and in other cases, it might simply mean adjusting the language we use when interacting with children and families. 

This month, we will explore a number of ways that early childhood educators can lay the groundwork for strong math skills by helping children develop their mathematical thinking.

For the article Infants and Toddlers, CLICK HERE

For the article Preschoolers, CLICK HERE

For the article Kindergarten and School-agers, CLICK HERE

For the article For Families, CLICK HERE

October 2019 Student Spotlight – Debra Green

I began my career in early childhood in 1999 and started out as a cook. A couple of years later, I became an infant teacher. I love taking care of children, watching them grow up and go through the development stages of their life. Children develop physically, socially, and emotionally so fast.

I discovered CCEI in June 2018. It was such as positive experience for me. I had help when I needed it and encouragement to get me through. That made a huge difference to me. I used CCEI’s coursework to receive my Infant-Toddler CDA Certificate.

I enjoy active times with the infants in my care because it gives me time to have one-on-one with them. Music time is the best because they like to bounce and move around.  And my older infants like to clap their hands and smile. My reward is seeing them smile. I am motivated by the changes I see in my infants daily. Providing a safe and nurturing environment is very important to me. The infants in my care are our future. My job is to be able to give them all the love and time I can while they are in my care.

I live in Fort Worth, TX. In my free time I love shopping, crossword puzzles, and spending time with my husband, children and grandchildren as much as I can.

My current position as a Lead Infant Teacher keeps me very busy. I plan to keep my CDA current and continue my professional development journey. I also participate in conferences and workshops to stay active with my training.

I want to thank my CCEI Education Coach for being there for me. I couldn’t have done it without her. She consistently responded to my requests when I needed her and she always showed me examples to help work through any issues I was experiencing. And more importantly, at the end of every call, she always gave me positive reassurance to say “you can do this!”. That told me that she truly cares and wants to see me excel. I am always talking about my coach to other teachers. Because of my coach and the high quality of the coursework, I am always highly referring CCEI to other ECE professionals for all their training needs.

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment: Standards Related to Administration

Standard 9.2.3.11: Food and Nutrition Service Policies and Plans has been updated to include the following element:

Early care and education programs should have food handling, feeding, and written nutrition policies and plans under the direction of the administration that address food allergies and special dietary restrictions, including family/cultural food preferences.

To learn about the other items that are required in a written nutrition plan, visit https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/9.2.3.11

Updates to Standard 9.2.4.5: Emergency and Evacuation Drills/Exercise Policy include the following language:

Early care and education programs should have a written policy documenting that emergency drills or exercises are regularly practiced for geographically appropriate emergencies, natural disasters and violent/hostile intruder events.

a. Evacuation emergencies (e.g., fires, floods, gas leaks, chemical spills)

b. Shelter-in-place emergencies (e.g., tornados, earthquakes, threatening person outside)

c. Lockdown emergencies (e.g., violent/hostile intruders, threatening/dangerous animals)

More information about Standard 9.2.4.5 can be found here: https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/9.2.4.5

Language has been updated in Standard 9.4.1.16: Evacuation and Shelter-In-Place Drill Records. Here is some of that language:

Records of the practiced emergency drill procedures and reviewed emergency policies should be completed regularly and kept on file. Staff training in proper record-keeping should be conducted annually.

Administrators should check with their state regulations and licensing requirements to adhere to the frequency of emergency drills and keep a record of the date, time, and name of the individual drill reviewer when each of the following drills are performed.

For the main article Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Interactions with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Health and Safety, CLICK HERE

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment: Standards Related to Health and Safety

An update to Standard 3.2.2.1: Situations that Require Hand Hygiene includes the following language:

Hand hygiene after diaper changing must always be performed. Hand hygiene before changing diapers is required only if the staff member’s hands have been contaminated since the last time the staff member practiced hand hygiene.

Note: your state licensing regulations may require handwashing prior to diapering. Always follow the strongest rule.

The following language has been revised from previous versions of Standard 3.6.1.1: Inclusion/Exclusion/Dismissal of Children: Fever without any signs or symptoms of illness in infants and children who are older than 4 months regardless of whether acetaminophen or ibuprofen was given. For this purpose, fever is defined as temperature above 101°F (38.3°C) by any method. These temperature readings do not require adjustment for the location where they are made. They are simply reported with the temperature and the location, as in “101°F in the armpit/axilla.”

Transportation Standards

Updated language to standard 5.3.1.12: Availability and Use of a Telephone or Wireless Communication Device includes:

While operating a motor vehicle to transport children, drivers should not use wireless communication devices when the vehicle is in motion. Drivers should never send and receive text messages, use social media, or use other mobile applications (“apps”)—with the exception of the use of a navigational or global positioning system device—while transporting children.

Standard 6.5.2.6: Route to Emergency Medical Services has been updated to include the following information:

Drivers who transport children to or from a child care program should keep written directions and a physical map in the transport vehicle providing the quickest route to the nearest emergency medical facility. Driving children is a significant responsibility. Transportation technicians and drivers need to be prepared and think quickly on their feet in the event of a medical emergency while on route.1 At any point during the route, should an emergency arise, drivers are equipped with the quickest route for obtaining any needed medical attention.

