Next Meeting: September 30 | 6:00 p.m.

Zoom Link Here

Call-In:
1-312-626-6799
Meeting ID: 821 2375 0878 

 

April 1

We know that this time is stressful, not only for you but for the families you serve.We are here for you and want to know your concerns and answer your questions to the best of our ability. We also want to give you an opportunity to support each other in sharing solutions that you’ve found to address your unique challenges. We will talk weekly and the invitation is at the end. Please follow our Facebook page or website for more updates. 

We have also created a Facebook group for all of you. There, you can seek peer support, share new information and our staff will be on there for support. Search ‘United 4 Children Provider Group‘ in your Facebook search bar.

You can always call or email us if you need anything:

helpme@united4children.org | 314-252-0078

Attendance

  • 54 people participated on the call
  • We had representation from St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and Illinois
  • We had representation from home based and center based child care programs

Thoughts Expressed

  • Feelings of worry, confusion, frustration, and fear were expressed
  • Scared to re-open since there are unknowns for the health of everyone involved
  • Need to keep staff calm
  • Staff are worried about: pay, getting sick, risk for their family, children spreading the virus
  • Children feeling sad since they are unable to see their friends
  • Uncertainty of state and county requirements
  • Desire to hear more communication from child care licensing and subsidy programs 
  • Directors struggling to “keep it together” for the sake of staff, children, and families
  • Thankful DSS has stated payment will be made for the month of March

Questions

  1. How long are childcare programs supposed to stay closed? This answer is dependent upon your location and type of program. If you do wish to reopen make sure to follow your local, state, and Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines to protect you and your family. Also contact Child Care Aware of MO at referralcenter@mo.childcareaware.org or complete this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GJ92VXG
  2. Where can we find a list of open centers? Contact Child Care Aware for information about open centers
  3. Are there any centers open who may need extra teachers? Child Care Aware is connecting teachers to programs. They are keeping a list of teachers to match to programs in need. 
  4. For afterschool programs– does anyone have information on how we can serve families being that school is closed? Ideas that we are hearing are for staff to contact families and check in on needs and matching to resources. Programs are offering food, school supplies, and other basic needs for families. Additionally, offers for providing activity kits and online resources for children to remain engaged have been made. Leadership within programs are encouraging online training for direct care staff. 
  5. How do we cover classroom ratio for teacher bathroom and lunch breaks if teachers are not supposed to move in and out of classrooms? Work diligently to follow your local guidelines and recommendations (available in the resource section below). Keep in mind that your top priority is your children. You are competent and know how to support them best. Trust your instincts, you’ve got this!
  6. How can we get supplies that are limited? The supplies needed are: hand santitizer, lysol, and thermometers. United 4 Children is working to look for places where bulk resources can be bought. We will keep people updated on this opportunity. Also, take a look at the Facebook page (in the Resource section, below) for this group, many people have “insider” tips on when deliveries are made to stores so you can be first in line to make purchases. Also, a caution on buying thermometers on Amazon, some of the ones available are celsius only. These can still be used, but you will need to convert this to fahrenheit: https://www.metric-conversions.org/temperature/celsius-to-fahrenheit.htm.
  7. Where are distribution sites? Different organizations are doing distribution for different types of products. Some of the major ones being Operation Food Search and St. louis Diaper Bank and you can find more information on their linked websites.
  8. If you’re staying closed how are you helping to ease the stress of families and staff? Suggestions given included: Putting together packets for kids to do while closed, mailed families a book, short term unemployment, teachers are facetiming students and their families, Facebook posts and individual family contacts 
  9. Are we marking full time care or absences for children that aren’t in care? If your center is closed you should be marking absences.
  10. Should we cut the ratio? Ratios are being determined by county health departments, so verify with your county to assure you are following the appropriate ratio. Currently many counties are operating that in-home, non-licensed child care programs can have a maximum of 6 and in-home licensed a maximum of 10.

Resources

St. Louis County stay at home order

St. Louis City stay at home order

Basic Needs form with United 4 Children

Child Specific Need form with United 4 Children

United 4 Children COVID-19 website

United 4 Children website

Illinois stipend opportunity

Loan opportunities

Next Steps

  • Every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. we will host a ZOOM meeting that will include early childhood educator discussion and a short segment that addresses specific topics of need. 
April 8

We know that this time is stressful, not only for you but for the families you serve.We are here for you and want to know your concerns and answer your questions to the best of our ability. We also want to give you an opportunity to support each other in sharing solutions that you’ve found to address your unique challenges. We will talk weekly no matter the size of participants and the invitation is at the end. Please follow our Facebook page or website for more updates. 

We have also created a Facebook group for all of you. There, you can seek peer support, share new information and our staff will be on there for support. Search ‘United 4 Children Provider Group‘ in your Facebook search bar.

We would like to hear from you on how these meetings are going and how we can improve so you get the most value out of these weekly meetings. Please fill out the FORM.

Attendance

  • 24 people participated on the call
  • We had representation from St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and Illinois
  • We had representation from home based and center based child care programs

COVID-19 Help Highlight: Balance during stress

  • Reframing
  • Consistent schedules
  • Be optimistic and share these thoughts with others
  • Breathe in for 2 and out for 4
  • Journal 
  • Use your favorite things as a way to decompress and relax
  • If you are social, find ways to be social: ZOOM, video calls, etc.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff, let it go: https://youtu.be/YVVTZgwYwVo
  • Work out the stress- bikes, walking, running, yoga

How Can You Reduce Stress Presentation

Peer to Peer Support

What are you doing to stay in balance?

  • Walking
  • Taking the dog to the river
  • Being outside
  • Cleaning
  • Putting on “real” clothes
  • Binge watching
  • Being with our children
  • Talking to neighbors in social distancing
  • Marco Polo scavenger hunt, played games
  • Share a “star” with someone you love (pick a star and look at it together even when you’re apart)
  • Turn away from the news to reduce stress

Next Steps

  • Every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. we will host a ZOOM meeting that will include early childhood educator discussion and a short segment that addresses specific topics of need.
  • You are invited to attend our next meeting on April 15, 2020 at 11:00 am. The link to join is: https://zoom.us/j/190964897?pwd=aU9HK1Nha1lyalA1T2YyUWVEdjdWdz09
April 15

Welcome

  • We had 28 participants

COVID-19 Help Highlight: Basic Needs

  • U4C is continuing to contact programs to discover basic needs that you have. These calls are for data collection so we can communicate needs to other agencies. While we will continue to work to collect and distribute the items you are in need of, these phone calls are not a guarantee to supplies. 
  • Providers expressed the need for contact with the public health department to ensure they are using basic need items and PPE effectively. Deanna is working diligently to make this connection so be looking forward to new information at next week’s call. 

