January 2019 Student Spotlight – Zoraida Baltodano de Johnson

  • ¿Cómo comenzó su carrera en la primera infancia?

Desde muy joven tuve ese don de ayudar y sentirme feliz de ver a un niño sonreír. Cuando llegué a los Estados Unidos, mi hijo empezó a ir a la escuela donde yo trabajo ahora. Se me hizo difícil al principio por el idioma, pero con el tiempo fui agarrando confianza y me quedaba para tomar el desayuno con él o leerle un libro. Los otros niños me aceptaron de manera muy positiva y creo que fue por esto que los profesores me preguntaron si quería ser padre voluntario y dije que sí. Y así empezó mi carrera en la primera infancia.

  • ¿En qué programa(s) ha participado con CCEI?

Tome el curso de CDA en español

  • ¿Cuál es su hora favorita del día para pasar con los niños?

La hora que más disfruto pasar con los niños es la hora de los centros, es cuando más socializo con ellos, puedo ver sus logros, aprendo de sus ocurrencias y los conozco más.

  • ¿Cuál es su hora favorita del día / actividad?

La actividad que disfruto con ellos es cuando pintan en el caballete, me gusta la manera en que ellos se expresan a través de la pintura. Pueden hacer líneas de todos colores y dicen es mi gato o colores encima de otros colores y dicen es mi casa y así cada uno tiene su propio estilo y manera de interpretar las cosas.  La actividad que es mi favorita es la hora de leerles un libro, me gusta cuando participan, hacen preguntas y son amigables y cortes al pedir su turno para hablar. Pueden comparar situaciones de la lectura con la vida real, además de escuchar opiniones de otros.

  • ¿Qué le motiva a trabajar con niños?

Creo que el deseo de ayudar y ser parte del crecimiento sano, social y emocional de un niño, me hace sentir orgullosa de lo que hago. Es algo que puedo ver en los niños cuando me los encuentro en otro lugar y vienen a saludarme con un abrazo y felices de verme. Tiene un impacto positivo en mí y me motiva a continuar siendo parte de su mundo.

  • ¿Qué es lo que más disfruta de su trabajo y de educar a los niños pequeños?

Me encanta jugar con ellos, ser su amigo, confortarlos cuando lo necesitan y ayudarlos en su independencia. Me satisface y me siento orgullosa cuando un niño me hace partícipe de sus trabajos como un dibujo hecho para mí o cuando aprenden a montar la bicicleta, escribir su nombre, vestirse o comer solos. Es un logro para ellos y una satisfacción para mí.

  • ¿Qué hace en su tiempo libre?

Gran parte de mi tiempo libre lo paso con mi familia, mi esposo y mis hijos. Disfrutamos ir al rio, a la playa, al bosque y caminar en los senderos de la costa de Brookings. También vamos a la iglesia, participamos en de las actividades en la escuela de nuestros hijos y los apoyamos en los deportes que practiquen.

  • ¿Dónde ve su carrera en el futuro?

Mi deseo es llegar a ser una buena profesora asistente. Involucrarme más en la comunidad y trabajar en equipo.

  • ¿Planea continuar su educación?

Por el momento estaré enfocada en obtener mi credencial de CDA. Pero si mi trabajo me requiere otros entrenamientos los tomare para estar al día con los avances en el sistema educativo.

  • ¿Planea recibir más cursos o credenciales de CCEI?

En algún momento que requiera reforzar mis conocimientos, ya que esta es una carrera de desafíos. Por supuesto escogería CCEI.

  • ¿Recomendaría CCEI a alguien?

Por supuesto que recomendaría a CCEI, no solo para cursos en español sino también en inglés. Para mi fue fácil tomar el curso de CDA con mi computadora en casa e incluso con mi teléfono celular pude tener acceso al curso desde otras ciudades como Medford y Roseburg en Oregon.

  • ¿Cuál es su ciudad y estado actual?

Actualmente vivo en la ciudad de Brookings, en el estado de Oregon.

