2021 Q2 Newsletter
Selected Content Updates in Q2 2021:
Updates to Focused Topic: Essentials in Child Care Food Service
The Focused Topics course, Essentials in Child Care Food Service, has been updated to reflect the recent changes made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 (https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/).
Review the course here: https://www.virtuallabschool.org/focused-topics/food-service/lesson-1.
New Resources Added to the VLS to Address Adverse Childhood Experiences
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can drastically affect a child’s educational, career, and long-term health outcomes. Early childhood and youth educators play an important role in preventing the effects of ACEs by creating and sustaining safe, secure, and nurturing relationships and environments for children in their care. The VLS Focused Topics course, Trauma-Informed Care in Child Care Settings, has been updated to include new resources addressing ACEs including new statistics from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s report, Fostering Healthy Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Development in Children and Youth: A National Agenda. Additionally, the following VLS courses have been updated to include an interview with Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, current Surgeon General of California: Trauma-Informed Care in Child Care Settings, Social Emotional Learning for Teachers, Supporting Children with Challenging Behaviors, and Positive Guidance.
You can find the article, Trauma-Informed Teaching: Trauma is ‘Written into Our Bodies’—but Educators Can Help here: https://www.edutopia.org/article/trauma-written-our-bodies-educators-can-help.
In Lesson Four of the Cognitive Development course, Infant & Toddler and Preschool tracks, we added a resource consisting of an interview with Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop who elaborates about the dimensions and importance of multicultural literature. You can read the interview here: https://www.readingrockets.org/books/interviews/bishop/transcript.
Helping Families Connect to Child Care Subsidy Supports
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty contains information about connecting families with food, housing, and medical supports. Lesson Four of the Program Management course, in the Management track, now contains concrete information about connecting families to these supports, such as the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) (https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R44993/7) and the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) (https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/615).
Lesson One of the Program Management, both Management and Training & Curriculum Specialist tracks, includes new information from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s report, Are Generational Categories Meaningful Distinctions for Workforce Management? The short answer is no, there is too much variation among individuals within generations for blanket statements about generations to be of use in workforce development, and the takeaway is to avoid management strategies based on stereotypical characteristics of generational groups.
Highlights from the Field and Recent Research
Identify Primary and Secondary Stressors, Buffers, and Supports that Impact ECE Teacher Wellbeing: Implications for Teacher Education
In a qualitative study conducted by members of the VLS team, researchers explored inter- and intra-personal dimensions of early childhood teacher stress and applied the Stress Process model to teachers’ experience of work-related stress. Results from the study suggest that teachers’ primary stressors are associated with the work itself and interactions with others within the workplace.
Resources for School-Age Care Providers
The Middle Childhood Afterschool Project (MCASP), a recent collaboration between the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) and the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), examined how afterschool programs support the social-emotional, behavioral, and physical health of school-age youth (ages 6-12). The study’s three foci include: 1) the extent of which evidence-based tools and interventions are implemented in afterschool programs; 2) practices to administer, improve, and sustain interventions within programs; and 3) how afterschool programs can better address children’s needs.
Explore resources and findings here: https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/middle-childhood-afterschool-project.
Racism Creates Inequities in Maternal and Child Health, Even Before Birth
ZERO to THREE and Child Trends combined efforts to release a new report, The State of Babies Yearbook, which describes how a baby’s birthplace, race, ethnicity, and racism influence how the quality of care the baby and parents receive. The report compares national and state-by-state data on the well-being of infants and toddlers.
Read the report: https://stateofbabies.org/.
Handwashing and Cleaning Resources
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has provided a variety of posters, handouts, and children’s activities to promote proper handwashing and cleaning. Resources for both staff and children can be downloaded from the USDA website: https://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/handwashing-and-cleaning-resources.
Learning Through Play Can Close Achievement Gaps
In a recent study by the LEGO Foundation, Learning Through Play: Increasing Impact, Reducing Inequality, researchers found that learning through play can close achievement gaps between pre-school aged children from both advantaged and disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. The study, which was conducted in 18 countries, highlights how interventions have been proven to increase children’s literacy, numeracy, and motor and social-emotional development, and provides recommendations on how to facilitate learning through play in pre-school environments.