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2023 Q2 Newsletter  

Foundational course updates, new activities, a new Focused Topics Course in development, and research highlights

Selected Content Updates in Q2 2023

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

  • Direct Care Track: All Foundational Courses Updated

    This past year, the VLS team continuously worked to update all 15 of the Foundational courses across all direct care tracks on the site with new information, activities, and resources. Improvements to the Infant & Toddler (IT) and Preschool (PS) tracks were completed last fall, while more recently we focused our efforts on completing updates to the School-Age (SA) and Family Child Care (FCC) tracks. In May 2023, the final two Foundational Courses, Program Management and Positive Guidance, were both reviewed and updated in the SA and FCC Tracks.

    For specific details regarding the revised content, see the May 2023 FCC and SA Track Foundational track updates announcement.

  • New Physical Development Milestones Resource

    Developmental milestones provide a guide for when to expect certain skills or behaviors to emerge in young children based on their cognitive development, gross-motor development, fine-motor development, hearing, speech, vision, social-emotional development, and other factors. Milestones are guidelines to help you know when and what to look for as children mature. In 2021, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised these milestones. Based on those updates, a guide titled Physical Developmental Milestones has been updated in the Apply section in Lesson Two of the Physical Development course in the Training & Curriculum Specialist (TCS) track. Program leaders can use this resource to help support staff and families understand the typical physical development milestones achieved by children between birth and 12 years of age.

  • New Focused Topics Course in Development

    Many children and families find family child care to be a beneficial resource, and it is crucial in addressing the care and educational needs of military families. A new Focused Topics Course, Valuing and Building Family Child Care, is in development. This course will examine the unique benefits of family child care, review the supports available to Family Child Care Coordinators, and address the growing need to retain, support, and uplift family child care professionals.

    The VLS team had the privilege of visiting and filming at several installations to interview providers, families, and Family Child Care Coordinators. Our team values the programs' cooperation in enabling us to capture real insights from high-quality programs.

Highlights from the Field and Recent Research

  • June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month

    For decades, Pride has served as a chance to learn about and celebrate LGBTQ+ history and culture in the U.S. More recently, Pride Month has become a global celebration of inclusive love and diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.

    As early childhood teachers and caregivers, we have the responsibility to support the diverse children and families we partner with. Pride Month provides us with unique opportunities to do this by celebrating children and families who belong to the LGBTQ+ community and reflecting on how our programs support diversity and inclusion. The Virtual Lab School offers coursework on gender-based inclusion under our Focused Topics, Creating Gender Safe Spaces course. 

    Additional resources that can be used to talk with staff, children, and families about celebrating and creating inclusive environments for all include:

  • New Data Available from the State Child Abuse & Neglect (SCAN) Policies Database

    State profiles for all 50 states, D.C and Puerto Rico have been added to the Policies Database. This update uses data collected in 2021 and focuses on policies and definitions related to child abuse and neglect incidence in each area. You can access these new state profiles at

  • Sesame Street Supports Military Families All Year

    While April 2023 was Month of the Military Child, the work of supporting the growth and wellbeing of Military children is a year-round effort. Sesame Street has created a toolbox of resources for military families and childcare providers that can be used in a variety of ways. These resources include videos, printable documents, games and applications to support children as they navigate their unique experiences as members of military families. Resources are available in Spanish and English here:

  • Zero to Three: Honoring Race in Reflective Supervision

    Reflective supervision is an important component of quality care for young children. The relational nature of this practice calls for vulnerability and open communication between supervisors and direct care staff. Karol Wilson of West Bloomfield Michigan, and Carla C. Barron of the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute at Wayne State University explore the need for thought and care around how race impacts our engagement with one another. They share guiding principles for practicing diversity-informed reflective supervision in early childhood settings, which benefits children, families and childcare professionals.

    For additional information, visit: