Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Indoor Hopscotch Tiles

Image from
Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
If hot weather has you scrambling for gross motor activities you can do with children inside, try this one!

Gather ten carpet tiles or squares of vinyl flooring.  If your squares aren't the same color already, or if the color is dark, spray paint them all white first.  Then use a stencil to paint numbers 0-9 on the squares in different bright colors.

Allow at least 24 hours for drying before playing with the tiles.  You can arrange the tiles in a classic hopscotch pattern, as shown, and use them either indoors or out.  A beanbag or a rock can be used as a marker.  Read the full hopscotch rules here to refresh your memory!

Playing hopscotch, children will learn math skills like how to identify numbers and patterns.  They'll learn gross motor skills like how to hop on one foot and how to balance while they pick up a beanbag.  They'll also learn social-emotional skills like taking turns and following rules.

The numbered carpet tiles could be used for many other activities inside or outside as well.  Use them for group times, and give each child a designated space to sit or stand.  Make letter squares or shape squares, as well, for more variety, and allow children to make up their own games using the carpet tiles.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tweet, Like, and Follow: Where to Find Us On the Web

Now Child Care Aware® of Central Missouri has more methods than ever for keeping you informed of the latest news for families and child care professionals. Whether you’re looking for professional development clock hour opportunities in your area, help with challenging behaviors, fun and educational activity ideas, or ways you can influence legislators in Missouri, find us on the web, and we’ll keep you up to date.

First, you’ll want to make sure you’re receiving our e-mails. To save the costs of paper mailings, we’re keeping in touch via e-mail as much as possible. These e-mails include newsletters and information about trainings.

If you’re not already receiving our e-mail updates, join our e-mail list. Tell us your county, and whether you’re a part of a child care center, group child care home, family child care, or a member of the community, and you’ll receive e-mail updates that are relevant to you.

Then make sure is in your list of “safe senders” to keep important information out of your junk mail folder. We will never sell or share your e-mail address, and you can unsubscribe from the e-mail list at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of each e-mail.

If you’re a tweeter, be sure to follow our Twitter feed. Our username is @CCACentralMO. We’re tweeting timely information such as product recalls, legislative calls to action, and other current events that affect children and child care professionals. We encourage you to “retweet” any updates you want to share with friends.

Stay informed on Facebook by “liking” our page. You’ll find us by searching “Child Care Aware of Central Missouri.” Click the “like” button at the top of our profile, and you’ll receive all of our status updates. Ask your friends and co-workers to like us as well, and you’ll all stay informed about upcoming trainings, activity ideas, and more.

For more in depth articles and information, follow this blog!  Please continue the conversation by commenting on the articles to share your own ideas and opinions. Scroll down the right sidebar of the page to follow us using Google Friend Connect or to follow by e-mail, and you’ll never miss an article.

Technology offers many ways for you to stay informed, and these social networking sites allow you to quickly respond to our posts and let us know your thoughts. We look forward to communicating with you and continuing to meet your professional needs.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Importance of Registering for Trainings

Child Care Aware® of Central Missouri has been able to offer a wide variety of Professional Development Clock hour opportunities this fiscal year, many at no cost to participants.  Whether or not a training costs money for you to attend, it is still important for you to register several days before the training.  Space is limited for most sessions, and walk-ins may not be accepted. 
Registering also allows us to bring the correct number of books, handouts, and snacks.  If people do not register, we may not have enough materials for everyone.  If people register, then do not attend, we’ve wasted money on handouts, snacks, and drinks that won’t be used.
Please help us keep costs down, and help us make every training experience a valuable one for all participants by registering ahead of time for trainings, and by cancelling your registration if you will not be able to attend.
Check out the Missouri Workshop Calendar for a comprehensive schedule of clock hour professional development workshops available in Missouri.  You can use the "search" feature to find trainings on specific topics or within a certain number of miles of you!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Biting in Child Care: Why It Happens and How to Stop It

Biting is a common occurrence when groups of toddlers spend time together, and it's one of the concerns both teachers and parents contact us about often.  Most of the time, children are biting because they haven't yet learned more appropriate ways to get their needs met.  By spending a little time carefully observing the child and noting when, where, and how the biting usually happens, you can often figure out how you can stop this upsetting behavior.

Ask yourself these questions:

When does this child bite?  If it's close to meal time, he might be biting because he's hungry.  If it's before nap, she might be biting more when she's tired.  If it's during free play, the child might be having trouble asking for what he or she wants.

What is the child's mood like when he or she bites?  Focusing on the child's mood can also help determine the cause.  He or she might be expressing anger or frustration.  The child might also simply be taking in sensory information from his environment and learning about cause and effect.

Does this child bite when there is less supervision?  This is often the case.  While biting can happen even with the closest adult supervision, if caregivers stay near children, they can often intervene before biting takes place.

Does this child bite one person in particular?  If so, focus on the interactions the child is having with this person when trying to figure out the cause of the biting.

How much language is the child using?  Young children often bite because they don't yet have the language skills to express themselves in more acceptable ways.  If you determine lack of language skills to be a cause of biting in your classroom, it's important to help the child learn to "use his words" to tell others what he wants and needs.

Once you've determined the reason the child bites, you can begin to work on a plan for reducing the number of incidents.

Some strategies to reduce biting in the classroom:
  • Offer a variety of activity choices that are developmentally appropriate for the children in the room.
  • Teach children to use words to express emotions.
  • Make sure the child who bites is always close to an adult.
  • Change the classroom schedule as necessary, possibly moving up meal times or rest times, or breaking up unstructured periods.
  • Have multiples of favorite toys available.
  • Make sure the room is arranged so children have plenty of space to move and play.
  • Spend quality one-on-one time with the child when he or she is behaving well.
For more information on biting and other challenging behaviors, check out So This Is Normal Too?: Teachers and Parents Working Out Developmental Issues in Young Children by Deborah Hewett.