For the main article Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Interactions with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Administration, CLICK HERE

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment: Standards Related to Interactions with Children

Updates to Standard 2.1.2.1: Personal Caregiver/Teacher Relationships for Infants and Toddlers include:

Child–caregiver relationships based on high-quality care are central to brain development, emotional regulation, and overall learning. The facility should encourage practices of continuity of care that give infants and toddlers the added benefit of the same caregiver for the first three years of life of the child or during the time of enrollment. The facility should limit the number of caregivers/teachers who interact with any one infant or toddler.

And:

The facility’s touch policy should be direct in addressing that children may be touched when it is appropriate for, respectful to, and safe for the child. Caregivers/teachers should respect the wishes of children, regardless of their age, for physical contact and their comfort or discomfort with it. Caregivers/teachers should avoid even “friendly” contact (e.g., touching the shoulder or arm) with a child if the child expresses that he or she is uncomfortable.

The updated version of Caring for Our Children also provides specific guidance on methods of supervising children:

  • Set Up the Environment – Caregivers/teachers set up the environment so that they can supervise children and be accessible at all times.
  • Position Staff – Caregivers/teachers carefully plan where they will position themselves in the environment to prevent children from harm. 
  • Scan and Count – Caregivers/teachers are always able to account for the children in their care
  • Listen – Specific sounds or the absence of them may signify reason for concern.
  • Anticipate Children’s Behavior – Caregivers/teachers use what they know about each child’s individual interests and skills to predict what he/she will do. 
  • Engage and Redirect – Caregivers/teachers use what they know about each child’s individual needs and development to offer support. 

You can read even more information about methods for supervising children here: https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/2.2.0.1

For the main article Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Health and Safety, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Administration, CLICK HERE

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment: Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response

The following language has been updated in Standard 1.4.3.1: First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Staff:

While the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on children is rare, early care and education programs should consider having an AED on the premises for potential use on both adults and children. Pediatric pads should be used for children younger than 8 years old.Trainings should be inclusive to children in care, staff and other adults present in early care and education programs.

The following language has been added to Standard 3.4.3.1: Medical Emergency Procedures:

Debriefing should occur after an incident or emergency. Staff should discuss procedures, how well they were followed, and any changes that may need to be made.

The following language has been added to the Standard 4.9.0.8: Supply of Food and Water for Disasters:

Disaster Preparedness
A minimum 3-day supply of nonperishable food and 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days should be kept in stock for each child and staff member.1,2 For programs with 100 children, this would mean 300 gallons of water and approximately 1,000 meals. Programs should consider appropriate and accessible storage for a large quantity of supplies.

For early care and education programs in areas at risk for hurricanes and other severe disasters, an additional 2-day supply (i.e., supply for 5 days total) of nonperishable food and water may be needed. A written log detailing the expiration dates, as well as the amount and type of food, should be kept by early care and education staff and reviewed on a quarterly basis. Caregivers/teachers should review log/expiration dates on a quarterly basis; food and water supplies should be consumed and/or replaced from the emergency supplies to ensure usage before expiration.

Early care and education programs should accommodate children with special health care needs who require specialized diets. Appropriate, nonperishable food items should be kept and made available for these children in the event of a disaster.3 Additional information on Disaster Response and Recovery and Water Safety is available at https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/4.9.0.8

For the main article Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Interactions with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Health and Safety, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Administration, CLICK HERE

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment

Maintaining a safe and healthy early learning environment requires consistent effort and action on the part of staff and management.  One of the most important things early childhood professionals need to do is stay up-to-date on the changes to licensing regulation, best practices, and health and safety standards set forth by other agencies.

Did you know that one of the most important early childhood healthy and safety resources has been updated?

That’s right!  Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs has been updated.  Caring for Our Children contains hundreds of standards and over 35 appendices that support high-quality health and safety practices. 

This month’s newsletter will explore some of the changes and updates to the document. Our Blog will take a look at ways that you can use the standards in Caring for Our Children to improve program practices. Be sure to compare these standards to your state licensing regulations and always follow the most stringent rule.

The standards quoted in the newsletter were taken or adapted from:

American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. (2019). Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 4th ed. Itasca, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; Retrieved from  http://nrckids.org/files/CFOC4 pdf- FINAL.pdf.

For the article Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Interactions with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Health and Safety, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Administration, CLICK HERE

September 2019 Student Spotlight – Natalie Taylor

I began my career in early childhood as a summer job at the age of 16 at a local childcare facility. After being in retail for about a year, I felt a deep need to help take care of others again and went back to work in childcare and have been loving it ever since.

My favorite time of the day to spend with the children is morning circle time, to see them grasping the information is very rewarding. Watching them grow and develop social and cognitive skills. I enjoy witnessing when the children engage in free play and bring along the knowledge learned during circle time. Other than circle time, I enjoy the teachable moments that are not given a scheduled time. As an early childcare provider, I can work and play at the same time. There aren’t too many jobs that allow you to do that. Outdoor playground time creates a new learning experience and opens up more doors for learning opportunities with the children.

