Thursday, October 6, 2016

Lights on Afterschool - Celebrate Your Program!

Did you know…220,573 students are on their own in the hours after school right here in Indiana? 308,914 students would participate in an afterschool program if one were available to them!  These numbers highlight the need for afterschool programming in our state. Research confirms that high quality afterschool programs are having great impacts on children’s lives.

On October 202016 , there will be a  highlight of this need across the nation. Lights On Afterschool is a celebration of afterschool programs nationwide.  On this day, programs are encouraged to highlight their programs and the importance they make in the lives of children, families, and communities. The events send a powerful message across the United States that millions more kids need quality afterschool programs.

If you are an afterschool provider, you can register your event on the Afterschool Alliance's website. This site also provides great ideas for how to promote your program and to simply celebrate!
You can also read more about Indiana statistics regarding the need for afterschool programs. 

Child Care Answers also supports your afterschool program needs. Feel free to contact our School-age Specialist, Jenny Mathis, at with any questions.

Monday, October 3, 2016

October is SIDS Awareness Month!

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness month. About 3,500 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the U.S.* Although sometimes the cause is unknown, there are several actions that parents and caregivers can take to lessen the risk for babies.

Our Infant/Toddler Specialists, Lauren George and Katherine Coleman, are passionate about educating parents and caregivers on safe sleep. They work with providers every day to help make sure their environments are safe.  Some of the practices they often see but must be avoided are:
  • Loose sheets - Loose fitting sheets are one of the biggest violations Lauren and Katherine see.  When looking for sheets, it is always best to try one before purchasing for the entire facility. In general, avoid jersey fabric sheets.  Good-fitting full-size crib sheets are typically easy to find, but sheets that are tight fitting and don’t roll the mattress can be difficult to find for pack-and-plays and porta-cribs. . Pack-and-play sheets should be the “Pack-and-Play” brand quilted sheet. Recommended brands for porta-crib sheet include Koala (Walmart), Babies-R-Us, and American Baby (Amazon). 
  • Sleeping in devices like swings, bouncers, and car seats - Infants should always placed to sleep on a firm sleep surface, such as a safety-approved crib mattress, in a safety-approved crib, porta-crib, or play yard. If the infant falls asleep in another surface (carrier, car seat, swing) immediately remove him/her and place in a safety approved crib, porta-crib, or pack-and-play.
  • Sleeping with bibs, pacifier cords, or wubanubs – These devices may cover the face or present a strangulation hazard.  Crib gyms, crib toys, mobiles, mirrors, and all objects/toys are prohibited in or attached to an infant’s crib. You should not clip or attach pacifiers to the infant or the crib.
  • Blankets in the crib – Keep all blankets, pillows, quilts, and bumpers out of the infant’s sleep area. Instead of a blanket, place the infant to sleep in sleep clothing such as a one-piece sleeper. Do not swaddle infants using blankets - swaddling is not recommended in child care.
  • Stomach sleeping - Infants under one year of age are always placed on their backs  to sleep, for naps and at night. Although common myths may lead people to believe stomach sleeping avoids choking, studies show that babies may actually clear secretions better when placed on their backs.
  • Medical device used without Medical Waiver Form - Unless a doctor specifies the need for a positioning device that restricts movement within the child’s crib, do not use these devices. This must be written on the Medical Waiver and completed/signed from the physician.

For more information about SIDS and safe sleep, see our Safe Sleep Handout Packet. Lauren and Katherine also offer Safe Sleep trainings throughout the year. See our Training Calendar for details. Also watch our Facebook page for SIDS awareness posts throughout October!

*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Friday, September 23, 2016

September is National Preparedness Month

Although September is almost over, it's not too late to prepare for emergencies and disasters as a part of National Preparedness Month!  

Recent studies and surveys show that: 
  • 39% of parents say their child’s Head Start/child care center or preschool had experienced an emergency in the past two years.
  • Only modest improvement had been made in household preparedness (23% in 2003 to 35% in 2015); 
  • A lack of confidence remains in local governments to respond to disasters; and 
  • Families remain unfamiliar with school or child care disaster plans.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) outlines tips and additional resources to help you get better prepared on its website. Once of those resources is the AAP Family Readiness Kit, which assists families in getting disaster-ready.  

