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Interested in learning more about our Association? Look no further! Check out our blog for insightful information regarding our accreditation process, membership, conference updates, leadership tips and so much more! Our blog is intended to assist early care owners, directors and administrators in connecting to valuable resources and information. We invite you to actively engage with us by commenting on our blog! Your opinion is very much appreciated!

 

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Move from Fear to Love by Tym Smith

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Move from Fear to Love


Stuff Happens 

 

Negativity and aggression are commonly seen in early education programs, and in everyday life. Early educators must realize how important they are in influencing behavior. Teaching children active calming and to understand their own range of emotions is one small step in building a healthy self-esteem. Below are empowering tips to help understand and end aggression and negativity in both adults and children.

  

It's All About the Attitude

Every child and adult has experiences as they go through life. Experiences are then stored in the lower/back part of the brain where they sit, just waiting to be released as a behavior. When adrenal glands kick in, your brain down shifts and data stored comes out. How do you control these negative experiences? It’s simple, it’s all about attitude. Maintaining a positive attitude when situations hit you keeps your brain in the executive state, preventing you from saying or doing things that are aggressive and negative. Keep this simple formula handy through out the day…

 

Incident + Attitude = Outcome

 

Maintaining a positive attitude also makes you healthier, more successful, and more likable,

 

Three Rules for Dealing with Aggression or Negativity                                                                                                                        

Rule #1 It’s not about you! “You’re making me angry”, “Look what you’re making me do”, “You make me so sad when you misbehave” These are all common responses to negativity and aggression. When you say these things, you are giving away your power. You are letting the aggressor know that they have control over you. You must unhook yourself and not take attacks personal. The aggressor is trying to get your attention because they have a need not being met.


Rule #2 Spend time with the aggressor.

Relationships are the key to success when working with negativity. Relationships are the first survival skill learned by humans. Five minutes of focused, one-on-one time with someone reduces power struggles by 50%. When spending time with the aggressor, do not talk about the issues at hand. Spend quality time building a positive relationship. Focus on the desired behavior, rather than the negative behavior. Remember, the aggressor will try to bring you down. Your positive attitude must be stronger than their negativity.


Rule #3 Empower the Victim.

Anytime you have an aggressive act, always take care of the victim first, aggressor second. Most aggressors act out to get attention. They have to learn the appropriate way to get what they want. Once the victim receives first aid, empower the victim to express how they feel and that they do not like the behavior. The aggressor needs to hear from the victim, not from a person who did not feel the hurt.

 

Tips on Aggression and Negativity

No person can make you angry without your permission!

Don’t get emotionally hijacked. You are in control. When people or situations try to make you angry, you must not allow it. Your positive mood is stronger than any person or situation.


The motivation to be positive comes from being in a relationship

People are born to be pleasers. The need for relationship is essential to development. Relationships build trust, respect and love. When people are in a positive relationship with each other, the willingness to cooperate is greater than defiance.


You are either calling for love or showing love

In every relationship, communication has a giver and a receiver. Or in other words, you are either calling or asking for love, or giving or showing love. Don’t look at behavior as disrespectful. Look at behavior as a calling. You can make a difference in every negative situation.


Every aggressive act is a call for help

Aggressors needs three things: Boundaries, nurturing and quality time. When you experience a negative act, you must first empower yourself verbally. Letting the aggressor know what they can and cannot do to you. Show empathy for their actions. Recognize that they are needing something that is missing in their life. Be there for the aggressor. Don’t lecture or preach, simple be in their presence.


There are no “bad” people

There are no “good” people. There are simply people. People who have a need that is not being met. Avoid stereotyping and labeling adults and children who are calling for love.

 

People can only meet the needs of other people when their own needs have been met

Sometimes we expect children and adults to automatically “know” what is right and wrong. When individuals do not have the skills needed, traditional consequences do not work. Work with aggressors on life skills needed to cooperate, love and care. People will commit aggressive acts so that others will feel what they feel. We all have unmet needs. Recognize that the aggressor also has unmet needs. Be there for that person rather than pushing them away.


All aggression stems from the perceived experience of excessive pain.

We all have our own version of reality. Our experiences create the reality we live in. Showing and understanding empathy will help you put yourself in other people’s shoes. Pain is not only physical, but also emotional. There is no “cookie cutter” approach to human development. Every individual develops different needs that may or may not have been met.


Aggressive acts are normally seen through actions. But to understand aggressive acts, one must understand the factor that creates the pain. Triggers that immediately create high emotions sits inside all of us. Even most aggressors do not know or understand their triggers.

