October 2020


Monday, October 12th in observation of Columbus Day
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Grant Opportunity

Indiana CARES About Child Care Grants

As an early child care and education provider in Indiana, you may be eligible to apply for a grant through the Indiana CARES About Child Care fund to help with pandemic-related safety expenses or emergency needs.

Indiana CARES About Child Care grants are designed to reimburse Indiana providers for COVID-19 related needs, such as purchasing health- and safety-related materials and supplies, staffing, cleaning services, additional furniture to support social distancing and more. Grants are also available for providers dealing with temporary closures due to a positive COVID-19 case. An emergency grant will help cover expenses deemed necessary by licensing consultants or by the local health department to reopen.

Grant amounts up to $12,500 based on a provider’s enrollment.

An informational webinar will be held on September 30, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. EST.

Learn more about the grant fund, including the webinar opportunity, eligibility guidelines and allowable expenses, and find the link to start your application at brighterfuturesindiana.org/indianacares/.

Applications will open on Thursday, October 1.

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We can help! Reach out to our Program Engagement Specialist, Kristi, at 812-231-8902 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.

Paths to QUALITY

Have questions about Paths to QUALITY? Not sure who to contact for information about your rating, ready to work to the next level, need to sign on? SPARK can help. Contact the SPARK Help Desk at 1-800-299-1627


Indiana AEYC has been awarding T.E.A.C.H. Scholarships since 1996.


In 1990, Child Care Services Association created the Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (T.E.A.C.H.) Early Childhood® Scholarship Program to address the issues of under-education, poor compensation and high turnover within the early childhood workforce. The first T.E.A.C.H. Program was launched in North Carolina and has since spread to more than twenty states. In 1996, Indiana awarded our first program scholarship.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® INDIANA, is a unique scholarship program that links education, compensation, and commitment to improve the quality of early care and educational experiences for young children and their families.

Learn more or find out if you qualify by visiting their website here.

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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.

Food Service Sanitation and Safe Food Handling

October 12, 2020

1 pm-2:30 pm EST

Food Service and Sanitation training will prepare the participant to purchase, store, prepare, and serve food in the cleanest and safest way possible to prevent foodborne illness from occurring. It fulfills the requirement for the Voluntary Certification Program for Unlicensed Registered Child Care Ministries but does not substitute for "Serve Safe" training for Licensed Child Care Centers. This webinar is 1.5 hours long. Visit your ILEAD account to register.

Boosting Enrollment When Your Program Needs it Most, by Kathe Petchel and Molly Petchel

October 14, 2020

2:00 PM Eastern Time

Preschool owners across America are navigating the ‘new normal’ as states open back up under various and continually changing protocols. Many are anxious about their schools’ chance for survival struggling between the need to build enrollment quickly and the critical element of developing post-COVID-19 systems and procedures. Quality care continues to be the gold standard but how do we do it all well? Teaching teams have changed and training health, safety and sanitation protocols have never been more important. During this webinar, Kathe and Molly Petchel will look at fail-proof systems that will lead your program to quality, while considering the overall challenges. With easy to implement ideas on how to get your preschool back to full enrollment, curated resources and systems templates, Kathe and Molly will provide hands-on strategies to implement. To register click here.

Beyond Bert & Ernie: Puppet Pals for Children by Jacky Howell

November 5, 2020

2:00 PM Eastern Time

Whether you are teaching in person or online, this information-packed webinar will provide strategies for using puppets to create engaging experiences for young children. Early childhood education author and classroom interactions expert, Jacky Howell will inspire you to use puppets as “pals” who help children with problem solving, empathy, community-building, and all aspects of development. Join this webinar to learn how to make puppets partners in your classroom community, whether it is virtual or in-person. Click here to register.

Immunizations: Requirements, Myths and Schedules

November 10, 2020

1:30 pm-2:30pm

Within the Immunization webinar the attendees will learn which immunizations are required by the State of Indiana for attendance at child care. It will also dispel some myths regarding immunizations. We will also discuss the proper schedule for immunizations and how to read them. Visit your ILEAD account to register.


The Healing Powers of Play

If we adults have struggled to deal with the trauma of the last months, it’s no surprise that children have been deeply affected as well. While they may not be able to articulate it, they may show their insecurity in a troubling change of behavior.

