Monday, January 4, 2016


Join child care center colleagues

at the next
Early Childhood Directors Group

Thursday, January 14thth – 10:00 am – noon
Think Small,  2021 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls 55413

  • Opportunities for Child Care Centers to Serve Infants and Toddlers Through Early Head Start Partnerships
    • Presentation by Jeanne Dickhausen, Minnesota Head Start Collaboration Director and Lori Fuller and Nicole Duncan, Anoka County Community Action Program’s Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership.
    • President Obama’s Early Learning Initiative set aside $500 million for new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships. These grants will allow Early Head Start grantees to partner with Child Care programs to provide full-day, full-year programming so that more low-income children in their community have the healthy and enriching early experiences they need to realize their full potential.
  • Child Care Policy and Advocacy Update 
  • Networking Time

Early Childhood Directors Group meetings are free and

open to all directors and assistant directors

No RSVP necessary. Questions? contact Nancy Johnson:  njohnson@thinksmall.org

For more info, visit our blog at: www.ecdirectorsgroup.blogspot.com

 

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Several directors requested that we post links to the studies and background reading for our discussion in November on staff compensation:

Worthy Work, STILL Unliveable Wages: The Early Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study


by Marcy Whitebook, Deborah Phillips, and Carollee Howes

Full Report or Exec Summary

Why Childcare Workers Are So Poor, Even Though Childcare Costs So Much


Aaron Loewenberg, writing for New America’s Early & Elementary Education Policy program, explores policy proposals that could increase the pay of child care teachers helping highly-qualified individuals stay in the field.

Childcare Teachers Underpaid and Underappreciated


 

Next Early Childhood Policy Hour, January 5th, 2016

Join us for Policy Hour on Tuesday, January 5 from Noon-1 p.m. at Think Small, 2021 Hennepin Ave. E, Suite 210, Minneapolis to hear about the DHS Child Care Development Block Grant plan. This plan describes how the state proposes to meet the new federal law governing child care assistance (CCAP in MN). The new law makes changes to protect the health and safety of children in child care, promote continuity of access to subsidy for low-income families, better inform parents and the general public about child care choices, and improve the overall quality of early care and education.


Policy Hour is held the first Tuesday of each month, noon-1:00 p.m. at Think Small, 2021 East Hennepin Avenue, Suite 250, Minneapolis, 55413.  Bring your lunch. Invite your friends. No RSVP necessary.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

 
 
 
Here’s Your Opportunity
 
Let the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet
and the Departments of Education,
Human Services and Health Know What You Think!

* What early learning experiences are working for
young children and families in your community?
* Where are the gaps in your early childhood system?
* How can we support building the capacity of the early
childhood workforce in your community?

Early in November, staff of the Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, Human Services and the Minnesota Children's Cabinet held seven Early Learning Listening Sessions throughout the state. From Owatonna to Bemidji, over 650 people gathered to discuss the future of early learning in Minnesota. A wide range of ideas and opinions were shared, and this information is already being discussed among state agencies as well as the Governor's Office. 

Now, we are conducting a survey to ensure we have captured the thoughts of every stakeholder in Minnesota who wants to be heard on this important topic. You will find the link to the survey at the end of this email - the questions provided here are the same as the ones that were discussed at the listening sessions. The answer options were crafted based around what was heard throughout the state at the sessions.


Note: This survey will close at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, December 17, 2015.
 
The survey is available in English, Spanish, Somali, Hmong and Vietnamese. We want to hear from you. If you attended a listening session, please complete the survey to reinforce your thoughts and share anything you may have thought of after you left. If you weren't able to attend a listening session, please complete the survey to share your thoughts. It should take about five to seven minutes to complete.
 
We also encourage you to share this survey with others whom you believe would like to be heard. Thank you so much for your participation and your engagement in this important discussion. Your advocacy on behalf of Minnesota's children is greatly appreciated!
 
If you have questions, please email mde.els@state.mn.us.
 
Thank you!
 