Preparedness experts, parents, and child care providers contributed to this kit, which includes general guidelines for readiness that can be used in most situations, including how to:
  • Build a kit
  • Make a plan
  • Be informed
  • Get involved

Friday, August 26, 2016

Now available: request training registration online!

If you’re interested in registering for one of our face-to-face classes, you can now request registration through our new online Training Request form at . You can fill out the form on any browser and any desktop computer or laptop. We know how important it can be to get things done on-the-go, so you can also fill out this form on your mobile phone or tablet.

To get started, take a look at this quarter’s training offerings and decide what classes work for you and your schedule. You may request up to five classes each time you submit the form. 

Some things to keep in mind:
  • Submitting the form does not guarantee a space in the class you request.
  • You must complete the form by 9am the day before your requested class to be considered for registration.
  • If a class you've requested is full, our office will contact you within two business days to reschedule.
  • If you are registered for class, you will receive a notification the evening before with important reminders and location information.
  • You cannot register for live webinars using this form – continue to register in Training Central on the Webinars tab.
  • If your requested class charges a fee, you will not be registered until we receive payment. Call our office at (317) 636-5727 to charge your credit or debit card.

Of course, you can also continue faxing or mailing the hard-copy form found in our training calendar brochure, or you can call our office at (317) 636-5727 to register.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Provider Parent Cafe - 8/24 at 6:30pm

At Parents Cafes, participants are given the opportunity to engage in guided conversations that lead to personal growth and better parenting.

Please join us for:

  • Light refreshments
  • An opportunity to make connections with other providers in your community
  • A hands-on experience to learn how the families you serve can benefit from Parent Cafes and building Protective Factors.
Where: English Foundation Building Basement, Rooms 6 & 7
              615 North Alabama Street
              Indianapolis, Indiana 46205

Date: August 24, 2016

Time: 6:30pm - 8:30pm

RSVP: Shannon Ford at

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Upcoming Inclusion Events

If you're interested in learning more about parenting a child with special needs, improving inclusion in your city, or just having fun in support of a good cause, check out these upcoming events!

A Life with Stress, Balance, and A Plan

This Friday, April 8, ASK (About Special Kids) presents A Life with Stress, Balance, and a Plan. Parents of children with special needs live with added emotional, medical, social and financial challenges. These extenuating circumstances can often lead to feelings of loneliness, depression, marital and family problems and health issues. This training will focus on:
  • Identifying types of stressors
  • Identifying coping mechanisms and providing ways to incorporate them into everyday life
  • The importance of good communication
  • Setting up a plan for the future
Presented by: Gordon Homes, Sr. Financial Planner
Date: Friday, April 8, 2016
Time: 12:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Location: Speedway United Methodist Church  - 5065 W. 16th Street,  Indianapolis, IN 46224
Cost: FREE
How to register: or 800-964-4746.

Coffee and Conversation: Inclusion Awareness in Fishers

Cecilia Coble, Fishers City Council at Large and mother of a child with autism, will discuss how to make Fishers a better city in terms of inclusion. Topics of discussion include jobs, transportation, housing, and services for the autism and special needs community. This is an opportunity for you to provide feedback and ask questions to better your city.

Presented by: Cecilia Coble, Fishers City Council at Large
Date: Monday, April 25, 2016
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: BACA Prep - 99 E. 126th Street,  Fishers, IN 46038
Cost: FREE
How to register: Register online
Contact: Contact Sarah Cox at 317-436-8961 or

Laughs & Brews for BACA Charities

Point of View Comedy, an Indianapolis group that enjoys providing entertainment to benefit charities around the community, will present a comedy show to help raise funds for BACA Charities. Behavior Analysis Center for Autism (BACA) has a mission of raising resources to support research in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and families who support ABA. Cost for the event is $30, which includes dinner and a beer voucher from Tow Yard Brewing. The funds raised from this comedy show will help fund adaptive programs at Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation in Carmel, IN.

