Early Education Newsletter

February 2020

The CASY office will be closed

Monday, February 17, 2020

Need ILEAD help? Having trouble accepting your invitation? Need assistance learning to navigate ILEAD?

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.

Stay informed with SPARK

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.

Need to Know Who to Contact for CCDF?

Navigating the changes to the early childhood system in Indiana can be difficult. Who should you call for questions about CCDF? Where can you refer parents to apply for CCDF? Click on the map to find out what agency is now serving your area.
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Regional Advisory Committee

RAC Meeting for SDA 4

February 4, 2020 6:30 pm EST Columbus Ivy Tech

Columbus Ivy Tech, Room 200 in Poling Hall, 4475 Central Ave, Columbus, IN 47203

Attend meeting remotely:

Screenshare Link:

Call Information:
+1-646-558-8656; Meeting ID: 771-869-4628

All Regional Advisory Committee meetings are open to the public.

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Mandatory Training:

Other Professional Development Opportunities

Integrating Early Childhood Social Emotional Development into Early Childhood Systems

This presentation reviews the fundamentals of early childhood mental health and the implications of young children’s social emotional development for their long-term outcomes. The importance of early brain development and caregiver mental health (especially depression) are highlighted. Strategies for integrating mental health services and supports are offered, with a focus on Part C (Early Intervention) systems. No certificate available. Click here for more information.

The Whole-Child Approach and Why It Matters by Teaching Strategies

On Demand Webinar

High-quality early childhood education positively impacts child outcomes and matters a great deal. Teaching approaches and curricula that address and nurture the whole child function as crucial components of these impactful high-quality programs. The whole-child approach fosters all areas of children’s development and learning—from social–emotional and cognitive skills to literacy, math, and science understanding—and offers a powerful, supportive approach as preschool children transition to kindergarten.

Join us for a webinar exploring the whole-child philosophy, why this approach is so important to ensuring that children are excited and engaged lifelong learners, and the positive effect it has on children’s academic and social–emotional gains. We will discuss what this approach looks like in action and share best practices, focusing in particular on the transition into kindergarten. No certificate available. Click here for more information.

Your Program’s Reputation Depends on Staff Engagement, by Tony D’Agostino

February 12, 2020


What do people in your community say about your program? Reputation is everything when it comes to operating a successful center. Managing your program’s reputation is not a one-time chore, it reflects the culture and day to day interactions and decisions. Learn how to you, as the program leader can make decisions to build program credibility!

In this session, early childhood program owners and administrators will learn the connection between staff engagement and program reputation. Join experienced executive coach and early education leader, Anthony D’Agostino to learn how you can build deeper engagement with your staff members to not only offer the best services to children but also to build your programs brand and reputation. Click here to register.

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The Indiana Summit on Out-of-School Learning is Indiana’s premiere conference designed exclusively for out-of-school time program providers. The 9th annual Summit will bring together youth programs, schools, and community partners to connect, learn new ideas, access valuable resources, and transform learning beyond the school day for Indiana’s youth.

Join over 600 participants to experience:

  • Inspiring keynote speakers
  • Special evening Networking Reception
  • Spectacular Exhibit Hall
  • Champion Awards for outstanding programming

Click here to find out more or register!

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CDA Renewal Amnesty Program

Effective January 1, 2020, the Council will be celebrating 45 years of the CDA! To celebrate, the Council will offer a limited-time CDA credential expiration date as far back as January 1, 2010, an opportunity to complete the renewal process and make their credential active again. Click here to learn more.
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Additional Resources:

Reporting Food Program Reimbursements and Claiming Food Expenses

Food Program

  • Reimbursements received from the Food Program for children in your care are taxable income.
  • Reimbursements received from the Food Program for your own children are not taxable income.
  • You are always better off financially by being on the Food Program.

Tom Copeland offers even more information on reporting reimbursements and claiming food expenses through this informational article. Click here to read more.

Attention: CASY Food Program providers access your 2019 CACFP Tax Reports online.

