October 2019 Student Spotlight – Debra Green

I began my career in early childhood in 1999 and started out as a cook. A couple of years later, I became an infant teacher. I love taking care of children, watching them grow up and go through the development stages of their life. Children develop physically, socially, and emotionally so fast.

I discovered CCEI in June 2018. It was such as positive experience for me. I had help when I needed it and encouragement to get me through. That made a huge difference to me. I used CCEI’s coursework to receive my Infant-Toddler CDA Certificate.

I enjoy active times with the infants in my care because it gives me time to have one-on-one with them. Music time is the best because they like to bounce and move around.  And my older infants like to clap their hands and smile. My reward is seeing them smile. I am motivated by the changes I see in my infants daily. Providing a safe and nurturing environment is very important to me. The infants in my care are our future. My job is to be able to give them all the love and time I can while they are in my care.

I live in Fort Worth, TX. In my free time I love shopping, crossword puzzles, and spending time with my husband, children and grandchildren as much as I can.

My current position as a Lead Infant Teacher keeps me very busy. I plan to keep my CDA current and continue my professional development journey. I also participate in conferences and workshops to stay active with my training.

I want to thank my CCEI Education Coach for being there for me. I couldn’t have done it without her. She consistently responded to my requests when I needed her and she always showed me examples to help work through any issues I was experiencing. And more importantly, at the end of every call, she always gave me positive reassurance to say “you can do this!”. That told me that she truly cares and wants to see me excel. I am always talking about my coach to other teachers. Because of my coach and the high quality of the coursework, I am always highly referring CCEI to other ECE professionals for all their training needs.

Using Caring for Our Children Standards to Improve Program Practices

The Caring for Our Children standards provide guidance for early learning programs aspiring to create the safest and most healthy environments for young children.  Whether working as an individual, teaching team, or entire staff to improve practices, here are a few tips to help you utilize Caring for Our Children in your quality improvement initiatives.

  • Consider your priorities –Reflect on recent licensing inspections, family surveys, accreditation feedback, staff surveys, anecdotal observation, etc. to determine areas that could be improved upon. The areas that you identify will become your target standards.
  • Identify the audience – Not every standard applies to all teachers.  Some standards are specific to infant teachers or staff members who diaper children.  Determine who the right people are to evaluate the standards and current program practices.
  • Review licensing standards – In many cases, licensing regulations and CFOC standards are aligned, but it is critical that all staff members are aware of the small variations that may exist between regulations and standards. Determine the minimum requirements and strengthen your program practices from that point. 
  • Review the CFOC standards, rationales, and comments related to the area you aim to improve.  Explore the additional references that are provided after each standard as well as any related standards that align with the targeted standard. 
  • Discuss the elements of the standard to ensure that everyone involved has a consistent understanding of the language of the standard.  Use the glossary of terms and any related appendices to clarify terms or specifics related to the target standard.
  • Conduct a self-study – Staff members who are involved in the quality improvement effort should spend a period of time conducting an assessment of how they currently manage elements of the target standard.  This self-study should be and honest reflection of the current practices, where they exceed licensing regulations and CFOC standards, as well as where they fall short.
  • Identify actions that need to be taken based on current program practices and the language of the standard.
  • Create a realistic action plan – Plans may be easy to implement or require an incremental approach.  Some plans only require a change to a written policy.  Other plans will require behavior changes that take time to practice and master.  Set a date to evaluate success.
  • Evaluate and celebrate – Take time to recognize accomplishments. If further action is necessary, revise your action plan, but be sure to celebrate the dedication and efforts of all involved!

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment: Standards Related to Administration

Standard 9.2.3.11: Food and Nutrition Service Policies and Plans has been updated to include the following element:

Early care and education programs should have food handling, feeding, and written nutrition policies and plans under the direction of the administration that address food allergies and special dietary restrictions, including family/cultural food preferences.

To learn about the other items that are required in a written nutrition plan, visit https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/9.2.3.11

Updates to Standard 9.2.4.5: Emergency and Evacuation Drills/Exercise Policy include the following language:

Early care and education programs should have a written policy documenting that emergency drills or exercises are regularly practiced for geographically appropriate emergencies, natural disasters and violent/hostile intruder events.

a. Evacuation emergencies (e.g., fires, floods, gas leaks, chemical spills)

b. Shelter-in-place emergencies (e.g., tornados, earthquakes, threatening person outside)

c. Lockdown emergencies (e.g., violent/hostile intruders, threatening/dangerous animals)

More information about Standard 9.2.4.5 can be found here: https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/9.2.4.5

Language has been updated in Standard 9.4.1.16: Evacuation and Shelter-In-Place Drill Records. Here is some of that language:

Records of the practiced emergency drill procedures and reviewed emergency policies should be completed regularly and kept on file. Staff training in proper record-keeping should be conducted annually.

Administrators should check with their state regulations and licensing requirements to adhere to the frequency of emergency drills and keep a record of the date, time, and name of the individual drill reviewer when each of the following drills are performed.

For the main article Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Interactions with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Health and Safety, CLICK HERE

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment: Standards Related to Health and Safety

An update to Standard 3.2.2.1: Situations that Require Hand Hygiene includes the following language:

Hand hygiene after diaper changing must always be performed. Hand hygiene before changing diapers is required only if the staff member’s hands have been contaminated since the last time the staff member practiced hand hygiene.

Note: your state licensing regulations may require handwashing prior to diapering. Always follow the strongest rule.

