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Quality in Context—How Directors’ Beliefs, Leadership, and Management Practices Relate to Observed Classroom Quality

Children’s experiences in early childhood programs can impact their developmental outcomes. While some high-quality programs promote children’s success in school and life, the majority of child care programs are of minimal to adequate quality. A recent study conducted by researchers at the Urban Institute explored the seemingly simple question, why is there so much variation in program quality? The […]

How’s the Weather in Your Center?

If you’ve visited many other early childhood programs, you know that each has its own distinct personality. Some seem to exude warmth and sunlight from the moment you walk in the door. The director and teachers are spirited and energetic. They radiate a sense of confidence and enthusiasm about their work. When they interact with children, families, and each other, they are warmhearted and supportive. […]

Prevention — The Only Cure for Brain Injury

Children fall all the time; it’s part of the pathway to exploration and learning about the world around them. Yet there are times when you and your staff need to be concerned because a fall can also result in a concussion or a serious head injury. When it comes to serious head injury, the first line of defense is prevention.

More Than Apple Juice and Crackers: Promoting Better Nutrition in Preschool

Across the country, the subject of childhood obesity has become the focus of attention. Earlier this year, President Obama signed an executive order creating a federal childhood obesity task force and first lady Michelle Obama launched the Let’s Move! campaign to inspire young children to get active and eat healthy. At the same time, Jamie Oliver hit the airwaves with his television show Food Revolution, targeting […]

SOS for Your RMP (Risk Management Plan)

Compare your center’s risk management plan to a white water rafting guide. Would your plan be able to navigate you through the uncharted territory of a crisis the same way an experienced guide navigates the water, rocks, and rapids of a river? Looking back as a director of my own center years ago, my center’s risk management plan would have been a novice guide at […]

E-mail and All That Jazz

I love email. I depend on it a lot. I can relay specific details to any number of ‘need to know’ persons at the click of a send icon. I can do it any time of day, without playing endless phone tag or waking someone up on the wrong side of the time zone. I can get ‘newsy’ information out fast and […]

Helping Teachers Identify and Articulate Their Values and Beliefs

Directors often lament how difficult it is to get teachers to implement teaching practices that are child-centered and developmentally appropriate. The reason for the difficulty is that professional development efforts typically focus on increasing teachers’ knowledge base. Clearly knowledge is important; the workshops and college classes that teachers attend and the books and articles they read are essential for expanding their understanding of child development and early […]

A Typical Day Through the Eyes of Children

It is 8:00 a.m. and Sean lies in the cozy corner of the toddler room. He is wearing his winter coat and a knit cap covers his face. His arms are tightly folded around his body. He is a large, burly mass of four-year-old boy. A substitute teacher enters the room. She approaches Sean and lifts up the knit cap. A wary […]

When Conflicts Arise

If you’ve been an early childhood director for even a short time, no doubt you’ve experienced a day or two when conflict came knocking at your door. I remember one emotional encounter like it was yesterday. Michelle, one of the preschool teachers in my program, came into my office and slammed the door behind her.

The Status of the Early Childhood Workforce in Illinois

A new study of the early childhood workforce in Illinois finds that the education level for lead teachers in community-based programs has dramatically increased over the past seven years. The study, Who’s Caring for the Kids?, was conducted by faculty at National-Louis University’s McCormick Tribune Center for Early Childhood Leadership and the Early Childhood and […]

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