For your convenience, 2019 CACFP Tax Reports can be accessed through your online KidKare reports anytime that is convenient for you and your tax filing timeline. To access your Tax Report follow these steps:

1. Log into your KidKare account

2. Click Reports button (It is the paper icon in the icons on the left of your screen)

3. Select Claim Statements

4. Select Tax Report

5. Select 2019

6. Click Run button. This will create a PDF document you can print or save.

For any questions or to request a mailed copy of your 2019 CACFP Tax Report contact CASY Director of CACFP at themminghouse@casyonline.org .

Quick and Easy Notes: Practical Strategies for Busy Teachers

With so many required assessments, it’s understandable why the word itself may bring up negative feelings for teachers. But understanding the different types of assessment and how you can use them to support your reflection and planning is important. “Quick and Easy Notes: Practical Strategies for Busy Teacher” is a Teaching Young Children (TYC) article that offers practical tips on using observation-based assessment to support reflection and planning. Click here to read.

Deepening Families’ Understanding of Children’s Learning in Centers

“When I drop my child off, I see some of her friends building block towers in one area of the classroom and playing grocery store in another. What’s the purpose of having different centers? And how do children learn if they play so much?” Many parents have questions like these, so we developed a family night event at our program to answer them. We invited parents and caregivers to participate in center activities to help them understand how play-based centers promote their children’s learning. We also followed up with families after the event and offered reinforcement materials. Our objective: to invite families to be partners in their children’s learning. Click here to learn how they did it.

The Case of Brain Science and Guided Play: A Developing Story

Ms. Elena’s Head Start classroom is filled with eager 3- and 4-year-olds. It’s center time, and the children have split into small groups. At one center, Ms. Elena has carefully selected play materials—including a barn, a chicken coop, and animal figurines—that reflect the story lines and specific vocabulary words from books she read aloud related to farm life as part of the class’s storybook theme of the week. While Ms. Elena looks on, Sara, Javon, and Ashish arrive at the center and immediately pick up the toys. They each choose a figurine and begin playing. Sara says to Javon, “I’ll be the cow!” Javon says, “Okay, then I’ll be the chicken. I’m going to go sleep in the coop. The cow should go sleep in the barn.” Ashish says, “Then I’ll be the horse, and I’ll go sleep in the barn too.” To read more click here.

Changing the Culture of Learning in Your Center: Navigating the Accreditation Process

Accreditation belongs to the staff of the center pursuing it. These staff are the ones engaged with children, families, and their own community day in and day out; they live and breathe the standards of excellence daily. Accreditation is not a destination. No one thing changes after a positive final accreditation decision—but rather throughout the entire process the focus on quality, with the specific goals as outlined in the standards, makes possible steady incremental changes in all aspects of a center. Once accredited, this focus on improvement becomes the new normal for a center. Everyone involved, including teachers, management, families, and community members, are accountable to maintain and consistently improve the high level of early learning and care they are providing. Learn more about the benefits of accreditation and tips on getting started here.

Muffin Tin Recipes for the CACFP: Ages 3 to 5 years

Using large muffin tins while preparing meals helps ensure that every child is receiving the correct serving size for each meal component. These recipes are per child served.

Stuffed Biscuit Cup • ¾ ounce sliced ham or turkey • ¾ ounce shredded cheddar cheese • 1 canned biscuit weighing at least 14 grams or .5 ounce

Preheat the oven to 400°. Roll the biscuit out flat and add meat and cheese to center. Pinch edges together to seal tight. Place the stuffed biscuit in muffin tin. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown

Omelet Cup • 1 egg • 1 slice ham • ½ cup diced onion, green pepper, and tomato mixture • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese • 1 tbsp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425°. Line each muffin tin with ham. Whisk egg, cheeses and vegetable mix together. Pour into the cup and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes.

Pro Tips:

• Using muffin tin paper liners makes serving and clean up easier. During the holidays look for fun, themed paper liners. Serving in a fun liner will encourage the children to try the recipe. Not using a liner, brush muffin tin with cooking oil.

• Be careful when preparing meals in muffin tins, required amounts are different for snack verses lunch or supper. Check meal pattern for correct requirements for meal component if using any above recipes for a different mealtime.

• Muffin tin recipes are an easy way to get children involved with meal preparation.

• Silicone muffin cups are reusable which saves money and children love them.

For more muffin tin recipes click here.

Source: National CACFP Association