Rather than treat people as if they are different and need a label, we should understand the love and nurturing needed by this person. They may be different than you, and their needs may be different. We should not judge someone who has unmet needs or needs that do not match your own.

 

Be part of the solution. Not part of the problem.

 

 

Tags:  child care settings  director  Early Childhood Education  Early Learning Leaders  educational training  Emotional Intelligence  leadership 

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Four Takeaways - 2015 Fall Leadership Symposium

Posted By Joe Vasquez, Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Register for our Fall Leadership Symposium     

 

Join us this October for our Fall Leadership Symposium in sunny Pompano Beach, Florida. 

 

Maximize your participation by networking with fellow early learning leaders, fostering positive, long-lasting relationships with colleagues, and gaining insight from leading professionals.

Explore the best track (Director, Owner-to-Owner, Emerging Leader, and Accreditation) that fits your professional needs!  

Here are four top takeaways.

1. Networking and relationship building - meeting groups of people with shared interests is always a fun thing! Exchanging words with like-minded individuals will not only be an enjoyable experience, but can also help you grow personally and intellectually. The shared experiences and informal conversations in our networking events can help you better understand your colleagues and allow you to work together in other ways.  

2. Develop Skills - whether you're considering growing in your current position or are looking for a new role, attending the symposium will allow you to stay current with the latest trends and technologies regarding the early care and education field and help you sustain and drive business.  

3. Tracks specifically targeted for your leadership role - whatever your role might be, the symposium offers split-track sessions that can help you learn and apply new knowledge and skills that will improve your performance on the job.  

4. Relax and get inspired - attending the symposium will get you inspired by breaking out of your usual routine and helping you fully immerse in an expertise rich-environment.  

Ready to sign up? Click here.  

Tags:  Association for Early Learning Leaders  director training  early childhood education  Early Learning Leaders  educational training  Fall Leadership Symposium  professional development  training 

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Lead | Eco-Healthy Child Care®

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 3, 2014

Written by: Eco-Healthy Child Care®

 

As the mother of two young children (2.5 years and 9 months) I work to protect my children from Lead, and other common substances that may harm their health.  Like all mothers, I want my children to thrive and to have the best future possible.

Children’s bodies react differently to Lead than adults.  Their bodies are growing and developing rapidly and their immature nervous system can be permanently harmed by Lead exposure. Children can absorb more Lead through their stomachs than adults, especially if they are deficient in iron.

As the National Director of the Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) program, I worry that other mothers may not be aware of such environmental health hazards in and around their home.  Or who don’t know simple steps they can take to protect their children.

When it comes to Lead, I know that no amount of exposure to this heavy metal is safe. So, we must do what we can to protect our children. Even simple steps, like frequent hand washing with soap and water, or using only cold – not hot  --  tap water for cooking, drinking and making baby formula, protect children from Lead exposure.  Did you know that cold water is much less likely to leach Lead from pipes than warm water?

We also make sure that our walls are free of cracking or peeling Lead-based paint wherever our children spend time. The government did not ban Lead-based paint until 1978.  Many older homes, churches, and buildings have Lead paint both inside and on the outside. If the Lead-based paint is intact, it should be left undisturbed. If any paint in an older building is cracking or peeling, it is very important to have the paint tested to see whether it may contain Lead. Our house was recently built (2006), but we have asked our friends and family members to have their paint tested to be sure it’s Lead free.  Once I choose a child care provider, I will make sure that their facility is free from Lead hazards as well.

Any amount of cracking or peeling paint is potentially dangerous, as tiny (not visible to the naked eye) particles of dust from Lead paint can be inhaled.  This Lead can also end up in dust in the home that can get on an infant’s or toddler’s hands, and thus into their bodies.

Other helpful Eco-Healthy Child Care® recommendations are:
Reduce lead absorption in children by eating well.

- Children should have a balanced diet that high is calcium and iron    
- If you renovate or remodel a building built before 1978, make sure the contractor you hire is from a ‘Lead-Safe Certified Firm.’
- Avoid soft pliable plastic toys made of vinyl (rubber duckies, baby dolls, baby bath books), as some of these products have been found to contain high levels of Lead.

Unfortunately, too many American children have high blood lead levels.  Families can find out about getting tested at www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead.

For more tips to protect children from Lead, click here.

EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals. Click here find out more about EHCC.


Tags:  Early Learning Leaders 

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Furniture & Carpets

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 3, 2014
Written by: Eco-Healthy Child Care®

Every parent watches their infant get up close and personal with their environment -- like crawling on rugs, napping on a cushion, or mouthing an armrest.  What we may not know is that when our children pursue these natural behaviors, they may also be interacting with some invisible hazards in our home furnishings.