Presented by: Point of View Comedy
Date: Thursday, April 28, 2016
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Tow Yard Brewing - 501 Madison Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46225
Cost: $30
How to register: Register online
Contact: Contact Sarah Cox at 317-436-8961 or

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Thanks, AmeriCorps members!

Last week's National AmeriCorps Week highlighted the services of current and alumni AmeriCorps members who served our country in various settings including education, economic opportunity, disaster services, healthy futures, environmental stewardship, and veteran/military family assistance.

At Child Care Answers, we celebrated with our AmeriCorps members in Indianapolis and across the state who are serving in child care programs by offering family engagement. They serve as a bridge between home and school, and they assist with school readiness for pre-K children and their families. These members are truly living out the AmeriCorps motto of "Getting Things Done!"

For more information about serving with the Early Learning Indiana AmeriCorps family engagement program, contact Courtney Penn at

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Notice of Public Hearing

Notice of Public Hearing




The State of Indiana will submit to the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families, a plan for participation in the Child Care and Development Fund program.  This application supports the statewide unified child care system of services for eligible children and families.  The proposed plan and the Appendices will be available for review on the Office and Early Childhood and Out of School Learning web site at

Interested persons and organizations may submit written comments for review by the state through February 12, 2016.  The written comments should include: 

  1. The name, title, address, and telephone number of the commenter;
  2. Identify each specific part and page number of the draft application on which comments are being made;
  3. Describe the concern with respect to the part;
  4. Specify the recommended action to be taken; and
  5. Be addressed to: Melanie Brizzi, Director, Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning, 402 W. Washington St, W-361, MS-02, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

Public hearings will be at:

Monday, February 1, 2016
Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library                6:00 – 7:45 p.m.  (Eastern)
Harris Branch
51446 Elm Rd
Granger, IN
(The library is just off the toll road between South Bend and Elkhart Counties)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Community Foundation of Jackson County         6:00 – 8:00 p.m. (Eastern)
107 Community Dr
Seymour, IN 

Thursday, February 4, 2016
English Foundation Building                                6:00 – 8:00 p.m. (Eastern)
615 N Alabama St
Conference Rooms 6 and 7
Indianapolis IN

Monday, October 5, 2015

Virtual Career and Professional Development Fair

 Feel free to enroll in any or all of these free webinars. 
You click on the dates to register for the event(s) chosen.Brought to you by Penn Foster College!

