Check out this great mealtime resource for early care and education programs from the Ohio Child Care Resource & Referral Association and partners. This guide offers a family style dining approach that “early care and education programs [can] implement to address childhood obesity prevention and support children in developmentally appropriate mealtime experiences. All foods that meet the meal pattern requirement are placed on the table where children and adults sit together to share the meal. Children are encouraged to serve themselves independently or with adults’ help.”
Check out this great resource for Infant/Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC); an effective intervention strategy for building parent/caregiver capacity to support young children’s social and emotional development and to address challenging behaviors. Click here for the printable PDF.
Three SFTA member agencies were recently chosen to receive funding to implement Parents Interacting With Infants (PIWI) in their regions, through Race to the Top funds distributed by the Pyramid Model State Leadership Team. PIWI is an approach involving parents and their babies, meant to strengthen the child/parent bond and understanding while also building parents’ confidence and knowledge as caregivers. The agencies awarded these funds—Family Resource Center of Eau Claire County, Northwest Connection Family Resources, and Family Connections of Southwest Wisconsin – each have a unique take on the implementation of PIWI in their regions.
Family Resource Center of Eau Claire County
Kari Stroede, Executive Director of the Family Resource Center of Eau Claire County, stated that her agency is taking a four-part approach to implementing PIWI.
“Along came this grant opportunity and we thought, wow, we can really blend multiple things here,” said Kari.
The funding will primarily be used to offer “Baby Cafés;” a six-part series for infants and their parents incorporating PIWI methodology. These cafés will take place for an hour and a half once a week from April through May of 2016. Cafés are currently still in the planning stages in terms of what the structure will look like, but recruitment is already in the works. The agency plans to take café invitations directly into birthing centers at local hospitals, so that new parents can easily access this opportunity. Parents will receive yet-to-be-determined incentives for attending all six cafés.
“We are very intentional in terms of how we plan the Baby Cafés,” stressed Kari. “It’s a support place for parents…focused on where they are at.”
Family Resource Center of Eau Claire County is partnering with Child Care Partnership (the local Child Care Resource & Referral agency and SFTA member), who will provide a PIWI certified trainer for the Baby Cafés. Northwest Breastfeeding Network is also a partner in planning, and may offer the opportunity for Baby Cafés to extend beyond the funded period, as a continuing monthly or bi-monthly event, where a lactation specialist would be available.
In addition to Baby Cafés, the agency’s PIWI funding will be used to create ten “Play with Me” bags—with mobile and non-mobile infants in mind—for families to check out for up to a month. The bags will contain items such as washable toys and other materials focused on different developmental periods, to support child development and parent-child interactions. Kari recently submitted a grant to an area community foundation to create 20 more bags focused on preschool -aged children, to expand this effort beyond infants.
The agency has also budgeted to build an infant-toddler library containing high-quality materials that can be used to support PIWI implementation. The libraries are housed within latched transport tubs for easy mobility, so that if another agency wants to create and support a PIWI play group or Baby Café, they have materials to get them started.
Finally, a portion of the PIWI funding will be used to support child care programs with 2 or 3 Star ratings in YoungStar, Wisconsin’s Child Care Quality Rating & Improvement System, in understanding and implementing PIWI. Family Resource Center of Eau Claire County has connected with two child care programs in Eau Claire that have large infant populations. Together they plan to offer a PIWI coaching clinic in the fall where providers from other programs will be invited. The clinic will be followed by triadic coaching in the classrooms to teach providers how to implement PIWI into their program on a regular basis.
“Our desired outcome would be that we continue the collaboration, the partnerships that we have created through this,” said Kari. “We are all in this together. We are really very tickled with the collaborative piece of this.”
Family Connections of Southwest Wisconsin
Funding received by Family Connections of Southwest Wisconsin (Child Care Resource & Referral agency and SFTA member), will be focused in Lafayette County, according to Executive Director Sabrina Earl. The agency has already built community connections in this county through the Parent Cafés they are currently hosting, and this area has been identified as having higher Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) scores compared to the rest of the agency’s service delivery area. A higher ACE score indicates an individual is at a greater risk for physical and mental health issues, and poorer overall outcomes. PIWI funding directed where these higher risks exist will target those who need it most.
“So often our families are not connecting anymore,” said Sabrina. “I really think families need that connection.”
Family Connections of SWWI, true to its name, is creating an opportunity for families to connect through their PIWI funding. Three families from a local 2 Star child care program and three families from Head Start will be chosen based on need, to meet at the Darlington Community Center starting in September. They will meet weekly for an hour and a half to 2 hours, for 6 weeks. Families will take part in guided activities centered on PIWI, facilitated by Sabrina and a family resource center staff member. Head Start and child care program staff will shadow the sessions in order to learn effective PIWI implementation. Participating families will also be encouraged to participate in Parent Cafés to continue to build supports and connect with parents in other venues. After the initial 6-week period funded by this grant, Head Start plans to continue monthly meetings with families in their services in a similar fashion, while the child care provider will use PIWI to support continuing family engagement in their program.
Northwest Connection Family Resources
Northwest Connection Family Resources is working with multiple community partners to implement their PIWI funding, including UW Extension Educator, Indianhead Community Action Agency Head Start, Sawyer County Birth to 3, Hayward Community Schools, the Mino Maajiswein Home Visitation Program and Star Bright Daycare. Two planning meetings have taken place thus far, to outline community needs, partnership roles and anticipated outcomes. These meetings also involved discussions about recruitment and how to support parent/child pairs in expanding on their current strengths to reach higher levels of engagement and learning.