As the National Director of the Eco-Healthy Child Care® program and a mother of two young children, I try my best to keep our home safe from environmental health hazards.

Many parents and child care providers do not know that some household furnishings can contain toxic materials that may harm children’s health.

Two chemicals of concern commonly found in household furnishings are formaldehyde and flame retardants.  

Formaldehyde is often found in indoor air, in both homes and child care facilities at levels higher than recommended for health.  Formaldehyde is used to add permanent-press quality to fabrics like draperies, as a component of glues in particleboard furniture and plywood flooring, and as a preservative in some paints and coating products. This chemical is a carcinogen and irritates the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. Exposure to formaldehyde can also cause headaches, nausea, burning of the eyes, nose, and throat, skin rashes, coughing, and chest tightness.  

Flame retardants -- such as polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) -- are used in furniture foam, carpet padding, back coating for draperies and upholstery, plastics, computers, televisions, building materials, and electrical appliances. Research indicates that more than 80% of PBDE exposure is from household dust. This chemical has been found in human blood, breast milk, and umbilical cord blood.
 
Infants and toddlers who are highly exposed to PBDEs may suffer damage to their developing nervous systems. High levels of exposure   can also be toxic to the liver and thyroid.

I follow these recommendations from the Eco-Healthy Child Care® program to reduce my family’s exposure to formaldehyde and flame retardants. Please click here to view EHCC’s fact sheet on furniture & carpets.  
•    Avoid wall-to-wall carpets with carpet pads; choose hard flooring (wood, tile) instead.
•    Choose solid wood furniture. Avoid use of pressed wood products that are made with glues that contain urea-formaldehyde resins (UF).

•    Keep dust levels down by damp dusting and mopping.

•    Choose area rugs that are made with natural fibers (cotton, hemp, wool) that are naturally fire-resistant and contain fewer chemicals.

•    Clean area rugs with biodegradable cleaners.

•    Vacuum when children are not present using a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum cleaner.

•    Ventilate often, and especially while cleaning.

•    Avoid products made with foam. Dispose of torn foam items (cushions, pillows, stuffed animals).
•    Choose new items stuffed with polyester, down, wool, or cotton; these are unlikely to contain toxic fire retardants.

EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

Tags:  early childhood education  Early Learning Leaders  Eco-Healthy Child Care  household products  parental tips 

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UNLUCKY 13: The Thirteen Manager Mistakes That Can Lead to Lawsuits

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Updated: Friday, May 30, 2014
Written by Ronald V. McGuckin and Associates, www.childproviderlaw.com

Over the past several years, lawsuits filed by employees against employers have continued to rise at an alarming rate.  Sometimes frivolous, sometimes warranted, these lawsuits ultimately cost
the employer a great deal of time and money.

Our experience in representing agencies and defending employee/employer lawsuits has shown there are mistakes that managers often make in dealing with employees that can spark employee lawsuits.  By identifying and avoiding these common mistakes, managers can reduce their risk of being involved in costly employee-related legal litigation.

The unlucky 13 mistakes that can lead to legal litigation are:

1)  Improper/sloppy documentation: Our mantra in the law office is document, document and document some more.  But all the documentation in the world won’t be of any benefit, if it’s done improperly.  Make sure all documentation is legible, dated, signed, and witnessed (if warranted).  And be careful that your documentation (including emails) doesn’t reflect any discriminatory intent. Make sure your comments and written communication will hold up to the scrutiny of a court.

2)  Not knowing policies and procedures and not enforcing them: Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to knowing your agency’s policies and procedures.  Familiarize yourself with policies and enforce them across the board. If you claim ignorance regarding a policy, a jury tends to look at as intentional.  And if you only apply policies to certain employees, it can be viewed as discriminatory.

3)  Lack of legal knowledge:  Juries expect individuals in management positions to stay abreast of the law as it relates to employment. Review your policies to make sure they are legally sound (or better yet, have your lawyer review them), read HR newsletters for the latest information, and get a lawyer’s viewpoint if you have questions related to employment law.

4)  Interview mistakes:  Not only should you be able to prove why you hired a certain individual, you should be able to prove why other candidates were rejected.  Hiring one employee over another, and not being able to prove why you made that decision, might just be the spark that ignites a discrimination claim.  During the interview process, make sure you aren’t asking any questions that can be viewed as discriminatory and be careful you don’t jot down notes that can be viewed as having discriminatory intent.

5)  Inflated employee performance appraisals:  For a variety of reasons, managers often inflate employee’s performance on their appraisals.  But remember the performance appraisal might be the very document you need to prove an employee’s poor job performance which resulted in demotion or termination.  Overly inflated performance appraisals are of no benefit to the agency and will bring your credibility into question.
 
6)  Ignoring complaints of unfairness or improper/illegal employment actions:  If an employee complains that he/she is being treated unfairly, being harassed or possibly being discriminated against, investigate and take any necessary action.  A laissez faire attitude regarding such allegations will land you in hot water and possibly in court. Don’t jeopardize your credibility by such inaction.

7)  Being rude, insensitive and mean:  Although you might think this is just “personal style” and won’t have legal ramifications, being mean-spirited, making rude remarks, or treating your employees like second-class citizens, won’t sit well with a jury, and
depending on the remarks, might be seen as discriminatory.  Treat your staff with respect.

8)  Changing your story midstream:
We’ve seen it happen time and time again; an employer disciplines or terminates an employee and, upon getting indications that the employee is considering legal action, the employer subsequently changes the reason behind the action. Such conduct ruins your credibility and looks questionable.  Be honest and consistent regarding the reason for employment actions.

9)  Careless statements to investigating agencies:
When a disgruntled employee files a complaint with a State or Federal agency (often the EEOC for possible discrimination), the agency must investigate.  This investigation will most likely include questioning management for information regarding the employee/employer relationship and related employment actions. Careless comments, not being truthful, or changing your story will certainly come into question and can hurt your case should it end up in court.

10) “Padding”  an  employee’s  personnel  file:  When management is planning to terminate an employee, they often bombard the employee’s personnel file with disciplinary actions in an effort to support the termination.  But a court will see through this sudden influx of negative documentation. Our recommendation is to always document an employee’s negative AND positive job performance, be consistent about it, and review your employees performance on a regular basis.

11) ADA violations:  This runs the gamut and can include unwillingness to make accommodations or dictating the accommodation to the employee.  Federal law requires employers to make “reasonable” workplace changes to accommodate the employees disability. But the employer can’t dictate the accommodation, it must be a give and take process, employer and employee working together to find a solution.

12) Terminating employees too fast:  Courts often look at whether management fired an employee hastily, without trying to improve the employee’s job performance. Some employee actions may warrant immediate termination but quick, knee-jerk firing may be viewed as insensitive or discriminatory. If the employee’s poor job performance is something you think can be improved, set goals to be accomplished within a certain time frame and revisit the situation for progress.  Ultimately, you may have to terminate the employee, but a court will look more favorably on you as a manager if you made an effort to improve the situation.

13) Taking too long to terminate an employee:  No one likes to terminate an employee, especially in today’s economy.  But sometimes employers “hang onto” an employee much longer than they should, ultimately jeopardizing the wellbeing of the program.  As stated previously, some actions require immediate termination.  And if you’ve tried to improve the employee’s performance to no avail, or the employee is a repeat offender, it is time to let the employee go.

Tags:  Early Learning Leaders  legal insights  Ron McGuckin  Ron McGuckin and Associates 

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Let's talk about...Standard D3

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Written by: Erin Schmidt and Ruth La Brayere

D3. Written assessment is made of each child’s growth and development.


All Ages

  • Assessments are based on developmental norms and expectations appropriate for the child’s age. [D]
  • Assessments incorporate information obtained from multiple sources including observation documentation, photographs, and samples of work, as well as parental input. [SS]
  • Assessments are used to identify effectiveness in meeting goals and as a guide for future planning. [SS]
Infants, Toddlers, Twos
  • Assessments include cognitive, language, motor, social, and emotional development. [D]
  • Teachers complete assessments 2 or more times per year. [D]
Preschool
  • Assessments include cognitive, language, motor, social, and emotional development. [D]
  • Teachers complete assessments 2 or more times per year. [D]
School Age
  • Assessments include general skills and abilities of school age children. (Ex. social skills, work    habits, physical abilities)   [D]
  • Teachers complete assessments a minimum of once per year. [D]

There are important reasons for early childhood professionals to observe and complete developmental assessments for children in their classroom:

Aid in Curriculum Planning   
  • Appropriate curriculum builds upon what a child already knows and is both age and individually appropriate.  Observation and assessment made across all domains of children’s learning provides information about a child’s capabilities, interests, and ways of learning.  With this information the teacher can plan appropriate activities and experiences to help children continue to make progress.