Date and Time (Link to Register)
Title and Presenter
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Say What? Online Etiquette for Communicating in a Digital World
Shawna Ebbeson, Early Childhood Consultant
What you say is not nearly as important as how you say it. In this one-hour webinar, we will highlight the importance of business etiquette in digital communication. We will focus on three common communication follies and provide an easy framework to improve business communication behaviors, employability, and professional advancements.
Competency Goal IV and V: To Establish Positive and Productive Relationships with Families and To Ensure a Well-Run, Purposeful Program Responsive to Participant Needs
Nancy Moretti,  Department Chair of ECE at Penn Foster
Please join Department Chair and Professional Development Specialist, Nancy Moretti to learn more about creating your CDA Competency Standard V. During this session we will discuss tips for creating your family resource guide and we will also discuss locating and determining which record keeping forms you should add to your collection.
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The Upward Spiral: Igniting Passion, Intentionality and Engagement!
Susan MacDonald, Guest Speaker
Drawing from the current research on positivity, school transformation, strength-based leadership and mindfulness this workshop will provide insight into the multitude of benefits of creating a vibrant, engaging and strength based learning environment. Through this workshop you will learn to see new possibilities, develop strategies for overcoming set-backs and build a resource kit to guide you on the rewarding path of inspirational leadership. Each participant will be actively engaged in reflective learning activities that will build their understanding of the techniques that they can use to create flourishing learning community.
Why Talk Matters: Caregiver Language as a Component of Quality Care
Dr. Peggy Sissel, Guest Speaker
The importance of caregiver interaction and use of language with babies 0 - 3 has become a hot topic in the media and among researchers. Many childcare providers and parents are not, however, aware of the developmental importance of providing young children with rich verbal interaction. This session presents the research and rationale for why talking is a vital part of the care every child must have, introduces participants to the groundbreaking technology produced by the LENA Research Foundation, and addresses how this technology can be used to provide staff development and assessment, promote quality, increase parent engagement, and improve the center's or program's public relations and visibility in the community.
So You Want to Move Out of the Classroom: Teachers As Leaders and Beyond
Ayesha Simpson, Director of Staff Development at  Metropolitan Montessori Schools, Inc.
Are you interested in moving out of the classroom and into a leadership position? In this workshop, classroom teachers will learn how to increase their value in the early childhood marketplace and identify educational scholarship opportunities.
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What Would Magda Do? Supporting Infant and Toddler Development Using the Educarer Approach
Camille Lachar-Lofaro, Vice President at QS2 Training and ConsultingImage result for infants and toddlers
During this workshop, we will look at the philosophy of Magda Gerber, early childhood educator and advocate for infants, toddlers, and parents. We will also discuss how to implement the Educarer Approach in your classroom and how to ʺsee babies with new eyesʺ.
Tips and Tricks for FREE, Almost FREE and Inexpensive Ways to Obtain Books, Resources, and more for your ECE Classroom!
Betsy Reichart, Penn Foster
There is a wealth of FREE, almost FREE and inexpensive ways to provide resources, books and programs for your ECE classroom. Knowing where to look and who to ask is important. This presentation will present varied resources at your disposal to enhance your classroom without breaking your wallet! The resources are out there, find out the best ways to access them. librarian.jpg
Creating Safe and Appropriate Landscapes for Learning for Infants and Toddlers
Debra Pierce, Author of The CDA Prep Guide: The Complete Review Manual for the Child Development Associate Credential
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We will take a look at how to create appropriate environments for infants and toddlers, focusing on their basic needs and providing sensitive caregiving. We will also explore toxins that are often found in toys, baby equipment, and other items commonly used with very young children. By identifying these risks, we can learn to avoid them and provide safer environments for babies and toddlers. Finally, we will discover new play ideas using recycled and repurposed materials.
What Can I Do? Careers in the Field
Nancy Moretti, Penn Foster
Join Nancy Moretti to discuss the wonderful opportunities that await you! There are many ways to be involved in the world of early childhood, and many rewarding careers to choose from! In this session, we will discuss how the field of early childhood/child development offers a large array of career options that can provide extremely satisfying work to individuals passionate about working with young children.  
Play Based Curriculum: Assessment and Observation
Paula Landis, Director of Curriculum at YWCA of Minneapolis
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This workshop will support your ability to implement and describe the value and importance of play based learning in your program. Participants will be able to describe the biological imperative for play, use a self-reflective practice to support children's play and incorporate assessments and observations into daily classroom life to save time and deliver more authentic reports.
Learning Nutrition and Health through Physical Activities
Dr. Joanne Margaret Hynes-Hunter
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Participants will learn how to increase pre-school student’s health and nutrition knowledge by learning about innovative developmentally appropriate movement games, activities AND assessments that focus on appropriate practices, simple concepts for infusing health and nutrition content, and improving fitness.
