Message from the Director

Spring brings so many opportunities for us to renew our spirit, health, and commitment to young children and their families. We hope that this spring brings you a sense of renewal and achievement for all you have accomplished during this pandemic. 

In April, DIEEC is renewing its commitment to young children by celebrating the 50th Anniversary of "The Week of the Young Child," an initiative of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). "The Week of the Young Child" is a time for us to celebrate the joy of childhood and engage a broader audience on the importance of this unique developmental period of early childhood.

DIEEC is sponsoring a series of events in recognition of this week. First, we are launching a social media campaign with dedicated daily themes about the importance of the first years of life. We also will present a screening of the documentary, "No Small Matter," the first feature documentary on the power of early childhood education. As part of the screening, DIEEC will present a statewide panel on the documentary and its implications for Delaware's efforts to build an equitable early childhood system in our state.  There is still time to register for this film screening and panel discussion. Please click here to be a part of this critical discussion.

In this month's REACH, you will also find inspiration from Kid's Cottage in Rehoboth and a range of professional development opportunities. We hope you find these helpful and we look forward to your engagement.

Happy Spring!

Rena Hallam
DIEEC Director
Kid's Cottage
Not Missing "A Beat" During the Pandemic

If you are driving north on Route 1 coming out of Rehoboth, if you look to the right, you'll see a billboard that says, "You Never Missed a Beat, Thank you, Team KC."
According to Sheri Mark, Director of Operations at Kids Cottage, an Early Childhood Center in Rehoboth, this public thank you is one way to express gratitude to a staff that went "above and beyond " to serve Sussex County's children during the pandemic.
When Sheri reflects on the year, she keeps coming back to her motivated staff, who, from the beginning of COVID 19, rallied in many ways, adopting the hashtag #KCstrong.
Kids Cottage operated as an emergency child care site in March and April to serve essential personnel's children. The typically thriving center with more than 100 children went to two classrooms with 17 children in a matter of days. 

Meet Meg McClary
DIEEC Outreach Coordinator

In January, Meg McClary joined DIEEC as outreach coordinator. In this role, Meg will
develop and implement DIEEC's outreach and recruitment efforts for Delaware's early childhood community.

Meg brings a wealth of experience in early childhood. She's been a part of the community for more than 20 years, holding various roles. Most recently, she was the director of a early childhood education program in Maryland that focused on children with learning differences, where she gained great experience in early childhood special education, a true passion for her.

Additionally, Meg's school was a part of Maryland Excels, so she has experience working in a quality framework. She also had her hand in professional development for her staff by supervising teacher's credentialing. Finally, Meg is an adjunct instructor for Chesapeake College where she developed courses for continuing early childhood education.

You may have already met Meg, virtually, but she looks forward to meeting more of you in person, post pandemic. In the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out to Meg or call her at 302-354-8904.
Capacity Grant Update

Children & Families First, in conjunction with the Department of Education, is pleased to announce the next application round for Capacity Grant awards. The application round opened on Monday, March 15, 2021. The deadline for applications is noon on Friday, April 16, 2021.

The Capacity Grant is available to qualifying, licensed early childhood education programs throughout Delaware. Programs must be enrolled in Delaware Stars or Bridge to Stars and engaged in quality improvement efforts.

The grant funding is intended to provide resources to enhance early childhood education programs and expand the supply of child care in targeted funding categories.

Programs are encouraged to begin working with a Capacity Grant Technical Assistant before the application deadline. Eligibility requirements, guidelines, and the application materials are located on the Children & Families First website.

Contact Andrea Prettyman, the Capacity Grant Program Manager, or call 302-233-6475 with questions and to arrange technical assistance.
New Research Report
"Increasing Child Care Quality in Delaware: Recommendations from the Cost of Quality Care Study"

Recently a cost of quality care study was conducted to help the state with identifying the key components of early childhood quality and the associated cost estimates.

DIEEC's research team took these findings a step further to address, "How Can the Findings Be Put Into Action?"

This report looks at the implications for Delaware's policies and practices and recommendations.
Dawn Alexander, Speaker
ASQ Innovators Webinar Series

Dawn Alexander, preschool coordinator, Colonial Early Education Program, is participating in this series that highlights the successes and solutions of ASQ users.

Dawn's topic is "Optimizing Child Find Efforts in a Community with ASQ Online."
The series is free. For more registration information, please click here.
Professional Development Offerings

We've included professional development opportunities on our April calendar that include new offerings and some of the highly rated trainings.

In particular, we are offering a new training:

"Programming for Infant Toddler Care: Primary Care Giving and Continuity of Care"

Participants will take an in-depth look at these two elements of programming in infant/toddler care. After developing an understanding these two elements, you will learn how they are beneficial, and how to implement them in programs.

Also, be sure to check out this popular training:

"Connecting with Children Through Their Love Language"

Knowing a child's love language can help you foster a relationship with a child that helps them know they are loved. During this workshop, you will explore the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch. You will identify ways to determine a child's primary language and explore ways to reach children in a way that best meets their needs.

Check out the complete calendar and register by clicking here.