Early Education Newsletter

May 2021

The CASY Office Will Be Closed:

Monday, May 31, 2021 for Memorial Day

May 7th, 2021 Provider Appreciation Day

This year has proven that child care is one of the most essential roles within our communities. With a challenging year behind us, we look forward to helping families get back to work. This cannot happen without child care programs. Thank you for supporting children and families in your community.


We can help! Reach out to our Program Engagement Specialist, Kristi, at 812-231-8902 or kburkhart@casyonline.org. If you have any questions about how to activate your account or you are not receiving your invitations, we can help! We can assist you in getting your account started, understanding how to navigate I-LEAD, inviting staff, finding professional development, and more.

CDA Renewal Amnesty Extension

Now is the Time to Renew your CDA®!

You recognize the importance of providing our youngest learners with the education they deserve. If you need to renew your CDA credential, the Council is extending the deadline for the Renewal Amnesty program to December 31, 2021. Check out the new tutorial and discover how easy it is to become active again.

We hope this extension will provide the time you may need to take advantage of this special opportunity. The program allows anyone with a CDA credential expiration date going back as far as January 1, 2010, to complete the renewal process and make their credential active again.

Get Ready, Set and…Learn more here!

Are you working on a CDA? Did You Know There is a Scholarship Available?

  • If you live and work in early childhood in Indiana, make $20 or less per hour, and work 30 hours or more (part-time scholarship is available), you will want to be aware of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® INDIANA Scholarship Program.
  • If you qualify, a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship can cover up to 80 percent of your tuition and book costs for the classes you need to complete your degree.
  • Plus, you are eligible for a $50 per semester stipend and a $200-300 per year bonus when T.E.A.C.H. receives your qualifying grades.
  • Scholarships are available to complete CDA training, obtain an associate of early childhood education, or bachelors in early childhood education!

Contact T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® INDIANA at teach@inaeyc.org

or call at 855-484-2392 Ext.3511

to find out if you are eligible.

Contact T.E.A.C.H. Now!

Applications are approved on a regular basis!

Save the Date! Provider Appreciation Day is May 7

Child care providers were “essential” long before the pandemic, and the past year has highlighted the lengths to which they are willing to go to keep their doors open to serve the children of other essential workers. Join CCAoA in celebrating and thanking child care providers across the nation. Sign up to access free resources and receive updates about events happening on May 7!

OECOSL Essential to Recovery

We are excited to share that Indiana’s Essential to Recovery plan is in full swing. A website detailing the different plan initiatives and programs, along with frequently asked questions and important dates, is now live at brighterfuturesindiana.org/recovery.

The following initiatives have launched:

• Extended Program Closure Grants: These provide support to programs facing temporary closures due to a positive COVID-19 case. Programs dealing with a closure can apply for funding through the end of the year at https://www.in.gov/fssa/carefinder/covid-19-coronavirus-guidance-for-oecosl-stakeholders/.

• Emergency Relief Grants: To address programs’ increased COVID-related operating expenses, temporary Emergency Relief Grants offer a 20% increase to reimbursements for programs serving children receiving CCDF/On My Way Pre-K. Programs will receive these automatically as part of their bi-weekly CCDF and/or OMWPK reimbursements. These grants will be available from March 28 through Sept. 10, 2021.

• Waived Background Check Fees & Hiring Stipends: To support programs in hiring new team members and cover recruitment and onboarding costs, the state is waiving background check fees and issuing $400 stipends to child care programs for each new hire. Through April 2022, programs will not be billed for background checks and the stipends will happen with their CCDF reimbursements.

Here is a set of communications you can use to share this with your families. Programs will receive their reimbursement (including for the co-pay) in their regularly scheduled bi-weekly CCDF payments.

Additionally, the increase in CACFP reimbursements will be live for claims beginning in May.

Programs can view frequently asked questions for each of these at https://brighterfuturesindiana.org/build-learn-grow/faq

In order to be eligible for these initiatives, you must be a CCDF-eligible program. Contact your licensing consultant today to fast-track your eligibility. You must also complete the SPARK “Fundamentals for Business Sustainability” training. To access the training, log in to ilead.in.gov and click “Start Your Indiana Learning Path”. Once there, choose “Courses” from the left-side menu. Search for the training name and register. Programs have until Aug. 31, 2021 to complete this training.

