Stepping Out of Your Professional Development Comfort Zone

Have you ever found yourself reading through a list of professional development opportunities circling the ones that really interest you, only to realize that you are already pretty confident in your ability to implement those skills or topics?

Folks who enjoy music and movement love attending training that teaches about using music and movement in the classroom. Teachers who love nature and science, are naturally drawn to outdoor learning trainings. Providers who enjoy painting and drawing will be the first to sign up for courses that promote open ended art experiences for young children. Naturally, we are drawn to professional development opportunities that align with our personal preferences and interests. Unfortunately, staying in our professional development comfort zone doesn’t fully prepare us for the challenges we will face in the classroom.

It is important to recognize this phenomenon in action and make an intentional effort to pick training classes that don’t necessarily grab our attention. If you find yourself reading a training title that includes the words “sand and water table” but you avoid the use of a sand and water table because you don’t like the mess that comes along with it… you need to sign up for that training. If you see a training description that discusses the integration of technology into classroom activities, but you are not technologically savvy… you need to sign up for that course.

There may be other topics that we do not choose because we feel that we have those skills solidly under our belts. We need to keep in mind that there are new developments and improved strategies that we can learn about by revisiting topics every so often.

To ensure that you are including a wide variety of topics, employ the use of a professional development record or create a tracking tool that will help you plan and document all of the training you complete. Reflect on your current practices, preferences, and aversion. Then create a professional development plan that checks off as many of the topics as possible.

Include general topics such as:

  • ❏Health and safety
  • ❏Working with children with special needs
  • ❏Cultural competency
  • ❏Engaging and communicating with families
  • ❏Child development
    • ➯Physical
    • ➯Social and emotional
    • ➯Cognitive
    • ➯Language and Communication
  • ❏Curriculum
    • ➯Construction and block play
    • ➯Science in the classroom
    • ➯Social studies projects
    • ➯Open ended art
    • ➯Music and movement
    • ➯Dramatic play and storytelling
    • ➯Outdoor learning
  • ❏Teaching practices
    • ➯Small group activities
    • ➯Transitions
    • ➯Conflict resolution

CCEI’s July Newsletter Edition also covers topics on Professional Development for Early Care and Education Professionals with regards to Creating a Reflective Practice you don’t want to miss!

New Course from CCEI Covers Strategies for Success in Challenging Conversations

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, is proud to introduce PROF103: Strategies for Success in Challenging Conversations to the online child care training course catalog.

Communication is one of the biggest parts of the job of being an educator and caregiver. Each day we communicate with the children, family members, coworkers, people we manage, and individuals who manage us. Many of these conversations are pleasant, social interactions, or general requests for information or assistance.

However, there are times throughout the day when we may need to communicate a more serious need or share information that is less than pleasing. Perhaps you have to talk with a coworker about the tone of voice they use with children. Maybe a parent makes a complaint about something that happened to their child. You may need to deliver concerning results of a developmental screening to a family or tell your employer that you are not happy in your position.

All of these situations would fall under the category of challenging conversations for most of us. Not many people are comfortable delivering bad news, sharing concerning details, or being caught off guard by confrontation. Everyone is different; some conversations may be easier for you than others. You may hate direct confrontation, but your coworker seems to handle those situations effectively. Even though challenging conversations are probably not our most preferred interactions, there are ways that we can become more skilled in managing these conversations. Doing so can reduce our level of discomfort and make us better communicators.

“The topics covered in this course are frequently cited as both essential and neglected in professional development for Early Childhood Education,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI. “All providers need to be aware of current research and best practices in the area of effective communication in order to create appropriate environments for young children and build strong working relationships with coworkers and families.”

PROF103: Strategies for Success in Challenging Conversations is a two-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion. Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST

New Course from CCEI Covers Building Literacy Through Nursery Rhymes and Children’s Poetry

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, is proud to introduce LIT102: Building Literacy Through Nursery Rhymes and Children’s Poetry to the online child care training course catalog.

English-language nursery rhymes have been passed down for generations—in many cases for hundreds of years—providing countless children and caregivers with wonderful bonding experiences and fun memories. However, many adults overlook the potential educational value of nursery rhymes, particularly with regard to the development of a broad range of early literacy skills. Literacy experts are well aware of this fact, because the research shows that nursery rhymes can play an essential role in preparing the brain to read.

The earliest popular children’s books were simply chronicles of the same rhymes and stories elders had been passing to children for thousands of years, such as Mother Goose, The Brothers Grimm, and Aesop’s Fables. Even after these stories and rhymes were written, most children continued to experience them in oral form, recited or read aloud by parents and teachers. By engaging with such rich, varied content from an early age, young children’s brains can build a mighty literacy foundation.

