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eConnections is the bimonthly e-newsletter published by the Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children.


Champlain College/VAEYC Early Childhood Education
Spring Speaker 2013 – Wednesday, May 22

An afternoon and evening focused on:
recess/outdoor play and young children's well-being


featuring Dr. Olga Jarrett

"Physical activity does the body good, and there's growing evidence that it helps the brain too." Alice Park (time.com) Read more

    This Spring, VAEYC and Champlain College’s Master’s in Early Childhood Program will be helping to promote the value of play and recess in childcare and primary schools by hosting a screening of the movie Play Again and a presentation by Dr. Olga Jarret at Champlain College in Burlington VT.

The film Play Again (takes a critical look at how our children’s free time is shifting from exploring in the natural world to indoor screen time. It seeks to address the impacts this can have on the natural world and our values in the future. Following the screening of the movie, there will be facilitated discussion groups.

 

"Dr. Jarrett's most recent research is on the impact of taking away recess/outdoor time as punishment; and that happens daily in VT." Says Dr. Laurel Bongiorno of Champlain College.

     In the evening, Dr. Jarret will speak on the topic, “Recess and Your Child’s Well Being.” Her research focuses on the encroachment of focused academic time in the school day on recess for children in elementary school. She looks at the benefits of recess for both children’s learning and brain development as well as their social-emotional health and well being. "Dr. Jarrett's most recent research is on the impact of taking away recess/outdoor time as punishment; and that happens daily in VT." Says Dr. Laurel Bongiorno  of Champlain College.   At Georgia State University, Dr Jarrett also studies bully prevention and effective teaching in urban schools.

     Spring Speaker events will start at 1:15 PM. All parents, early care and education providers, administrators and community members are welcome to attend. Registration is currently open at the VAEYC website.  To learn more and/or to register click here. The cost is $35 for just the afternoon session, $25 for the evening presentation, or $50 for “all-day.”
 


VT and National Legislative Updates:
You can lend your Voice!

VAEYC has been following and lending its Voice to two of the early childhood related bills that have had a large focus in the Vermont legislature this session. Our Jan/Feb edition of econnections provided some background on the Governor's proposed investment of $16.7 million into the Child Care Financial Assistance Program (CCFAP), using part of the Vermont portion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to fund it.   The other issue gathering momentum has been the bill to require access to Universal Pre-K. Both of these bills are being tracked by the Vermont Early Childhood Alliance and extensive updates can be found on their website and by joining their e-network list serve.

CCFAP: In brief, the House included a $3.32 million increase to CCFAP in its budget that is now being worked on by the Senate. This past week the Senate Health and Welfare Committee passed the below recommendations and the Senate Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees are scheduled to consider and vote on these recommendations next Tuesday, April 23rd.  More details on this issue can be found on the Vermont Early Childhood Alliance webpage.
  • $3.32 million, as passed by the House, to increase the minimum percentage of CCFAP benefit from 10% to 50%;
  • $1.7 million to increase the CCFAP base rate; and
  • $754,721 to bring CCFAP eligibility guidelines up to 2013 Federal Poverty Levels (FPL).
Advocacy is happening in the Senate right now to influence this investment, and your voice is important to this debate! If you think the full $16.7 million investment is important, if you have thoughts about the funding source, if you want to weigh in on where investments should happen if the full $16.7 million is not funded--NOW IS THE TIME! Click here to find the list of members for the Senate Committees working on this issue and how to contact them. Or if you prefer, Phone messages can be left at the State House, 1-800-322-5616, ask your Legislator to call you back. You should know who your legislator is before calling the State House.

H.270 - An act relating to providing access to publicly funded prekindergarten: School districts will be required to provide and/or pay tuition for at least 10 hours of prekindergarten education for 35 weeks annually for all prekindergarten children residing in their district whose parents enroll them in a qualified program. If a parent or guardian chooses to enroll a prekindergarten child in an available, prequalified prekindergarten program, the school district of the child’s residence will be required to pay a set tuition payment to the program of the parent’s choice. Many details of this bill are set to be worked out in the "rule-making" process
In March, H.270 passed in the House Education Committee with a vote of 9-0-2. More recently, it was debated in the House Ways and Means Committee (because of the fiscal implications) and on April 1 it was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. Because there is a companion bill in the senate, S.84 this bill could still pass out of the legislature this session. You can track the status of each bill and read the original versions by clicking on these links: H.270 or S.84. To receive up-to-date information and to contribute to the robust conversation among providers, advocates and others interested in pre-kindergarten, please join the Alliance Pre-K List serve by sending an email to Kelly Ault, Alliance Public Engagement/Organizer at kault@buildingbrightfutures.org.

On the National front, NAEYC has kept us informed about an historic $77+ billion investment in early childhood education in President Obama's budget. The best way for you to keep up on the progress of this investment and ways you can support it is to join NAEYC's Children's Champions list-serve by clicking hereSome highlights of the President's proposal are:
  • $11 billion increase over 10 years for home visiting (funded by cigarette tax)
  • $66 billion increase over 10 years (with a state contribution on top of that) for preK with federal share funded by a cigarette tax (and another $750 million in discretionary funding in the first year for states not yet ready for the PreK for All grant)
  • $1.4 million for Early Head Start and Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships to expand supply and to improve programs and services for children birth through age three


Do you have Questions? We'll find the answers! Do you have ideas? We'll share them!

