Early Education Newsletter

August 2021

CASY Offices will be closed to public:

August 10th, 2021

CASY offices will be closed to the public. Staff will still be available by phone and email.

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Indiana’s Build, Learn, Grow program is extending scholarships for qualified families through March 2022! Scholarships cover up to 80% of a child’s early care and education, summer learning, or out-of-school program tuition, ensuring families can connect to the care and education children need.

Extensions for awarded scholarships

Starting July 20, providers can submit claims for August and September to extend awarded scholarships for children remaining in their care. An email with further instructions and the direct link to the new scholarship extension form will be sent on July 20 to all programs with approved claims. The scholarship extension form is streamlined to allow for quicker submission. After September, programs can extend scholarships for families in quarterly claims.

New scholarship claims
Providers can continue to submit new scholarship claims for children enrolled in care or new to their program. Learn more about the scholarships and claims process.
Need help?
For support with the Build, Learn, Grow scholarship program, contact the Brighter Futures Indiana Solution Center via email, phone or chat.

Hours: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET.
Call: (800) 299-1627
Email: Solutioncenter@earlylearningindiana.org
Chat: https://brighterfuturesindiana.org and click the “Support” box in the bottom right corner

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Important! Time is Running Out!

Don't forget! All CCDF eligible programs must complete the SPARK “Fundamentals for Business Sustainability” training by Aug. 31, 2021. This is required for CCDF eligible programs regardless of if you are currently accepting vouchers.

To access the training:
  1. Log in to ilead.in.gov
  2. Click “Start Your Indiana Learning Path”
  3. Choose “Courses” from the left-side menu
  4. Search for "Fundamentals for Business Sustainability" to register
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Take the 2021 Professional Development Needs Survey!

As an Indiana early childhood education and care provider your input is invaluable in helping the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (OECOSL), CCR&Rs, and SPARK Learning Lab determine future training opportunities.

Please complete this short under 10-minute survey by Friday, July 30th to help us better understand your needs. Your feedback will help us enhance future training offered.


Respond by July 23 to be eligible to receive one of five (5) $50 Amazon gift cards!

SHARE YOUR STORY WITH INAEYC!

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.”

JOIN SPARK LEARNING LAB'S MAILING LIST

Join SPARK Learning Lab's bi-weekly newsletter mailing list to stay up to date on all SPARK's latest news. Click here to learn more.

New Grant Opportunity for Indiana OST

Today the Indiana Department of Education opened applications for its newest grant opportunity: The Reimagining Enrichment, Academics, and Community Health (R.E.A.C.H.) Grant.


The R.E.A.C.H. Grant is available to school districts and community organizations providing high-quality, year-round out-of-school programs for economically disadvantaged youth. Funds should be used to provide opportunities for academic acceleration, character enrichment, and other activities designed to complement the youth’s regular academic program and social-emotional development.

Any schools listed in the application must have a 40% or higher Free & Reduced Lunch Rate. In addition to selecting a program priority area (College & Career Readiness, STEM or STEAM, or Social Emotional Learning), applicants will also select an administration priority area: Salary, Sustainability, Program Culture, or ‘Other’ (defined by the Applicant).


Today the Indiana Department of Education opened applications for its newest grant opportunity: The Reimagining Enrichment, Academics, and Community Health (R.E.A.C.H.) Grant.


The R.E.A.C.H. Grant is available to school districts and community organizations providing high-quality, year-round out-of-school programs for economically disadvantaged youth. Funds should be used to provide opportunities for academic acceleration, character enrichment, and other activities designed to complement the youth’s regular academic program and social-emotional development.

Any schools listed in the application must have a 40% or higher Free & Reduced Lunch Rate. In addition to selecting a program priority area (College & Career Readiness, STEM or STEAM, or Social Emotional Learning), applicants will also select an administration priority area: Salary, Sustainability, Program Culture, or ‘Other’ (defined by the Applicant).


Applicants are encouraged to utilize the technical assistance opportunities mentioned below. For questions on the application, email OSTProgram@doe.in.gov.


Technical Assistance Opportunities

Professional Development

IYI Professional Development Grants

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 grants 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.

Ready and Resilient! Promoting the Resilience of Children and Adults

August 4, 2021

2:00 PM Eastern Time

Each day, children and adults rely upon strong social-emotional skills as we navigate various life experiences. Learn strategies to support the resilience and social-emotional well-being of children and adults in this reflective webinar presented by Dr. Nefertiti B. Poyner. We will unpack key elements for creating early childhood environments that promote strong social-emotional development and how to build the protective factors both adults and children need to be resilient. Register or learn more here.

