Early Education Newsletter

December 2021

The CASY office will be closed for the holidays:

Thursday, December 23rd

Friday, December 24th

Monday, December 27th

Friday, December 31st

The building will be closed December 28th-30th.

Staff will be available by phone or email on these dates.

Changes may be coming to your CCDF Intake Agency

Effective, December 12, 2021, all CCDF/On My Way clients in the following counties will be serviced by the Children’s Bureau:

Blackford, Boone, Clinton, Grant, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Johnson, Madison, Montgomery, Morgan, Putnam, Shelby, and Tipton.

We want to assure you that your child care voucher will not be affected by this change. The only difference is clients will contact the new office to apply for child care assistance, schedule appointments, submit documentation, report changes and answer questions in regards to the CCDF voucher program.

I-LEAD Support: Stay in Compliance: How to Manage Educators' Consent Forms

Provider Admins have the ability to view the status of their staff's consent forms in I-LEAD on the “Associated Educators” section of their Provider Details page. Learn about the guidelines and rules your program's consent forms must follow in your roster to keep your program from receiving a violation.
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Build, Learn, Grow Connecting Tips

Monitor and manage your Build, Learn, Grow Scholarship Fund claims like a pro! Check out these handy support articles from Submittable on how to view messages/alerts in Submittable, withdraw a submission, view submission statuses and edit your submission.

How can I view messages/alerts about my submission?

How do I withdraw my submission?

What does my submission status mean?

How can I request an edit on my submission?

Professional Development

Rejuvenate Preschool Environments on a Budget: Tips, Ideas & Resources, by Michelle Pratt

December 1, 2021

2:00 PM Eastern Time

It is time to take a step back and assess your program or classroom’s environment! With a new year on the horizon, look around as if from a young child’s perspective. Bend down. See with fresh eyes.

Hopefully you feel…

  • a sense of welcoming, calm and order.
  • inspired to work with children and for them to work together.
  • organized and oriented with labeled cupboards and shelves so everyone knows where to find and return resources.
  • a sense of beauty and wonder burgeoning with invitations to learn.

Click here to learn more.

Creating Engaging Environments for Infants and Toddlers

Babies process their environments with all their senses. They learn by seeing, feeling, touching, smelling, and tasting the toys and furnishings in their classrooms, as well as anything else within reach. How can we build on this natural curiosity? By intentionally creating enticing learning spaces, we can invite deeper engagement, sustain interest over time, and promote a sense of intrigue in our youngest children to discover and learn more.

In this edWebinar, we’ll explore low-cost and no-cost ways for infant and toddler teachers to apply these three I’s—inviting, interesting, and intriguing—to transform their own indoor and outdoor settings for people under three.

This edWebinar will be of interest to teachers of infants and toddlers and child development and childcare professionals. There will be time for questions at the end of the presentation. Learn more

Your ECE Career Journey: From Teacher or Director to Beyond, by Rachel Robertson, MA

December 15, 2021

2:00 PM Eastern Time

If you are considering becoming an early childhood teacher or if you already are working as one, you may not have ever thought about what job you might hold in ten years or more. Many people start working as teachers or assistant teachers because they like children. No matter how you ended up working in the profession, teaching is the place to start, and it might be the job you want to hold for your entire career (and thank goodness for people like you!) But there are other routes you can take once you have spent some time zooming around your busy classroom and have a strong track record in the starting gate. So just how can you shine in your role as a teacher so you can be ready for the next steps in your journey, and what are those next steps? What types of opportunities are out there for ECE professionals? Learn more.


Supporting the Whole Child: Creating Learning Spaces with the Nervous System in Mind

When faced with a perceived threat, our nervous systems instantly trigger a spontaneous “fight, flight, or freeze” response, flooding our bodies with stress hormones. While this worked well for our ancient ancestors facing sporadic perils, our bodies are not equipped to live continually in this state of high alert.

In today’s world we are faced daily with unnatural, unrelenting stresses. For children this can include everything from loud noises, cluttered environments, processed foods, environmental toxins, and screen time.

What can educators do to relieve this near permanent state of “survival mode” and allow children the peace and calm they need to thrive? Read more.

Places for All Babies: Home-Based Child Care is an Essential Part of the Solution

ZERO TO THREE's new policy brief highlights the value of increasing and strengthening both family child care (FCC) and family, friend and neighbor (FFN) providers. These home-based types of care are important to many families, as they frequently offer families cultural or language continuity, non-traditional work hours, or the convenience of being located within their immediate community. This brief also includes examples of state strategies, and recommendations that policymakers can explore to build robust mixed delivery systems that embrace both FCC and FFN as essential components in an array of high quality options for infants and toddlers.

The Benefits of Teaching Kindness and Gratitude to Our Children

After months of self-care, protection, and distancing, and with Thanksgiving and the winter holidays just around the corner, now is the perfect time to remind our children of the benefits of connecting with others through acts of kindness and giving.

Like so many skills we teach our children, compassion and kindness take practice. Through their committed practice, they also can bring our children great rewards, such as increased confidence, improved collaboration and social networking skills, and a greater sense of community.

Prosocial behaviors are grounded in human nature. Even toddlers show an inclination to care help others in need. Yet as children age, their focus can be drawn toward competition and individualism. Teaching children the value of civic engagement and volunteerism often starts at home.

In this month’s column, Tami Silverman, President and CEO of Indiana Youth Institute addresses ways we can continue to teach kindness in ways that will resonate with youth of all ages.

The following are a few age specific ways to cultivate the practice of service and giving.

  • Elementary students often start basic giving and service projects through faith-based and afterschool programs, such as the Scouts.

  • We should talk to middle school children about their place in their community, including direct paths for impact.

  • By high school, students have the capacity to understand complex problems, including ways they can contribute to solutions

To expand on the ideas above and read this month’s column, click here.

Resources for Families:


Biting is a typical behavior often seen in infants, toddlers, and 2-year olds. As children mature, gain self-control, and develop problem-solving skills, they usually outgrow this behavior. While not uncommon, biting can be an upsetting and potentially harmful behavior. It’s best to discourage it from the very first episode. This article will help you to understand the reasons young children bite and give you some ideas and strategies for responding appropriately.

Encouraging Healthy Sleep Habits

Sleep is critical to children’s everyday functioning. A good night’s sleep helps prepare children to attend to new experiences, positively engage with others, and build memory and attention skills. When children sleep, their brains are actively working to form new connections, allowing them to be more physically relaxed and mentally alert when awake. These positive effects can be observed over time, and as a parent you play a critical role in helping your child establish healthy sleep habits. Read more here.

Webinar: Indiana First Steps Is Here to Help - Child Development Is Important

Thursday, December 16th, 2021


First Steps early intervention services are happening in family homes and childcare settings all across Indiana. This presentation will explain how to monitor and encourage infant and toddler development, and what First Steps can do to help you if a baby’s development is delayed.

Register here

RECORDED Webinar: Managing Holiday Stress

Do you wish for stress-free holidays? Join CASY's Family Engagement Specialists for tips and discussions to help your family navigate the holidays with less stress. Click here to view the webinar.