Peer to Peer Support

  • Providers expressed the need for:
    • Ideas to support teachers when they come back, making sure to reduce stress
    • Ideas to support children in being comfortable with masks covid19 masks
    • Check in procedures for children
    • More guidance from the CDC for supporting child care. Since the call new CDC information came out
    • Thermometers 
    • Understanding how to support first responders children as the new recommendation is that they be kept separate from other children

Questions and Answers

  1. Open centers- what has been your experience by families and tuition payments? Have you charged less, etc. Providers reported they are charging their normal rate as they are providing the same services
  2. Will there be subsidy increase or state vouchers due to increased service/requirement? This is a question for DSS and Deanna is reaching out to Cindy, at DSS, to find out more
  3. How can we learn more about the PPP? A flyer explaining the PPP option

U4C Strategic Plan

  • One of our biggest priorities is to begin Client Advisory Groups. U4C wants to hear from you about how we can better meet your needs. We will continue to update the group as we move forward with this plan. If you are interested in being on the Client Advisory Group please email Elisa: ziege@united4children.org

Next Steps

Additional Helpful Thoughts: 

  • Reverend Lee reminded the group that we need to keep a focus on or shift our focus toward core priorities of safety and emotional support for our children and families. 
  • Tina gave a recommendation for the story Ruby’s Worry.

 

April 22

COVID-19 Help Highlight: Mini Grant Opportunity 

Each week, as long as funds are available, you are eligible to submit a mini-grant to ask for supplies for your child care program. To learn more visit: https://united4children.org/2020/04/united-4-children-ece-covid-19-response-fund/

Peer to Peer Support

We broke into small groups to have more intimate conversations around 4 areas:

  • Supporting Staff
  • Supporting Children
  • Supporting Families
  • Using PPE’s

After this we shared an overview of our conversations. A few notes from these small groups include:

  • The need for a timeline and tips of how to reopen successfully
  • Need of PPE to be able to reopen
  • Uncertainty of if teachers will return
  • Concerns of safety of teachers as many are already immunocompromised 
  • Reflections that these calls need to be in the evening so open centers and programs can participate
  • Concerns about the state directions for being open being different than each county
  • Concerns about announcement being made over the weekend which makes it hard to communicate to teachers and families effectively
  • Information from Stephanie Chandler with DHSS was shred:
  • Cindy from Kids International shared this article to help us navigate some of our feelings right now: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/first-responders-needs-mean-tough-choices-for-child-care-providers/ar-BB1309O3?li=BBnb7Kz&ocid=hplocalnews  
  • An online space that programs are connecting with families is TikTok
  • Teachers are nervous about coming back and want to feel confident in their personal safety
  • Closed programs want support from open programs to gain ideas on what to do as they begin to reopen

Questions and Answers

  • Will there be support for curriculum, hot spots, or technology for school age programs? We are working with the Regional Response Team on this and are reaching out directly to that team to give more information soon. 
  • How many providers are actually open? Currently between St. Charles County, St. Louis County, and St. Louis City County right at 300, we are at about 30% capacity across the state. 
  • How are Nutrition reimbursements going? Our regularly scheduled disbursements are going as normal, same as it has been. You can always contact your nutrition consultant at 314.531.1412 to ask more specific questions. They also have a facebook group here: U4C Child Nutrition Services
    1. Can we get a check list that shows a week before you open this is what you do? Yes, we are working with the state, and health department to create this.
    2. Can families use U4C or other programs at this time? Yes, we are supporting families as well as providers to make sure our children with special needs have their needs met during this time. The link to the survey for the families is here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1zXHC2Nx7NfWIT1eU0h87iF2MJkSgAn8bTCCJ5N5yGik/edit. The Belle Center is able to support programs as well.
  • How can we make our children and families comfortable when drop off is happening at the front door and not at their classroom? We are working on creating resources to support everyone involved. Additionally, we are working to bring more open programs onto the calls to share what has been working and what hasn’t been working. 

Next Steps

We are moving these weekly calls to 6:00 pm in the evening.

April 29

COVID-19 Help Highlight: St. Louis Department of Health

We welcomed Dr. Baskin from the St. Louis Department of Health to answer questions on how to best support children, families, and educators during the COVID-19 crisis. 

  1. How do we use masks appropriately, keeping in mind that some are paper and some are cloth? Paper masks- wear it once, don’t touch, if soiled change it. Cloth- same as paper but wash daily 
  2. Best protocol for gloves? It is not helpful to wear gloves constantly. Still use them as you should for diapering, toileting, etc. The most important thing is to follow hand hygiene practices and wash hands consistently. Watch the recommendations for hand sanitizer as it is not recommended for some ages.
  3. How much cleaning is too much cleaning? There is never too much cleaning. Make sure to separate groups, stagger recess, lunch rooms access, drop off and pick up so cleaning can be done in between.  
  4. What is a good example of child drop off/pick up to prevent cross-contamination? Families should have limited access to programs, check for fever or other illness symptoms. Stagger drop off to clean area in between families. 
  5. Do the children need to wear masks? No, masks are designed to mostly protect others. Not realistic for children to wear them. 
  6. What extra precautions should be taken for teachers who are immunocompromised? Teachers who are immunocompromised should not be on boarded (began work) into the program. 
  7. What if a teacher or parent exhibits symptoms? Teachers should stay home until symptom free for 72 hours and for 10 days after on set of symptoms.  If parents exhibit symptoms, child doesn’t need to stay home since we need to assume all children coming in are bringing germs with them. 
  8. What can families do to prevent cross-contamination? When a child gets home strip their clothes, give bath, wash clothes. Come to school in clean clothes. The overall health of a child is important to keep them and others healthy. Minimize contact between parents and teachers.  
  9. What if a parent has a lab confirmed illness? Child should stay home 
  10. Should we take a temperature? Yes, this is the bare minimum of what should be checked at drop off.
  11. What else should be asked? 1. Is there difficulty breathing? 2. Gastrointestinal issues? Questions on form? 3. Is there fever? 5. Have there been respiratory issues? 
  12.  What ideas are there for accommodating required ratios per county recommendations but using my building to full capacity? Keep 1 teacher per group of children, do not mix groups, use environmental cleaning, have children follow healthy hygiene practices, avoid touching faces, wash hands, break classes down to 10 or less, use partitions to separate a classroom into sections. 
  13. What do we do if a child becomes sick? Do not need to close the whole centers, just the rooms the child was in. Close for 2-5 days for appropriate decontamination.
  14. What do we do if a teacher become sick? Same as a child unless the teachers have a common room (break room) then close off that space as well. 
  15. How many children/ child care staff has anyone been diagnosed? Unsure
  16. Playground equipment? Disinfect daily and if more than one group clean in between groups
  17. Changes needed for nap time routine and blankets? Bring blankets from home, do not swap blankets, wash blankets at home, unless there is contamination and clean sooner. 

