Early Education Newsletter

October 2021

CASY Office is Closed:

The CASY office will be closed:

Friday, October 8th, 2021

Monday, October 11th, 2021

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Coming Soon: New Grants to Strengthen Indiana Early Childhood and Out of School Programs

The Indiana Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is preparing to release new Build, Learn, Grow Stabilization Grants to help early childhood education and out-of-school care programs continue recovering from the effects of the pandemic and strengthen their businesses for the future.

Grants are non-competitive and are calculated per site based on each provider’s program type, average attendance, staffing costs, quality level and geography. Grant awards for the first round of funding will cover approximately three months of a provider’s monthly operating costs.

Providers can view grant details and review frequently asked questions to begin preparing to apply. Visit brighterfuturesindiana.org/build-learn-grow/stabilization-grants.

You CCDF Eligibility Office May have Changed

CCDF changes occurred for some Indiana counties effective October 1st, 2021. Review the new Eligibility Map with contact information, for families to start reaching out to the new agencies on Monday, October 4, 2021.

Have You Shared Your Story?

The Workforce Systems team at INAEYC wants to connect with YOU – what challenges are you and your team working to solve right now? What celebrations do you want to share about the hard work happening in your program? How can we help you and your team meet your professional goals? Share your story with our team, and we can collaborate, share resources, and offer supports to help you reach your goals!

Our team can offer support and resources related to recruitment and retention, supportive work environments, planning for professional growth, national accreditation, and more!

Contact us at workforce@inaeyc.org to ask about completing your Workforce Profile and connecting with an Early Childhood Workforce Coordinator in your community.”

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Early Education and Out of School Program Supports

There are many great programs offered by Indiana Family and Social Services Administration to help support early education and out-of-school programs and, it can be difficult to keep them all straight. That is why we have compiled a resource that outlines each program, what support resources are offered, how it relates to Paths to QUALITY™, as well as coaching and technical assistance available.

We recommend placing a bookmark in this resource, so if you have a question about a program or would like to contact someone for support, this resource is readily available. View this helpful overview of the organizations available that can help further strengthen and support with Paths to QUALITY™.

What to do if you have a COVID case?

Have you had a COVID positive case and needed to know what steps to take? What would you do if you had a COVID positive in your program? The Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning has issued new guidance for what to do when you have a positive COVID case. Read the guidance here.


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Professional Development:


IYI’s Professional Development Grants program offers financial assistance for youth workers to access continuing education that they might not otherwise be able to attend. These funds are available to help promote the healthy development of children and youth by providing access to training and course work that IYI does not or cannot offer.

IYI’s Professional Development Grants may be used for conferences, trainings, workshops, or tuition reimbursement. Opportunities must be related to the applicant’s position and agency’s mission. The grant is intended to improve the applicant’s ability to do their job and the agency’s ability to serve and support children and youth.

Amount: Up to $750, maximum of two awards per organization per IYI fiscal year (July-June).

Learn more.

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Registration is Now Open!

The virtual Annual Conference will be held Sunday, November 7 through Tuesday, November 9 with a special preview day on Saturday, November 6.

Join us for:

  • Over 100 essential professional learning sessions
  • Opportunities to connect with other NAEYC members
  • The return of NAEYC Expo with inspiring solutions and expert advice
  • Fun and educational activities to extend your learning
  • On-Demand access through November 30

Register Here

Making Space for Preschool Makerspaces

Wednesday, Oct. 6

3 pm ET

Presented by Robin Marx-Mackerley, MS, Early Childhood Instructor, University of Nevada, Reno Extension; and Cathryn Peshlakai, M.Ed., Program Officer, University of Nevada, Reno Extension The goal of this edWebinar is to spark interest in developing makerspaces in the preschool classroom by defining what a makerspace is and how it is different from other spaces. Look at various types of makerspaces for deferent setting and learn to recognize the benefits of the space. By attending this edWebinar, participants will be energized and motivated to create makerspaces in preschool classrooms. The authors seek to expand the maker community and build maker champions. Learn more.