Up to eight parent/child pairs will attend a 6-week PIWI-focused series. Community partners will identify two families they would like to invite to the first series, which will begin Thursday, April 21st from 9:30 to 11 am at Northwest Connection Family Resources. Because social emotional competency is the foundation of early childhood development, the series covers related topic areas including: What Makes Me Laugh and Why I Need You. Participants will be encouraged to attend every session through weekly incentives, and a completion certificate and incentive given to each family. Child care will be offered for siblings in order to effectively support the participating parent/child pairs during the PIWI program.
“In every session, through a variety of activities, songs and books, parents will learn about their child’s development, temperament, and interests while having fun together in developmentally supportive environments,” said Northwest Connection Family Resources Co-Director, Kathy Mullally.
Northwest Connections Family Resources will continue to gain valuable insight from partners and parents through this first series, which will help guide the planning for the next PIWI series to be held in the fall.
Stay tuned to our social media and partner agency websites for updates on these awesome efforts!
One of the 2016 YoungStar Evaluation Criteria changes now being implemented in child care programs statewide is the recently added optional point for Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) (Learning Environment and Curriculum, B.1.3), which replaced the Additional Work on a Quality Improvement Plan. YoungStar Technical Consultants (TCs) are working with providers to incorporate this point into their daily practice, or identify what they already have in their program that meets the requirements. The point requirements read as follows, and all 5 must be met to earn the point:
- Written program philosophy includes a statement regarding how the program believes children learn AND how teachers teach, reflecting developmentally appropriate practice. The program philosophy is available to families and staff in the parent handbook and employee handbook.
- Staff provides care that is engaging, comforting, culturally sensitive and compassionate. Interactions must be positive or neutral at best. Teachers use language that the children understand and help children communicate appropriately. Teachers foster relationship building between, teachers and children, and peer to peer.
- Exploration and play for children is supported by the environment. Learning occurs best when opportunities are created in natural and authentic contexts.
- Children have routines and consistent schedules. Teachers adapt schedules and experiences to individual children’s needs within the group setting.
- Reciprocal relationships with families exist between program and families. Programs must make an effort to get to know children’s families.
(*Taken from DCF site, PowerPoint Overview of 2016 Evaluation Criteria)
Mary Sue Voights, a trainer & YoungStar TC with Child Care Resource & Referral, Inc., has already worked with both group and family child care programs on earning the DAP point.
“It’s interesting because I find that family programs have less difficulty with this one,” said Mary Sue, referencing her own experience with DAP thus far. “Family providers work with mixed age groups so they are already used to making the materials and activities available to varying ages and abilities.”
Mary Sue has found ways to make this point more accessible to both group and family programs. She tailored a DAP training to be a one-on-one consultation tool to support individual programs in meeting the specifics of the point, has compiled handouts on DAP and what she calls “DIP” (Developmentally Inappropriate Practices), and uses a video clip about DAP from NAEYC to show providers how they can effectively implement DAP.
An example of this is supporting group centers in incorporating enough free play. Mary Sue reviews the schedule with them and shows them where they might eliminate some of the whole group play activities, instead, “setting up experiences and materials in the centers and then just going through them with the children, playing with them to support their development.”
“Everybody really wants to do the right thing [by incorporating DAP],” noted Mary Sue, “but we have lost sight of what DAP are for children, which is putting play back in and being there, guiding that play with them.”
In working with infants and toddlers, said Mary Sue, this means bringing content back to what is DAP for an age range where children, especially toddlers, appear to be more capable than they actually are emotionally. Understanding DAP means providers know what to expect for typical behavior from the children in their care, and use that to better support each child’s needs.
Carrie J. Steinke, Quality Improvement Specialist at Childcaring, Inc., said that TCs at her agency are also in full swing to support programs in earning the DAP point.
“We are talking about both the DAP and the Family Engagement (FE) points early and often in our work with programs,” said Carrie. “We are encouraging providers and programs to engage with those points by the second TC visit, if at all possible, if they are planning to earn them, because we really need to have a good amount of time to cover all of the details of those points—both in consultation and at rating time.”
Carrie said they are asking programs to look carefully at their current practices to see where changes to policies or procedures could be made to meet the requirements of the point, while still meeting the philosophy of the program and the needs of the children.
“These points; [DAP and FE], are both a nice opportunity to talk with programs about best practice in a new way,” added Carrie.
For more resources on DAP
Developmentally Appropriate Practice Pinterest Board
Recommended Professional Development Library for DAP
Q&A with the editors of Developmentally Appropriate Practice
DAP Frequently Asked Questions
10 Effective DAP Teaching Strategies
The Activity Idea Place:
Developmentally Appropriate Practices with Young Children
Tucker Turtle supports educators, parents and family support professionals in guiding children to develop healthy social emotional skills. Show children how to literally take a page from Tucker’s book with the Tucker Turtle coloring book! This coloring book would be a perfect children’s activity for Parent Cafes, or a great social emotional discussion tool in any early childhood environment. Click the image below to print the coloring book.
Visit the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning to access more resources for supporting early social emotional development.
Check out and print fliers for some of Wisconsin’s upcoming Parent Cafés. Learn more about what Parent Cafés are all about, and find other upcoming dates, here.
In Green Bay, WI:
In Montello, WI:
In Fond du Lac, WI:
In New Richmond,WI: