Selected 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:
Four Management Track Courses Revised
Program Management Course Update
In addition to a new lesson that was recently added to the Program Management course in the Management (MGT) track, the entire course has been revised to include updated content and new reflection activities to support program managers in their management and leadership skills. New information on effective interviewing strategies and conducting supportive performance evaluations is now included in this course.
For specific details regarding updates to lessons and activities, see the February 2022 Program Management update announcement.
Communication & Language Course Update
The Communication & Language Development course in the MGT track has been updated to include content and fillable activities that enhance communication in programs. New information on conducting observations, engaging in productive conflict and communicating to families about the program is now provided.
For specific details regarding updates to lessons and activities, see the February 2022 Communication & Language update announcement.
Child Abuse: Prevention Course Update
The Child Abuse: Prevention course in the MGT track has been updated to include new content and fillable activities to support managers in taking appropriate steps to prevent child abuse and neglect in programs. New information on staff orientation and onboarding procedures and line of site supervision is now included.
For specific details regarding updates to lessons and activities, see the February 2022 Child Abuse Prevention update announcement.
Professionalism Course Update
The Professionalism course in the Management track has been updated to include new content and fillable activities that help support program managers to meet the standards that positively impact the quality of care provided to children and youth. New information on recruiting high quality staff and measuring program quality is now available.
For specific details regarding updates to lessons and activities, see the January 2022 Professionalism update announcement.
Highlights from the Field and Recent Research
Addressing Food Insecurity with Community-Driven Approach
Child Trends evaluated the Healthy Food Alliance for Early Education (HFAEE), a community–driven wellness program designed to improve nutrition and other health practices at early childhood education programs serving children with the greatest food insecurity in the St. Louis region. The key findings in the evaluation of HFAEE show that with individualized training and technical assistance, center directors can envision wellness environments and shift wellness cultures at ECE centers. Centers can also reinforce that shift in families’ homes by strengthening the home-to-school connection. Using this HFAEE model, considerations for equitable community work are detailed to guide similar community efforts. To read more about this research, see: Child Trends-October 2021 article.
An additional food insecurity study, provided by the Urban Institute, details evidence-based recommendations for building partnerships in local communities to combat food insecurity and support child nutrition through the child care sector. To read more about this research, see: Urban Institute – November 2021 article.
Revised Developmental Milestones
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have revised developmental milestones in the Learn the Signs. Act Early program, which helps parents understand age-appropriate milestones and potential developmental delays in their children. The revised developmental milestones identify the behaviors that 75% or more of children can be expected to exhibit at a certain age based on data, developmental resources, and clinician experience.
Changes to the guidance include:
- Adding checklists for ages 15 and 30 months; now there is a checklist for every well-child visit from 2 months to 5 years.
- Identifying additional social and emotional milestones (e.g., Smiles on their own to get your attention, age 4 months).
- Removing vague language like “may” or “begins” when referring to certain milestones.
- Removing duplicate milestones.
- Providing new, open-ended questions to use in discussion with families (e.g., Is there anything that your child does or does not do that concerns you?).
- Revising and expanding tips and activities for developmental promotion and early relational health.
To access the revised developmental milestones and additional family resources provided by the CDC, please visit: Learn the Signs. Act Early.
The learn more about the process behind the revised milestones, see the APA article: Evidence-Informed Milestones for Developmental Surveillance Tools.
All relevant updates to the Developmental Milestones will also be applied to our course content in the coming months.
Supporting Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth’s Health
Society for Research in Child Development published a new brief entitled, Gender-Affirming Policies Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth’s Health. This brief describes how school policies that protect, include, and affirm transgender diverse youth’s (TGD) gender identity are associated with positive mental health and academic outcomes. The brief offers evidence-informed policy and practice to guide efforts that recognize and support TGD youth’s identities and expression and highlight opportunities to ensure healthy development of all TGD youth.
To access this brief, see: Society for Research in Child Development – January 2022 article.
This brief has also been added to the References & Resources section in Lesson Three of the Focused Topics course, Creating Gender Safe Spaces.
Opportunity Gap Research
As part of its work, The Committee on Exploring the Opportunity Gap for Young Children from Birth to Age Eight held a virtual public information-gathering workshop in May 2021 and published a report of the presentation and discussion. The committee is conducting a consensus study on the causes and consequences of the opportunity gap that lead to the inequities in well-being across groups of young children. The opportunity gap generally refers to the unequal resources and opportunities based on factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, English proficiency, community wealth, geography, or familial situations.
To access the full report, see: The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – December 2021 article.
A New Edition of DAP
A fourth edition of Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs has been published and is available on NAEYC’s website. Developmentally appropriate practice is the foundation for quality early learning. This latest edition has a strong focus on equity and teaching and supporting all children. There are examples of effective approaches for teaching children across the early childhood spectrum as well as specific examples for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners, and children in the primary grades.
To learn more about this new edition, please see: https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/books/dap-fourth-edition.
To watch a recorded overview of the new edition, please see: https://www.naeyc.org/resources/developmentally-appropriate-practice.