General Tips

  • A child care center director gave an idea of getting a variance for group size
  • Virus can live on some surfaces for up to 72 hours
  • Virus is easy to kill, can be killed by alcohol, bleach, and soap
  • Recommend to prepare parents for changes
  • Sack lunch and eat in classrooms is recommended

Peer to Peer Support: Open Center Testimonial

  • Diana shared that with the Educare Project Reach calls programs are reporting that everyone is healthy. They have stated that cleaning and hand washing are making all the difference.
  • Tanya reported an enrollment drop. She is bleaching everything and using 5 tablespoons for bleach per gallon of water. She uses this spray solution everywhere, even fabrics and hasn’t had an issue with staining. A child in her care whose family member had been diagnosed with COVID-19 came back after quarantine. All is going well! 
  • Programs are planning for ppes, ordering supplies, cleaning carpets, and much more.
  • There was concern mentioned about families not being forthcoming with symptoms during morning drop off. 
  • Thermometers are becoming available again for purchase on Amazon.
  • U4C and First Steps to Equity Collaborative is supporting Community Hubs that will have supplies for child care programs while supplies last. For more information about this please contact our office at 314-531-1412 to inquire about a hub near you!

Next Steps

  • May 6- In partnership with Kids Win Missouri Community Conversation and Listening Session.  Invite your networks and your families to help inform statewide and regional policies and funding. Everyone’s voice is needed.
  • May 13- Learn from our Inclusion Specialists about ways you can support children’s social and emotional development during this time!

s.

May 13

COVID-19 Highlight: Social and Emotional Needs of Children

  • Wendy and Gina, 2 of our Inclusion Specialists presented on the Social and Emotional Needs of Children. This reflection was in light of children coming back into programs and struggling to readjust. We had a great conversation with suggestions of how to greet children, interact with children, and still show lots of love in the midst of this crisis. 
  • A video link that was shared called The Hug that Helped Change Medicine is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YwT_Gx49os&t=2s
  •  To dive further into supporting children’s social-emotional development, enjoy 2 hours of free clock hour training courtesy of U4C! https://sl4k.z2systems.com/np/clients/sl4k/publicaccess/eventCalendarBig.jsp

Resources: City guidance, collaboration information  

Peer to Peer Support

  • Participants reflected their concerns with reopening and suggestions on how they are making decisions personally. 

Questions and Answers

  • When will DSS subsidy payments come out? What we have heard is that due to COVID-19 changes in the payment system some calculations were needing to be made by hand which has slowed payments. We have heard that the computer error which caused the slow down is corrected and we should know more soon. 

 

  • The City and County updates for businesses in some cases reduces the number of children we are able to serve (below the previous 12 amount). Which ratio do I follow? U4C has reached out to both the City and County on this issue and are awaiting a response. As soon as we find out we will let everyone know. 

Next Meeting Dates

  • May 27
  • June 3
May 20

COVID-19 Highlight: Reopening Q&A Session

 

Questions

Answers

Are there going to be stationed for the workers to switch and in and out of work clothes so their families aren’t exposed to Covid19. 

No formal guidance looks like what is comfortable for you. If you walk through the center in “clean” clothes you are getting germs. Health care workers are recommended to change when you get home. Have a smock, button-down shirt, to be able to change if needed during the day. Not wearing shoes in their home, have work shoes separate. 

How often will students and staff be tested

Check when they come in, use common sense. If they start feeling warm later in the day check as needed. Take the temperature of families if you are allowing them inside. 

If it is recommended for siblings to be together, what about children of staff, do they need to be with their family member?

Use your best judgement. Main guidance is to stay with their assigned group for the entire day. 

I am open currently caring for essential workers children. I am curious how we will transition back into our regular license capacity. I have parents preparing to return to work and wanting to send their child back and I am not supposed to care for them until my emergency license for essential workers is switched back to my group care license.

Many variations can exist, reach out to U4C for specific guidance. Need a facility plan overall and how you are going to decide to take children as you are able to take more children. Set goals for increase and get a handle there and know which kids you will be able to take at that point. 

How long is suggested for a center to keep the records of the daily health checks?

For the time being keep a track, could be scanned and saved on the computer, spreadsheet, or creating a file for the documents. Very important for areas with a high concentration of COVID-19. 

Will there be any financial support from state or federal governments to support the added costs centers must now incur to keep staff and children healthy? Are there any estimates of how much fees paid by parents will need to rise to comply with our new reality?

Hoping to find out what funds are coming in and what that actually looks like. Follow up with De about potential funding opportunities. 

Lift up family set with regional work 

Going out if the building and re-entry

Wear separate mask if the staff leave for personal reasons and can come back to their mask at the center. 

The person responsible for health check is supposed to wash her hands and change gloves between each child doesn’t she? Is she going to use hand sanitizer instead?

Washing hands between each interaction is key. If gloves are worn she would need to change gloves between each interaction. 

Soap and water is the best. Hand sanitizer should be used as an added layer of germ-killing if you decide to use it.  It should be used when soap and water is not accessible.  Hand sanitizer alone is not recommended. 

Should classrooms avoid things like group time?

Spread children out for group time, planning space for center time, and lunch time. Try to get a wide spread. 

Lots! Particularly on arrival and departure, who is/isnt allowed in building and playground procedures.

Haven’t seen formal things, encourage hand washing before they leave. Plan for clothes, leaving smocks at the school. Staggering departure and drop off times. Could a family wait in the car until it’s safe for them to come and do drop off. Requirements not set, use best judgment. Think through who you may want in the home: social workers, specialists, families, how great is the need and weigh it out. Limit exposure overall. Think of the person who may be coming in and their safety. agree – limiting as much as possible. Even having same parent/person pick up and drop off for the day, if possible

For daily health screenings …. If a staff / child doesn’t have a fever, any recommendations for how many other symptoms would require exclusion?

What you ask for a normal check and the specific covid symptoms. 

Will there be any help with getting needed supplies like hand sanitizer?

Community hubs, most are out of sanitizer, where are you located 

is it law to take temp and log each child’s daily health screen right now for in home 10 or less? 

Licensing has not changed regulations and are making recommendations. Not law but best practice. 

 

Next Meeting Dates

  • May 27
  • June 3

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:   helpme@united4children.org     | 314-252-0078

May 27

“She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten.”

Peer to Peer Support

Interview practices, virtually, how to know if they are connecting with children well

  • Prepared lesson for that age group to see how it would work
  • Scenarios
  • Video and giving feedback of what went well and didn’t
  • Even role playing with a candidate is helpful.  You can be the parent expressing a concern or potentially negative concern and ask the candidate to respond to your comments.

Accepting new children from essential workers- how to consider taking on new children

  • Toured over the weekend to show a new parent and spread out to be able to clean and social distance
  • What other ideas to bring in new clients

Are teachers maintaining wearing masks, offering breaks and ratios during that time?

