Higher Education Entry through Credit for Prior Learning

Research has found that the credit-based education of child care providers is an important factor linked with high-quality early education programs. Unfortunately, with high turnover, low compensation, and increasing higher education costs, it is difficult for the early education workforce to gain these credits.

In a recent paper by Wisconsin Early Childhood Association and Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, entitled Milestones: Advancements to Pathways for Early Childhood Higher Education, the option of credit for prior learning is discussed as one way to:

  • Recognize all the non-credit training and experience that early childhood providers already have!
  • Begin on a pathway of achieving more credits, or degrees, at a Wisconsin college
  • Have a clear starting point when considering credit-based education

Read the full paper here and keep checking our blog to learn about the progress that WI technical colleges are making in terms of what credit for prior learning options they will offer to providers!

Child Care Wellness Grant Opportunity- Group Child Care Programs

Wisconsin Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Child Care Wellness Sub-grants are now available and will be awarded to CACFP child care institutions (child care group centers, emergency shelters, at-risk sites, outside of school hours sites) through a competitive application process. Grant applications will be accepted until July 21, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. This grant opportunity is available through the WI Department of Public Instruction.

Want to learn more about the WI CACFP Child Care Wellness Sub-grant opportunities? Click here  to find the:

  • Grant Announcement Letter
  • Grant Application Form
  • Grant Application Instructional Guide
  • Other helpful resources to assist in the application process

Note: Wellness Sub-grant opportunities for family child care programs will be announced separately by the Wisconsin CACFP Sponsors Forum in the near future. If you are affiliated with a family child care program, keep checking back to our blog to find out when this opportunity is available (or call your CACFP Sponsor for more information).

Let’s Move! Child Care has Launched

Last week came the announcement of the “Let’s Move! Child Care” initiative, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama. Click here for more information about the initiative, ideas and resources for early educators, healthy eating tips, and physical activities for infants and toddlers!

The initiative has set the following five goals for all caregivers (parents, guardians, child care providers, etc) to strive towards:

  • Physical Activity: Provide 1-2 hours of physical activity throughout the day, including outside play when possible.
  • Screen Time: No screen time for children under two years.  For children age two and older, strive to limit screen time to no more than 30 minutes per week during child care, and no more than 1-2 hours total of quality screen time per day, the amount recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Food: Serve fruits or vegetables at every meal, eat meals family-style when possible, and no fried foods.
  • Beverages: Provide access to water during meals and throughout the day, and do not serve sugary drinks.  For children age two and older, serve low-fat (1%) or non-fat milk, and no more than one 4-6 ounce serving of 100% juice per day.
  • Infant feeding:  For mothers who want to continue breastfeeding, provide their milk to their infants and welcome them to breastfeed during the child care day; and support all new parents in their decisions about infant feeding.

Internet Access Grant Opportunity- City of Milwaukee Child Care Programs!

The Public Service Commission (Commission) of Wisconsin has awarded a grant to the Celebrate Children Foundation (CCF) to help fund internet connectivity to child care centers in the city of Milwaukee. CCF will reimburse programs for internet expenses so that programs have more money to purchase things like curriculum materials, teacher training, and healthy food for children.

CCF would like to support 70 programs with this grant with up to $50 per month. To qualify, a child care center must:

    1. Serve low-income children &/or families in Milwaukee,
    2. Participate in YoungStar, the state’s new quality rating and improvement system,
    3. Provide copies of their Internet provider receipts (in six month increments),
    4. Adhere to all grant deadlines, and
    5. Be willing to respond to a post-grant survey.

Grant applications are due to CCF by June 30, 2011. Please visit their website for more information on this opportunity, as well as application instructions.

YoungStar Training is Here!

Training designed to help you prepare to be rated for YoungStar, or for anyone wishing to learn ways to improve the quality of your child care program.
WECA MIlwaukee is sponsoring trainings on…
• YoungStar Overviews to get you started
• Wisconsin Model Early Learning (WMELS)
• SEFEL Pyramid Model for Developmental Social Emotional Competence
• Family Involvement
• Child Outcomes, Portfolios and Curriculum
• Environment Rating Scales
• Business Practices
• Click here to learn more and to register for a WECA Milwaukee YoungStar training!

Not in the Milwaukee area? Click here for a listing of available YoungStar trainings statewide- all organized by members of the YoungStar consortium.

 

Celebrate AmeriCorps Members this Week

Beginning in October 2010, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association began the WECA AmeriCorps program in Milwaukee. This program seeks to improve the education of child care providers, offer skill development opportunities to Corps members, and boost the quality of Milwaukee area child care centers. Our current WECA AmeriCorps members provide consistent, affordable coverage for child care staff who must take time off of work to complete college courses. Corps members learn about early education through trainings, an accelerated college course, and direct experience. Additionally, Corps members complete projects related to early literacy, YoungStar, or nutrition to improve their host centers.

Everyday across the nation, many more AmeriCorps members are tackling America’s toughest problems in:
• Disaster Services
• Economic Opportunity
• Education
• Environmental Stewardship
• Healthy Futures
• Veterans and Military Families

To commemorate this service, join us as we celebrate the fifth annual AmeriCorps Week from May 14-21, 2011. Thank you to our WECA AmeriCorps members and to all AmeriCorps members across the nation!

Happy Provider Appreciation Day!

In honor of provider appreciation day today, May 6th, the Governor has signed a proclamation acknowledging all the hard work early childhood professionals do every day in Wisconsin. There will also be a public service announcement running on radio stations across the state with the following message:

Child. Care.
Two words that, because of you, are inseparable.
We put our most precious gifts in your hands, day in and day out.
And for the children we entrust to you, every one of those days is filled with new adventures, new
insights, and the teachings that will take them to tomorrow.
Which brings us to the two words you don’t hear enough.
Thank. You.

On behalf of the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association we would like to thank all the early childhood professionals across the state for all that they do for our youngest Wisconsinites. If you have a child in an early education setting, make sure to take a minute today to also say thank you!

Celebrate Worthy Wage Day 2011

worthy wage day 2009May 1st is recognized each year as National Early Educator Worthy Wage Day. On this day, early childhood professionals- and the organizations that support them- work together to inform the public about the importance of high quality early education. Despite the critical role they play in children’s lives, the early childhood workforce continues to be compensated poorly (the average professional earned around $23,600 in 2010). Join us today (and every day) in honoring the early education professionals and programs in your community.

WECA would like to send a heartfelt acknowledgment for the “worthy work” performed every day by early childhood educators working with children and families in child care centers, preschools, Head Start facilities, and family child care homes throughout Wisconsin.

Early Education Fares Well in the 2011 Federal Budget

The original House version of the Federal 2011 budget would have cut $1 billion, or 15%, of the national Head Start budget, and would have cut the child care budget by $39 million. Fortunately, early care and education got a significant victory in the final compromise package worked out by the House, Senate and President Obama.

In this final budget version, Head Start got an increase of $340 million more than the 2010 budget, enough to maintain the children currently enrolled, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant got a $100 million increase! For Wisconsin, The 2011 budget package will provide an estimated $4.3 million for Head Start, and $1.3 million for child care– more than the 2010 budget level.

In tough financial times, it is crucial to invest in programs that bring back positive social and economic returns to society, saving money in the long-term. Investments in early education programs will do just that (see a recent analysis by Child Trends, an independent, nonpartisan research center) and we are happy that the federal governments has recognized this during the current budget process. We are hopeful that investments in early education programs will continue, despite difficult decisions that will need to be made for future federal budgets.