Tuesday, October 22, 2013

November/December 2013 Workshops Coupon Code!

There's still time to get your clock hours for 2013, and we have plenty of workshops planned before the year draws to a close.

Check out our latest flyer here.

And save half off your registration fee for one workshop by writing the coupon code, "BLOGHALF13" on the blank on your registration form.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Free Social-emotional Resources to Share with Families

Child Care Aware® of Central Missouri has been utilizing the free resources available from The Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI) to help child care professionals manage challenging behaviors for several years.  Their website provides a variety of useful tools at no cost to you.  One new resource provides free printable handouts you can share with families to promote social-emotional skills at home.

The Backpack Connection Series helps parents stay informed about what their child is learning at school, and each one gives specific ideas on how to use the strategy or skill at home.   The handouts cover emotions such as jealousy, frustration, anger, and disappointment as well as challenging behaviors like biting.  There are also pages available on routines like bedtime and skills like sharing.

For example, the handout on smooth transitions offers these helpful tips:
  • Use a timer, instrument, or funny noise to alert the child about the coming transition.
  • Let the child choose a special toy to take with him to the new activity or place.
  • Use a visual schedule to show the child the plan for the day.
  • Use a special song during transition times.
  • Give the child a job to do during the transition. 
To view and print the Backpack Connection Series or other useful resources, visit TACSEI’s website, www.challengingbehavior.org.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Children’s Finance

First Children’s Finance provides loans and financial technical assistance to child care business owners, both family child care and center based, who want to expand or improve programs in 10 states, including Missouri.   Their loans can be used to open new programs, remodel or expand facilities, purchase equipment, or to make improvements necessary to fulfill licensing requirements.

The organization also has free online Business Resource Centers for family child care businesses and center based child care programs.  You’ll find information there to help you with starting a new business, marketing your business, keeping records, filing taxes, legal issues, money management, and insurance.

To apply for a loan or to utilize the many free resources online, visit their website at www.firstchildrensfinance.org/.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cool Summertime Ice Play

Here are a few ice play ideas we’ve recently pinned to our Pinterest boards at http://pinterest.com/ccacentralmo.

Magnetic Ice Fishing:  For a fun way to use your magnet play materials, put a magnet in each segment of an ice cube tray, add water, and then add a few drops of food coloring.  Once the ice is frozen, take the ice outside, or add it to your sensory table, and let children explore using the magnetic wands.
Ice Boats:  To make the boats, freeze larger chunks of ice in re-purposed containers (yogurt containers work well).  Add food coloring or liquid watercolor to the water before freezing.  When the ice is about halfway frozen, add a “sail” from paper taped to straws or toothpicks.  Let children play with the ice boats in the water table and explore the floating, melting, color mixing, and more.

Monster Ice:  This can be done using ice cube trays for smaller “monsters” or larger containers for big ones.  Cook some spaghetti, and then make it different colors with food coloring.  For each “monster” add wiggle eyes and spaghetti “hair” to the ice cube tray, then cover with ice and freeze.  Children can play with the “monsters” outside and explore the feeling of the frozen spaghetti thawing.
Ice Chalk:  Mix one part cornstarch and one part baking soda with two parts water and a few drops of liquid watercolor.  Freeze in ice cube trays, and then let the children draw with the ice chalk on the sidewalks.  For an extra thrill, put some vinegar in a spray bottle, and let them spray their drawings and watch the chalk fizz.

Jell-O Ice:  You can freeze Jell-O cups purchased from the store, or mix up a box of Jell-O and put it in the freezer rather than the refrigerator.  This makes a colorful, yummy-smelling, and non-toxic sensory play material.       

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Local Family Child Care Business Owner Wins National Award

We’d like to congratulate Meg Kocher of Kocher’s Family Child Care in Holts Summit, Missouri who was one of 50 early care and education professionals selected to win the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s Tylenol® National Child Care Teacher Award.  Applications are encouraged from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. Military bases and installations around the world, and four child care professionals in Missouri were selected to receive the award this year.

Meg’s application included a classroom enhancement project proposal she called “Science Squad:  Explore, Expand, Apply.”  The entry earned her $500 to implement the project in her child care business, and an additional $500 award for the teacher herself.  Meg used the money to purchase a sensory table, binoculars, magnifying glasses, magnets, and other science materials for the children to use.  The families Meg serves wrote letters of support and encouraged her to take time off work for an all expenses paid trip to Philadelphia to receive the award in person.

For more information about the Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s Tylenol® National Child Care Teacher Award, or to apply for the 2014 award, visit www.tllccf.org.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Workshop Coupon Code!

You can save $9 off your workshop registration fee for one of our July or August 2013 workshops.  That's half off the regular cost of $18!

Check your mailbox or email inbox for the registration form, and simply write "SUMMERSALEB" on the registration form before you mail it with your payment to our office.

Visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest for more codes.  Each coupon code is good for savings off one workshop registration fee per person. Limit of one code per workshop.  These codes are only valid for Child Care Aware® of Central Missouri sponsored workshops held during July and August 2013.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CDA 2.0

Are you interested in furthering your education by obtaining a Child Development Associate credential?   If so, you’ll need to know about the changes coming soon from the Council for Professional Recognition, effective June 1, 2013.  Here are few key details:
  • The CDA Exam will be taken at a testing center near you.
  • The role of the CDA Advisors (who currently do observations) and Council Representatives (who currently do Verification Visits) is changing, and both tasks will be conducted by a CDA Professional Development Specialist.  The Specialist will now review the Candidate’s Professional Portfolio (formerly Professional Resource File), observe the Candidate working with children, and reflect with the Candidate about areas of strength or growth.
  • The Specialists will report the results of your visit to the Council, and you can expect to hear the results of your exam and your visit much faster than in the past.
  • Instead of being assigned a Council Representative, you will be able to online and choose who you want to conduct your visit from a National Directory of Specialists.
  • There will no longer be a time limit for earning the 120 clock hours of training.  Any training or education meeting the Subject Area requirements and taken at any time during your career counts.
  • If you plan to apply on or before May 31, 2013, you will use the current CDA process and the current Competency Standards booklet and application packet.  If you plan to apply on or after June 1, 3013, you’ll need to use the new “CDA 2.0” process.  This new process requires purchase of the new application packet and Competency Standards book.
  • The CDA assessment fee will be increasing from $325 to $425 effective September 1, 2013.
You can earn the required 120 clock hours online through Child Care Aware Training Academy!  Find out more at http://www.smarthorizons.org/naccrra/ccam/  
For more information about obtaining a CDA, or about the changes to the program, visit http://www.cdacouncil.org/

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Grant to Support Early Childhood Improvement or Program Start Up!

The Missouri Department of Economic Development is pleased to announce the availability of $10 million in tax credits and grants to help support capital improvement and program start up costs related to Governor Nixon’s “Early Childhood Initiative”.

Children’s participation in pre-kindergarten contributes to success in elementary, secondary and post secondary education, which ultimately impacts career opportunities. The Department is providing resources to support the development of new or the expansion of existing high-quality early childhood and pre-kindergarten educational opportunities specifically directed at children of low and moderate income families.

The Department is releasing a Request for Proposals (RFP) today. The RFP and additional program details may be found at http://www.ded.mo.gov/BCS%20Programs/BCSProgramDetails.aspx?BCSProgramID=112

Responses to the RFP are due in the offices of the Department of Economic Development no later than 5:00 p.m., May 31, 2013.

Eligible capital improvement costs may include acquisition, new building construction, rehabilitation of existing properties, and related soft costs associated: appraisal; closing costs; engineering and architectural costs; inspections; and permitting. Program start-up costs may include costs such as curriculum development; equipment related directly to curriculum delivery; and teacher training. Applicants may seek either capital improvement funds or programming funds, or both.

Applicants for funding must meet the same eligibility criteria necessary to receive funding from the Missouri Preschool Project.

A webinar is scheduled for Friday, April 19th at 10:00 a.m. to provide more information to potential applicants. Webinar registration information is available on the website.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Benefits of Outdoor Play in Winter

How many times were you told as a child to bundle up so you don't catch cold?  The truth is, cold weather does not cause illness.  Colds and flu are spread by viruses, and children are more likely to get sick if they are cooped up indoors all winter long!

Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services Section for Child Care Regulation requires:
A total of at least one (1) hour of outdoor play for children in attendance a full day unless prevented by weather or special medical reasons (Based on wind chill factor or heat index, children shall not be exposed to either extreme element.)
Check with your licensing representative for details on what qualifies as "extreme" weather.  As a general rule of thumb, if it's 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, your normal outdoor play routine should apply.  Here is a windchill/heat index chart published by the Iowa Department of Health to help determine whether it's safe to go outside for a full hour, for shorter periods of time, or if you shouldn't take children outside at all.

Daily outdoor play, even in chilly weather, has many benefits for children.  Gross motor activities, most easily done through outdoor play, are the best way to prevent obesity.  Plenty of outdoor play can also have a big impact on the number of challenging behaviors experienced in child care programs.  A simple change of environment can be a great way to refresh the children and the adults!

Be sure children are dressed appropriately for the weather.  Dressing in layers is best, because layers can be taken off or added as needed.  Be sure families in your program know that outdoor play is a part of your schedule, and children should be sent to child care with coats, hats, mittens, boots, and other appropriate winter wear.  It's always a good idea to have a few spares on hand for children who left their coats at home.

For more information about safe outdoor play in the winter, check out this resource from the University of California.