New Course from ChildCare Education Institute on Supporting Spiritual Development in Early Learning Environments

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, is proud to introduce CHD109: Supporting Spiritual Development in Early Learning Environments to the online child care training course catalog.

Research on infant brain development shows that the first few years of life are a time when seeds of trust, hope, and love are planted by positive interactions with caregivers.  This research can help us understand the important role that early childhood educators play in promoting the development of spirituality.  Spiritual development begins when love ignites a child’s spirit. At this point, the infant becomes capable of forming deep connections and meaningful relationships with family members and caregivers. These relationships help the child develop a strong and powerful sense of self.  Meeting infants’ basic needs is a primary way to help them strengthen their self-awareness. The manner in which adults respond to infants’ signals sends a powerful message about their place in the world. 

To deepen our understanding of spiritual development, especially outside of the context of religion, it is important to be aware of other theories and concepts that have been studied that are complementary in nature.  There are a number of theories and research studies that support the connection between spiritual development, well-being, and academic success.  Researchers past and present have studied the role of moral development, resilience, and plasticity. Even more recently, educators are using words such as thriving, grit, and flow.  With this deeper understanding, caregivers will be prepared to create experiences in the learning environment that contribute to children’s spiritual development.

Spiritual development can lead to a more socially just world – meaning opportunity and equality for all. By promoting spiritual development, in addition to traditional domains of learning such as literacy and STEM, we are creating a more peaceful and just society while raising children who are prepared to participate in society in positive ways.  Through spiritual development, children learn to be aware of and comfortable with qualities such as respect, responsibility, and reverence for self and others. They learn to be capable of acknowledging differences between people without feeling fear. They develop a love for the earth and take action to protect it.

This course is based upon the work of Deborah Schein, author of the book titled Inspiring Wonder, Awe, and Empathy – Spiritual Development in Young Children. The course explores what spiritual development is and why it is important to overall development. Participants will also learn how to create moments within their learning environments that promote spiritual development in young children.

“A lens on spiritual development is a helpful tool in today’s complex, diverse and sometimes unkind world,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “This knowledge will prepare caregivers to create environments that nurture children spiritually thus offering children opportunity to develop a kinder self.”

CHD109: Supporting Spiritual Development in Early Learning Environments 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

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), is accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

How to Write a Philosophy Statement

In this month’s newsletter, we discuss how teachers can compile and organize their professional portfolio.  One of the elements of a portfolio is a statement that describes your philosophy of teaching. Creating such a statement can seem daunting if you have never done so before.  Here are a few tips for how to get started:

Practice self-reflection using prompts similar to the ones below: 

  • Think about the things you learned from your formal education and how you have applied them in your practice. 
  • Make note of connections you have noticed between what you learned in school and what you have learned on the job.
  • Determine your approach to teaching and interacting with children.
  • Think about what you have noticed about how children learn best and what types of activities engage children fully in your experience.
  • Determine what you believe are the most important things that you can do to support learners in your care.
  • Recall situations when things did not work out the way that you expected and what you learned from those situations.
  • Identify how your practice has changed as you have gained experience. 

Write down your responses to these questions and then ask yourself, “How have my experiences influenced my approach to working with young children? “

Create a 1-2 page statement describing your beliefs about how children learn best and the actions you take on a daily basis to meet the needs of the children in your care.

Here are a few online resources that you can read to learn more:

https://ucat.osu.edu/professional-development/teaching-portfolio/philosophy/

https://www.colorado.edu/career/2018/02/28/how-write-your-philosophy-education-statement

http://www.celt.iastate.edu/teaching/document-your-teaching/writing-a-teaching-philosophy-statement

ChildCare Education Institute Offers No-Cost Online Course on Elements of Professionalism

ChildCare Education Institute® (CCEI), an online child care training provider dedicated exclusively to the early care and education workforce, offers PROF102: Elements of Professionalism as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users April 1-30, 2019.

Because a child’s early learning experiences are so important, those who work with young children need to exhibit a high degree of professionalism in their day-to-day interactions with children. Effective, competent ECE professionals understand that professional development is a continuous process involving many factors, and there is more to it than simply fulfilling basic annual, in-service training requirements or certifications.

This course is designed to benefit new teachers as well as veteran teachers and directors. Whether you are just beginning a career or you are responsible for creating professional development plans for your employees, it is important to understand the elements of professionalism and the essential role professionalism plays in program quality and individual career development. Course participants will learn how to develop skills and characteristics that increase their value as teachers, as employees, and as leaders.

“All early childhood educators should be lifelong learners,” says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.  “Research reports that children’s optimal development and educational outcomes are positively correlated with their teachers having specialized early childhood pre-service and in-service training.  We’re pleased to provide this training as our new user trial course in order to help inspire teachers to persevere toward credentialing.”

