2019 Q4 Newsletter Update

VLS and ELM content updates, + 3 new FT courses coming soon
Published: 12 Dec 2019

Coming Q1 2020: Three new Focused Topics

Three new Focused Topics courses were sent for review to the U.S. Department of Defense, Office of Military Family Readiness Policy’s Children, Youth, and Families division and Service headquarters personnel this fall. We are in process of implementing feedback, and aim to release these courses in the first quarter of 2020:

  • Supporting Children with Challenging Behaviors
  • Sexual Development & Behavior in Children and Youth
  • Trauma-Informed Care in Child Care Settings

see the Focused Topics track or the 2019 Q2 Newsletter for more course details.

Content Updates

The VLS team continually reviews and updates content to align with the latest research and national guidelines. As noted in the 2019 Q3 Newsletter, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released an extensive new report, “Strengthening the Military Family Readiness System for a Changing American Society” earlier this year. The VLS team continues to review this lengthy report, and you can read about select content updates based on it and other research in the field here:

  • Universal Screening

    The Management and Training & Curriculum Specialist tracks have updated information on universal education and screening for family support programs. The “Strengthening the Military Family Readiness System for a Changing American Society” recommends that all military family programs use screening tools so families in need are identified and are aware of and utilize the robust array of family programs within the Military Family Readiness System.

  • Embracing Multiple Social Identities

    New research in Developmental Science indicates that children demonstrate more flexible thinking about others’ identities and better problem-solving skills when they are encouraged to embrace their multiple social identities rather than more fixed traits such as physical stature. Read about this information and what child care professionals can do to embrace children’s multiple social identities in Lessons Four of the Self & Cultural Understanding courses in the Preschool, School-Age, Family Child Care and Training & Curriculum Specialists tracks.

  • Changes in Family Structure

    Lessons One of the Family Engagement courses now incorporate findings on changes in family structures in the United States. These changes mean that not only have the definitions of what it means to be a family widened, but what defines family well-being has become more diverse and complex. As you think about how to best engage with and support the families in your program, consider how changes in family structure may strengthen or create challenges for children today.

Highlights from the Field and Recent Research 

  • More Public Awareness Needed on Safe Sleep for Infants

    Each year, approximately 3500 infants die from sleep-related causes, which are highly preventable. New research published in Pediatrics found that while 78 percent of surveyed families place their infants on their backs during sleep, other important safe sleep practices are not widely implemented. These data indicate child care programs’ important role in providing education to families on room-sharing without bed-sharing, no soft objects or loose bedding, and using separate approved sleep surfaces, in addition to placing infants on their backs. To ensure all families with infants in your program use safe sleep practices at home, share this family-friendly resource from the Safe Environments course in the Infant & Toddler track.

  • The Benefit of Language Diversity

    Children from Spanish-speaking homes are the fastest growing segment of the school-age population in the U.S. New research published in Child Development found that children with strong early reading skills in their native Spanish showed greater growth in English reading skills during the school-age years, compared to peers who were also native Spanish-speakers and more fluent in English. The takeaway message from this study, and other literature that explores multilingual children, is to embrace and see value in all language environments—not just English. Review the two VLS Focused Topics courses on Supporting Language Diversity for more information on multilingual children.

  • Children with Special Health Care Needs

    According to Child Trend’s recent analysis of the National Survey of Children’s Health 2016-2017 data, children and youth with special health care needs are more likely to experience adverse childhood experiences. These children are twice as likely than children without special health care needs to have experienced parental incarceration, domestic violence, neighborhood violence, lived with an adult with substance abuse, lived with an adult with mental illness or experience racism. In addition, the findings from this analysis also suggest that this population is more likely to experience 2 or more adverse childhood experiences when compared to children and youth without special healthcare needs. While not all adverse childhood experiences lead to toxic stress or negative consequences, evidence suggests that individuals and institutions providing services to children and youth with special health care needs should integrate trauma informed approaches into practices and environments to address potential consequences. See the full report here: https://www.childtrends.org/children-with-special-health-care-needs-are-more-likely-to-have-adverse-childhood-experiences

ELM Updates

All ELM Preschool curriculum materials are now available and a few items have been updated. ELM IT Curriculum is nearly fully available with the additions of the IT User Guides, and all Activity Plans and Materials Lists for each age group. The remaining materials will be available by the end of January 2020 and possibly by the end of 2019. We will continue to update the ELM resources as the final set of materials are available.