  • Not required to wear masks during the day. Masks worn during temperature checks, or leaving the building for breaks. 
  • Dr. Punch video: https://youtu.be/GiiBCUZDRuE

Are rugs being pulled up?

  • Some cleaning and spraying with bleach
  • Some pulling up rugs
  • I have a home daycare, but I went to no rugs a few years ago, and use the foam indoor interlocking mats (from Sams) everywhere – book corner, infant corner, by sink where floor gets slick when wet, etc.  Simple to sanitize.

Magic list for what to do? 

Has anyone adjusted staff time/ center time? 

  • 4 ten hour days and center closed on Fridays
  • Reducing hours to be able to increase cleaning capacity
  • Offering time slots for drop off and pick up

Has anyone done a phased approach to opening?

  • Just happened based on what the families needed. In June starting with more children and parents are wanting to have shorter hours.
  • Opened on the 11th for essential, opened to everyone next so moving to increase hours each week. Some families coming at the end of June. Ramped up naturally. 

Sent parent an email but her son will never use a mask, how can we support them to move to this?

  • Isn’t required but you can choose to do it
  • In public children over 2 should wear masks in public
  • Do what is right for you and your business
  • https://united4children.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/covid19-masks-2.pdf
  • https://united4children.org/covid-19

Census Presentation 

  • Educate and help people complete the Census
  • Getting An Accurate Count – 2020 Census
  • https://youtu.be/mwkTSkwsRsE
  • Families don’t count children under 5 or newborns
  • Families confused with who counts a child when time is split between families
  • Exciting to get information out to families:
    • Win a prize request a Census presentation, raffle gift cards- leave a link so you can get a link
    • First 5 who sign up, one will win a $25 gift card
    • Attend a session for pop up presentations for games and winning a gift card 
    • If you complete and send link could win raffle
    • Everyone who emails at the end of the month will be put back in the raffle drawing for $50
    • If your staff/families turn them in and your center gives 10 completed census entered into a $100 gift card
  • https://forms.gle/tyQ5Zjos8LQpLRJE6 

Next Meeting Dates

  • June 3
  • June 10

Helpful article for how you may be feeling: https://medium.com/@alwaysmay/no-how

-are-you-really-468c0087b75

Upcoming training:  https://sl4k.z2systems.com/np/clients/sl4k/event.jsp?event=18511

 

June 3

COVID-19 Help Highlight- Social Stories:

Lisa Eberle Mayse, Director of Inclusion, talked about how to use social stories to get children reacquainted with their classroom. How can you use social stories?

  1. At hello and goodbye so people know how to do that well. Take pictures of families and children can take them into the classroom since families can’t go in.
  2. Create a social story of the classroom to reacclimate back to the classroom. 
  3. Personalizing social stories is powerful.
  4. Send one home to refresh a child before coming back.
  5. Kiss jar- kiss in jar with a family picture at bottom so a child can reconnect during that day.

Peer to Peer Support:

  1. What are you doing to get everyone reconnected?
  • Write to other centers and have a pen pal center to write letters and send pictures. Able to write letters, send in envelopes and stamps. Started sending letters to friends who aren’t there anymore and delivered to their homes. 
  1. What do we do if we are seeking PPE supplies?
  • Community Hub 4119 N Hanley 63121 Please call for an appointment 314 302 0902 Adrienne Pennington
  • Email Elisa for a hub close to you ziege@united4children.org
  1. Are all centers asking therapists not to come in?
  • Most want to have people come in, the therapists and consultants aren’t allowed. Belle Center has an early childhood special educator to support staff families and children, especially being there consistently and feeling comfortable together and being one staff to support children and families. Support ASQ, looks at gifts and areas of struggle. Work to place action plans to support a child who needs to make progress. If needed look to a referral. Also, works with family to get support onsite at center during the day and everyone benefits. Keep evaluating with family and teachers. Belle Center contact information: https://www.slarc.org/programs/early-childhood/
  1. How do we support a family with a child with special needs when therapists can’t come in? 
  • Lots of families are in that position, and they need to work and there are fewer options. Therapists can’t come in but your program can still be a happy and safe space for him. Lisa and Gina would love to help with this! eberlemaysel@united4children.org or dattilog@united4children.org (314) 531-1412 ext. 117

Resources: 

Next Steps: 

  • Next Meetings June 10 and June 17 6:00 p.m.
  • Over the summer we will be doing monthly free clock hour training virtually! Follow our training calendar here to check in on updates: https://sl4k.z2systems.com/np/clients/sl4k/publicaccess/eventCalendarBig.jsp
  • See the re-opening documents on our website at www.united4children.org
  • 2 Hours- Zoom Training Embracing Diversity July 22, 2020 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
    • Have you ever wondered how to support diversity with children, families and the

professionals you work with? In this training you will look at what you believe

about diversity and ways to support diversity in your group setting.

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUofu2rqjopHdBB5pgPONfKkB4WnFx1Ovmi 

A little fun:

Blackberry Lemonade:

  1. Place 2 pints of fresh blackberries in a bowl with a little lemon juice and about ¼ cup sugar.
  2. Let them sit in the fridge overnight.
  3. Take the berries out.
  4. Make this awesome blackberry cobbler: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/blackberry-cobbler-recipe-1925731
  5. Spoon the blackberries into the cobbler pan.
  6. In the bottom of your bowl you will have a yummy mix of blackberry juice and sugar.
  7. Pour that yumminess into a small cup with ice.
  8. Add lemon juice and water to taste.
  9. Enjoy!

 

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:   helpme@united4children.org     | 314-252-0078

June 10

“Confidence is a habit, not a trait.”

COVID-19 Help Highlight: Hiring during a pandemic

Stephanie and Chrissy from TLF for Families are joining us today with information about hiring. We are thrilled that they are sharing their time with us!

Stephanie’s presentation 

We recognize that rebuilding staff can be challenging. More about TLC– we started the company for back up childcare when the regular care situation fell through- over 30 years ago! We offer child care and preschool substitutes for long term and short term opportunities. We are open 7 days a week 5:30 am to 7:30 pm. So if you need help with extra staff support contact us! We are offering discounts at this time due to COVID. We recognize the struggle so want to offer some relief. Our services have even expanded to a variety of states. 