  • ¿Hay comentarios, recomendaciones o testimonios que le gustaría compartir?

CCEI es lo mejor que pude haber encontrado para empezar mi educación en el ámbito de la niñez temprana. Gracias CCEI por hacer una de § ¿Cómo comenzó su carrera en la primera infancia?

English Translation

  • How did your early childhood career begin?

From a young age I had that gift to help and feel happy to see a child smile. When I arrived in the United States, my son started going to the school where I work now. It was difficult for me at the beginning because of the language, but with time I gained confidence and I stayed to have breakfast with him or read him a book. The other children accepted me very positively and I think that was why the teachers asked me if I wanted to be a volunteer parent and I said yes. And so began my career in early childhood.

  • In what program (s) have you participated with CCEI?

I took the CDA program in Spanish

  • What is your favorite time of day to spend with the children?

The time I most enjoy spending with children is learning centers, it is when I socialize with them the most, I can see their achievements, I learn from their behaviors and I know them more.

  • What is your favorite time of day / activity?

The activity that I enjoy with them is when they paint on the easel, I like the way they express themselves through painting. They can make lines of all colors and they say, “It’s my cat” or “colors on top of other colors,” and they say, “It’s my house!” Everyone has their own style and way of interpreting things. The activity that is my favorite is the time to read a book, I like when they participate, ask questions and they are friendly and courteous when they ask for their turn to speak. They can compare situations from reading with real life, as well as listening to the opinions of others.

  • What motivates you to work with children?

I believe that the desire to help and be part of a child’s healthy social and emotional growth makes me feel proud of what I do. It’s something I can see in children when I meet them somewhere else and they come to greet me with a hug and are happy to see me. It has a positive impact on me and motivates me to continue being part of their world.

  • What do you enjoy most about your work and educating young children?

I love playing with them, being their friend, comforting them when they need it and helping them in their independence. It satisfies me and I am proud when a child involves me in his work, such as a drawing made for me or when they learn to ride a bicycle, write their name, dress or eat alone. It is an achievement for them and satisfying for me.

  • What do you do in your free time?

I spend a lot of my free time with my family, my husband and my children. We enjoy going to the river, to the beach, to the forest and walking on the trails of the Brookings coast. We also go to church, we participate in activities in our children’s school and we support them in the sports they practice.

  • Where do you see your career in the future?

My desire is to become a good assistant teacher and involve myself more in the community and work as a team.

  • Do you plan to continue your education?

For the time being I will be focused on getting my CDA credential. But if my work requires other trainings I will take them to be up to date with the advances in the educational system.

  • Do you plan to receive more CCEI courses or credentials?

At some point I need to reinforce my knowledge, since this is a continuous challenge. Of course I would choose CCEI.

  • Would you recommend CCEI to someone?

Of course I would recommend CCEI, not only for courses in Spanish but also in English. It was easy for me to take the CDA course with my computer at home and even with my cell phone. I was able to access the course from other cities such as Medford and Roseburg in Oregon.

  • What is your city and current state?

I currently live in the city of Brookings, in the state of Oregon.

  • Are there comments, recommendations or testimonials that you would like to share?

CCEI is the best option I could have found to begin my education in the field of early childhood. Thanks CCEI for helping make one of my goals possible in this career that requires responsibility and dedication.

January 2019 Newsletter – Continuous Quality Improvement: Director’s Corner – Creating a Culture of Continuous Quality Improvement

Members of leadership can do a number of things to infuse the notion of continuous quality improvement into the culture of the program.  First and foremost, leaders must believe in and practice continuous quality improvement at all times.  This can be demonstrated for employees through verbalizing self-reflections, sharing action plans, and highlighting the impact of improvements made over time.