You are invited to Policy Hour, January 5th, 2016

 

Join us for Policy Hour on Tuesday, January 5 from Noon-1 p.m. to hear from the Department of Human Services about the Child Care Development Block Grant plan. This plan describes how the state proposes to meet the new federal law governing child care assistance. The new law makes changes to protect the health and safety of children in child care, promote continuity of access to subsidy for low-income families, better inform parents and the general public about child care choices, and improve the overall quality of early care and education.



Bring your lunch. Invite your friends. No RSVP necessary.



Mark your calendars! Policy Hour is held the first Tuesday of each month, October 2015-June 2016, from Noon-1:00 p.m. at Think Small (2021 East Hennepin Avenue, Suite 250, Minneapolis, MN 55413).   



Policy Hour is a monthly opportunity for early childhood and school-age care professionals to connect with each other and learn about current policy issues in an informal setting. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Here’s Your Opportunity

Join the Discussion!

Early Learning in Minnesota


The Minnesota Department of Education, in partnership with

the Minnesota Initiative Foundations and Minnesota’s Future,

 is holding regional community listening sessions to learn how we can

 be more effective in linking policies, programs and practices to ensure

 every child in Minnesota has a high-quality early education.


What early learning experiences are working

for young children and families in your community?

 

Where are the gaps in your early childhood system?

 

How can we support building the capacity

 of the early childhood workforce in your community?


Information discussed and themes that arise will be documented and shared

 with the Minnesota Departments of Education, Health, Human Services and

 the Children’s Cabinet for consideration while planning effective

 prenatal through 3rd grade policies, programs and practices.



Join the discussion!

Twin Cities Metro Area: Monday, November 2, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Conference Center A, Minnesota Department of Education,

1500 Hwy 36 West, Roseville, MN 55113

 


 

When registering, please provide your name, email address and optionally your role in your community (parent, provider, school staff, policy maker, etc). See you there!

 

 

You Are Invited to the Next

Early Childhood Directors Group  

Thursday, November 12th  -  10:00 am – noon

Think Small - 2021 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls  55413

Discussion Topics:

  • Finding and Rewarding Good Teachers – Update of the Child Care Staffing  Study
      • Current state of teacher compensation
      • Bring your interview questions for feedback from your colleagues
      • Discuss strategies to find the right “fit”
      • Peer discussion: salary scales, benefits, raises, & bonuses
  • Ericca Maas, PASR director: What is Parent Aware for School Readiness and what do they do?   
  • Directors Group Topics: What’s on your “To Do” list for 2015  

Early Childhood Directors Group meetings are free and open to all

RSVP to Nancy Johnson – njohnson@thinksmall.org

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Welcome to the Early Childhood Directors Group blog


Our next meeting on Thursday, September 24thwill focus on your ideas and suggestions for staff compensation and benefits and supporting your teachers' growth as professionals and leaders.


Special Marketing Training Opportunity
for Center Directors


On October 7th, join trainer, author, and advocate Tom Copeland, JD, for:


The New Face of Marketing: What You Can Do
To Increase Your Child Care Enrollment
 
Wednesday, October 7th, 10 - Noon 
Think Small at 10 Yorkton Court, Saint Paul, 55117


2 in-service hours   -   Training fee is $22


Tom will discuss the tools that parents use to find quality child care and the many cost-effective ways child care programs can promote your programs online. Learn about marketing on Facebook, Craigslist, child care forums, Google+, Pinterest, and more.


This training will also cover privacy and confidentiality issues on the Internet and how providers can protect themselves from an online negative parent review. 


REGISTER TODAY!  PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.


Call the Think Small Registration Line:  651-641-3549




Policy Hour is back! 


You are invited to attend monthly Policy Hour meetings for early childhood and school-age care professionals to connect with each other and learn about current policy issues in an informal setting, hosted by Minnesota’s Future .
 
Join us on Tuesday, October 6 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. at Think Small at 2021 East Hennepin Avenue, Suite 250, Minneapolis, MN 55413.  We will hear several early childhood policy experts talk about how far we’ve come in the last decade and look to the future.