To stay up-to-date as additional program initiatives roll out, sign up for text alerts by texting the word UPDATES to 465437.

New Statewide Program Enrollment Reporting Tool

As part of our state’s Essential to Recovery plan to help early childhood education programs like yours recover from the pandemic and build for the future, the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is launching a Program Enrollment Reporting tool and dashboard to help provide insight into the early childhood education supply and demand gaps across our state and better inform ongoing relief and recovery efforts.

This week you should have received the first of bi-weekly emails with a link to report your enrollment data. The form is very short and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete. To remain in good standing with licensing, you must participate in the bi-weekly reporting.

The data you provide is critical in helping Indiana understand the enrollment trends happening as our state recovers from the pandemic, and we’ll use this data to continue planning investment efforts.

We thank you in advance for your participation and partnership so that we can strengthen the early childhood education industry for the future.

For more information on the Essential to Recovery plan and the initiatives available to help your program recover and build for the future, visit brighterfuturesindiana.org/recovery.

Don't Miss Out on Important Information

The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning sends out text updates with urgent policy changes, funding updates, COVID-19 resources, and much more. If you do not currently receive these text messages, text “Updates” to INKIDS to get convenient updates straight to your phone.

If you already receive text updates, take the next step and update your text preferences. You can subscribe to the information that is most relevant to you, like program information about the Child Care and Development Fund, On My Way Pre-K, or Paths to QUALITY.

Text “Updates” to INKIDS or 465437

Professional Development:

Illuminating the “Care” in Early Care and Education: The Pedagogy of Child Care, by Carol Garboden Murray

May 5, 2021

2:00 PM Eastern Time

Think about a day in the life of an early childhood teacher: Much of the day is wrapped up in caring rituals such as preparing and serving meals, helping children wash their hands and dress, and learning to rest and regulate themselves. Together with children, teachers navigate through a daily flow that involves all the elements of living and caring together. So, you might wonder why historically “care” has been subordinated to the educational aspects of our jobs and children’s day? This thought-provoking webinar, presented by Author and Early Childhood Nerd, Carol Garboden Murray will explore how we can rearrange the paradigm to name care as a pedagogy and practice to unite caring with educating. Join us to learn more about Carol’s unique perspective on how we can practice care as an intellectual exchange and a state-of-the-art emergent curriculum. Click here.

Nature-based Learning Environments: What Every Early Childhood Program Leader Needs to Know, by Rachel A. Larimore, M.A.

May 19, 2021

2:00 PM Eastern Time

Nature-based learning is growing in popularity, particularly in the time of COVID. Yet, many find themselves looking for strategies to integrate nature into the preschool curriculum in meaningful and intentional ways. One area of program development that is foundational for children’s play and teacher-child interactions is the physical environment. Statements like “bring nature inside” or “go outside” oversimplify things and don’t address the pedagogy around nature-based education. Further, these phrases don’t address HOW to bring nature in or take advantage of nature outside.

This webinar, presented by author and nature-based learning expert Rachel Larimore, will help early childhood administrators identify the principles fundamental to a nature-based approach. Then, using a continuum of nature-based early childhood education as the overarching framework, Rachel will address the unique considerations for designing a nature-based classroom. We’ll discuss the spaces inside, outside, and beyond the fence. Additionally, we’ll discuss the other supporting spaces that help make for successful nature-based learning. Click here for more information.

Indiana Urges Hoosiers to Take Their Next Step with Education and Training

Indiana recently launched a new central hub of Indiana resources for education, employment and other services! This new central hub allows Hoosiers to easily connect with tools to take their next step to education and training or to a new or better job.

Visit https://yournextstepin.org/ to find out more about this great opportunity available!

Have you Claimed your Scholarship to IYI’s College and Career Conference?

Join Indiana Youth Institute at the virtual 2021 College and Career Conference, on June 2-3, to ensure Indiana is a place where every child has the access and opportunity to thrive.

Together, you will learn from national experts who will guide conversations on topics most important to you, enhancing your experience with actionable takeaways.