The children enjoy their creative activities since it allows them to freely express themselves. Seeing how they interpret art into their own by adding their own twist and story line is always enjoyable. Knowing that I can have a positive impact in their development is motivating. When I see the children making improvements in their behavior, it makes what I do extremely rewarding and it is the best feeling in the world.

I currently reside in Winter Garden, FL but I am originally from sunny Miami. When I’m not engaged in school work, I usually entertain myself by playing word games, catching up on my favorite animes, and reading books and articles pertaining to social justice. Beginning in the Fall 2019, I will be starting the master’s program at Florida Atlantic University within their College of Arts and Letters. In the future, I see myself as a professor educating others on subjects that affect society. I will be working towards my doctorate in sociology and hopefully after that I will obtain my juris doctorate to be able to pursue law and fight for social justice amongst children and families.

With ChildCare Education Institute, I have completed multiple courses that have helped me reach my certification each year and I am currently working on more coursework with CCEI to meet my annual certification requirements for 2019. CCEI provides excellent coursework and information that professionals in early childhood education can readily apply in the classroom. They have educated me on how to understand and properly address each individual child’s emotional needs correctly. I also appreciate the quick responses given when I had any comments and concerns. For anyone who wants to receive more knowledge in early childhood education, I would highly recommend courses with ChildCare Education Institute.

September 2019 Newsletter – Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences – Strategies for Effective Onboarding

In addition to creating an onboarding schedule that spreads tasks out over the employees first few months of employment, you can also incorporate some of the following ideas into your onboarding practices:

  • Assess current knowledge and values:  The interview process is a great time to learn about a candidate’s knowledge and values related to ECE. Use this information to tailor the orientation schedule to meet the needs of the new employee. 
  • Incorporate technology – Utilize online training, such as CCEI, to provide basic orientation information to new employees.  This will save you time and allow the employee to gather new information during nap time or in the evenings.
  • Make it fun – include a variety of games to make learning fun and engaging.  Scavenger hunts, trivia games, and activities where students have to identify something missing from a picture can be fun and meaningful. 
  • Boost engagement – Create ways that new employees can get to know their coworkers on a more personal level. Plan activities that encourage staff to cooperate and collaborate throughout the onboarding process. 
  • Plan Check-ins – Even after an employee seems to be settled in, be sure to check in on a regular basis to ask about successes and challenges.  Ask specific questions and consider using texts or emails in addition to face to face conversations. Sometimes indirect contact will elicit different feedback.
  • Gather feedback – Use surveys or other tools to learn about new employees’ experiences during the onboarding process.  Ask about changes or enhancements that would have made a difference for new employees. Reflect on how these suggestions could be incorporated into future onboarding sessions.
  • Goal-setting – It is important to set goals throughout the onboarding process.  Don’t forget to set goals at the end of onboarding.  Have a conversation with the new employee to determine what is next for them in their development as an early childhood educator.  Help them identify the resources they will need to reach their goals.

What are some of your favorite onboarding activities or practices? Share with us on our Facebook page here.

For the main article Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences, CLICK HERE

For the article Statistics about Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Elements of Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Creating an Effective Onboarding Schedule, CLICK HERE

September 2019 Newsletter – Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences – Creating an Effective Onboarding Schedule

According to a survey conducted by Allied HR IQ, it takes an average of 8 months for a new employee to become fully productive in their new position.

However, a different study discovered that only 37% of companies hold onboarding activities after the first month.

Consider that gap for a moment.  It typically takes 8 months to become productive, but intentional onboarding support stops after one month. Perhaps you can image the level of frustration and lack of support new employees may feel after the first month. This is especially true if the underlying message is, “It’s been a month; you should know what you are doing now.”

To create an effective onboarding schedule, reflect on the topics that you need to cover for your specific program.  Identify the things that new employees need to know about immediately. Determine the information that you need to receive from the employee early on. These are going to become elements of your orientation program. 

Everything else becomes part of the remainder of the onboarding process, which could stretch for the employees first year of employment.  For example, employees need to be familiar with the evacuation procedures on day one; this is part of orientation. Employees do not need to know all of the details of the assessment system that your program uses on the first day. This is a topic to include in your schedule for later in the onboarding process, perhaps during month two or three, after the employee has gotten to know the children and families. 

Create a schedule that lays out when each topic will be introduced, practiced, and reviewed.  Adult learners benefit from hands-on practice and relevance.  They need to be introduced to a topic at a time when the information in relevant to their experience. An obvious example would be introducing family style dining during a meal or snack. After introducing the topic, provide modeling and allow the employee multiple opportunities to practice the skill. 

Observe the employee and provide specific and strength-based feedback so that the employee is clear on the expectations and how their performance compares to those expectations.

It might seem like this will take a lot of time and you would be correct – this is an investment of time and effort into the success of your new employee, but it is worth it!  Utilize the other leaders in your program to help you. Delegate onboarding responsibilities to other staff members. This will empower them and sharpen their skills as well. 

For the main article Investing in New Employees: Effective Onboarding Experiences, CLICK HERE

For the article Statistics about Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Elements of Onboarding, CLICK HERE

For the article Strategies for Effective Onboarding, CLICK HERE