Beyond acting as a role model for the actions and attitudes that facilitate continuous quality improvement, leaders can also take the following steps:

  • Create buy-in and investment. Help employees understand the connection between efforts and benefits for children, families, and the program.
  • Create a quality improvement mindset. Quality improvement is not a checklist – it’s a continuous cycle.  Employees need to understand this from the beginning.  Add continuous quality improvement language to your vision or mission statements.  Introduce the concept of CQI during interviews and ask questions geared to uncover potential employees’ attitudes toward change and quality improvement. Provide examples of CQI expectations during new staff orientation, staff meetings, and professional development events.
  • Address resistance to change. It may be necessary to assist employees who are resistant to change. People tend to enjoy spending time in their personal and professional comfort zones. Quality improvement efforts challenge those comfort zones. Sometimes the barriers that need to be addressed are internal.  Help employees identify how making changes will benefit them and make their jobs easier, also known as WIIFM – or What’s In It For Me
  • Establish quality improvement plans for individuals, teaching teams, and the larger staff body. Start with small realistic goals to ensure success, build confidence, and motivate future efforts. Make efforts to recognize progress – not just the achievement of big goals.
  • Evaluate setbacks as new learning opportunities learn from mistakes. Build on what works. Don’t be afraid to let go of something that isn’t working.  But make sure you’ve given it a consistent and full effort before changing directions.  This means working the plan for at least a month or two before reevaluating.
  • Integrate CQI into performance evaluations.Also, be sure to tie annual PD to goals and areas of improvement identified during the CQI process. 
  • Budget the time and money required to make changes. If you are going to engage employees in committing to change, you should be prepared to give them adequate support.
  • Engage families and children for ideas and to take part in action plans when appropriate. Doing so helps create a program culture where everyone is invested and involved in continuous quality improvement.  For more information, checkout this month’s blog here

For the main article Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Steps to Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Tools to Support Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

January 2019 Newsletter – Continuous Quality Improvement: Tools to Support Continuous Quality Improvement

There are a variety of tools that can assist programs who see to improve quality. Your program may go through a formal quality improvement initiative or take on this endeavor independently.  Here is a list of some of the resources that may be useful:

  • Existing program policies and procedures – It is important to ensure that program policies and procedures are being implemented accurately and consistently.
  • Existing program mission and vision statements –The mission and vision statements provide guidance for how employees interact with children and families.
  • Licensing regulations – State licensing regulations set forth the minimum standards of quality experiences, procedures,and practices.  Access more information here: https://www.childcareaware.org/resources/map/
  • Caring for Our Children Standards – This document contains close to 700 health and safety standards that can be used to improve program quality. You can find the document here: http://nrckids.org/CFOC
  • State specific QRIS models and tools – States have been hard at work over the last few years developing and implementing Quality Rating and Improvement Systems. To learn more about QRIS in your state,visit:  https://qrisguide.acf.hhs.gov/index.php/states
  • State accreditation materials – In addition to QRIS, some states have developed state level accreditation systems.  Reach out to your licensing representative for more information about child care accreditation in your state.
  • National accreditation tools – There are a number of agencies that will validate high-quality programs through accreditation.  Here are just a few:  
  • Program and Environmental Rating Scales – These tools allow programs to assess levels of quality and make plans for improvement:  
    • The Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale –Revised  (ECERS-R)
    • The Infant/Toddler Environmental Rating Scale –Revised (ITERS-R)
    • The School-Age Care Environmental Rating Scale (SACERS)
    • The Family Child Care Environmental Rating Scale0 Revised (FCCERS-R)
    • Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)
    • Program Administration Scale (PAS)

For the main article Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Steps to Support Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner – Creating a Culture of Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

January 2019 Newsletter – Continuous Quality Improvement: Steps to Continuous Quality Improvement

When embarking on continuous quality improvement there are different models or steps you can follow.  Each program, teaching team, and individual will need to develop the steps and process that works best for them.  Here are a few general steps that may be part of your CQI process:

  • Develop an understanding of the standards– In order to improve quality, you must understand what quality looks like.
  • Reflect on current practices – Take honest stock in current practices.  No one is perfect.  No program does it ALL right every day.  Compare your understanding of the standards to your current practices in order to identify opportunities for growth.
  • Complete self-assessment tools –Some quality improvement initiatives include formal self-study materials or assessment tools.  Take advantage of these tools to, again, honestly reflect on your program practices.
  • Brainstorm “perfect world” scenarios– What could your program look like if there were no barriers?  Create perfect world scenarios, then work to identify barriers.  Eliminate the ones you can, make necessary adjustments for the barriers you cannot address at the moment and move a little closer to a “perfect world.”
  • Identify areas of improvement – What fires are members of the team constantly trying to put out?  Depending on the dynamics of the program, this can happen as a whole group, as a teaching team,or one-on-one between a teacher and supervisor.  Areas of opportunity can also come from self-assessment tools, children,families, or other members of the community.  
  • Prioritize – There are several criteria to use to prioritize the areas of opportunity you identify.  It’s a good idea to focus on areas related to health and safety first.  You could look for things that can be accomplished within your available budget.  You may also choose to pick a few easier items to address first to get the ball rolling.
  • Set goals for addressing areas of improvement – Once areas are identified and prioritized, create your goals.  Exactly what will this new and improved process or practice look like when you are finished?  By what date do you expect to implement the change?  Remember, SMART goals are also realistic and achievable!
  • Create action plans – Develop a plan of action for each area of improvement, including a timeline and who on the team will be responsible for making change.
  • Identify necessary resources – Determine if there are additional materials, professional development, or community resources needed to make your quality improvements. Create a plan to access those resources.
  • Track progress – It’s important to create accountability by tracking progress on a regular basis.  This will allow you to make adjustments when necessary.  You will also be able to celebrate progress throughout the process as a way of building motivation and a sense of achievement.

As a program implements these steps, it is building a cycle that becomes part of its culture of quality improvement.

Here is another model to consider that is used by a wide variety of businesses and industries:

For the main article Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits to Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Tools to Support Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner – Creating a Culture of Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

 

January 2019 Newsletter – Continuous Quality Improvement: Benefits of Continuous Quality Improvement

In early childhood, engaging in quality improvement has many benefits.  When educators work to make continual improvements to their programs, the following benefits become possible: 

  • Safer environments for children
  • More efficient procedures
  • Consistent implementation of program practices
  • Children’s needs (in all areas of development)are met
  • Richer learning experiences for children
  • Engaged, empowered, and satisfied staff
  • Lower rates of staff turnover, creating consistency for children, families, and coworkers
  • Team cohesion
  • The development of a culture of continuous improvement
  • Satisfied families and increased length of stay
  • Increased word-of-mouth marketing
  • Higher enrollment numbers
  • Improved standing and recognition in the community
  • Increased revenue

It is critical that everyone involved in CQI understands the benefits of the efforts being made.  When you understand the underlying benefits, the work gains new meaning and value.  Rather than becoming yet another task to complete, you can recognize (or remind yourself of) the benefits to children, families, and coworkers, and generate the energy needed to move forward.

For the main article Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Steps to Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Tools to Support Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner – Creating a Culture of Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

January 2019 Newsletter – Continuous Quality Improvement

New research and innovations in the field continue to reshape the child care industry.  Things that use to be best practice have evolved or been replaced over time, requiring child care providers to regularly evaluate and modify their practice to best meet the needs of children and families.

This practice is not unique to the early childcare field.  Businesses of all different varieties engage in a process that has been coined “Continuous Quality Improvement” or CQI.   In fact, there is an entire industry devoted to helping companies go through CQI projects.

Child Welfare Information Gateway defines CQI as:

“…the complete process of identifying, describing, and analyzing strengths and problems and then testing, implementing, learning from, and revising solutions.”

The most critical piece of CQI lies in the word “continuous.”  Programs that engage in CQI do so, continuously.  They don’t stop.  There is no end to the process.  The belief is that every process and practice can be evaluated and improved upon, even slightly. As a result, program improvement is embedded in the culture of the program; it’s something they just do as a natural part of their operation.

In this month’s newsletter, we will explore aspects of continuous quality improvement and provide resources to help you start 2019 with a new set of program improvement practices.

