Category Archives: Providers

Teaching Children the Art of Giving

by Kristin Cofield, Paths to QUALITY Coach

Four year old Kennisyn overheard a conversation between her parents discussing donating to the United Way of Central Indiana. Kennisyn chimed in and told her parents that she would like to donate also. Each day for one week, Kennisyn took money from her pink piggy bank to school and donated to the United Way collection jar in her class. Kennisyn even asked other family members to contribute to her classroom jar and help raise money for children in need.

Teaching children the art of giving develops kindness, compassion, and caring for others.  Anne Frank said “How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.” At any age, we can all make a difference in someone’s life by showing compassion through our giving, acts of service by volunteering, or other forms of community outreach.

When families make giving and volunteering a normal part of their lives they will teach their children strong core values as they demonstrate these values in action. This philosophy is also true for educators who create a classroom learning environment that introduces and encourages children to practice social tolerance and respect for all people regardless of religion, race, socioeconomic status, gender, age, etc.  There are many creative ways families and educators can teach children the art of giving. The following are a few thoughtful ideas for families and educators to help children become involved in their local community.

  1. Thinking of You: Have children draw or paint a picture of their choice; frame the picture and give to a local hospital where the patients are fighting a terminal illness. Sometimes knowing that someone is thinking of you gives these patients hope to continue fighting their illness.
  2. Charitable Giving: Children can raise money through a lemonade stand; bake sale, art sale, etc.  Allow the children to choose an organization and donate the proceeds to that organization.
  3. Acts of Service: Ask family, friends, and classmates to donate items to create care packages for the homeless.  Donations may include food such as crackers, packaged fruit, or water; personal hygiene items such as soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste; socks, hat and gloves, etc.  Allow the children to help pack the sack lunches or care bags.

A simple Google search will generate many other ideas to help families and educators teach children the art of giving.  So search away and make giving and volunteering fun for the children in your life.  Follow the child’s interest and remember no deed is too small when the act of service stems from a heart full of kindness, compassion and most importantly, love for humanity.

New Laws on CCDF Provider Eligibilty

The time is just around the corner, on July 1, 2015 all providers in Indiana accepting CCDF but not licensed must follow new health and safety laws. Letters have been sent out to providers notifying them of the new standards.

If you are an unlicensed child care program accepting CCDF vouchers you must meet these additional standards effective July 1, 2015 in order to continue to receive CCDF funding.

  1. Safe Conditions: You must have and maintain a written policy describing how you maintain safe conditions in your child care facility or home and safety of motor vehicles used to transport children.
    • These written policies and any changes to this policy must;
    • Be submitted to the Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning (formerly the Bureau of Child Care)
    • Posted in a public location in the facility or home.
    • Provided to the parent or guardian of each child in your care.
  2. Daily Activities: you must make available daily activities appropriate to the age, developmental needs, interests, and number of children in your care, including the following:
    • Both active and quiet play. The provider may include the use of safe, age-appropriate toys, games, and equipment for indoor and outdoor play.
    • Daily outdoor play, unless one (1) of the following applies:
    • Severity of the weather poses a safety or health hazard.
    • A health related reason for a child to remain indoors is documented by the child’s parent, guardian, or physician.
  3. Nutrition: you must make available to each child in your care:
    • Appropriately timed, nutritious meals and snacks in a quantity sufficient to meet the needs of the child.
    • This does not eliminate sack lunches brought from home.
    • Drinking water at all times.

    You may be eligible to receive reimbursement for the cost of meals and snacks through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

  4. Group Size and Ratios: As a provider operating a child care program in a facility or home you must follow ratios and group sizes as follows:
    • If you will be caring for no more than sixteen (16) children at a facility/home you must maintain:
    • a ratio of children to caregivers in the same proportions as specified in the child to staff ratio requirements; and
    • the same group sizes as specified in the group size requirements that apply to a child care home under IC 12-17.2-5.
    • If you will be caring for more than sixteen (16) children at a facility/home you must maintain:
      • a ratio of children to caregivers in the same proportions as specified in the child to staff ratio requirements; and
      • the same group sizes as specified in the group size requirements; that apply to a child care center under IC 12-17.2-4.
  5. Continuing Education: unless the provider is a parent, stepparent, guardian, custodian, or other relative to each child in the care of the provider, the individual annually must receive:
    • at least twelve (12) hours of continuing education approved by the Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning (OECOSL) and related to the age appropriate educational development, care, and safety of children.