Share your challenges and successes!

A program director recently vented to me about the lack of accountability on the part of some of her staff. I asked her to say more.
Here’s the issue:
She had decided to have her teachers improve their intentional planning. She paid for staff training; developed forms for them to use; wrote a policy and procedure; and told her staff to get their forms to her every Friday or there would be consequences. A month later she still wasn’t getting the forms on time or done correctly. Frustration!
Good management; poor leadership! There is a definite difference. Often you need both to get the job done. She set everything up to enable teachers to effectively apply the intentional planning process. She did things right. But she did not do the right thing for the right people at the right time. She didn’t get buy-in and ownership of intentional planning or of the process by her staff. At best several were complying but no one was committed.
Leaders share their vision in ways that connect and engage heart-to-heart. In this case, what is intentional planning and why she (the director) is so excited about it – tie it to a shared value regarding young children. Something all of the staff are really passionate about. Together explore possible benefits to the children and teachers. “Is this something (intentional planning) that each of us can commit to? Are you willing to hold yourself and others accountable for learning how to do? Are you willing to help me figure out how to get us up and running with it? Are you willing to support and coach each other?” This is leadership!
As the process moves forward, then management kicks in – how to implement it such as training, procedures, forms and so on. Getting things right. But there will on-going opportunities for doing things right for the right people at the right time. And this includes self and group accountability. Management is about the effective use of resources. Leadership is about people and connected relationships.

Got program admin (management and leadership) questions? Want to run something by us? Give it a try. I suspect that if you’re having a challenge others are also. Maybe you have “been there, done that” with success., share that, too! Let’s chat, share and have fun!


 



Upcoming Events

(click on the links for more information!)

May 22, 2013
VAEYC Spring Speaker: Olga Jarrett
Champlain College, Burlington, VT

May 31, 2013 4:00-6:00pm
Membership Mix and Mingle

TBD, Addison County

June 9-12, 2013
NAEYC Professional Development Institute
San Francisco, CA

October 17-19, 2013
VAEYC Fall Conference
Killington Grand, Killington, VT

November 20-23, 2013
NAEYC Conference
Washington, DC


VAEYC Membership Mix and Mingles

      Do you ever wonder who he other VAEYC members are in your area?  Do you crave a chance to network and get to know others who care about some of the same early childhood issues you do?  A VAEYC Membership Mix and Mingle may be coming soon to a fun spot near you!
     In response to feedback from our members and conference attendees, we have begun to host regional opportunities for professionals to network with each each other.  These informal gatherings have been hosted in Manchester, VT (9/2012); Burlington, VT (1/2013); and Montpelier, VT (3/2013).  Each Mix and Mingle has seen attendance rise, participants have made connections with others in the area, and we have had FUN!
     Recognizing these are gaining in popularity, the VAEYC Board is looking at ways to expand the experience and may be adding a couple of "Come Play with VAEYC" events over the next school year. 
     Our next Mix and Mingle event is coming up on Friday, May 31st in Addison County from 4-6pm.  Save the Date--more details about exact location will be coming soon!


ECDL Keynote Re-Cap

          In her keynote presentation at Early Childhood Day at the Legislature, Harvard Professor, Lisbeth Schorr, thanked the over 200 Vermont early care and education providers and stakeholders for, in Robert Kennedy’s words, their contirbutions to building the communities “where children can play and adults work together and join in the pleasures and responsibilities of the place where they live.”

     Agency of Human Services Secretary, Doug Racine, introduced Professor Schorr, sharing with the audience how her book, Common Purpose: Strengthening Families and Neighborhoods to Rebuild America, influences him to this day in his work for Vermont.

     Schorr impressed upon the audience that she is focussed on research for “What Works” to help improve outcomes for children and families who are disadvantaged. She said she likes to think about, “Evidence informed” interventions, rather than evidence-based. She said that she thinks best practices in supporting children and families need to be tailored to the culture and community in which they live.
     If you want to learn more about Professor Schorr and her work through Harvard’s Center for the Study of Social Policy visit her website by clicking here.


CHILD CARE QUALITY PROJECT 

 

     Are you, or do you work for a Vermont Licensed or Registered early childhood program? Is your program interested in support around your efforts to improve?  VAEYC can help connect your program to a mentor who can offer you support as you take the improvement steps that are right for you.  

     The main goals of the project are to improve access for families to quality child care programs and to improve supports for all caregivers. The evaluation methods are based in existing Vermont systems, such as moving up through STARS and onto National Accreditation as appropriate, creating Individual Professional Development Plans for the workforce, and moving up through the Early Childhood Career Ladder. However, the project is also looking to support programs who have self-chosen quality improvement efforts.

     If you are interested in learning more about the project, and/or would like to have a mentor please contact Melissa Riegel-Garrett at Melissa.Riegel.Garrett@vaeyc.org

Copyright © 2013 Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children, All rights reserved.
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