Back to School Time: Focus on Social Emotional Learning

08/18/21

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm (EST)

As we prepare to welcome students back for the new school year, our school communities should focus on the social-emotional well-being of all our students. Given the challenges we have faced in the last two years, we need to plan our approach to understand and address our students’ social-emotional and academic needs so that all scholars experience a successful re-entry to schools. Register here.

Engineering With Nature: Learning and Communicating through Construction Play, by Tina Reeble and Kirsten Haugen, M.A.

August 25, 2021

2:00 PM Eastern Time

Children communicate competency, ideas and emotions through block building and other three-dimensional work. In this energizing webinar, nature learning and universal design experts, Tina Reeble and Kirsten Haugen will share research, classroom stories and practical suggestions to support engineering play with natural and human-made materials for building. Join us to strengthen your capacity to identify opportunities for natural engineering play indoors and out. Register here.

Resources

Recalls for Sleep Products – What You can Do to Ensure Safe Sleep for Babies

Infant sleep can be one of the hardest things a parent, provider or another caregiver must handle when caring for a baby. However, not all sleep places are created equal; in fact, some can be downright deadly.

Hopefully, you have heard about the 2019 recall of a popular sleep product, the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleeper. This product was recalled – following warnings from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Consumer Reports and others – after the deaths of more than 30 babies were associated with the inclined sleeper. That number would grow to more than 90 as reported by a nearly two-year-long Congressional investigation of infant inclined sleep products. The fatalities appeared to be caused by accidental suffocation, sometimes occurring when babies rolled onto their stomachs in the device.

Even worse, a Washington Post investigation in 2019 found that Fisher-Price developed the Rock ’n Play based on faulty beliefs about infant sleep, with no clinical research into whether it was safe. But Fisher-Price was not the only manufacturer of deadly sleep products for infants. Inclined sleepers manufactured by Kids II, Graco, Dorel and other companies were also recalled in 2019 and 2020.

In light of these revelations, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently approved a major new federal safety standard for infant sleep products. Learn more.

Government Moves Closer to Stopping the Sale of Dangerous Baby Sleep Products

The action includes inclined and in-bed sleepers. Consumer Reports advises caregivers to immediately stop using these products for sleep.

Read more here.

With an Increase in RSV Cases it is Important to Know the Symptoms

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Music: A Multisensory Approach to Learning

“Music is the universal language of mankind.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

If music is considered a universal language, then children should be immersed in musical experiences as early as possible. Research affirms that the benefits of music extend far beyond the art itself, acting as a catalyst for learning and brain development.

Frank Leto, both a professional musician and an educator, found the key to teaching music to young children embedded in the Montessori method. By creating a multisensory approach based on participation and repetition, children can be surrounded by music, singing, and interactive experiences on a daily basis.

Yes, even if you’re not a musician, it is possible! Read more about Frank’s approach here.

Resources for Families

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13 Children’s Books for Social Emotional Learning in 2021

A read-aloud is a powerful tool. In shared reading experiences, young children explore new worlds, hear new vocabulary, build relationships with their caregivers, and start to apply concepts to their own lives. Books, as it turns out, really are magic. Click here for 13 of the best children’s books to reinforce emotional support and build children’s social and emotional skills.

Recorded Family Webinar: Summer Safety

As the weather warms up and we head into the summer, more time will be spent outside enjoying the sun. Whether you are traveling somewhere new or staying home for the summer, we want to make sure we all stay safe and healthy. CASY’s Family Engagement Specialists discussed ways to keep kids safe while they have fun. Watch the recording here.

Recorded Family Webinar: Car Seat Safety

CASY's Certified Car Seat Technicians, Charla Cline and Sara Schultz, shared car seat safety tips during this special family webinar. Watch the recording to increase your knowledge on how to keep your children safe in car seats and learn how a properly installed car seat can reduce the risk of death by up to 71%. Click here to view the recording.

Math and Literacy—The Perfect Pair

Looking for engaging ways to weave math into the day? You might find just what you’re looking for in your home or local library. Many children’s books are perfect for introducing and reinforcing math concepts. Read aloud the books described here and then invite your child to explore the math concepts further. Children will love counting like pigs, measuring like inchworms, and making comparisons. Read more.