Identify Special Needs or Special Aptitudes
  • Areas of special need may become apparent when observations and assessments  indicate a pattern of interactions, conversations, and/ or behaviors that are outside the expected developmental range.  Unbiased observations can reveal new understanding about each child’s development.
Based on these observations, the need for any of the following can be assessed:
  • program adjustments to meet individual needs
  • curriculum/activities specifically targeted to a set of needs or strengths
  • parent questionnaire
  • onsite observation by an outside organization
  • professional advice
  • intervention by specialist
Developmental Checklists are an acceptable form for completion of the formal assessment of Children.  Checklists include milestones for normal development in specific age groups across  developmental areas: Cognitive, language, motor, social and emotional development. The skills and characteristics on such checklists can be endless.  Select and use those that are consistent with your philosophy.  


Assessments for young children are not a test.  Many commercially available assessment instruments are stressful to young children and do not accurately reflect many abilities. Assessments for young children are not report cards.  They are used to learn about a child at a point in time. When used several times over the year, assessments will indicate progress made over time.

Authentic assessment of young children includes the use of developmental checklists in conjunction with other observation tools.  

Below Are the Glossary Terms that are associated with this standard and are found in the Glossary in the Appendices of the Accreditation Manual.

Assessment ..................................................................................................................................................................................... D3

A summary of a child’s progress and achievements. Checklists and assessment tools that incorporate all developmental areas can be purchased or created by the program to assist with assessment. Individually administered measurements are to be limited and evaluations that require children to be removed from the classroom setting are not acceptable in meeting this standard.

Because school-age children are thoroughly assessed in their formal school setting, assessment of these children in an after school or summer setting should be based on the goals set by the program for these children. That may be good work habits, social and problem solving skills, leadership, empathy for others, and/or other values. School-age assessments can be created by the program.

Assessment of preschoolers and school-age children serves the same purpose: to identify effectiveness in meeting classroom/program goals, a guide for planning future activities and communicating with parents.

Developmental norms and expectations....................................................................................................................... D3


Standards by which a child’s development can be measured. These are usually based on predictable age-related behaviors.

Observation documentation..........................................................................................................................................D2, D3


Short, narrative notes made at the time of or shortly after an observation that accurately describe a particular event that has been observed. There is to be no analysis of intent; only a factual report of actions and words. Written notes can be made on 3"x5" cards, on sticky notes, on notepads, or in spiral notebooks. Notes should be collected in the child’s confidential file. To be most useful, each recorded observation should contain the name of the child being observed, the place, date, and time of observation as well as the observer’s name.

Multiple recorded observations that have been collected over time will give evidence of the child’s progress and/or reveal a pattern. Information obtained from written observations is to be used as part of the evidence for assessments. Unbiased recordings of observations allow parents to get a realistic picture of their child at school.

Tags:  accreditation  early childhood education  Early Learning Leaders  National Accreditation Commission 

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Top 10 "Must Do's" in Disney

Posted By Admin, Friday, March 21, 2014
This year’s conference is going to be truly magical as we celebrate our 30th anniversary at the Walt Disney World Resort!

Now that you’ve secured your conference registration, don’t forget to check out what Walt Disney World has to offer. With world-famous theme parks, premier resorts, unlimited recreation shopping and fine-dining options; you’ll have access to everything you need to ensure your stay is unforgettable.

Check out our top 10 “Must Do’s” while at Walt Disney World.
  1. Reserve Disney’s Magical Express and reach your destination stress-free and focused by having them pick you up and take you to the Disney Resort hotel, while their luggage services delivers your bags from the hotel to your room— what a sweet deal!
  2. Don’t pass up the chance to visit the new Fantasy Land in Magic Kingdom— you won’t regret it!
  3. Stop by Be Our Guest restaurant for a quick service lunch or delightful sit-down dinner— Have the gray stuff it’s delicious! 
  4. Visit the pool at Coronado Springs Resort.
  5. Purchase a Rapid Refill Disney refillable mug upon arrival and refill it for the length of your stay for FREE— this will come in handy, trust us.
  6. Experience the flower show and get a taste of spring by visiting Epcot®, the International Flower & Garden Festival— celebrate the great outdoors!
  7. Indulge in a Mickey ice cream bar— this decadent treat will satisfy your sweet tooth!
  8. Experience the fireworks display at Epcot or Magic Kingdom— a truly magical experience, y’all!
  9. Visit Downtown Disney – lots of shopping and restaurants!! The Magical Express will take you there.  
  10. Let loose and be a kid again!!!
We hope that you've been able to get something positive out of our tips.

We look forward to seeing you all in sunny Florida!

-ELL Team

Tags:  30th Annual National Conference: How Successful Di  Early Learning Leaders  Walt Disney World Resort 

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