Twenty Tips for Developing Positive Relationships with Families
Nancy Moretti, Department Chair of ECE at Penn Foster and Owner of Just For Kids ECLC
Please join Nancy Moretti to learn twenty tips that will improve the relationship that you have with the families of the children that you serve!  
If you have only spent a few moments in a childcare center, you know that Early Childhood Educators are BUSY people!  We are juggling caring for children with teaching them. In our busy days, it is easy to forget about families, in this session you will learn 20 simple steps to developing positive relationships!
Voice Development in Early Childhood
Martin Pecar, Educator at Vox Familiaris
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Voice is the first instrument that we all use. The easiest way to express ourselves is through our voice. However, this 'instrument' must be handled with care. Children have to learn how to control their voice. In addition, their bodies are small and delicate - and need different approach than adults.
Selection of proper songs for kids will be one of the topics. In addition, there are many activities, which help with correct body posture, hearing and sound production.
One Step at a Time: Providing CDA Training that is Meaningful, Reflective, and will Translate to Improved Practices with Young Children
Debra Pierce, Author of The CDA Prep Guide: The Complete Review Manual for the Child Development Associate Credential
CDA training needs to be well designed, aligned with the CDA Competency Standards, and personally meaningful to the student. If so, the outcome will be a smooth completion of the CDA requirements and the strong potential for improved practices. Participants will learn how to embed key activities into their training that will provide a seamless bridge to completing the CDA process. Ideas, activities, and strategies will be shared that participants can put into immediate use with students.
Kidini Bully Prevention Child Safety Starts at Age 2
Michael Ray Graves, Founder of Kidini Bully Prevention Child Safety
Kidini was researched by: Delaware Education Research & Development Center, University of Delaware
"Helping children develop self-protective skills”. In this session, we will: learn safety and bully prevention when working with early age children, age-appropriate fear management techniques to stay safe, and character formation by increased confidence and self-esteem.
Enhancing Storytime
Rachel Tajan, Penn Foster
In this webinar, we will learn the importance of having story time in the classroom, how to make the most of your read aloud and how to extend storytime into the classroom.
From Student to Professional: Tips to Help You Successfully Navigate Your Career Path
Dawn Kepley and Susan Murphy, Bright Horizons
This session is aimed at students or recent graduates, but is relevant to anyone considering change or seeking to gain more insight into interviewing, resumes building or presenting yourself as a professional.
In many fields, the transition from student to professional can be daunting. In the early childhood field, this is further complicated by the perception that early childhood is not a professional career. While this perception is changing as national and state initiatives focus on professionalizing the field and increasing quality, there is much more work to be done. Changing this perception begins with early childhood teachers themselves. Being prepared to present yourself professionally, meeting the professional expectations of typical ECE careers, and having a long-term plan for your career path are essential strategies to turning a childcare teacher job into an early childhood professional career.
Ideas and Techniques to Rock That Job Interview
Diane Placidi, Penn Foster
During this session, Diane will reviewing how to prepare, dress and present yourself, answer difficult questions, phone interviews, and more. At the end of the session, the forum will be open up the forum for questions and answers
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Explore, Experiment, and Excite with Science in Early Childhood Education
Sarah Owens, Penn Foster
Young children instinctively learn through exploring and experimenting with their environments and the objects within it. Science is an extension of this natural exploration that we often times struggle with implementing into our early childhood classrooms. It is our job to encourage and support children’s natural exploration and experimentation by providing them with engaging and exciting opportunities for science in the classroom. Join Sarah Owens in looking at the vast array of science opportunities available to implement into    your early childhood classroom!
Supporting Early Language and Literacy
Debra Pierce, Author of The CDA Prep Guide: The Complete Review Manual for the Child Development Associate Credential
We will discuss the importance of engaging young children early on, with simple and effective strategies for literacy and language development. What are the best types of books and is there a right or wrong way to read to them? Other topics include music and movement and supporting language and literacy for ESL children.
A Positive Approach to Discipline
Cindy Terebush, Certified Youth, Parent, Family Coach and NJ Certified Teacher
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Behavioral challenges are both a teaching and learning opportunity. Participants will discover how to avoid power struggles, set realistic expectations for young children and communicate this information to parents. When expectations are age appropriate, teachers can learn how to be instructive rather than punitive. Discover what young children realistically can and cannot do, the benefits of “time in”rather than “time out”, the physiology of tantrums and more as we work to add to our understanding of behavior. Discipline can be a positive part of teaching young children.
Youth in Harmony Project: Diversity Education for Birth to Elementary
Tameka T. Phillips, Certified Child Care Trainer at Della's Apron