Policy Hour is open to all. Meetings are held the first Tuesday of each month, October 2015-June 2016, from Noon-1:00 p.m. and we meet at Think Small, 2021 East Hennepin Avenue, Suite 250, Mpls, 55413.    



Thursday, June 25, 2015


Public Policy Update  


 

On Friday, June 12, the Minnesota legislature convened for a one-day special session to resolve budget differences between Gov. Dayton and Legislative leaders in the areas of education, jobs and energy, and environment and agriculture in order to avoid a partial government shut down.


Good news!

The bipartisan compromised education bill includes the largest increases for 3 and 4 year olds to access high quality pre-k in Minnesota's history and nearly doubles Minnesota's commitment to early learning.

Key numbers for early learning this session:

  • $48 million for early learning scholarships
  • $30.75 million for school readiness programs in school districts
  • $10 million to reduce the Head Start waiting list
  • $10 million for child care assistance
  • $3.5 million to support Parent Aware quality ratings
  • Additional funding for ECFE, the Northside Achievement Zone, the St. Paul Promise Neighborhood, targeted Home Visiting and the Parent Child Home Program
While there will be many things to watch in the coming weeks as the plans for the administration of the new budget are developed and there is more work to do to support our youngest and most vulnerable learners, we are pleased that our early learners continue to be a high priority for our elected officials.


Please take a moment to send a note of thanks to your legislators and Governor Dayton to thank them for their leadership and commitment.

 
If you have more specific questions about what's happening at the State Capitol, feel free to connect with Cisa Keller (ckeller@thinksmall.org) or Todd Otis (totis@thinksmall.org)

Monday, June 8, 2015


Child Care and Early Education Advocates

Could Be Celebrating Soon!

Last Friday, June 5, we learned that, when convened, the special legislative session will include a vote on:

  • $90 million in new early learning funding for early learning scholarships and school readiness programs
  • $2 million each for the Northside Achievement Zone and St. Paul Promise Neighborhood

 

Also, the legislature passed and the Governor signed a DHS Bill including:

  • $10.02 million in additional funding to reduce the CCAP-Basic Sliding Fee waiting list
  • New investments in home visiting and nurse-family partnership programs
  • Implementing recommendations of the Child Protection Task Force
     

You Are Invited to a Discussion

 

Where Do We Go From Here?
Facilitated by Cisa Keller, Think Small’s director of early childhood
         quality development
 
At the next meeting of
the Early Childhood Directors Group
 
Thursday, June 18th  -  10:00 am – noon
Think Small - 2021 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls  55413
 
Join other center directors to discuss the status of early childhood policy and funding issues and how to prepare for 2016 and beyond.

 

EC Directors Group meetings are open to all

 

No RSVP necessary. For more info, contact Nancy Johnson:  njohnson@thinksmall.org

Note: my phone has changed to: 651-523-7295





MinneMinds Message of the Week


"Early learners and vulnerable families win this year -- tens of thousands of three- and four-year-olds who might have fallen behind will attend high quality early learning programs of all types next year because of bi-partisan investments made by the State Legislature and Governor Mark Dayton."



The following Session Update is from the MinneMinds Coalition:

Special Session Education Budget Revealed: major investments in early learning!!!


Last Friday afternoon (06.05.15) the full budget was released, as agreed to by Governor Dayton and legislative leaders.



The budget includes nearly $90 million in new early learning funding targeted for low-income families, in addition to $2 million each for the Northside Achievement Zone and St. Paul Promise Neighborhood, as well as new investments in the Child Care Assistance Program and Home Visiting from the Health and Human Services budget.



This includes more than $48 million in new funding for early learning scholarships, bringing the total early learning scholarship fund to $104 million. By our calculations, this will provide a scholarship for approximately 20,000 3- and 4-year-olds over the next two years!



While we can never be 100% assured that additional changes won't be made to the bill, this is likely to reflect the final budget. This would be a huge session for early learning, particularly for vulnerable Minnesotans -- coming close to doubling the amount of funding for early learning access for low-income families.