Critical thinking skills are clearly necessary in today’s world, saturated as it is with information. College professors give top marks to those who grasp and wrestle with big problems and ideas, and top employers want people who think creatively and make sound decisions. To actively engage in today’s world requires highly developed literacy skills and cognitive flexibility. Believe it or not, poetry and rhyme can provide the exact foundation young minds need. If you learn to ponder the great verses and the countless poets in all their wisdom, then your brain will be better prepared to ponder all the other challenges coming your way in life.

“This course explores the use of nursery rhymes and children’s poetry as learning tools in the Early Care and Education (ECE) environment,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI. “This course also focuses on teaching a basic understanding of poetic forms and literary devices every ECE professional should know.”

LIT102: Building Literacy Through Nursery Rhymes and Children’s Poetry is a two-hour, intermediate-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion. Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST

CCEI Sponsors a Kick Off to Summer Outdoor Learning Activity Facebook Photo Contest

Enter: June 3-16, Vote: June 17-30

Childcare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, is celebrating the upcoming summer season with a Kick Off to Summer Outdoor Learning Activity Facebook Photo Contest June 3-16, 2017.

CCEI is asking participants to share an outdoor learning activity by posting a photo and description of the activity on CCEI’s Facebook page https://www.wishpond.com/lp/2158347/ between 4:00 p.m. EST Saturday, June 3 and 11:59 p.m. EST Friday, June 16, 2017. Participants then collect votes on their photo submitted by soliciting their friends to “like” the photo between 12:00 a.m. EST Saturday, June 17 and 11:59 p.m. EST Friday, June 30, 2017. CCEI will award the lucky participant with the most photo likes from the nominees submitted a new Apple iPad Mini 2 (over $300 value) and the second runner-up with the most photo likes an Annual Individual Training Subscription valued at $99. The winners will be notified by 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 6, 2017.

The summer season provides children across the country with an opportunity to get outside and enjoy some sunshine. This is a great time of year to look for opportunities to incorporate more open-ended and process-oriented activities into the curriculum.

Activities are considered process-oriented if they provide children with the opportunity to:

  • Determine the end result
  • Focus on the exploration of the materials
  • Express creativity

When children engage in process-oriented activities, the end result (product) is less important than the steps the children worked through to accomplish the task. There are no samples, or teacher created models. It requires simply providing children with a variety of materials and tools and encouraging them to explore.

Summer is an excellent time to incorporate these activities because one of the biggest barriers to process-oriented activities is the fact that they can be messy. Introducing this type of activity outdoors gives both children and teachers a chance to experience the benefits of process-oriented activities before bringing them indoors in the fall.

“Developing engaging outdoor learning environments for children in any program takes creativity and out-of-the-box thinking,” says Maria Taylor, President and CEO of Childcare Education Institute. “We are excited to offer a platform where educators and parents alike can show off and share their unique outdoor learning activities that help engage and educate our youth.”

Outdoor STEAM Activities and Project Based Learning Covered in No-Cost Online Course from CCEI

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers CUR118: Outdoor STEAM Activities and Project Based Learning as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users during the month of June.

There are a multitude of studies that document the benefits of spending time outdoors. Some studies cite benefits ranging from reduced stress to improved memory and immunity. Other studies show that spending time outdoors leads to better mental health and vision. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that the rate of childhood obesity has doubled in the last 30 years. A recent study conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association found that close to half of the adult respondents spent less than 30 minutes outdoors each day. The study participants identified increased use of technology and television viewing as two of the major barriers to participating in outdoor activities.

At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the number of jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) related fields will increase by over a million and a half by the year 2022. Some of these jobs will focus on the outdoors and the environment, but many others will be located in front of a computer, or in a lab, classroom, office, or factory.

Early educators are in a unique position to create a balance between indoor and outdoor experiences. Teachers can begin to prepare children for the jobs of the future by inspiring curiosity and instilling a love of learning. At the same time, they have the opportunity to help children establish healthy habits and an appreciation of the great outdoors. The Outdoor STEAM Activities and Project Based Learning course provides ways teachers can explore outdoor STEAM related activities using a project based approach
as a way to promote the development of important 21st century skills.

“Teachers can use STEAM related activities to encourage children to explore elements of nature and experience beneficial effects of being outdoors,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI. “This course helps educators explore a teaching strategy called project based learning that can be used as a framework for structuring STEAM lessons. We’re pleased to provide this training as our new user trial course in order to inspire richer learning environments for our children.”

Outdoor STEAM Activities and Project Based Learning is a two-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.2 IACET CEU upon successful completion. Current CCEI users with active, unlimited annual subscriptions can register for professional development courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses as block hours through CCEI online enrollment.

For more information, visit www.cceionline.edu or call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST