Early Education Newsletter

CLOSED January 16th for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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Family Child Care Networks

We are starting up Family Child Care Networks for HOME child care businesses. Would you like to meet up with other child care providers?

Email Trisha Guinn, CASY's Family Engagement Specialist to learn more.

Do You Know Someone Interested in Becoming a Child Care Provider?

Invite them to join

Program Engagement Specialist, Trisha Guinn

in a virtual child care informational session

Starting Your Child Care Business

Wednesday, January 25

Register for 8 am OR 6 pm

In this virtual event you will learn:

  • Is child care right for me?
  • The landscape of child care in Indiana
  • Types of child care opportunities in Indiana
  • Benefits to becoming licensed
  • The early childhood system in Indiana
  • Supports available to you
  • Paths to QUALITY
  • I-LEAD
  • Questions answered about your specific needs

Educators and Community Members Needed

DOE conducted a research study to define essential postsecondary skills needed to promote future success in employment, enrollment, and enlistment leading to service and will use these findings to inform the standards prioritization process. The Office of Kindergarten Readiness is recruiting educators and community members to comprise content-area committees responsible for formally recommending foundation prioritizations. Interested participants are encouraged to review the flier for additional details and complete an application to be considered for this effort.

Marketing Best Practices Guide

Up your marketing game. Hire more teachers.

Brighter Futures launched a new tool that will help providers recruit teachers and enroll families. Check out this video to view the Social Media and Online Presence sections of the Marketing Best Practices Guide.

Professional Development

Looking for professional development opportunities? Check out this list from FSSA of Online Professional Development Resources.

Get the Education You Need to Become an ECE Professional

Learn how you can become an early care and educational professional.

The Indiana Association for the Education of Young Children (INAEYC) can provide information on course requirements, eligibility, and expectations for Child Development Associate (CDA) credential courses.

  • Classes will be held virtually in the evening, beginning as soon as January 2023.
  • Scholarships are available for the upcoming CDA credential course, funded by OECOSL.

If you are interested, please contact Rachael Grissom, project coordinator at Indiana AEYC Non Formal CDA Project at rgrissom@inaeyc.org, 317-275-3505, or 855-484-2392.

Training Calendar

  • 1/5 @ 1:30pm Spark & INAEYC: Staff Recruitment and Retention - Live

  • 1/5 @ 1:30pm Keeping Children Safe: Systems for Supervision, Tracking and Follow Through - Live

  • 1/10 @ 10am Paths to QUALITY - Live

  • 1/10 @ 2Pm Stewards of Children Darkness to Light: End Child Sexual Abuse

  • 1/11 @ 1:30pm Five Strategies for Assertive Communication

  • 1/12 @ 1:30pm TOWN SQUARE: Supporting Trauma Survivors and Those Who Care for Them (part 2 of 2)

  • 1/18 @ 1:30pm & 1/25 @ 6pm Using the CDC's Learn the Signs. Act Early.

  • 1/18 @ 1:30pm Let's Get the Lead Out!

  • 1/19@ 1:30pm The Four-Step Approach to Difficult Conversations with Families

  • 1/24 @ 1:30am School-Age Bullying Behavior: Understanding what it is, what it isn't, and risk factors of why it happens

  • 1/25 @ 1:30am Mental Health Fundamentals

  • 1/26 @ 1pm Brain Development

FACE-TO-FACE - Lakeshore


  • 1/26 @ 7:30pm Recurso en vivo: Plática con un mentor

SPARK Cohort Opportunities Beginning Mid-January

SPARK Learning Cohorts are great opportunities for family child care, child care center or ministry owners/directors, administrators, principals, educational leadership individuals, or new program leaders.

This quarter cohorts will be focused on business and Paths to QUALITY™.

  • Business Cohort: Topics will cover budgeting, grant spending strategies, employee benefits, staff recruitment, and more!
  • Paths to QUALITY™ Cohort: Topics will cover readiness checklists, setting up your learning environment, how to meet commonly missed standards, and how to make a rating request.

Learn more about these exciting opportunities by clicking the button below.

Lakeshore Learning Offers Professional Development

SPARK Learning Lab has partnered with Lakeshore Learning to bring you hands-on, engaging, and invigorating in-person training sessions delivered throughout the state over the next several months. Gain strategies you can implement right away along with a material kit you can use with the children in your program.