Connect with industry leaders as they share resources and models on the following topics:

  • College and Career Success

  • Education to Workforce Pathways

  • Collaboration and Partnership

  • COVID-19 Recovery­­­­­

  • Social Emotional Learning

  • Financial Readiness and Success

  • Academic Readiness and Success

  • Equity and Success for All Youth

We have scholarships for all Indiana youth-serving professionals that cover the full registration cost. Simply register to claim your scholarship.

To claim your scholarship, register here!

DAP Symposium

The NAEYC Developmentally Appropriate Practice Position Statement has been a guide post for the field since it was first released. On June 9-10, join us for the NAEYC DAP Symposium, as we seek to ensure all young children have access to high-quality early learning. This virtual event will be an opportunity for anyone involved with early education to explore the rationale and consequences to their work from the recent revisions to the DAP Position Statement and the upcoming 4th edition of Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs. DAP Symposium participants will hear directly from the authors on the “why” behind the changes that appear in the new statement, and have online access to over 25 NAEYC-curated sessions presented by early learning industry thought leaders. Click here for registration information!


Encouraging School Readiness Skills in Preschoolers

As much as we'd love our students to stay in our classrooms forever, at some point they'll need to move up to big kid school. Make sure you're doing everything you can to set them up for success! Read more here.

6 Ways Child Care Providers Support Families Returning to Child Care

Many parents are eagerly awaiting their child’s return to child care, while others may feel uneasy about sending their child back to child care. In our recent blog post, 6 Ways Child Care Providers Support Families Returning to Child Care, we provide a few considerations for child care providers and others who support the day-to-day needs of children. Find out more here.

What We Can Learn from Froebel’s Kindergartens

At the beginning of all the early childhood classes I teach at the local community college, I review important early childhood theories. I believe students should be familiar with the foundation of our field. Most of the students have heard of many of these theorists—Piaget, Erikson, Vygotsky, Dewey, and Bronfenbrenner. Some are even familiar with the seminal ideas each has contributed to the field. But almost none are familiar with Froebel!

The best place for children is a place where the child's nature can be developed and nurtured.

Of course, they all know of the Kindergarten, but not of its founder, Friedrich Froebel. And, unfortunately, what occurs in Kindergartens today all over the world, but especially in the United States, has little resemblance to Froebel’s beliefs and ideas about the development and education of young children. Continue reading here.

Why We Need to Pay More Attention to the Youngest Children and Their Parents

Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, nearly everyone connected to children has raised the alarm about pandemic learning loss. Parents, educators, physicians and politicians — they might disagree on solutions, but they’re all concerned about how the current educational upheaval will affect K-12 students.

By contrast, little attention has been paid to the pandemic’s effects on even younger learners.

“There aren’t a lot of people out there screaming ‘what about the infants?’” said Jack Shonkoff, a pediatrician and professor who leads Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child. Click here to continue reading.

Family Resources

Infancy Onward needs your help!

To assist Infancy Onward in better serving the needs of our community, could you please take a few minutes to complete our survey?

This will be used for our annual review, marketing, and research purposes. They appreciate your help and would love any comments you have!

Family Survey:


Please consider sharing this with any families you think would be interested in assisting them.

Parenting Tips from the Pros: How to Teach Children Not to Lie

Do you want a teen who lies, deceives, and sneaks behind your back to get what they want? No, you probably don’t. Lying is a habit that starts when they are young. Then, by the time they have become teenagers, they would be proficient in lying because of years of practice. It is far better to teach children not to lie and instill in them the habit of honesty while they are young. Their character is dependent on their ability to be transparent, honest, and an unwillingness to bend the truth. Lying is a habit, as is honesty.

Click here for some tips on how to teach children not to lie and hopefully, prevent your child from developing deceptive behaviors.

Family Webinar: Summer Safety - May 13th at 2pm

As the weather warms up and we head into the summer, more time will be spent outside enjoying the sun. Whether you are traveling somewhere new or staying home for the summer, we want to make sure we all stay safe and healthy. Join CASY’s Family Engagement Specialists as we discuss ways to keep kids safe while they have fun.

Register here.

12 Tips to Reduce Your Child's Stress and Anxiety

Anxiety symptoms are common in children and adolescents, with 10 to 20 percent of school-aged children experiencing anxiety symptoms. An even larger number of children experience stress that does not qualify as an anxiety disorder. So how can you help to reduce your child's anxiety and stress? Click here to find out more.