Chrissy’s presentation 

  • Remote interviewing allows you to spend more time with folks to get to know them and ask more questions. I always have them call me, not me call them– this allows me to begin seeing their reliability and timeliness. 
  • Find applicants through Indeed and Care.com. Or word of mouth– ask your staff or applicants to give you names of people they know. 
  • At first we had Care.com send an automatic message to people to go to a website to complete applications- applications went to a halt. But the better plan is to reach out and look at their profile- call and tell them about positions you have available. We got 15 in just 1 week that are high quality after the switch!
  •  You can build the application/profile on Care.com and Indeed. 
  • Remote allows for more flexibility and can offer a chance to fit into their schedule. Begins with a focus that you care about them. 
  • Start with interview and take time. Ask about who they are as a person- hobbies, why do you like working with children? Get a strong idea for who they are. 
  • Must have 3 child care related references- we do not move anyone through unless they have these– must be positive. Ask about reliability, share what they have done in the day with children. Are their reasons not to hire, what could they have done better? References hard to get- so make it easy- have a text line to share references. Ask for phone number and email. If calling isn’t convenient, check the email. Offers the chance to talk at different times of the day. Trust your gut and ask more questions to really hear and engage.
  •  Once 3 messages are back then set up a deeper interview (2nd interview) face to face (online) ask about child care, role play, activities, what would you do if? Type questions. 
  • Some say they have experience but don’t and others just don’t interview well- let’s figure out which it is.
  •  Use Google Classroom to load all paperwork to share with the potential staff so they can complete and saves you time–even using a digital signature. Can add trainings as well. 
  • Google Classroom in gmail- copy and paste an invite for your “class code”. Can track what they are taking, and how they have turned in documents they need and saved in a secure spot. Go over tax, health, etc. You can see what they have conducted and learned. Can tell if they turned something in. Combined and in one spot. 
  • We do the entire orientation in google docs- then schedule a follow up before anyone actually begins. Ends up hiring successful folks since you know more ahead of time and see if they progress through the things you need.
  • Any training and you can see if they watched/did training and required to sign. 
  • Uploaded legal documents- may need to have them moved to a secure connection piece. 
  • tlc@tlcforkids.com for specific questions about google classroom. 
  • https://tlcforkids.com/
  • Chrissy@tlcforkids.com

Presentation File HERE

Peer to Peer Support

  • Excerpt from Renee and Childcare Exchange:

The early childhood field has been hit hard these past months. We at Exchange have seen your courage and resilience, and we also know that some days are just extremely hard.

As another Monday begins, we recognize that we will all face still more challenges and still more changes. If you’re sometimes discouraged, you’re not alone.

We want to offer some ideas that we hope might help. These come from colleagues throughout the Exchange community:

  1. At the end of each day, when you feel very tired, remind yourself, “I’m tired because I’ve really been of service to others today.”
  2. When you need to make a complex decision, ask yourself, “What is the most loving choice I can make in this hard circumstance?” Then, with that guidance, make your decision and do not second guess yourself.
  3. When embarking on difficult conversations, begin by acknowledging, “This is not easy for any of us. We must just do our best in this challenging time.”
  4. Stay grounded in your pride for what you do. You do not need others’ permission to feel proud of your work. Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
  5. Don’t expect perfection. Allow yourself to have down days or non-productive times.
  6. Be strict with yourself about “working time” and “not working time.” When you’re not working, that also means you aren’t worrying about work either.
  7. Talk to people who truly understand what you are experiencing.
  8. Remind yourself that you have strength of heart.
  9. Find at least one moment of joy each day.
  10. Remember: As we demonstrate our ability to meet challenges with courage, we help children believe they will be able to do the same when their time comes someday.

We send our admiration, love and heartfelt support to each one of you,

Nancy Rosenow, Exchange Publisher, and the entire Exchange Team

  • Idea for a CPR class is with Emily Lewis– comes recommended by a member of the group! Her contact information is: showmecprmissouri.com, (636) 364- 8760, emily@showmecprmissouri.com or on facebook

Questions and Answers 

  • Final Phase City Reopening notes available HERE
  • How is fingerprinting working and who is open? Renee is sending info.
  • Where are you all on opening? Flo Valley opening Monday- helping to prepare children on what to do. It is hard for teachers to not automatically hug and connect/chat with children and families.
  • End of week having the resources and perspectives for re-opening ideas
  • Did anyone see the PBS information about supporting families to understand racial equity? https://www.pbs.org/parents/talking-about-racism

Next Meeting Dates

  • June 17
  • June 24
June 17

“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”

COVID-19 Help Highlight: CARES Grant Support

United 4 Children will be supporting child care providers with grant TA support to apply for the CARES grant in St. Louis County. Keep in mind that these support services can help all centers learn how to apply for a grant and the financial support offered (all free!) can be used as you plan programs. 

The grant application is here: https://stlcsf.smapply.io/prog/stlouisco_cares_childcare/

Our finance partner for the grant is: https://thecharitycfo.com/

  • Sounded like process for application might be easy but the extra support materials seem too challenging
  • Payroll has been the biggest challenge, had thought of redoing the playground now unsure

We are finding out if playgrounds can be asked for and we are also seeing if we can make the document section easier.

Peer to Peer Support

    1. Began first week being open! Are people who are open having teachers wear masks the whole time. And for Infant/Toddlers are you requiring them to wear something long sleeve all day? Masks inside but not outside if not in close contact. Teachers keeping an extra change of clothes. Others not requiring masks, but focusing more on cleaning well. Consider where you are located as you re-open, are you in a “hot pocket”? If so, you may need to have a stronger focus on prevention. Why wear long sleeves when pushing a stroller? Maybe carry a “shoulder pad” like a BIG burp cloth we use with babies.  Most “fluids” seem to end up on our shoulders when kids are crying, runny noses, drooling, etc.

  • What is happening in your community isn’t a good idea as things can change at anytime. Social distance important if we can’t where a mask, if we are dealing with coughs and colds handled differently. Read over and over the CDC. Mentioned that we are connecting with the new task force for re-opening and will bring questions to the doctors there. 

 

    1. How many children do people have? ⅓ now, anticipated ½, but not there yet. Using small groups and largest is 8 in a classroom. Concerned about when all children come back in August- unsure of how to do that well. 
    2. Camp had been planned but many dropped out so cancelled. However, will open in August. Curious about arrival- planning to meet families in the car. What if children don’t want to get out the car? Have a check point station, but what else? Some have outside doors to classrooms and drop off is at their classrooms and assigned a time for 15 minute slot, have a my day sheet that is sent at home and was sent at mock drop off– use to find out what happened the night before, on the back side is COVID questions to complete and sign. Quick exchange after temperature check. I wonder Kris, if a child is struggling at drop off if the parent could park and bring them to the front door. Do you think that might help? Can we do a training for pick up and drop off in partnership with Belle? Make sure to communicate to Kris Doder what we come up with. Creating videos for families to be comfortable with what drop off looks like. Create individualized books or videos to help children get acclimated.
    3. In case of emergency do parents need PPE? Many agreed that this would be helpful so we can support the children and families in safety

  • How do we do emergency drills? Being asked at the next Regional call.

