Early Education Newsletter

April 2020

The CASY Office Will Be Closed in Observation of Good Friday:

Friday, April 10th, 2020

Thank you!

To our programs that provide care for our youngest children, our staff at CASY want to thank you for the work you do. We appreciate everything you are doing to ensure the health and safety of your community while continuing to support families in keeping our communities operational.

Update Your Program File

Have You Updated Your Program Information Lately?

Update your program file to ensure the most accurate information is shared with parents looking for care. It is also important to update your rates as the Office Of Early Childhood & Out-of-School Learning is collecting market rate information. This information provides an average cost of care for your county and helps to determine the CCDF reimbursement rates for your county. It is important to ensure we have the most up to date rate information. (NOTE: Rate information is never shared with families looking for care. Rate information is strictly used for data purposes.)

Update your file by clicking here

or to update by phone call Kristi at 800-886-3952 ext 38

COVID-19 (coronavirus) guidance for OECOSL stakeholders

The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning continues to issue news and update guidance to partners and stakeholders in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Guidance released to date by OECOSL can be found here.


We can help! Reach out to our Program Support Specialist Kristi at 800-886-3952 ext. 38 or kburkhart@casyonline.org. If you have any questions about how to activate your account or if 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.


Did you know that in addition to the resources and updates provided within your CASY Newsletter, you can also sign up to receive information about SPARK through their newsletter?

Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to sign up for the SPARK newsletter.

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A Message from the Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning

SPARK Learning Lab’s Local In-Person Training is TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED. In an effort to be proactive and keep early education program staff healthy, OECOSL is temporarily suspending non-essential in-person training opportunities. During this time, we invite you to participate in online training, including Safe Sleep, on Indiana Learning Paths. You can also find more training opportunities by visiting OECOSL’s website here. We will notify you when in-person training resumes and appreciate your understanding.

Reducing Common Conflicts Among Adults in the Classroom

Because of the coronavirus and extended school closures, we know that staff have a lot of time on their hands and are looking for ways to stay calm and productive. Team Agreements would like to offer our help by providing free access to a virtual conference which includes twelve 30-minute videos focused on reducing conflicts among adults in the classroom.

Below are a few topics that will be covered by consultants, directors, coaches, teachers, as well as national authors such as Susan MacDonald:

  • Getting staff on the same page and moving in the same direction

  • Helping teaching teams bond and come together

  • Working with staff who are feeling frustrated, resentful and angry

  • Moving teaching teams from conflict to resolution

Click here to register!

Better Kid Care

As each day brings additional news related to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reaching out to our newsletter subscribers with a special edition to share with you some resources and to encourage you as we navigate this public health crisis together. Even though Penn State University has closed its campuses for the remainder of the semester, the staff at Better Kid Care continues to work remotely and our On Demand distance education learning system remains available 24/7, anytime you are ready to learn.

There are many ways you can continue to connect with us—through social media, email, and by phone. Additionally, we have made two modules available for free professional development credit until April 10:

Attract More Families to Your Website: SEO and Websites 101, by Jenny Munn

April 2, 2020

2:00 PM Eastern Time

And you thought all you had to do was put up a website, and families would come! By now you may have discovered it’s not quite that simple. When it comes to marketing your website to attract new families, the only constant is change. It is an evolution that actually never ends!

This webinar will cover the latest trends, best practices, and case studies around making your website optimized for search engines so it appears on higher than other programs in search results. That’s called Search Engine Optimization or SEO. The goal of optimizing your program’s website is to increase your visibility to prospective families. In this session, education search marketing guru, Jenny Munn, will help you learn the basics of SEO and website marketing. We’ll cover ideas that will work with various budgets and resources.

Click here to register.

Using Mindfulness with Children of All Abilities in the “Messy Middle” of ECE Classrooms

Wed, Apr 8, 2020 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM EDT

All children spend time in the messy middle...when for all sorts of reasons, they struggle to learn and/or their development has stalled. We refer to this place as messy because solutions to "jump start" development and/or best support diverse learning pathways isn't always obvious or straightforward. There is hope, however. Because when our teaching efforts aim for connection over compliance, personalization over standardization, and building communities over creating competition we can help children all children thrive. During this webinar, we'll explore how teachers and other caring adults can embed mindfulness strategies into their daily routines and activities to meet the needs of children in inclusive settings. We’ll discuss how to differentiate instruction and promote integration between a child’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. We'll explore the zone of optimal learning and how to extend it for all children. We’ll also learn about mindfulness strategies that support brain development, and what you need to be ready to teach in the "messy middle".

Click here to register.

I am Moving, I am Learning (Nutritional Building Blocks)

May 16th, 2020

9:00 am-11:am

Booker T. Washington Community Center

Terre Haute

Join Vigo County Purdue Extension for this fun, active program designed for caregivers of young children to encourage children’s movement and healthy food choices each day. Session to be presented id the Nutritional Building Blocks.

Visit Indiana Learning Paths through your ILEAD account to register.

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Making the Most of Online Learning

In this time of social distancing, online learning is becoming more important than ever. The Indiana Afterschool Network is committed to serving you, your programs, and your professional development needs.

Due to the growing need for online learning, we are offering a one-time special $25 price for one year of access to the Indiana Academy for Out-of-School Learning - our professional development system designed for out-of-school time professionals.

Explore over 50 interactive courses specifically designed for afterschool staff, plus hundreds of courses covering topics like non-profit management and leadership skills. Keep learning and growing in your virtual space!

If you'd like to take advantage of this offer, just fill out the short form below and we will get in touch with you.

Remember - if you belong to a 21st Century Community Learning Center, you are entitled to free Academy access - please reach out to Bri (bgaston-bell@indianaafterschool.org) to get that set up.

Click here to get started

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2020 Indiana Early Childhood Conference

May 7th – 9th | 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Indiana Convention Center

The Indiana Early Childhood Conference brings together leading educators and presenters from across the nation. Be inspired and take-away valuable knowledge and insight to help you and your program succeed.


Click here to learn more or register

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Grab, Adapt and Go - COVID-19 Resources for Child Care Programs

During this time of great uncertainty, child care providers are reaching out to Child Care Aware® of America for support. In response to their questions and comments, and in recognition of their limited bandwidth for anything but direct care responsibilities, we have created a collection of resources that child care providers may use in this pronounced time of need.

We have designed these resources to help child care programs stand up or bolster an existing infectious disease response plan. We also offer templates providers may adapt to communicate with staff about Coronavirus and sample letters for providers to communicate with families about enhanced health and safety measures. In the event a child care program should need to close temporarily due to COVID-19 community spread, we also offer a sample letter for notifying families of the temporary program closure, including a section that highlights expectations surrounding tuition payment during closure.

These resources are intended for use by child care program administrators and providers. Child Care Resource and Referral and Agencies, state child care licensing divisions and other state oversight agencies also may share this collection of resources with child care programs they support. These resources complement a Child Care Program Decision Flowchart Child Care Aware® of America recently adapted and published. Click here to access these resources.

How to talk to children about the coronavirus

Every news outlet seems to be talking nonstop about the new coronavirus, which is causing an illness called COVID-19. Many parents understandably are sharing concerns, too — at least among friends and families. Even at school, children are hearing about this new virus and registering that some adults seem worried.

Given all the discussion about this coronavirus, your children might have heard about it and have questions for you. Below are some tips on how to respond to their questions. Click here to read more.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month!

Child Abuse Prevention Kick-Off on

April 1, 2020!

Prevent Child Abuse Indiana is a vital resource to our community and is working diligently to protect and serve the children of our state. Amid the COVID-19 virus, this work is more important now than ever before. This vulnerable time is causing families to become unemployed, leading to lack of resources for food and shelter. We know that vulnerable conditions such as these can lead to increased cases of child abuse, which is why we need your help.

It is possible that small, discreet actions can make a difference in a child’s life. Please join us at this virtual event to see how you can make a difference during Child Abuse Prevention month.

“April is a time to help people across the country understand the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments are necessary to ensure that children grow up happy and healthy,” says Sandy Runkle, Director of Programs for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

For more information: click here.

Week of the Young Child

Don't miss the #WOYC20 celebration, April 11-17!

Join NAEYC April 11–17, 2020 for a week of fun-filled, themed days to celebrate our youngest learners! The Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration hosted by NAEYC to spotlight early learning, young children, their teachers, families, and communities.

While we designate the date and daily themes, celebrations are organized and coordinated by individual early childhood programs and community organizations providing services to young children and families. Celebrations can be tailored to meet your own needs!

Again this year, NAEYC is asking its members, centers, higher ed programs, and everyone else in the early education community to Step It Up (SIU) during WOYC™. We kept the same daily themes, but we challenge YOU to expand them! Spread the word about the importance of high-quality early learning, and the critical role early childhood educators play in a child’s development and learning.

Children learn so much as they enjoy music, explore food and cooking, build together, create art, and celebrate their families! Get inspired by the activities below and plan your next year's celebration.

Click here to learn more!

Your CDA Questions Answered:

I have already submitted my application. What if I cannot complete the exam and verification visit by my six-month deadline?

If your application expiration date is March 1, 2020 or beyond you will receive an automatic 100-day extension to complete your exam and verification visit.

I have submitted my renewal application and have been given 30 days to submit additional documentation. What if I cannot submit the required information by my 30-day deadline?

If you received notification that you have 30 days to submit additional information, you will be granted a 100-day extension to submit the documentation.

I am getting ready to submit my CDA application, what should I do now?

You may continue to submit your CDA application online. Mailed applications may experience slower processing times due to the recent events.

I have completed my application and I am ready to schedule my test at a Pearson VUE testing center, what should I do now?

Some Pearson VUE testing sites are closed temporarily. Some sites may have reduced hours and seating availability. Please go to the Pearson VUE (PearsonVUE.com) website for more information.

I have completed my application and I have scheduled my test at a Pearson VUE testing center, what should I do now?

Please check your email for any cancellations or re-schedule notices from Pearson VUE. Please go to the Pearson VUE (PearsonVUE.com) website for more information on their site closures.

I need to renew my CDA through the renewal amnesty program, what should l do now?

The Council is extending the Renewal Amnesty program to June 30th. If you are a CDA® credential holder with an expired credential as far back as January 1, 2010 you are eligible to participate. For additional information visit: www.cdacouncil.org/amnesty

For more information about your CDA, click here to visit the CDA Council's website.

Resources from CASY CACFP

Q&A on COVID-19 and Food Allergies with Dr. Tom Casale

Do you have questions about the COVID-19 and food allergies? Dr. Tom Casale provides information in this video.

Practice Safe Hygiene and Cleaning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises everyone to practice good hygiene to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. This includes proper handwashing, not working sick, and properly cleaning and disinfecting. The Institute of Child Nutrition has created a webpage of best practices and information on these topics. For more information click here.

Resources to Share with Parents:

For Your Families: Child Care and Development Fund

The Child Care and Development Fund is a federal program that helps low-income families obtain child care so that they may work, attend training or continue their education. The purpose of CCDF is to increase the availability, affordability and quality of child care.

The CCDF program is administered through the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration in the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning. The CCDF state plan outlines state and local level parameters and includes program outcomes, systems development and eligibility requirements.

Beginning March 2020, Families can now apply for CCDF using a new, easier-to-use online application called “Early Ed Connect.” Early Ed Connect offers the benefits of:

  • Easy use via mobile devices, as well as on a computer or tablet
  • Ability to apply for multiple children in one application
  • Ability to upload supporting documents, including via photo from a mobile phone
  • Ability to save application progress and complete it at a later time
  • Notification of successful submission
  • Available in English and Spanish
  • Online support information and videos

Please click here to begin the process.

If you have additional questions or would like to speak with an eligibility specialist, please click here.

Lemonade Day

We're making LEMONADE out of LEMONS!

Like so many of you, each day we are learning about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it is impacting our world.

Chances And Services for Youth is offering parents a free online educational tool to teach children about financial literacy and entrepreneurship while schools are closed. Lemonade Day Wabash Valley offers lesson plans through its virtual and interactive resource called Lemonopolis.

Register online at https://www.lemonadeday.org/wabash-valley.

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Chances And Service for Youth Update:

Chances And Services for Youth has closed our building to the public beginning on Monday March 23 until further notice. The decision was made as we work together to consider the best options for promoting social distancing to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

While our physical location is closed, online and telephone services will continue to operate as normal. CASY staff will be working remotely and are available by phone at 812-232-3952 or 800-886-3952 Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m or by staff's email or help@casyonline.org

Program information is also available at www.casyonline.org

Clients may also continue to send documents to CASY 1101 South 13th Street Terre Haute, IN 47802.

Note: CASY will continue to distribute the Vigo County School Corporation lunches from our lobby Monday- Friday during the new hours of 11:00 am-1:00 pm.