Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Solve the Economic Crisis by Increasing Funding for Early Childhood

A recent article in the New York Times Opinion Pages details how increasing funding for early childhood programs would help solve the dramatic economic inequality between America's richest and poorest citizens.  Written by Nicholas D. Kristof, "Occupy the Classroom" explains that the wealthiest 1% of our nation has more money than the remaining 99% combined!

And how do we solve this problem?  Kristof says, "The single step that would do the most to reduce inequality has nothing to do with finance at all. It’s an expansion of early childhood education."

He goes on to explain that a quality education is the single most important factor in helping someone climb out of poverty.  Successful, quality early childhood experiences set the stage for success in elementary, secondary, and post-secondary education, making early childhood a critical time.

The article sites a study on the Perry Preschool program.  This high quality preschool served disadvantaged children in Michigan in the 1960s.
Compared with a control group, children who went through the Perry program were 22 percent more likely to finish high school and were arrested less than half as often for felonies. They were half as likely to receive public assistance and three times as likely to own their own homes.
A later study comparing children who attended Head Start programs to their siblings who did not attend found that Head Start alumni were less likely to have repeated grades in elementary school, were less likely to be diagnosed with learning disabilities, and displayed improved health later in life.
If you'd like to read more, you can find the full article here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Parent-Caregiver Communication: Making it Work

Child care providers and parents want to make sure that they understand each other. There are steps providers can take to encourage good communication and to minimize problems. It’s also a good idea to encourage parents to find out about the program’s policies and procedures.

Promote Good Communication
The following are steps providers can take to maintain positive communication:
  • Have parents/families prepare an “All About My Child” sheet to learn about the child and the family. This includes who is in the child’s family; how birthdays and holidays are celebrated; skills the family can share; what’s happening at home that might affect a child’s behavior (e.g., a new sibling, visits from relatives, illnesses, changes in the family)
  • Make sure that families know the procedures for signing their child in and out each day.
  • Encourage parents to keep contact information up to date, including all those who are allowed to pick up the child.
  • Encourage parents to read information from the program.
  • Set up regular parent-provider conferences and encourage all parents/families to attend.
  • Have parents volunteer to help out when they can.
  • Encourage parents to occasionally visit during the day.
Handle Problems Positively
Some common issues you might face are children’s behavior, health and safety, concerns about a child’s development, following procedures, and fees. The following strategies will help you keep the situation positive:
  • Remember that both the provider and parents have the same goal - you want the best for the child/children.
  • Ask for a time to talk when the provider and the parent won’t be rushed.
  • Ask for clarification of the problem.
  • Restate the problem until you both agree on the description of the problem.
  • Think about the possible solutions and decide on a plan to solve the problem.
  • Ask about what steps to follow if the plan doesn’t work.
  • Check the success of the plan regularly.
  • If you are wrong, apologize.
The Program’s Policy and Procedures
There are many things that may cause conflict between parents and providers if they are not understood. Make sure the following information is in your parent handbook or contract:
  1. Hours - What are your hours, days closed, inclement weather policy?
  2. Fees - What is the tuition? Additional fees? Charges for a child’s absence or vacation time? Time notice for leaving the program?
  3. Arrival and Departure - What are the procedures for dropping off and picking up the child? Who is authorized to pick up the child?
  4. Health - How are parents notified if their child is sick or injured? How will parents be notified of a communicable disease? Will your program give medication?
  5. Emergencies - Are there regular tornado or fire drills? How will the parents be notified in case of an emergency?
  6. The child’s day - Who is the primary caregiver for your child? How will my child spend their day? How will discipline be handled?
  7. Special Events - How are birthdays and holidays handled? What is the transportation policy for field trips?
  8. Transitions - How is a child moved from one room to another? How does the child move to a new school?
  9. Communication - Are there regular conferences scheduled? How is information shared with parents?
  10. Confidentiality policies - How do you protect a family’s right to confidentiality?
Additional Issues to Consider
Cultural and language differences can sometimes get in the way of communication. Think about having another person join the conversations. If parents are divorced or separated, work with both of the parents.

Need any help writing Parent/Family Handbooks? Call our office at (573)445-5437 or (800)243-9685.

Portions of this article taken from The Daily Parent (Issue No. 67) a publication by NACCRRA.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Advocacy: Let Your Voice Be Heard!

Do you ever wish you could tell your Representative or Senator just how you feel about a change in funding or a new law? Do you ever wish that you could talk with one of the legislators about an idea you have?

Well you can! Don’t be afraid to contact your legislator to tell them what is on your mind. Tell them about that funding change that is going to hurt your child care facility, or about pending law that will benefit children.

Parents could write their legislators to tell them about their child care provider and how much additional funding would help them to succeed. Tell them about programs that you would like to see your child care provider be able to offer, if only the funding was there.

If you have been looking for infant care or know of families who are looking for infant care, you know about the shortage for this necessary care. Tell your legislators about the issue. How about parents who work second or third shifts? It is almost impossible to find licensed child care that will care for a child overnight. Child care providers need incentives and funding in order to be able to offer these types of services to families.

Tell your legislators that, next to their families, child care providers are the most important people in a child’s life. Let them know that you are a voter, and you would really like your concerns addressed. If we do not have quality child care available for our children, what is going to happen to our families? How will parents work and provide for their children if they cannot find someone to care for them?

To find names and contact information for your local representatives and senators, go to or or call Joanne Nelson,  Director at 660-385-1378 or 800-201-7745.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Making Meaning: How Infants and Young Children Make Meaning of Themselves in the World

Child Care Aware® of Missouri is proud to be a Collaborative Partner, supporting the Psychoanalytic Institute’s presentation of this lecture by Edward Z. Tronick, PhD at the Ethical Society Auditorium in St. Louis, MO on October 27, 2011.

Dr. Tronick is a world-class researcher and teacher, recognized internationally for his work on the social emotional development of infants and young children.  This lecture will focus on the ways infants "make meaning" of the world using non-verbal processes, including emotions and actions, through social play, culture and relationships.

Here is a video of Dr. Tronick's Still-face paradigm in action:

View or print the full flyer and registration form.
View or print a short biography of Dr. Tronick. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Training Information

We are pleased to announce that Child Care Aware® of Central Missouri will be able to offer an increasing variety of quality professional development opportunities to help you earn your required clock hours and improve your child care programs.

A Place for All Children: Learning about Inclusion is a new curriculum designed to help providers meet the needs of each child, including those who have special needs. If you liked Child Care Plus, this new curriculum will help you continue to build those skills.

The Social Emotional Child Care Orientation Training has been updated, and it now includes four modules with a total of 12 clock hours available.

The Basic Knowledge Curriculum--Early Childhood will help establish a foundation for anyone new to child care, and it provides a great refresher to experts in the field. This training has replaced the CCOT and PACE trainings we used to offer.

The Basic Knowledge Curriculum--Youth Development is replacing our School Age Care Orientation Training (SACOT).  We’re excited to be able to offer more clock hours specifically designed for staff who work with older children.

During the 2011-2012 fiscal year, we will be offering a few of these trainings online. Many of you have been asking for opportunities to earn clock hours online, so stay tuned for more information!

Due to some changes in how our trainings are funded, we have a new fee schedule. All trainings will now cost $6 per hour per participant. For example, a three hour workshop will now cost each person $18. This standard fee should simplify the registration process.

We’re scheduling all these trainings now, and registration information will be sent to those on our mailing list when details are available. All clock hour workshops, including online trainings, will also be posted on the Missouri Workshop Calendar, which can be found at