PROF102: Elements of Professionalism is a one-hour, beginner-level course and grants 0.1 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).

April 2019 Student Spotlight – Christine Lombardi

My career in early childhood came quite by accident.  It began when I interviewed at Green Chimneys Child Services Inc. for a volunteer opportunity at their Farm and Wildlife Center while taking time off, contemplating a change in career path. I received a call back instead asking if I’d be interested in working part time in the after-school program as a Teacher’s Aide at their nursery school on campus, Nature’s Nursery.  I accepted and my love for and commitment to children grew the longer I stayed.  I worked with all the age groups we served, from preschool to school-age.  Along the way, it became clear to me that this is where my heart was, where my talents lied and where I wanted my future to be.   

After working with the preschoolers for several years, the opportunity arose for me to be considered as a Lead Teacher for the three year old classroom.  I didn’t hesitate.  In 2015, I enrolled in CCEI’s online training program to receive my CDA credential through the Council for Professional Recognition and successfully achieved my credential in November of 2016. 

My three years as Lead Teacher have been an incredible experience.  I love this particular age group because they are so excited about learning and making new discoveries.  Being one of the many people in their lives that gets the opportunity to introduce them to so many wonderful things is so personally gratifying. Our nursery school has a very unique nature-based program and coupled with my love for animals and being outdoors, provides me with endless possibilities in bringing a rich and educational program to the children. Having said that, my favorite time of day and activity with the kids is when we visit our Farm and Wildlife Center.  Priceless moments of joy!

I continue to take online training through CCEI and I have just recently enrolled in the Council’s CDA renewal program, again receiving my training through CCEI.  I would definitely recommend CCEI to others.  It’s a wonderful sponsoring organization, enabling students and staff alike in meeting training requirements as well as for those in pursuit of a CDA and/or other early childhood certificate programs they have to offer. Also, I have had a great training coach, Charlisa Dixon, who was so encouraging and helpful the first time around and she’s my coach for the renewal process again – lucky for me! 

I live in Carmel, NY with my husband, son and very sweet beagle, Ginger.  My interests include gardening, cooking and baking. Click here for a short essay written for the Green Chimneys Gazette about my position as Lead Teacher.

April 2019 Newsletter – Creating a Professional Portfolio: Director’s Corner – Supporting Employees as they Create Professional Portfolios

There are several reasons that directors and other leaders need to be aware of effective portfolio development strategies. You may have team members on your staff who are pursuing their CDA or other credential that requires them to compile a portfolio to document their experience.  Portfolios are also often used by accrediting agencies to validate that program practices align with accreditation criteria.  Because the process of creating a portfolio is such a valuable professional practice, it is recommended that every teacher and caregiver have one, even if it is not required by an outside agency.

As a leader of a child care program, you are an important resource for employees who are developing professional portfolios. The first thing you should do is ensure that your portfolio is neatly organized and up-to-date. 

Conduct research to find creative examples of how other people have presented their portfolios using online tools. Some of your employees may prefer to work online, while others will be more comfortable creating physical portfolios.

Plan a professional development event that focuses on how to collect portfolio evidence and organize items in a professional manner.  If this is not a strength of yours, utilize an outside training organization.  Provide time during staff meetings for portfolio sharing and feedback sessions. Perhaps the use of portfolio mentors or coaches would be appropriate in your setting.

Help employees recognize activities and situations that would be appropriate examples to use in their portfolios.  If a teacher has developed an excellent lesson plan, provide that feedback and encourage them to take photos of children engaged in the planned activities to add to their portfolio. 

Create a culture of self-reflection.  It is not a skill that comes naturally to everyone. Guide teachers to think back on their experiences and make connections to best practices. Help teachers think critically about their work, successes they have achieved, and opportunities to do things differently in the future. 

Consider providing the materials that teachers will need to compile all of their documentation. Physical portfolios are typically organized in binders or file boxes. Prezi and website development tools are great ways to organize information on a virtual platform. While many are easy to navigate, employees may need support getting accustomed to digital tools. Tell us how you support your employees as they create their own professional portfolios on our Facebook page here

For the main article Creating a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Developing a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article What Goes into a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Organizing your Portfolio, CLICK HERE

April 2019 Newsletter – Creating a Professional Portfolio: Organizing your Portfolio

When it comes to organization, people have different ideas about the right way to do it.  There is no one right way to organize the materials in your portfolio, but you should attempt to group similar items together so that they are easy to find. Reviewers should be able to flip through the portfolio and notice a flow to the order of the materials.