Big Questions, Worries, and Fears: How to have hard conversations with little children, by Dr. Lauren Starnes

October 13, 2021

2:00 PM Eastern Time

Join Dr. Lauren Starnes in this webinar to address the big adult questions young children often ask that often cause us to pause, silence the child, or deflect the response. This session will guide you to answer difficult question respectfully and developmentally appropriately with even the youngest children. The webinar will explore big topics as miscarriage, domestic terror events, gender fluidity, death of a classmate, and other equally emotional and unsettling topics. Click here for more information.

Secrets to Finding Talent Amidst a ECE Staffing Crisis: Think Outside the Toybox, by Lauren Small and Virginia Marsh

October 20, 2021

2:00 PM Eastern Time

Have crippling staff shortages forced you out of the director’s office and back into the classroom? Are you struggling to recruit and train employees? Does your existing staff complain about burnout? Perhaps you’ve even turned away potential enrollments due to being short-staffed. As overwhelmed directors must ask more and more of their loyal workers—who often play multiple essential roles, from food prep to administrative tasks—they risk losing the staff they already have.

This very timely webinar will reveal untapped sources of talent you might not have considered—from targeting certain groups for recruitment, to finding hidden potential in your current staff. Click here for more information.


The Role of a Teacher in Block Play

Unit Blocks are one of the most powerful learning tools available for young children. However, their full potential in a classroom is only realized with the support and interest of the teacher.

“It is very important for teachers in the beginning of the school year to create a culture around block building,” states Nancy McKeever of Bank Street College of Education, “and that happens before the children even come into the classroom.”

What does this look like in practice? This short video serves as a great staff development tool to deepen engagement and learning in your block area. Watch now: The Role of a Teacher in Block Play

9 Ways to Help Parents Appreciate All Your Hard Work

Things have really changed for childcare in these pandemic times and one of those big changes is that parents aren’t really coming into the center to drop off and pick up their children anymore. Due to social distancing, gone are the days when Educators could create pedagogical displays in the facility for the parents to discover and also the days of parents hanging out and observing their children’s and caregiver’s interactions.

As professional Early Childhood Educators, you know just how far we have had to come to bring our field into the light and to educate the public as to just what it is that we do. Early Childhood Educators have banished the “babysitter” stigma but how do we keep that alive? We know how important and valuable the work is that we do, but how do we educate and inform the families that use our services and help them to appreciate and understand all of our hard work? Read more.

It All Takes Time!

“Let’s get right to the heart of the matter: children need more time,” writes Lisa Murphy.

“Time to play, explore, think, daydream, imagine, and simply be children. But let’s be honest: kid time is totally different than adult time. It can often take twenty minutes to decide where to play and yet another twenty for the preplay negotiations!

“Hard-and-fast, rigid daily schedules make me antsy. Why? Because out of one side of our mouth we say we want high levels of executive function and self-regulation skills and out of the other we insist on posting daily schedules that chop a child’s day up into twenty-minute time blocks. You can’t have the former if you insist on the latter. Let me elaborate. . .”

Continue reading.

Parent Resources:

What Has the Pandemic Taught You?

A year has passed since COVID-19 roared into our lives, upending routines and norms. But as we grappled with pandemic-inspired change, something else occurred: we started learning. In this follow up to our series about supporting children and families through change, we asked several early childhood education professionals what COVID-19 has taught them. Has the pandemic changed the way they communicate with families and each other? Have they made new discoveries? What advice do they have for families as we face continued uncertainty and change? Read more here.

School Involvement that Counts

A child’s greatest support is often found in their family. Yet finding the time and knowing how to participate in a child’s education is frequently a challenge for busy parents. Here are some attitudes and actions that all families can embrace to enhance their child’s learning. Read more here.

CASY Family Webinar: Safe Sleep and your Infant

Thursday, October 21st at 1pm

October is National Safe Sleep Awareness Month. Join CASY's Family Engagement Specialists as we discuss healthy sleeping habits for your infant, at naptime and throughout the night. Learn important information as well as tips for sharing safe sleep practices with others.

Register here