 

  1. Separate classroom for children of first responders? No, mixed with their typical classroom

Questions and Answers 

  • Regional ECE Re-Opening Advisory Task Force has begun. Elisa is a part of this and will bring information to each call. This group convenes medical professionals for us to ask questions pertaining to childcare. If you have questions send them to: ziege@united4children.org
  • DSS was on a call last week and updates are below:
  1. “Will we continue to be paid on authorization rather than enrollment beyond June?” – At this time we will not be extending payments for authorization vs. attendance. A GovDelivery Email is being drafted and will be issued tomorrow along with other information on the CARES Act Funding.
  2. “Will the expanded requirements for approval for families stay in place or return to the previous poverty guidelines?  If they’re staying in place, is there a known date it may change?” The poverty guidelines for the revised transitional child care program (reduction from 3 levels to 2 levels and increase of benefit to 80% and 60%) will be on going for families receiving traditional child care level of care who transition to the next levels due to increase in income. The temporary TCC program will only go through August to apply and will receive no more than four months of care at the transitional level.
  3. “My concern with DSS not paying the average or any additional is how will we be able to pay employees full time if we are at half of our capacity…unless I missed something?” (question came from Lisa Scheer, provider)  Lisa stated it’s hard for businesses to know how to budget in relation to capacity served to dollars reimbursed when future reimbursement processes are unknown. The GovDelivery email to providers will clarify payment processes. We need to ensure that we are not over extending our CARES Act funds. After this initial wave of payments are completed and if funds are still available we may be able to provide additional support in the future.
  4. Many early childhood professionals have been working together to gather resources and information for you. Human Agency has created a space to house these resources. Some of this information is below:
  5. Resources Navigation Tool: Now on the homepage, there is a floating button that can help visitors navigate through resources. This can be added and colored to match any of your websites. If you would like to add this to your site to promote the resources available, in particular an easy way to navigate reopening centers information, please let me know.

    It includes:
    1. Segmenting and routing people to specific parts of the reopening guidelines
    2. Connects people to other resources as parents, providers, or advocates
    3. Incorporates a COVID-19 self screener

  6. Coalition Requests: This page has a number of requests for each of you. Please take some time to review and submit. In particular, please see the request regarding google ad grants.

  7. Calendar: There is now a calendar of resource / event opportunities that you can submit additions to.

  8. Story Collection: We’ll be sharing this opportunity more broadly soon but please check out this page where people can nominate ECE providers for recognition or tell their story/experience as an ECE provider. Feel free to go ahead with your own nominations and/or experiences

Next Meeting Dates

  • June 24
  • July 1
June 24

QUOTE: “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back.” – Mya Angelou

COVID-19 Help Highlight: CARES Grant Support

Questions and Answers

  • Is the Small Business Relief grant in conflict with this grant?  And does this restriction apply as it did with the SBR grant? Yes, this is a restriction–  “No business may receive an SBR grant if the business has a director, officer, employee, agent, or sub-contractor that is an elected or appointed official of St. Louis County, an elected or appointed official of any municipality within St. Louis County, or is a member of the immediate family of any such elected or appointed official.” 
  • If they are a new center, are they eligible?  Yes, there is no language suggesting otherwise
  • Tosha is open to Providers contacting her with other questions.
  • The sample forms to use for writing the grant are available U4C website: https://united4children.org/st-louis-county-cares-act-child-care-relief-fund/

Next Meeting Dates

  • July 1- TA for the CARES grant will be offered 
  • July 8- TA for the CARES grant will be offered

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:   helpme@united4children.org     | 314-252-0078

July 1

“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” Eleanor Roosevelt

COVID-19 Help Highlight: CARES Grant Support

We received support from Tim at Charity CFO https://thecharitycfo.com/ and Ann at Gladiators

https://www.gladiatorrds.com/.

Technical assistance packet:  https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:158551dd-a0d6-4b96-95d7-3e63710d78b2

Website to access resources: https://united4children.org/st-louis-county-cares-act-child-care-relief-fund/

View the discussion video HERE

Tip from Veronica: Plan ahead for the Certificate of Good Standing it takes more than 48 hours

  1. What can I add for the re-opening cost? Use broad categories like: supplies, materials for children
  2. If you received PPP loans you can still get payroll costs with CARES– this must be from different funding allotments. 
  3. One thing I was thinking was something to separate outdoor space (even temporary fencing that can be moved) so multiple rooms can be outside at a time.
  4. What if this is our first invoice, how do we number them? It’s the same as when counting start at the beginning and go up.
  5. How many are not applying from this group? Only one person answered for the city and is planning to apply there
  6. How much is the certificate of good standing? $10 and includes a seal and they will either email (most likely) or mail it to you
  7. Has anyone had challenges in technical work in doing the survey monkey application? Scanned documents looked fuzzy in the system, people are suggesting that they be checked to verify you got them attached.
  8. What if I don’t have technology? St. Louis County library has computers and scanner available to you

Peer to Peer Support

  1. Baeden opening on Monday- working to get things put back together, painted, waxed the floors, and cleaned out toys to make less stuff to clean and going through licensing right now
  2. Linda opened last week but max they have had is only 11 kids so wondering if they opened too soon? Nervous but it has gone smooth
  3. How did teachers handle it? Glad to be back but feel guilty without a ton of kids, children LOVE it and are thriving in small groups, some families changed their mind at the last minute. Sticking with only ⅓ of capacity of 45 doing half days with teachers right now and are thankful for getting the PPP money but paying them full time so teachers can remain consistent. Paid an attorney to write up a waiver for staff to sign for no risk. Added air purifiers. Added school shoes for indoor and shirt or smock and mask (not expecting them to wear) teachers have masks, face shields, hair nets, and school shows, have a person sanitizing toys. Not preparing food on site, getting packaged food to avoid that contact. Have 2’s and prek on one side then an infant toddler center. Keeping them split in case someone gets sick and then can be moved if needed. Plan for getting sick–what do we do differently? Did ½ days for teachers and older kids encouraged wearing masks and 4-5’s have been doing well!
  4. Hubs update? Contact your closest hub to see if you can get supplies: https://united4children.org/community-collective-hubs/
  5. How are things going with increased cases of COVID? Teachers concerned, families have misinformation and limited connection with PPE, etc. The unemployment stimulus will end on July 25 and now will have to figure out what to do- what will this look like for families and programs being in higher need. The unknown is hard to handle.
  6. Portable air purifiers what kind are they? Germ guardians is what we ordered. Others ordered from Home Depot and they were high cost, over $400 and filters are $125 each. 
  7. Has anyone used the free standing hand washing stations?  You have to refill the water regularly so make a plan for easy transition to refill. Always have a secondary to refill, but should be able to do 15 children with 1 jug. You have to dump discarded water– try to water plants.
  8. How have you been getting the kids water? Water bottles and get washed, rinsed and sanitized after use.
  9. https://www.earlychildhoodwebinars.com/  

Next Meeting Dates

  • July 8- TA for the CARES grant will be offered 
  • July 15- We are hoping to show videos of reopening strategies. We encourage everyone to make a video to plan to show at our call on 7/15. U4C will show a demonstration at next week’s call. 
  • Free training: Registration Link for Trauma Informed Strategies 7.14.20
July 8

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make me feel important!” Mary Kay Ash

You are important!