Consider a few of the following suggestions:

  • Decide whether you want to create a physical portfolio or a digital portfolio using an online portfolio builder, Prezi, or even PowerPoint
  • Gather the professional documentation, such as your resume and transcripts in one section
  • Group training certificates together and put them in chronological order
  • Place letters of reference, past performance evaluations, and parent survey materials together
  • Organize the evidence of your work in the classroom in a different section of the portfolio
  • Place evidence of leadership in a separate section
  • Group any writing samples on one place so you can find them easily
  • Include a reflection statement in each section that focuses on the contents of that section
  • Protect contents with sheet protectors to maintain a professional image
  • Use temporary labels to identify sections and criteria identifiers – this will help you customize your portfolio for multiple audiences
  • Ask a colleague to review your portfolio and provide feedback on the contents and organization, including typos!
  • Continue to add new evidence to your portfolio to ensure it remains up-to-date
  • Every now and then, review your portfolio and determine if any pieces of evidence can be removed, perhaps because you have been able to collect a better example

Remember, a portfolio is more than a scrapbook of photos.  Each piece you include needs to be purposeful and tell a story about your experience. You don’t need to go overboard with decorations and embellishments.  Let your work speak for itself. 

For the main article Creating a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Developing a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article What Goes into a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Supporting Employees as they Create Professional Portfolios, CLICK HERE

April 2019 Newsletter – Creating a Professional Portfolio: What Goes into a Professional Portfolio

Here is a list of some of the things you should collect for your portfolio:

  • Resume
  • Educational transcripts
  • Training certificates
  • Letters of reference
  • Proof of credentials you’ve obtained
  • Philosophy of teaching statement
  • Images of classroom arrangements and other physical features of your learning environment
  • Images of outdoor enhancements you’ve made on the playground
  • Lesson plans or project plans your developed
  • Images and descriptions of children engaged in lesson you’ve designed
  • Documentation of children’s learning
  • Examples of parent letters or newsletters you’ve written
  • Summaries of parent surveys
  • Past performance evaluations
  • Description of any leadership responsibilities
  • Awards or recognitions you’ve received
  • A description of past and present committee involvement, highlighting leadership roles
  • Descriptions of your volunteer work
  • Goals or an outline of a 3-5 year plan
  • Personal reflections on experiences and/or your progress toward your goals

Unless required by an outside agency, place copies of important documents in your portfolio. Keep your originals in a safe place whenever possible!   What other items have you incorporated into your professional portfolio? Tell us on our Facebook page.

For the main article Creating a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Benefits of Developing a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Organizing your Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Supporting Employees as they Create Professional Portfolios, CLICK HERE

April 2019 Newsletter – Creating a Professional Portfolio: Benefits of Developing a Professional Portfolio

The first and most evident benefit to creating a portfolio is the fact that it will help you illustrate your skills and abilities to future employers and other professionals in the field.  It is an excellent way to highlight your skills and show evidence of the experience you have acquired throughout your career.

More importantly, pulling together your portfolio provides you an opportunity to reflect on your experience, identify strong practices, and recognize opportunities for growth. Gathering evidence of your skills is an opportunity to think critically about how your experience compares to best practices in the field of ECE.  You also have a chance to reflect on what you have learned throughout your career and determine how you use new information in your professional practice. 

Here are a few additional benefits according to a 2017 post in Forbes Community VoiceTM entitled, Nine Advantages of Developing Your Own Professional Portfolio:

  • Generates credibility
  • Offers a reminder of your outstanding achievements
  • Helps people visualize working with you
  • Sets you apart from other candidates
  • Gives you a chance to show creativity
  • Shows consistency between what you say and what you do

For the main article Creating a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article What Goes into a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Organizing your Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Supporting Employees as they Create Professional Portfolios, CLICK HERE

April 2019 Newsletter – Creating a Professional Portfolio

One of the ways that we assess young children’s learning is through the use of portfolios.  These are collections of work that we can analyze to identify current skills, tracking progress, and recognize areas of growth.  Children’s portfolios typically include a wide range of images, work samples, descriptions, and dictations that provide a clear picture of a child’s abilities.  It is a compilation of work that continues to grow as children move through the first years of their lives. 

A portfolio can serve a similar purpose for teachers, who often have to demonstrate their skills for accrediting and credentialing agencies. Portfolios can also come in handy as teachers pursue new career opportunities within the field. Creating a portfolio is an excellent way of providing a clear picture of your strengths and skills to other professionals in the field.

In this month’s newsletter, we will explore the benefits of creating a professional portfolio and strategies for organizing its contents in order to present the best picture of your professional experience.

For the article Benefits of Developing a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article What Goes into a Professional Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Organizing your Portfolio, CLICK HERE

For the article Director’s Corner: Supporting Employees as they Create Professional Portfolios, CLICK HERE