The Youth in Harmony Project is an initiative designed to expose young children to the rich diversity of the human experience. Through positive experiences - both in and out of the classroom setting - we foster an awareness and appreciation for self and others. Through this collaborative approach, YiH seeks to promote equity, inclusion and social justice, making our global community a better place for everyone to live, work and play.
Sensational Beginnings, Sensory and Motor Activities for Infants and Toddlers
Marilyn Bitsis, Owner/Presenter at KidBuilders and Margaret Schafer, Presenter/Trainer KidBuilders
The trainers will introduce themselves and the subject matter. Through the PowerPoint presentation the learners will see an overview of the brain development in infants and toddlers. Key points will be discussed, emphasizing that everything the caregiver does with the baby in daily routines affects how her sensory experiences impacts her development. They will explain that the foundation for later motor development is laid in very early sensory motor experiences that include visual, auditory, olfactory (and taste), tactile and muscle and movement. The remainder of the training will explore each modality across the following age groups: birth to 3 months, 3 to 6 months, 6 to 12 months, 12 to 18 months and 18 to 24 months.
Who's There to Protect the Child: Supporting Mandated Reporters of Suspected Child Abuse
Alan Guttman,
Program Manager for the Center for Technology in Education (CTE) at Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Early development and learning occur when children are healthy and safe. This session will focus on the importance of implementing reporting policies, procedures and strategies that protect children when abuse is suspected. In this engaging session, we will learn why staff sometimes don't report suspected child abuse. Then we will discuss what you can do to support staff in their role as mandated reporters.
Storytelling Techniques in the Classroom
Krystal Marsh and Sarah Owens, Penn Foster
Do you struggle with finding stories for your classroom that meet your teaching goals? Are you interested in exploring new techniques that will allow your students creativity to shine? Come join Early Childhood Education Instructor Sarah Owens and English Instructor Krystal Marsh to learn more about why stories are important and how to implement fun and beneficial storytelling activities into your classroom!
Caring For Children: Choosing to Make It a Professional Career
Doreen Artisty, Guest Speaker
Child care providers will learn how and why they should become professionals in the field of early education. Engaging in a home childcare business includes more than caring for children; this workshop will show you how to grow from babysitter to professional child care educator.
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Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Dr. Sherry Pietrzykoski, Penn Foster
The presentation will take the viewer through a variety of the intellectual and developmental disabilities and offer commentary on the current state of assessment, intervention methods and community and support groups available.
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Are you Interested in Owning a Child Care Center? Tips to meet your Goals
Nancy Moretti, Department Chair at Penn Foster and Owner of Just For Kids ECLC.
There are different options for getting started as a child care owner. One is through acquisition and the other is starting from scratch. Regardless of which option you choose, many steps that will be shared in this presentation will be the same. Please join Nancy Moretti, owner/director of Just For Kids in Smithfield RI and department chair of Early Childhood Education here at Penn Foster to learn tips to meet your goals.
Child Engagement as an Indicator of Program Quality
Alan Guttman,
Program Manager for the Center for Technology in Education (CTE) at Johns Hopkins University School of Education
Monitoring protocols and quality rating systems focus primarily on a program's physical environment and structure; adult-child interactions; staff qualifications; care and education practices; and child outcomes. This workshop will consider the importance of child engagement in learning as an indicator of program quality. In this interactive session participants will learn how to define and identify the types and quality of a child's engagement with adults, peers, play activities and instructional tasks. Typical classroom activities will be analyzed and discussed to broaden and deepen participant understanding of how best to support and promote high quality child engagement in learning.
Setting Limits - Are you Inadvertently Reinforcing Challenging Behavior?
Shawna Ebbseon, Early Childhood Consultant
This online webinar addresses 3 common practices that inadvertently reinforce negative behavior. Educators will learn how children learn and identify the two ways in which adults communicate boundaries with children. We will then explore ways in which strategies can be applied to effectively and successfully set limits while building trust and nurturing the relationship with the child(ren).

Yoga and Mindfulness for Kids

Mai Merit, Director and Founder of 123 Kids Yoga
During this session, Mai will share how mindfulness and yoga work hand in hand, how to implement a mindfulness and yoga program into a day and the benefits of yoga for young children.
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Easing Parent and Caregiver Anxiety as Children begin Early Childhood Programs: What Educators Need to Know
Becky Dotzel, Penn Foster
Based on my experience as an educator and parent of three, this presentation will serve to provide those in the Early Childhood Field (especially those who are not yet parents) with an understanding of the anxiety parents and caregivers often face when beginning an early childhood program. It will provide educators with an understanding that will increase their ability to establish early on a warm and trusting relationship with families. Strategies and research-based methods for reaching traditional, blended, and ethnically diverse populations will be discussed.