And now our country is figuring out how important the life giving work you do every day is. Check out this article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/07/03/big-factor-holding-back-us-economic-recovery-child-care/?utm_campaign=wp_main&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebookEven our country know

COVID-19 Help Highlight: CARES Grant Support

We received support from Tim at Charity CFO https://thecharitycfo.com/ and Deanna the Executive Director at United 4 Children- finchd@united4children.org

Technical assistance packet:  https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/review?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:158551dd-a0d6-4b96-95d7-3e63710d78b2

Website to access resources: https://united4children.org/st-louis-county-cares-act-child-care-relief-fund/

Charity CFO Presentation access: https://youtu.be/Qvg14jbM7h0

  1. What if I am a religious organization? Your financial support documents will work 
  2. I have a family home with license capacity of 10, but my licensee is 24/7.  What would my capacity be? I’m looking at the application and there are no real guidelines here. If it were me, for these purposes, I would  choose the 11-50 children.
  3. Can I apply if I have remained open? Yes.

Peer to Peer Support

  1. Student came in with parent, mom’s temperature was 101. Mom was worried, waited re-did and was still high. Mentioned some of her medical challenges. Offered to take child home. School asked for a doctors note–was this correct? Opinion is that we will ask the medical advisory group (doctors) and that being safe is wise. Other providers talked to parents that a letter is strong and that if a temperature is combined with other challenges the note no longer matters. 
  2. Plan is to take child’s temperature. Why is a parents temperature taken? Places are taking both temperatures even if not coming into the program. Some are only taking the child’s temperature since they are the only ones going into the program. Others take temperature outside of the door. Some have stations outside to check for health. 
  3. How do you decide they can come back if found to have fever? Provider recommended that families need to come with a doctors note
  4. Are children wearing masks all day? Try to keep them 6 ft apart and most are trying and enjoying it. It has gone smooth. Others say the 4-5’s are wearing them and doing well. Some say they are not doing masks. 
  5. How are staff doing wearing a mask while teaching? We are so used to it that we don’t notice. Others are struggling with it and it’s hard to learn this new way of teaching. 
  6. Are you a 24 hour center? Open 6-6 M-F from one center
  7. Should we create a safe space for virtual learning since school children will need support if parents are at work and children are required to do virtual school? This was an idea mentioned but not discussed

Updates from the medical call

  1. Should we use portable air filters? Doctor 1: We use portable HEPA in every construction area in the hospital to reduce the risk of fungi and mold exposure and they have a lot of evidence for their utility in this area. I don’t think it would be a horrible thing in a classroom even just for general health (St. Louis has some pretty poor air quality) but for prevention of COVID-19 there isn’t much evidence to support that extra cost. Doctor 2: I am not aware of any literature that would suggest portable air purifiers would be necessary, unless the facility has inadequate ventilation their use is unproven, although some hospitals have used a HEPA filter unit in patient rooms that have poor ventilation.  Opening windows between use of the room might be the best advice, is an option.
  2. Any tips for using portable sinks? Doctor 1: Portable sinks can be used, just would have to be wiped down with an appropriate disinfectant between use.

Important  Dates

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:   helpme@united4children.org     | 314-252-0078

July 15

Motivational Quote

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen” -Brene Brown

 COVID-19 Help Highlight: Support Federal Childcare Relief

Casey Hanson with Kids Win MO was our guest speaker.

Please read Kids Win Missouri’s follow up materials below and take action (4 SIMPLE STEPS!) to support child care in Missouri:

1) Read our new report that details the challenges child care providers face as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for Congress to invest an additional $50 billion to stabilize the child care profession. Read Our Full Report here.

2) Take action now to support child care in Missouri. The pandemic has caused a massive disruption for providers throughout our state. We need to make a quick and substantial investment to ensure that we support our child care infrastructure, so that providers can continue to provide care now and be there for parents as they get back to work. Take TWO MINUTES of your time to email Missouri’s US Senators and Congressional delegation and use your voice to support child care providers and the children and families that rely on them. 

3) Share within your networks or connect with Kids Win Missouri on Facebook or Twitter and share our content to encourage your networks to take action in support of child care. 

4) Join our email list and stay informed and engaged on issues impacting kids and families in Missouri and our policy and advocacy efforts to advance policies that improve child well-being in our state. 

Reopening Video’s and other support

Was anyone able to create a video?

No. I didn’t know how to do it and if I did the one you showed last week was too good.

Suggestions: Know that these videos don’t need to be professionally done. The goal is to show families and children what to expect when they return to ease anxiety and help with compliance of what you are asking.

Have a parent or other person you know who is tech savvy help you out. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is just a way to share with families and children what the new norm expectations are.

Peer to Peer Support

  1. Several educators on the call were able to take advantage of the Trauma-Informed Strategies training presented by United 4 Children on July 14. They were thankful to receive this information and look forward to trying to implement some of the strategies.
  2. Several educators mentioned using boxes or trays to help contain individual toys for one child to play with at a time. When they are finished it is easier to collect the toys to wash before allowing another child to play with them.
  3. Another educator mentioned that using visuals has been extremely helpful. She used hula hoops and pool noodles to indicate a child’s space to allow for social distancing.

Q&A

Gurlovleen Rathore watched the SLPS video about returning to school. She was wondering if anyone will be advocating for teacher’s safety with the return of school? There are many different perspectives when discussing the fall school year. To have your voice heard, please contact your local school district directly. SLPS will be announcing Monday their plan for the fall.

Here is the link she shared for the SLPS Board Meeting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kigd-K_OjVk

Important Dates

 

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything: helpme@united4children.org  | 314-252-0078

July 22
  • “I discovered I always have choices and sometimes it’s only a choice of attitude.”- Judith Knowniton

COVID-19 Help Highlight: School Age Plans

We discussed plans of the school districts and how these impact our programs. Our 3 areas of focus were: update, impact, and questions. 

School Plans

SLPS: https://www.slps.org/restartfeedback

Hazelwood: https://www.hazelwoodschools.org/Page/7871

Rockwood: https://www.rsdmo.org/parents/return/Pages/default.aspx

Parkway: https://www.parkwayschools.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=10305

Ferguson/Florissant: not updated

Jennings: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xqDpSpHOsGeak_TGsvYTLLWu0wjO55nm/view

Normandy Schools Collaborative: https://www.normandysc.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=1674

Riverview Gardens: not updated

Impact

  • Concerned that children who haven’t come back may not as the parents are unsure of what their work holds.
  • Concerned that since there are so few children are we going to make it.
  • People don’t want to start and then have to change them over and many need more consistent options.
  • Some of the school-age children are needing to watch their younger siblings.
  • School-age children still need access to technology and wifi.

