Skip to main content

2020 Q3 Newsletter

New Focused Topics Courses in Development

New Focused Topics Course in Development

  • Using the VLS: Coaching to Enhance Practice

    Practice-Based Coaching: Collaborative Partnerships, shared goals and action planning, focused observations, reflection and feedback, and effective teaching practices

    With input from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Military Readiness Policy’s Children, Youth and Families (OMFRP’s CYF) division, the Virtual Lab School (VLS) team is developing a new Focused Topics course to enhance coaching and support Training Curriculum Specialists’ implementation of the VLS professional development system. Later this year, representatives from OMFRP’s CYF division will review the upcoming course Using the VLS: Coaching to Enhance Practice.

  • Child Abuse Identification & Reporting, and Child Abuse Prevention for Support Staff

    As noted in the Q2 Newsletter, two new Focused Topics courses will soon be available to enhance support staff members’ understanding of child abuse prevention and reporting. These courses have been reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Military Family Readiness Policy’s Children, Youth, and Families (OMFRP’s CYF) division and Service Headquarters personnel. After implementing their feedback, we will release these courses later this year. We will alert you in our news updates when these courses are live and ready to use.


Selected New Content Updates

The VLS integrates the latest research and best practices into its professional development system. Our content team continually reviews new research and updates to national guidelines. Selected content updates over the last three months include:

  • Safe Sleep Practices

    New information on Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID) and updated guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Caring for Our Children 4th Edition have been integrated into Lesson 5 of the Safe Environments course in the Infants & Toddlers and Family Child Care tracks, Lesson 4 in the Training & Curriculum Specialist track, and Lesson 3 in the Management track. Updated video and additional references and resources on safe sleep practices have been also been included.

  • Mindfulness Toolkit

    ZERO TO THREE has created a toolkit for supporting mindfulness practices among the early childhood workforce and in classroom practices. Information within the Mindfulness Toolkit includes creating mindful partnerships, hosting mindful breaks and meetings, and integrating mindfulness practices with children such as balloon breath, starfish breath, calming glitter bottles, five senses, and pleasure gazing. New resources on mindfulness from Zero to Three have been integrated into Lessons 4 and 5 of the Focused Topics Course, Social Emotional Learning for Teachers (SELF-T) and Lesson 4 of the Focused Topics Course, Trauma-Informed Care in Child Care Settings.

  • Child Abuse Reporting Procedures

    Child abuse reporting procedures have been updated to include the requirement to report suspected child abuse and neglect to the appropriate child welfare services agency, law enforcement authority, and the Family Advocacy Program (FAP). Lesson 3 of the Child Abuse: Identification & Reporting course across all tracks has been updated with this information and an updated Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline Poster is also provided.


Highlights from the Field and Recent Research

  • Healthy and Ready to Learn (HRTL) Measure

    Healthy and Ready to Learn is a new measure in development to provide leaders and policymakers important information on the health and readiness to learn of young children. The HRTL measure assesses across four domains: social-emotional development, learning skills, self-regulation, and physical well-being and motor development. At the state level, the measure will provide comprehensive information on whether preschool children are prepared for kindergarten and ready to learn. The HRTL measure will be available for state use in 2022. For more information on the Healthy and Ready to Learn Measure visit:

  • Pandemic’s Influence on Equity

    A recent increase in interest from parents in “learning pods” or “microschools” to support online education and child care during the Covid-19 pandemic has raised important questions around how learning pods will impact school district finances and further influence educational inequity. For more information about this educational option, see this article by C. A. Samuels and A. Prothero in Education Week about pandemic pods and their implications on equal access to education by families with diverse socioeconomic statuses:

    Equality: A tall child and a shorter child each stand on the same size stool but only the taller child can reach a bookshelf.
    Equality = Sameness

    Giving everyone the same thing.

    It only works if everyone starts from the same place.

    Equity: A taller child can reach a bookshelf using a step stool with one step, while a shorter child reaches the same bookshelf using a step stool with three steps.
    Equity = Fairness

    Access to the same opportunities.

    We must ensure equity before we can enjoy equality.

    Adapted from
  • Exploration Over Rewards

    A study recently published in the journal, Developmental Science found that, unlike adults, children were primarily motivated by information gained through exploration versus motivated by gaining an external reward. Vladimir Sloutsky, co-author of the study and professor at The Ohio State University concluded, “Exploration seems to be the major driving force during early childhood—even outweighing the importance of immediate rewards.” Results of the study also found that children’s exploration is not random, but rather they explore in a systematic way to ensure that they haven’t missed any important information. For more information on this study, visit


Tech Updates

  • School-Age Activities Upgraded!

    In July, we updated all activities in the School-Age track to make them easier to complete electronically. This upgrade allows school-age staff members to complete required and optional activities without having to download and print a physical copy of the file. Instead, school-age staff can fill out the activity online, then save a copy locally that can be emailed to their TCS or Program Manager as needed. Now that all direct care tracks have been upgraded, activities in all Focused Topics courses will be upgraded next. You can also access the Fillable Activities Support Article for additional guidance.

    WOYC logo