Early Education Newsletter

August 2020

Giving Us a Call? Our Extensions Have Changed!

Though our office number has stayed the same, your Child Care Resource and Referral Staff now have direct lines. You can now call the person you need directly at the number below:

Program Engagement Specialist: Kristi Burkhart 812-231-8902

Community Engagement Specialist: Kati Colvin 812-231-8905

Community Engagement Specialist: Jennifer Lee 812-231- 8916

Community/Family Engagement Specialist: Amy Marine 812-231-8917

Family Engagement Specialist: Heather Campbell: 812-231-8903

Family Engagement Specialist: Katherine Darby: 812-231-8906

Program Director: Natalie Pugh 812-231-8919

Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning Updates

OECOSL provided updates sharing information on face covering requirements, updated guidance about response to a positive case within your program, and updates on temporary assistance grants. If you missed the webinar, you can review the recorded webinar here.

COVID-19 updates Recorded webinar (July 27, 2020)

Webinar presentation / PowerPoint


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
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Come Brainstorm with SPARK!

You are invited to join us for our first SPARK Learning Lab Feedback Tour. During each stop you will have an opportunity to learn more about SPARK as well as provide valuable input on the technical support we provide.

Find the date and location below that works best for you and register today on Indiana Learning Paths!


August 31 @ 6 pm EDT Nashville, IN
September 2 @ 6 pm EDT Terre Haute, IN
September 3 @ 6 pm EDT Richmond, IN

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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.


Register for these great upcoming webinar opportunities on Indiana Learning Paths! While you're there, also check out ongoing Discussion Board Learning Forums, Resources, and Online Training.

Getting started is easy! Login or create an account at ilead.in.gov and click "Start Your Indiana Learning Path.”

August 6 @ 1:30 pm -3:30 pm EDT

Safe Sleep Practices

August 19 @ 1:30 - 3:30 pm EDT
Preparing for Program Assessment

August 24 @ 6:00 am - 8:00 am EDT
Building Equal Partnerships with Families

Heart-Centered Leadership: Create an Inspiring Work Environment With a People-Centric, Nature-Based Approach, by Tina Reeble, BS and Heather Fox, MA

August 12, 2020

2:00 PM Eastern Time

Heart-centered leadership begins with an appreciation for the wonders of the world and the people around us. It is a way of leading that honors individual gifts and helps teachers bring their best selves to their work with children. “Organizations led by heart-centered leaders become interdependent, mutually supportive, and joyful. That doesn’t mean

people don’t work hard, get discouraged at times, or face challenges.

What it does mean is that any challenge is secondary to the sense of purpose and pleasure felt by a shared commitment to an important mission.” (Nancy Rosenow, 2015)

In this interactive webinar, presented by early childhood natural program expert, Heather Fox, you will discover how an appreciation of the world around us can guide interactions with teachers. You will leave with a set of leadership and training tools to help cultivate, train and inspire teachers and leaders. These include, a format for listening and sharing, a plan for staff development and a way to incorporate nature and celebration into our classroom for children and adults.

Click Here to Register.


What if a positive case of COVID-19 occurs in my program?

The guidelines provided by the Office of Early Childhood and of School Learning outline the procedures that child care or school age programs should take if a positive case of COVID-19 is identified in their program. The steps a child care program should take if a teacher, student, family, or staff member have a confirmed case of COVID-19 can be found by clicking here.

FDA Warning About the Dangers of Hand Sanitizers With Methanol

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a recent urgent warning to consumers and health care providers about hand sanitizer products that are labeled as containing ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol (i.e., methyl alcohol or wood alcohol) is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested. As per the FDA news update hyperlinked below, “Methanol is not an acceptable active ingredient for hand sanitizers and must not be used due to its toxic effects. FDA’s investigation of methanol in certain hand sanitizers is ongoing. The agency will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

FDA updated the original list of more than 24 hand sanitizer products to avoid, now listing 75 such products to avoid on this FDA webpage; those products can be viewed either by clicking on the “Methanol Contaminated Products List” button at the top of the webpage or by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and then by clicking on any or all eight pages listing the 75 hand sanitizer products.

As with the original list of hand sanitizer products to avoid, all 75 products are potentially toxic when absorbed through the skin. Please see the FDA news update on hand sanitizers with methanol and the current list of hand sanitizer products to avoid for more detailed information. It is urgent that this information be sent to child care providers, parents, those who work in state child care licensing offices, child care professional development agency personnel, and others who can disseminate this information. In addition, everyone should check the linked FDA webpage on a regular basis to stay fully informed regarding this important health issue.

Consumers who have been exposed to a hand sanitizer containing methanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate treatment for the potential toxic effects of methanol poisoning, which can include nausea, vomiting, headaches, blurred vision, permanent blindness, and seizures. Although people of all ages are at risk for methanol poisoning, “young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk.”