“Fortunately,” writes national consultant Marcy Guddemi, “children have a hardwired mechanism to deal with trauma. It is play, and in particular, pretend/dramatic play!”

So what can we do to help children who are not coping? “Make time for unstructured play! Whether at home or in the classroom, indoors or outdoors—nothing is more important.” Continue reading.

8 Reader-Submitted Tips for Connecting with Families Virtually This Fall from Brookes Publishing

An important part of our mission at Brookes is to bring you proven tips, strategies, and resources from the experts. But during the COVID-19 pandemic, early childhood professionals like you have quickly become the experts on a new way of learning that’s being invented in real time. In the words of the famous saying credited to the Silicon Valley tech scene, you’re “flying the plane while building it,” and you’re gradually discovering what works and what doesn’t as you support healthy outcomes for young children in a world where most aspects of life must be conducted at a distance.

In that spirit, we thought we’d call on some of your fellow early childhood professionals to advise you on family engagement tips for the fall. We’ve put together a list of reader-submitted strategies that will help you stay connected and forge strong partnerships with your families even if your program must operate virtually. Click here to read more.

10 Leadership Skills to Teach Girls

No matter our age, there's often a clear distinction between assertiveness displayed between males and females. While boys and men who are assertive are usually called "leaders," girls and women showing the same assertiveness are labeled as "bossy" or "difficult." Here are 10 tips to share with young girls to help them flex their leadership muscle. Read more here.

New Infant-Toddler Resources Now Available

The National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness has developed four infant-toddler focused webinars on nutrition, safe sleep, environmental health and tummy time. The webinars are especially helpful for early childhood teachers, directors, coaches and infant-toddler specialists. You can find these free resources here.

CASY CACFP: Finding Alternatives to CN Label and Standardized Recipe Requirements

Food Program providers, do you struggle with the CACFP documentation requirements of CN Labels and Standardized Recipes? See below for examples of ways that you can serve alternative dishes that do not require having a CN label or standardized recipe on file.

1. Spaghetti with “meat sauce”

  • Portion each component separately onto the child’s plate: Pasta, marinara sauce, ground beef crumbles. Weigh out the appropriate portion size per age group. Put that amount into a measuring cup. (For this example, let’s say that 1oz of weighed ground beef fits into a 1/8c measuring cup. So the serving size for 1-2year olds would be 1/8c.) Document on your menu, the actual serving sizes that you gave to each age group.

2. (Un-breaded) Chicken Tenders

  • Cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts and slice them into strips. Weigh out appropriate serving sizes. Serve with a dipping sauce.
  • You could also use the same method for Chicken Fajitas by seasoning on them and weighing to determine the serving size. Then serve them with sautéed peppers & onions and a soft tortilla.

3. Chicken drumsticks

  • Purchase “similar weight” drumsticks. Bake them, take the meat off of one and weigh it. Then determine how many drumsticks you need to serve each age group to meet the required serving size

4. Make your own Tuna Salad

  • Drain the tuna from the can. Weigh out the appropriate portion size per age group (see example above in number one). Then serve the mayo, diced onions and celery, on the side.

5. Salisbury steak

  • Use an all-beef hamburger patty, and cover it with gravy

More tips and ideas to come next month!

Article Source: Indiana Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program

CASY Food Program Providers: Need More Help with CACFP Food Program Label Requirements?

CASY Food Program providers, for questions regarding CN Label and Standardized Recipe retention as well as other Food Program questions contact the CASY Director of CACFP at themminghouse@casyonline.org or 812-231-8913.

Resources for Families:


Parenting strategies for managing aggression in young children.

Ask any parent whether she wants her child to be an aggressive person and you are likely to get more than one answer. After all, aggression is associated with both approved and disapproved behavior in our minds and in our society—both with the energy and purpose that help us to actively master the challenges of life and with hurtful actions and destructive forces. Read more here.


Parents and teachers often say “good job” as an automatic response to a child’s action.

“You ate all of your peas. Good job!”

“You did a good job putting away the toys.”

A “good job” now and then is fine, but it doesn’t help children understand why what they did was good. Preschoolers need to know what they did, why it worked, or why it shows they are capable. Try these suggestions to give preschoolers specific, detailed information that recognizes their achievements and encourages their learning.