2020 Q4 Newsletter
Highlights from VLS in Q42020:
Using the VLS: Coaching to Enhance Practice Focused Topics Course in Development
Developed in response to requests from the Services and the DoD, this course is meant to enhance coaching and support Training and Curriculum Specialists’ (T&CS) implementation of the VLS. Along with written content, this course includes videos and practical resources to enhance coaching. This course is currently being reviewed by DoD and is scheduled to be released in early 2021.
Now Available: Child Abuse Identification & Reporting, and Child Abuse Prevention for Support Staff
Two new Focused Topics courses, Child Abuse Identification & Reporting for Support Staff and Child Abuse Prevention for Support Staff were released in September. Aimed specifically at support staff, these courses help support staff recognize abuse, learn ways to prevent child maltreatment, and understand the procedures for reporting abuse within their program or installation.
Updates to Early Learning Matters (ELM) Curriculum
Resources and materials for several activities within the Early Learning Matters (ELM) Curriculum by Purdue University have been revised and updated. These updates include the ELM Curriculum User Guide, activity plans throughout the 50-week curriculum, and picture cards for week 24’s activity. Read more about the revised materials in the Updates to Early Learning Matters News Item.
Over 480,000 Professional Development Hours Completed in 2020
Despite facing unprecedented challenges, DoD-users earned over 80,072 course certificates and 4,002 track certificates this year. In total, military-affiliated child care professionals completed 481,236 hours of professional development in 2020. Congratulations to all of our DoD-users on your accomplishments!
Highlights from the Field and Recent Research
Humans are Born with Brains "Prewired" to See WordsIn a recent study at The Ohio State University, researchers analyzed newborn brain scans and found that a part of the brain is prewired to be receptive to see words and letters. This part of the brain, called the “visual word form area” (VWFA) is connected to the language network of the brain. The study is currently scanning the brains of 3 and 4-year-olds to learn more about what the VWFA does before children learn to read and what visual properties the region is responsive to. Read more: https://news.osu.edu/humans-are-born-with-brains-prewired-to-see-words/.
Addressing the Effects of Adverse Childhood ExperiencesEvery family across the country has felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through fear of falling ill, financial uncertainty, or social isolation; and it has unfortunately exacerbated inequities in communities of color. A recent report published by the Center for American Progress provides new data on the prevalence of adverse events among children from birth through age 3. Notably, more than 1 in 4 young children face adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). A higher exposure to ACEs could result in significant negative effects to a child’s health, as well as their future academic or economic success. The report highlights significant racial and geographic disparities and suggests recommendations for policymakers to address and reduce childhood adversity. Read the full report here: https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/reports/2020/08/27/489805/adversity-early-childhood/.
Picking Up the Pieces: Building a Better Child Care System Post COVID-19This past September, Child Care Aware released their report Picking Up the Pieces: Building a Better Child Care System Post COVID-19. The report details the impact of COVID-19 on access to child care, the affordability of child care, and child care quality. While it will take time to fully comprehend how the pandemic has affected child care, worrying trends are already emerging. In July 2020, 35% of child care centers remain closed nationwide. The recovery of child care centers and family care providers will have a large impact the recovery of the national economy. Access the interactive report here: https://www.childcareaware.org/picking-up-the-pieces/.
Users Can Now Enroll and Earn Certificates in Three Focused Topics Courses
Direct care users can now be enrolled by their Training and Curriculum Specialist (T&CS) or their Program Manager into three Focused Topics courses: Supporting Children with Challenging Behaviors, Sexual Development & Behavior in Children and Youth, and Trauma-Informed Care in Child Care Settings.
After completing the Trauma-Informed Care in Child Care Settings and Sexual Development & Behavior in Children and Youth courses, users can take an End of Course Assessment (EOCA) with multiple choice questions, and if they show mastery, users will be awarded a Certificate of completion for that course.
To earn a certificate of completion for the Supporting Children with Challenging Behaviors course, users must complete a brief online assessment with multiple choice and short-essay questions. The user’s T&CS will then review their answers online, engage in coaching and follow-up as needed, and certify the user when they have displayed sufficient mastery. Read more about Focused Topics enrollment and certification here: https://www.virtuallabschool.org/news/enrollable-certified-focused-topics.