Early Education Newsletter

July 2020

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CASY Office Will be Closed:

Friday, July 3rd in observation of Independence Day


We can help! Reach out to our Program Engagement Specialist, Kristi, at 800-886-3952 ext. 38 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.


This FAQ has been created with updated information that is aligned with Governor Holcomb’s Back on Track Plan. This guidance applies to programs in counties identified as being Stage 2 or higher. Please note that guidance will be reviewed and updated as situations change and new information is available. For more information click here.


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.

Have questions? Contact SPARK help desk at 1-800-299-1627 for more information about Paths to QUALITY, training, and more.


Town Square is a website dedicated to supporting you in providing high-quality care for all children while operating a thriving business.

The resources and features on Town Square are all free. They’re organized so you can find answers and get help quickly. The site, also mobile-friendly, is a great way to stay connected to your colleagues and other program leaders so you never feel alone.

Enjoy all the fun features that Town Square has to offer, such as a pinboard and state-specific content.

Creating an account is easy! Hover over the login button in the top right corner of the home screen and choose "Register New Account."

Create your account here.

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Apply for Temporary Assistance Grant Funding

Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children (IN AEYC) is pleased to announce the launch of the Temporary Assistance Grant for Early Childhood Education and Care Employee Recruitment and Retention. The State of Indiana recognizes the essential work of early childhood and out of school professionals, especially during this public health emergency as they provide education and care for first responders, health care personnel, and other essential workers.

In recognition of this effort, the Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning and IN AEYC are offering grant funding to early childhood and out of school learning programs that are OPEN with children present and were open on or before June 14, 2020. This funding is available for the purpose of recruiting and retaining employees (full or part-time) in the state of Indiana.

Early childhood and out of school learning programs are eligible for grant funding if they meet the following criteria:

  • An Indiana licensed or registered early childhood program in good standing with the Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning, AND
  • OPEN with children in attendance on or before June 14, 2020.

To apply, visit https://inaeyc.submittable.com/submit

Applications are due by June 29th.

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Justice From the Streets to the Early Childhood Classroom, by Theressa Lenear, M.A., Ijumaa Jordan, M.A. and Julie Bisson, M.A.

This paradigm-shifting webinar is a call to action for early educators. The presenters, all early childhood anti-bias educators and advocates, will help you examine the importance of having a critical analysis of racism and learn how to provide vital leadership that supports black and indigenous Families and children of color. Together, we will reflect on recent events related to injustice and the rally cry for change, and early childhood educators’ role in creating social change. The webinar will focus on strategies that will help you facilitate children’s awareness of human similarities, differences, and worth based on their observations of what is happening around them. Click here to register.
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QRIS 2020 Conference

QRIS National Learning Network is going virtual! We know how important learning opportunities and resources are for you – perhaps now more than ever before. With this in mind, we are offering some of the QRIS 2020 conference virtually as we connect you to experts, colleagues, content, and resources online. This will be a new and sometimes challenging endeavor for all of us but being together will make it easier. We hope you will join us in July. Find more details and information on how to register.
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NAEYC Virtual Institute is here!

20 presentations are available NOW. View them ON Demand for FREE, until July 17 and receive your certificate of participation. View our online FAQs to learn more.

Join the thousands of early education professionals accessing Virtual Institute presentations. Confirm your email and password or create your free account NOW and you'll be ready to start your own personalized professional development experience. You do not need to be a NAEYC member to participate.

Click here to learn more!

NAEYC: HOT: Tinkering Online Module

New to STEM learning? NAEYC’s HOT: Tinkering online module provides teachers with facilitation strategies to promote children's higher order thinking skills and develop a deeper understanding of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Only $10 through July 31, 2020.

Register today and use code TINKER10 at checkout.

Free Spirit Webinars

Free Spirit’s online professional development brings experts in education right to your screen. Their free on-demand webinar recordings address timely and relevant topics in early childhood education, bullying prevention, gifted education, and more. Learn more here.


Adapting Best Practices for the Future

Many recent out-of-school time programs started specifically for children of essential workers are now considering broadening enrollment as more people start to go back to work. One organization, Champions, shares how they're adapting and taking additional precautions. Click here to read more.

6 Ways to Connect With Parents Offline During COVID-19

What is the best way to reach out? With many programs limiting parent interactions to minimize the risks of exposure to illness. How can we be supportive without being in person? Here are some outside of the box ideas that one center has implemented, and they really seem to work well. Some of the ideas take a lot of effort while some take hardly any at all, but all of these will help parents feel included and loved!

Click here to read more about ways to stay connected with parents during this time of social distancing.

Building Anti-Bias Early Childhood Programs: The Role of the Leader

An anti-bias early childhood care and education (ECCE) program puts diversity and equity goals at the center of all aspects of its organization and daily life. It involves much more than adding new materials and activities into the already existing learning environment. Rather, broad systemic changes are necessary. The learning environment and curriculum, as well as program policies, structures, procedures, and processes, all come into play. Change also includes the attitudes of the individuals who serve the children and families. In sum, it is “a process, not an event” (Kugelmass 2004, 6).

While the urgency to implement anti-bias education is great from the perspective of the children’s needs, the process of change happens over time; an anti-bias education leader must plan for the long haul. Successful anti-bias education change needs an intentional and thoughtful strategic approach. To read more click here.

Standing Together Against Suspension & Expulsion in Early Childhood: Resources

Expulsion in early childhood education is not an intervention. Over a decade of research and data tell us that the policies and practices of suspension and expulsion in early childhood, which disproportionately affect children of color, are causing harm to children and families. Over 30 national organizations came together to create a joint statement that amplifies and elevates the issue. It's time to heed the calls to prevent, limit and eliminate suspensions and expulsions in early childhood education.

But how? Keep reading to find resources for teachers, administrators, policymakers, states and districts that offer data, toolkits, models and templates to help change our policies and practices. Eliminating suspension and expulsion across all states and settings in early childhood education is our collective and systemic responsibility. What will your part be? Click here to learn more.

Infant and Toddler STEAM: Supporting Interdisciplinary Experiences with Our Youngest Learners

How do science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) relate to infants and toddlers? What can educators do to support the development of infants’ and toddlers’ STEAM-related skills? This article shares highlights as researchers explore infant and toddler STEAM, make connections between children’s interests and our intentional teaching practices, and create spaces that promote developmentally appropriate STEAM learning. Read more here.

Supporting Sensory Development

Spinning, swinging, dancing, climbing . . . children come wired with an internal drive to move. When confined to a small space, like your home, this constant need can easily overwhelm caregivers. Before you try to restrict the activity, remember that for a child, physical activity is much more than just satisfying an urge for exercise.

Moving and exploring are a child’s way of directly engaging with the world and processing sensory input. This is vital in the healthy development of sensory integration which affects a child’s perceptions, behaviors, and learning. Children who can’t effectively regulate sensory stimulation often struggle with related challenging behaviors.

No one knows the future of child care, but even in these times of uncertainty, children can thrive if surrounded by environments that support their development. Alicia Noddings, Ph.D., offers some strategies that parents can employ to cultivate self-regulation and resiliency. Please share with the families in your program. Read here.