For the article Benefits of Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Steps to Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Tools to Support Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner – Creating a Culture of Continuous Quality Improvement, CLICK HERE

Resources that Support the Practice of Gratitude

The December newsletter explores the benefits of cultivating gratitude and a few strategies to help with the practice. There are many different resources that you can delve into to help establish your own practice and to help you as you introduce this concept to children. Below are just some of the resources that you may find helpful.

Books for adults:

  • May Cause Happiness: A Gratitude Journal by Br. David Steindl-Rast
  • Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life as a Gift by A Network for Grateful Living
  • Gratitude in Education: A Radical View by Kerry Howells
  • Words of Gratitude for Mind, Body, and Soul by Robert Emmons and Joanna Hill
  • The Little book of Gratitude: Create a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks by Robert Emmons

Websites:

Digital media apps:

  • Gratitude 365
  • Delightful
  • Bliss
  • Zest
  • Attitudes of Gratitude
  • My Affirmations: Live Positive

Resources for working with children:

Lists of children’s books about gratitude:

Share your favorite resources on gratefulness on our Facebook page here.

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Character Education in the School-Age Child Care Environment

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers SCH106: Character Education in the School-Age Child Care Environment as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users December 1-31, 2018.

Today’s young people are developing in a society unlike any other in history, thanks in no small part to the internet and social media. Character education is becoming more challenging as new technologies add new layers to young people’s social lives.  The goals of character education focus on the skills that promote self-respect, respect for other people, and the desire and ability to make positive contributions to the community. Ultimately, good character education leads to:

  • Decreased violence and bullying
  • Fewer discipline referrals
  • Positive engagement with and service to the community
  • Improved school attendance
  • Improved academic performance

As children grow through adolescence, their social and emotional skills become more solidified, and bad decisions evolve to have serious consequences related to fighting, bullying, stealing, lying, substance abuse, and other risky or antisocial behaviors. These behaviors are part of the reality of working with young people, whether in the regular classroom or in the out-of-school-time (OST) program.  That is not the case with all children; nor is it the case that all such problems can be averted through guidance or character education. However, research and experience do prove that guidance and education are definitely part of the solution to challenging and violent behaviors in school-age children and adolescents. Appropriate social behaviors do not come naturally, but they can be taught and learned. Schools and childcare programs play a vital role in this development process.

No single teacher is expected to develop a child’s character in the course of a single school year. On the other hand, it might just be one teacher who provides the model and wisdom that really makes a difference in a young person’s character development. But character education programs are designed with the whole community in mind and the assumption that adults must work together to help children develop good character. If parents and schools play their part in the process, things usually turn out well.

This course explores the importance of character education in schools and out-of-school programs, focusing on environments for school-age children and adolescents.  Course participants will learn about different approaches to character education, focusing on the comprehensive or “holistic” approach, which requires participation of the whole school community. Participants will also learn appropriate practices and strategies for promoting ethical and moral values in the classroom and out-of-school care environment.

“There are many possible approaches to character education and no single approach is definitively better than another,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “To be truly effective, character education must involve all stakeholders in the school community; however, this course focuses primarily on practices and strategies for teachers, whether they are looking to supplement or improve an existing character education program or start a new one.”

SCH106: Character Education in the School-Age Child Care Environment is a three-hour, intermediate-level course and grants 0.3 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

ChildCare Education Institute, LLC

ChildCare Education Institute®, a division of Excelligence Learning Corporation, provides high-quality, distance education certificates and child care training programs in an array of child care settings, including preschool centers, family child care, prekindergarten classrooms, nanny care, online daycare training and more. Over 150 English and Spanish child care training courses are available online to meet licensing, recognition program, and Head Start Requirements. CCEI also has online certification programs that provide the coursework requirement for national credentials including the CDA, Director and Early Childhood Credentials.  CCEI, a Council for Professional Recognition CDA Gold Standard™ training provider, is nationally accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) and is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).