The following language has been revised from previous versions of Standard 3.6.1.1: Inclusion/Exclusion/Dismissal of Children: Fever without any signs or symptoms of illness in infants and children who are older than 4 months regardless of whether acetaminophen or ibuprofen was given. For this purpose, fever is defined as temperature above 101°F (38.3°C) by any method. These temperature readings do not require adjustment for the location where they are made. They are simply reported with the temperature and the location, as in “101°F in the armpit/axilla.”

Transportation Standards

Updated language to standard 5.3.1.12: Availability and Use of a Telephone or Wireless Communication Device includes:

While operating a motor vehicle to transport children, drivers should not use wireless communication devices when the vehicle is in motion. Drivers should never send and receive text messages, use social media, or use other mobile applications (“apps”)—with the exception of the use of a navigational or global positioning system device—while transporting children.

Standard 6.5.2.6: Route to Emergency Medical Services has been updated to include the following information:

Drivers who transport children to or from a child care program should keep written directions and a physical map in the transport vehicle providing the quickest route to the nearest emergency medical facility. Driving children is a significant responsibility. Transportation technicians and drivers need to be prepared and think quickly on their feet in the event of a medical emergency while on route.1 At any point during the route, should an emergency arise, drivers are equipped with the quickest route for obtaining any needed medical attention.

For the main article Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Interactions with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Administration, CLICK HERE

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment: Standards Related to Interactions with Children

Updates to Standard 2.1.2.1: Personal Caregiver/Teacher Relationships for Infants and Toddlers include:

Child–caregiver relationships based on high-quality care are central to brain development, emotional regulation, and overall learning. The facility should encourage practices of continuity of care that give infants and toddlers the added benefit of the same caregiver for the first three years of life of the child or during the time of enrollment. The facility should limit the number of caregivers/teachers who interact with any one infant or toddler.

And:

The facility’s touch policy should be direct in addressing that children may be touched when it is appropriate for, respectful to, and safe for the child. Caregivers/teachers should respect the wishes of children, regardless of their age, for physical contact and their comfort or discomfort with it. Caregivers/teachers should avoid even “friendly” contact (e.g., touching the shoulder or arm) with a child if the child expresses that he or she is uncomfortable.

The updated version of Caring for Our Children also provides specific guidance on methods of supervising children:

  • Set Up the Environment – Caregivers/teachers set up the environment so that they can supervise children and be accessible at all times.
  • Position Staff – Caregivers/teachers carefully plan where they will position themselves in the environment to prevent children from harm. 
  • Scan and Count – Caregivers/teachers are always able to account for the children in their care
  • Listen – Specific sounds or the absence of them may signify reason for concern.
  • Anticipate Children’s Behavior – Caregivers/teachers use what they know about each child’s individual interests and skills to predict what he/she will do. 
  • Engage and Redirect – Caregivers/teachers use what they know about each child’s individual needs and development to offer support. 

You can read even more information about methods for supervising children here: https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/2.2.0.1

For the main article Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Health and Safety, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Administration, CLICK HERE

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment: Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response

The following language has been updated in Standard 1.4.3.1: First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Training for Staff:

While the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) on children is rare, early care and education programs should consider having an AED on the premises for potential use on both adults and children. Pediatric pads should be used for children younger than 8 years old.Trainings should be inclusive to children in care, staff and other adults present in early care and education programs.

The following language has been added to Standard 3.4.3.1: Medical Emergency Procedures:

Debriefing should occur after an incident or emergency. Staff should discuss procedures, how well they were followed, and any changes that may need to be made.

The following language has been added to the Standard 4.9.0.8: Supply of Food and Water for Disasters:

Disaster Preparedness
A minimum 3-day supply of nonperishable food and 1 gallon of water per person per day for 3 days should be kept in stock for each child and staff member.1,2 For programs with 100 children, this would mean 300 gallons of water and approximately 1,000 meals. Programs should consider appropriate and accessible storage for a large quantity of supplies.

For early care and education programs in areas at risk for hurricanes and other severe disasters, an additional 2-day supply (i.e., supply for 5 days total) of nonperishable food and water may be needed. A written log detailing the expiration dates, as well as the amount and type of food, should be kept by early care and education staff and reviewed on a quarterly basis. Caregivers/teachers should review log/expiration dates on a quarterly basis; food and water supplies should be consumed and/or replaced from the emergency supplies to ensure usage before expiration.

Early care and education programs should accommodate children with special health care needs who require specialized diets. Appropriate, nonperishable food items should be kept and made available for these children in the event of a disaster.3 Additional information on Disaster Response and Recovery and Water Safety is available at https://nrckids.org/CFOC/Database/4.9.0.8

For the main article Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Interactions with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Health and Safety, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Administration, CLICK HERE

October 2019 Newsletter – Maintain a Safe and Healthy Environment

Maintaining a safe and healthy early learning environment requires consistent effort and action on the part of staff and management.  One of the most important things early childhood professionals need to do is stay up-to-date on the changes to licensing regulation, best practices, and health and safety standards set forth by other agencies.

Did you know that one of the most important early childhood healthy and safety resources has been updated?

That’s right!  Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs has been updated.  Caring for Our Children contains hundreds of standards and over 35 appendices that support high-quality health and safety practices. 

This month’s newsletter will explore some of the changes and updates to the document. Our Blog will take a look at ways that you can use the standards in Caring for Our Children to improve program practices. Be sure to compare these standards to your state licensing regulations and always follow the most stringent rule.

The standards quoted in the newsletter were taken or adapted from:

American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education. (2019). Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards; Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 4th ed. Itasca, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; Retrieved from  http://nrckids.org/files/CFOC4 pdf- FINAL.pdf.

For the article Standards Related to Medical/Emergency Response, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Interactions with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Health and Safety, CLICK HERE

For the article Standards Related to Administration, CLICK HERE