You're here for Delaware's children and families.
We're here for YOU!
It's September, which means "Back to School" – and most of us have never experienced a back to school season like September 2020. This particular September may be more challenging than most for our early childhood community. Many of you are continuing to adapt health and safety procedures, developing new plans to serve school-age children, and caring for your children and families. 

Here at DIEEC, we want to express our gratitude for your continuing efforts and persistence to create and sustain high-quality learning environments for young children and supports for their families.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down." As the early childhood community continues to evolve and adapt daily to the changes resulting from the pandemic, we see your strength in meeting these new challenges. 

We also strive to provide sources of information and support as you navigate this back to school season. We continue to offer remote Communities of Practice (CoPs) sessions weekly through the Delaware Stars program. These sessions, open to all licensed programs and professionals, provide an opportunity to connect with others who face similar challenges. Through our professional development system, DIEEC is offering "Mindfulness a Resilience Practice," and "Stress and Resilience: Building Core Capabilities."

 
We are also open to developing new responsive strategies to meet your needs. Please email us at institute-early-childhood@udel.edu to give your ideas about how we, as an institute, can better serve you.


With gratitude,
Rena Hallam, Director DIEEC
To stay fully up-to-date on back to school plans from districts across the state, click the link below.
New Supplemental Curriculum Available

A new supplemental science curriculum has been added to Delaware’s list. Science Start! offers research-based preschool curriculum, lesson plans and activities that use children’s curiosity to support learning language, literacy, mathematics and science.

Click here for more information.

Lovebug Lane Learning Academy: A Lesson Plan in Resiliency

Early care and education programs continue to define resiliency in their efforts to serve young children by adapting to the evolving health and safety requirements to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Lovebug Lane Learning Academy is no exception. Located in Wilmington, this family child care program not only operated as an emergency child care site, it transitioned to a large family child care program (LFCC) to accommodate expanding families, all of whom are essential personnel.

"We are very committed to our clients and know that they are relying on me to be open during a very scary time in our lives," said Tressa Clemow, program owner.

Tressa was planning to expand her program when two of her families shared they were growing their families. Tressa had no idea COVID-19 would be a part of the plan. In addition to adapting to safety and health requirements, Tressa now had to hire an assistant to increase her capacity.


Need Support?
Join a Community of Practice


With back to school looking very different this year, child care and education programs are called upon to meet school-age children's needs in unique ways. Whether children are going back to a virtual experience or a hybrid in the fall, early childhood professionals are developing innovative strategies to host children and help them in these virtual experiences.

To support programs with these challenges, Delaware Stars Technical Assistants (TAs) put together seven new Communities of Practice (CoPs). A CoP is a group of professionals who share a concern or a passion for an issue. By participating in a CoP, early childhood professionals learn how to improve their practice as they regularly interact while sharing ideas and solutions.

All center-based and family child care programs (those in Stars as well as non-Stars) now have access to school CoPs to address the challenges of preparing and implementing virtual learning supports within their early care and education setting. After each session, shared ideas are added to a document to facilitate collective learning from the other groups. Please review this document if you are interested in getting an idea of some of the concerns and ideas.
 
There are also several other CoP groups available. The center-based child care programs have been hosting Pandemic Empowerment CoPs since the spring. 


Take Care of You
Practice Mindfulness
 


"Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others."
Parker Palmer
 
The demands of caring for and educating young children during "normal" times are enormous. Now, amid a pandemic, early childhood professionals are tasked with even more responsibilities.  
 
To survive and even thrive during these challenging times, it's essential to take care of yourself. Practicing mindfulness can help. Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment without judgment.
 
Mindfulness practices can help us increase our ability to regulate emotions and decrease stress, anxiety, and depression.

To support you with this practice, Kyma Fulgence-Belardo, Infant/Toddler Specialty Technical Assistant, created "Mindfulness Breaks," a newsletter that includes helpful tips and resources for incorporating moments for yourself throughout your day.








Instructor Spotlight: Introducing Jessica DeWese

Jessica DeWese joined DIEEC in March as the program’s newest professional development coordinator. Unfortunately, she didn't have the opportunity to instruct in an in-person learning environment because of the pandemic, but many of you have met her virtually. We are thrilled to have her as a part of our team and wanted to formally introduce her to the early childhood community.

With over twenty years of work in the early care and education field, Jessica has served as teacher, coach, and advocate. Some of her previous roles include assistant director, prekindergarten teacher, and instructional coach. Much of her work with school-age students has focused on early literacy. She has taught various grade levels throughout her career, including prekindergarten and third grade, locally and in Texas. 

In addition to her passion for education, Jessica loves spending time outdoors and enjoys cooking - these two hobbies have made a wonderful marriage in her backyard vegetable garden that she cultivated and continues to work on with her daughters.

Jessica is excited to join the group of dedicated professionals at DIEEC!
 
Check out our interview with Jessica below to learn more about the new trainings on resilience, and why they are important.

Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood
Delaware Stars for Early Success, website: www.delawarestars.udel.edu
DIEEC Professional Development, website: www.dieecpd.org
Main: (302) 831-3239 | Fax: (302) 831-4223