Please make sure to share this message with others as you talk about the end of session and the education budget in the coming days and weeks.



You can see the spreadsheet breakdown of the E12 bill here



Read Frank Forsberg's statement on the E12 budget here

We expect a special session to be called sometime in the upcoming days to actually pass legislation.




Does Your Center Protect Children From Sun Damage?

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.  Just a few sunburns can place someone at risk for skin cancer later in life.  During National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Month check out the CDC's website on protecting children from the sun.  Every child care program should have written policies and practices to promote sun safety

Resources:



Caring for Our Children Standard 3.4.5.1 Sun Safety Including Sunscreen

Friday, May 22, 2015


Join Us for the Last Policy Hour Before Summer Break

You are invited to the last Policy Hour of the season on:

TUESDAY, June 2nd  -  12:00-1:00 p.m.

Think Small’s Minneapolis office -  2021 E. Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55413

Come to discuss what passed this session and updates on the special session.

Governor Dayton vetoed the E-12 Education bill passed by both the House and the Senate. Key early learning components in the E-12 Education bill included:

  • $30.75 million increase for Early Learning Scholarships
  • $30.75 million increase for School Readiness
  • $3.5 million in funding for the Parent Aware rating system

The items the Governor wants included in a K-12 Education Bill:

  • Universal Pre-K for 4 year olds in public schools
  • Funding to eliminate the Head Start wait list
  • Funding for the Northside Achievement Zone and St. Paul Promise Neighborhood

Key early learning components in the Health and Human Services bill include:

  • $10 million increase for Child Care Assistance to help reduce the wait list

Where do we go from here?

Because the Governor vetoed the E-12 Education bill, there will be a special session. As long as the Governor and legislative leaders can come to an agreement by midnight June 30, they will avoid a partial government shutdown.

Leaders in the Governor’s office and the Legislature are saying they will only call the special session when they have reached agreement on the final bill. It will likely be several days—if not weeks—before the special session is called. 

Thank you for advocating on behalf of children this session! 

June Early Childhood Directors Group

Thursday, June 18th  -  10:00 am – noon

Think Small - 2021 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls  55413

 

Where Do We Go From Here?

Cisa Keller, Director of Early Childhood Quality Development at Think Small, will join us for a Q & A with directors about the status of early childhood policy and funding issues and where we go from here.

  

EC Directors Group meetings are open to all

 

No RSVP necessary. For more info, contact Nancy Johnson:  njohnson@thinksmall.org

Note: my phone has changed to: 651-523-7295


_______________________________________

From Sun Damage?

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States.  Just a few sunburns can place someone at risk for skin cancer later in life.  During National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Month check out the CDC's website on protecting children from the sun.  Every child care program should have written policies and practices to promote sun safety

Resources:



Caring for Our Children Standard 3.4.5.1 Sun Safety Including Sunscreen





National Mental Health Month

Emotional well-being is important to a child’s overall health.  One in five children, ages 3-17, have a diagnosable mental health disorder which can impact on learning, behavior or the ability to handle emotions.  Symptoms can frequently be observed in very young children.  Early recognition and intervention with age-appropriate services can facilitate a child’s success at home, at school and in the community.   The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundation for Early Learning (CSEFEL) and the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI) have rich resources to share with early childhood educators, caregivers and families.  The Pyramid Model for supporting social emotional development and preventing challenging behavior provides an excellent framework for early childhood teachers and families.  The Backpack Connection Series was created to facilitate teachers and families working together on developing social skills and reducing  challenging behaviors.  Handouts are available in four categories including behavior, emotions, routines and schedules and social skills.

Resources

Caring for Our Children Standard 1.6.0.3 Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants

Minnesota Center for Children's Mental Health has mental health fact sheets which can be downloaded for free. 

Children, Youth and Family Consortium, University of Minnesota Extension Service, Circle of Influence Model demonstrates the varying  relationships and environments that contribute to a child's well-being.  View the video on Promoting Children's Mental Health 

Contact Information


Diane Etling, MDH Child Care Health Consultant
651.201.3586  
diane.etling@state.mn.us