ATTENTION: CASY Food Program Providers

The 2020-2021 CACFP Meal Reimbursement Rates have been released. See chart below for the updated rates effective July 1, 2020. If you wish to have a hand out/mini-poster of these rates contact the CASY Food Program at themminghouse@casyonline.org or 812-231-8913.


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IDOE is excited to release the updated version of the Early Learning Guidebook for Indiana Schools. It is a statewide resource tool for schools to develop, expand, and/or sustain high-quality preschool programs by providing information to support young children’s development and learning, as well as how to fund and manage such programs. Visit the Early Learning Resources webpage to access this guidebook and the accompanying stakeholder discussion guide.

Current On My Way Pre-K Programs:

Needing tools to share with families to promote your On My Way Pre-K program? Access customizable flyers, letters, mailers, tool kits and more here.

Are you a Paths to QUALITY Level 3 or Level 4 Program Interesting In On My Way Pre-K?

On My Way Pre-K awards grants to 4 year olds from low-income families so that they may have access to a high-quality pre-K program the year before they begin kindergarten. Families who receive a grant may use the grant at any approved On My Way Pre-K program. Do you have questions about the On My Way Pre-K program and how to become an On My Way Pre-K provider? You can reach out to your area Pre-K Project Manager to learn more. Click here for their contact information.

Safe & Unsafe Toys for Childcare Centers During COVID-19

Whether in the the reopening phase or you are continuing to make adjustments to your operating program to keep children the safest you can, it’s important to think about what the students can and cannot play with. Since early childhood education is based on hands-on play, you want to find ways to stay true to that philosophy but in a safe way. This article will share ideas of appropriate toys for use and inappropriate toys for use according to safety and health guidelines. Click here to learn more.

The Way Forward: Addressing Racism in Early Childhood Programs

The recent weeks of protests over racial injustice create difficult challenges for early childhood programs. What can we do to respond?

“Addressing issues of racial inequality in early childhood programs is complex and challenging,” writes Dr. Francis Wardle. “These challenges do not mean, however, that there is nothing we can do! There are positive steps we can take in our daily life and in our programs to address the serious issues of racism and inequality in this country.

“As we consider our response, there are some things that need to be kept in mind.” Continue reading.

Reducing Challenging Behaviors during Transitions: Strategies for Early Childhood Educators to Share with Parents

At pickup time, Teresa approaches her daughter’s preschool teacher, Ms. Ann. Teresa would like some advice on how she can get her daughter, Lily, to transition more easily between daily activities. The previous evening, Lily had a tantrum at the end of library story time; she wanted to stay at the library longer, looking at picture books, but it was time to go home for dinner. Ms. Ann listens to Teresa and struggles to come up with concrete ideas for making outings such as these smoother for everyone. Click here to read more.

Resources for Families:

CASY Family Engagement Specialists

CASY Family Engagement Specialists would like to connect with your families! By providing individualized support, families gain the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in being their child’s first and most important teacher. We provide education around child development, developmentally appropriate expectations, and ways to engage with their early education program.

While providing referrals to early education programs​, we share the benefits of high quality care and discuss what to look for when searching for a quality child care program​. In addition to providing referrals, we ​share additional​ information such as financial assistance programs​ and can connect families to other local resources.

Family Engagement Specialists are advocates for children and families and are able to assist in navigating difficult situations and conversations. If your families are struggling with specific topics, let us know. We can speak with them one-on-one or work with you to schedule a parent workshop opportunity, where they can discuss and learn more about their challenges.

Help CASY's Family Engagement Specialists connect with your families by sharing our Family Newsletter. Families can find our newsletter under the "Resources for Families" tab on our website (www.casyonline.org). Receive the newsletter monthly by clicking "Follow Chances And Services for Youth" at the right side of any of the family newsletters. The newsletters include information and resources on child development, current events and much more. The family newsletter also helps families stay up to date on local family events and provides registration links to the CASY monthly Family Webinars and previous recordings. Please share our contact information and the most current newsletter with them.

We are excited to support you and your families. Feel free to reach out to us at any time!

Amy N. Marine

Heather Campbell

Katherine Darby

Ready or Not Kindergarten, Here We Come!

Sammy was a bit of a late bloomer. Maria, his mother, spent a lot of time helping him with the kindergarten readiness activities, but she wasn’t sure if he was really prepared. The morning of the first day of school was a whirlwind for the family. Maria dropped Sammy off with a kiss, then made her way to work, where she worried about him off and on all day. Read more here.

5 Tips to Ease Back-to-School Anxiety

The transition back to class as summer ends can be a stressful time for children and parents alike. Some anxiety is a normal response, but parents should know the difference between normal back-to-school jitters and anxiety that warrants clinical attention.

There are several easy ways to tell when a child's anxiety is cause for concern, say psychology experts from the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Read more here.