Message from the Director

Spring and optimism are in the air! May 7th is Provider Appreciation Day - but here at DIEEC, we will be celebrating early childhood professionals all month long. We are excited and energized to honor the work of Delaware’s early care and education community during this month. Please look for gifts and giveaways on our social media accounts to lift up the critical work you do. 

In this month’s REACH newsletter, we spotlight Kimberly Colder, an administrator from the Precious Knowledge Early Learning Center, as she shares her perspectives on the new administrator professional modules. If you are interested in learning more about these administrator opportunities, please contact the Institute. We also spotlight updates from a number of our initiatives, including the QRIS revision and the Blueprint for Reopening. We are excited to announce a number of new professional development opportunities with a focus on outdoor learning and community resources. Finally, we look back on Week of the Young Child in April – please check out our No Small Matter webinar if you missed it last month.

Let’s celebrate May and the early childhood community together as we look forward to sunnier days.

Rena Hallam, DIEEC Director


Week of the Young Child Wrap Up
DIEEC celebrated Week of the Young Child, an annual initiative from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), with various activities to bring awareness to the importance of early childhood. We hope that you connected with our social media platforms where we provided resources for each year of the first five years of life. Additionally, we reached out to four area shelters and provided bags of supplies to share with the program's young children and their families. 

We anchored the week with a webinar that featured a panel discussion on the film "No Small Matter", a groundbreaking documentary that examines the impact of providing quality early childhood education. More than 100 community members joined our discussion with esteemed panelists that included: First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney; Dean Gary T. Henry, College of Education and Human Development, University of Delaware; Dr. Whitney Williams, Principal, Stubbs Early Education Center; Lucinda Ross, Executive Director, St. Michael's School and Nursery; Dr. Alicia Salvatore, Director of Community-Engaged Research Value Institute, Christiana Care, and Dr. Kimberly Krzanowski, Executive Director, Delaware Office of Early Learning.

The webinar recording and all the resources that we shared during the week are included here.

News & Updates

Pregnancy, Fertility, and the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) released a new flyer that reports that the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as women considering pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).  Pregnant women are at increased risk for severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19. Vaccination can significantly reduce or even prevent these risks.
 
Getting vaccinated is a personal choice that can be discussed with your health care provider who can answer any questions you have.

QRIS Revision Update

We continue to make headway in transitioning to the revised Delaware Stars. Currently, we are meeting with family child care professionals to focus on and discuss adjusting the pathways for the revised standards.

Our group discussions include large family child care professionals, family child care professionals, all Star levels, and non-Stars programs.

In April, we held three discussion groups to get feedback on the pathways for the revised standards "Business Practices" and "Professional Growth and Well Being." The groups were well attended with about 30 family child professionals participating.

In May, the focus is on “Relationships with Others” and “Relationships with Children.”

Your input is vital. Keep watching your email for opportunities to sign up. If you have questions please email us.
Re-opening Delaware Early Care and Education Safely Blueprint Update

This past summer, we provided you with the document "A Blueprint for Supporting Our Early Childhood Professionals During COVID-19."

We've continued to update it to keep you apprised of the latest information from the various agencies.
 
Another round of changes was recently made that are now included in this updated version.

We've highlighted the changes in orange at the beginning of the "Blueprint" for your easy reference. Additionally, the "Navigating COVID-19 Graphic" has been modified.
 
As always, please reach out to us with your questions at delawarestars@udel.edu.
Get on Board with Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

As Zero to Three points out, we should read “early and often” to children for many reasons. Research indicates that reading lowers blood pressure, relaxes children for sleep, reduces stress and anxiety, promotes empathy, and builds vocabulary and comprehension.

You can help your families promote literacy by giving them access to free books through Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. This program is brought to you by Delaware Libraries, a program of First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney’s First Chance initiative.

By simply registering, children under five will receive a FREE book every month. The first book is "The Little Engine That Could."

And don't forget about all the great resources our libraries offer for early childhood.
From virtual story times to books and activities, the library can support your families and their children's development.
New Professional Development Offerings
We've included exciting new professional development opportunities in May:
Parent Voice (Live on Zoom)
You can gain so many insights from getting to know the families of the children in your care. This partnership is absolutely essential for healthy child development. This workshop will explore family culture, struggles, and keys for successful family engagement.
Outdoor Classrooms: Wonder, Explore, Learn (Virtual)
In this workshop, participants will explore these benefits and learn about ways to use the outdoors as an extended classroom.

Videos featuring programs and teachers describe the process of shifting from primarily indoor classrooms to outdoor classrooms and highlight the positive impacts on development and learning.
Authentic Community Engagement
Hear from early childhood education programs about how they achieved fruitful and reciprocal relationships with community partners, benefiting all - children, their families, and themselves!

Gather real-life tips and reflect on your program's guiding principles to take your community engagement to the next level.
Voices from the Field
Kimberly Colder: Administrator, Precious Knowledge Early Learning Center
on finding purpose and "re-igniting the fire" through professional development
We recently sat down with Kimberly Colder of Precious Knowledge Early Learning Center in Newark to talk about her experience from taking Strengthening Business Practices training module.

Be sure to watch the full interview to learn about Kimberly's impactful experience and why she highly encourages all early childhood professionals to take this training.