    The hours of continuing education required may include:

    • child abuse detection and prevention
    • first aid
    • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
    • safe sleeping practices
    • education received during the year as part of the non-formal CDA process or through higher education such as an Associates or Bachelors degree program.
    • Not more than three (3) months after the individual begins employment or volunteer duties, the individual must receive training approved by OECOSL concerning child abuse detection and prevention. This training is available for free at your local Child Care Resource and Referral Agency.
    • You must:
      • maintain at the facility/home where you operate a child care program documentation of all training and completion of continuing education required; and
      • make the documentation available to the OECOSL upon request.

Cover image by Flickr user Herald PostCreative Commons license.

Dealing with a picky eater

Do you have a child in your care that refuses to try something new? Many providers comment that they have children that just won’t eat anything but chicken nuggets and french fries. Or,  they say they would like to try new foods but don’t think their children will eat them. Don’t let the fear of new foods stop you from introducing them. Children need multiple exposures to new foods to develop a taste for them.

Make trying new foods a learning experience. Let the children touch it, smell it, and taste it. Talk about how it looks. Is it smooth? Does it have bumps? What color is it? Does it smell sweet? Try just a small tasting to start with. You might find that cooking it different ways will help a picky eater find a way they like it. Take apples for example: a child may not like a raw apple slice but if you take the apple slices, add a little cinnamon and microwave it till its soft they may like it. You could create a food tasting chart for each child. Give them a sticker to add to the chart when they try a new food.

You, as the provider, have the ability to help the children in your care create healthy eating habits for the rest of their life. 

Cover image by Flickr user Aikawa KeCreative Commons license.

CACFP Approved Fish Sticks

Child Care Answers CACFP program has been working with providers this contract year on learning about Child Nutrition labels on processed foods and it has been very eye opening. According to the child nutrition label for some prepackaged fish sticks products a 3 year old would need 12 fish sticks to get 1 1/2 ounces of meat. Here is a fantastic way to make your own fish sticks for the kids. Try making a couple batches and freezing them for another day.

Cover image by Flickr user DamonCreative Commons license.

National CACFP Week

March 15-21, 2015 is National Child and Adult Care Food Program week. The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a program through the USDA to offer reimbursement to child care providers for serving nutritious meals to children. Each day 3.3 million children across the United States are served meals that are part of the CACFP program.

National CACFP week is an excellent time to learn more about the program and sign on or promote the great work you, as a provider are already offering through the program. You may consider planning to try a new recipe that week to talk about the different components of the program, offer some nutrition lesson plans to the children, cook with the kids, or take the opportunity to share with your parents what the program offers to you and what it allows you to offer to the children.

If you are not already on the program and you are a license child care provider or have met the CCDF standards you might take the opportunity to look into signing onto the program. Child Care Answers sponsors providers in the Central Indiana region. If you are interested you can email Emily at

Feeling stressed?

Another mentor (thanks Amy!) forwarded me the following story over a year ago and I’ve held on to it knowing I just might need to reflect on it from time to time:

A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”

It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. We have had one heck of a winter and the blahs can really take a toll on some of us.  Here at Child Care Answers we have seen an increase in calls requesting technical assistance for challenging behaviors…this can be very stressful for early childhood educators.  It’s tax time, another contributor to our stress!  I saw there’s more snow coming Wednesday…stress!  It’s only Monday…stress!  The list goes on and on and on…

Television actress and author Marilu Henner said, “Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy, and rewarding life.”

American philosopher and psychologist William James wants us to change our thinking when we begin to feel stress, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”

As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down.  Ask yourself if you are being realistic and consider alternative responses to the stress you are feeling.  Don’t carry your burdens through the evening and into the night. Remember to put your glass down!