Please note, these trainings are in person. Double-check the location for each session before registering. To register, you must first sign in to Indiana Learning Paths through your I-LEAD account in another browser tab. Once you are signed in, click the links below to register for specific trainings:

Setting up a High-Quality Environment (Center-Based)
January 11, 2023 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. ET
6501 Sunnyside Road Indianapolis, IN 46236

Infant/Toddler Social Emotional
January 12, 2023 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. ET
Hoosier Heartland State Bank Success Center, 1623 US-231 Crawfordsville, IN 47933

Setting up a High-Quality Environment (FCCH)
January 21, 2023 from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. CT
Geminus, 8400 Louisiana St. Merrillville, Indiana 46410

FREE "Science of Reading"

Join the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) Office of Kindergarten Readiness (OKR) for a free professional development series starting January 10 in the Indiana Learning Lab.

January to March 2023, learn about teaching using the principles of the science of reading through purposeful play.

Speakers will discuss the brain, reading comprehension, vocabulary, phonological awareness, phonics, read-alouds, writing, and reading environment. The topics will include all learners and their families.

You will need to sign up for a free account to join these learning sessions. Setting up an account in Indiana Learning Lab is free and easy.


All sessions will be recorded for viewing at a later time. A live schedule is available online

System Updates on Early Care and Education in Indiana

Stay in the know about important early childhood education system updates by tuning in to one of the upcoming webinars hosted by Courtney Penn, Director of the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning.

For provider convenience, we’re offering three viewing options:

  • Thursday, January 26 from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. EST | Register Now
  • Friday, January 27 from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m. EST | Register Now
  • Friday, January 27 from 1:00 - 2 p.m. EST | Register Now


What to Know About Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV)

This year, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is showing up earlier than usual, and more children are getting sick. RSV is a viral infection that is very common in the winter, especially among young children. Although most people with RSV have mild cold symptoms, it can cause severe illness and result in hospitalization. It's important for early care and education program staff members and families to recognize the symptoms of RSV so they understand its effects and how to respond when children and adults get sick.

The National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety (NCHBHS) has a new resource to help staff learn more about RSV — including the importance of daily health checks, the inclusion of ill children, and information on what to do when it's more than just a cold.

Additional resources include:

Please note — all ECLKC webpages are also available in Spanish. Select the "Español" button on the top right corner to see the Spanish translation.

Questions? Send any questions about the above information to NCHBHS at health@ecetta.info or call them at 888-227-5125 (toll-free). To join the mailing list for the Office of Child Care Administration for Children and Families through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, subscribe here.

Family Engagement Ideas – Do Differently, Not More

Check out this article for NUMEROUS family engagement resources. Here's a brief sample of what you'll see:

The research-based principles of family engagement remain steady and include core tenants such as:

  • Involve parents, caretakers, and guardians in decision-making about their child
  • Provide truly reciprocal communication and involvement with school staff
  • Add to families’ parenting knowledge outside of the classroom.
Parent Engagement Specialist, Missy Martin’s district focuses on a few key strategies to engage families and make programs easily accessible – without significant additions to her team’s workload. In a recent webinar, she shared five key recommendations with ParentPowered for how school staff can rethink and revitalize family engagement.

There's so much more! See the full blog post HERE.

Activities & Family

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Activities

Check out these activities, print outs, and much more at

Lessons for Little Ones

by Tina O'Block

Start By Reading a Simple Book

Start by reading a simple book that explains Dr. King and his dreams in a way that young students can understand.

Love Comes in Different Colors Fingerprint Art

After discussing a book, have the class collaboratively create a beautiful fingerprint art heart entitled “Love Comes in Different Colors”. Each child uses a different color of paint for their fingerprints. First, they put their fingerprint in one of the boxes along the bottom that has their name in it. Then, they put several fingerprints in the heart (spread out). The number of fingerprints that each student needs to make varies depending on the number of students in the class.

Give Peace a Chance Activity

First, talk with the students about Dr. King, wanting to bring about change peacefully, with no fighting. Next, discuss ways that they can promote peace in school, at home, and even in the community. Finally, give each student a peace symbol, and ask them to draw and/or write how they can promote peace in the two large areas at the top of the symbol. They may sign/write their first name and last name in the lower areas and color the peace sign if they wish.

Register Here

Now that the masks are taken off and the quarantines have ended, are we back to normal? COVID left a lasting mark on most of us, and our children are no different. Children born during this time or those that reached "toddlerhood" are showing signs of speech and language delays. Our pediatricians are the first line of defense, but they need your help! Learn more about the signs, symptoms, and risk factors that have been found to be indicative of a speech language disorder. If your child fits any of these concerns, then stay tuned for how to get timely evaluation and treatment as EARLY intervention is key! Many of our children missed opportunities and experiences that promote language and learning; so, do not wait to get the help they need to get back on track! Hear from Jessica Downing, Speech Therapist and owner of Clarity Cognitive and Speech Therapy during this CASY family information session.