Questions

  • When schools shut down- will the state allow for more child care subsidies and cover food costs? 
  • What will the families expectation be of child care providers being tutors for their children?
  • Are children going to be left unsupervised at their homes and/or with siblings attending school at home?
  • Some schools are offering technology (chromebooks/Ipads) but will they provide access to wifi?
  • Some of the schools are offering transportation for children who exhibit COVID symptoms. What if families aren’t home? How does this impact before/after school programs that operate in schools?

Peer to Peer Support

  1. Veronica loved the Trauma training Becky offered and translated this into Spanish for her staff and she presented her first training! 
  2. Marcia’s program started July 6 the numbers are low but this is giving an opportunity to work out plans with staff. 
  3. Programs in need of staff.
    1. Some use Indeed and word of mouth for recruitment.
    2. Some offer sign-on bonuses.
    3. Elisa to follow up with Child Care Aware and their work to support job connections. 
    4. Would it be helpful to try to host virtual job fairs for programs?
  4. Prospect from Stray Dog is curating art shows and sharing with families. Check out the first exhibit and stay tuned for more! https://www.facebook.com/OutHrrEvents/videos/623449861861555/
  5. Programs are still exploring ways to connect with families.
    1. Teaching Strategies Parent Portal
    2. Flip Grid
  6. Graduation ideas explored
    1. Virtual
    2. “Trunk or Treat” style
    3. Car parades
    4. Mail gift cards to prizes 

Other Topics for Discussion

  • Parent Engagement
  • Continue sharing of challenges and resolutions
  • Subsidy variances
  • Funding opportunities 
  • Creative opportunities for supporting school age children
  • Technology options and funding for school age children
  • Access to books for children and from the school districts

Next Meeting Dates

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:helpme@united4children.org | 314-252-0078

July 29

Become a Possibilitarian- “No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities- always see them, for they’re always there.” Norman Vincent Peale

COVID-19 Help Highlight: Family Connections

Our friends from the Belle Center joined in to give ideas on how to connect with families for support. The team worked to share information on:

  • Connecting with families virtually
  • Supporting drop off and pick up
  • Supporting parent connection to the classroom

Belle Center- Works with programs, children in the classrooms, and children with special needs. They believe “we belong to each other and when we do that the more effective and happier we will be”. Anything they offer is for everyone! Contact information for the staff is below: 

  • Kate- khannon@slarc.org 
  • Tina- tclosson@slarc.org
  • Jen- jyoffie@slarc.org 

Ideas for working with Families: 

  • Offer playground connections with families with all wearing masks
  • Offer group time virtually, have other children at home join
  • Offer games through ZOOM
  • Consider 1 on 1 ZOOM support for individual activities in the classroom
  • Creating lesson plans and activities for programs- daily plans (please share)
  • Offer extensions for these lessons 
  • Book list for seasons that can be borrowed at the libraries- these come with lessons and back ups
  • Providing behavior support for children has been challenging and but helpful to offer structure and consistency
  • Make sure to have an inviting environment during drop off
  • Consider having a connection activity for the child and family
  • Maybe add music and dancing to have an engaging drop off- transition to the room with the dance step
  • Sprinkle “love” aka glitter and do sanitizer together- remind them they are safe
  • Add a sticker to the mask to have a connection and can follow up at the end of the day
  • For infants- wearing same/consistent masks feels safer and helps them understand the transition
  • Consider having the same person at the door each day so children know what to expect and feel safe
  • Use a welcome social story
  • Consider journaling with the family- even now this could be virtual through video, email, or text
  • Send families text messages with pictures
  • Consider an app to support families- https://www.classdojo.com/
  • Consider using the daily form for all ages. How might you adjust this so families can stay aware and teachers can stay aware?
  • It’s a struggle- we are communicating but not connecting
  • Make sure to still connect with families about the positive–not only the negative
  • Our goals need to be supporting the relationships important to the child
  • Consider mailing something to the children
  • We also did a birthday mobile during May for our all our May-June birthdays. We delivered gifts to the children at their homes
  • Record YouTube videos for families and then children can watch even after the first time- we know they love hearing stories again and again!
  • Let’s make kids feel good coming and going!
  • Children can even enjoy learning about teachers more during this time!
  • Some programs have director go out to greet children and families
  • Some offering ZOOM circle time

Peer to Peer Support

The team shared platforms they used for connecting with families. Names of the person sharing is beside the idea so you can connect for further information.

  • Teaching Strategies- Marcia Hayes
  • Classroom DoJo- Kris Doder
  • Create a google phone number- Elisa Zieg
  • Himama- Lisa Scheer
  • Procare- Kris Doder
  • Simpletexting- Kate Hannon
  • Hello and Good by Ideas

COVID Supports

  • County COVID supports: New email for schools and child care- https://meet.google.com/qkv-hvsu-xgj
  • County COVID supports: Division of Communicable Disease Control, likely sent to Amanda Brzowzki- 314-615-1630
  • County COVID supports: Fax number-314-615-8346
  • If you go in for a COVID test- act as if you are positive and isolate
  • Main definition is if you have close contact with someone who is positive (within 6 feet for 15 minutes) then you need to quarantine.
  • Disinfection for a classroom with a case- close classroom for 24 hours, follow standard disinfection practices (even pre COVID steps) while wearing gloves and a mask
  • Funding may be coming for hot spots
  • DSS- looking for job subsidies extended through September
  • DSS- Payments based on authorization!!!! For questions email: CD.ASKCCOIS@dss.mo.gov 

Question and Answers

  • What support is there for Mental Health?

 

BJC Behavioral Health is offering free crisis counseling to anybody impacted by the pandemic, with help from a federal grant. If you or anyone you know needs behavioral health support related to COVID-19, please call 314.747.7492 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

Ina addition, this is the list I have:

Catholic Family Services thru UMSL  1-800-652-8055

Children’s Advocacy Center  314-516-6798

Epworth  314-918-3301

Family Forward  314-534-9350

Family Solutions for Kids (thru Every Child’s Hope)  314-785-0180

Great Circle  844-424-3577

Jewish Family & Children’s Services (open to all)  314-993-1000

Lutheran Child and Family Services  314-787-5100

Miriam  314-968-3893

Next Meeting Dates

  • August 5- Ready Readers
  • August 12

Opportunities

  • Let’s Talk Pilot– way to support families as they support their children’s language skills gift cards provided for time committed. Goes from September 14 to November 20- email Elisa: ziege@united4children.org 
  • Also, check out our U4C training calendar for additional trainings including registering for the Building the Preschool to Promise Pipeline Conference
August 5

Connection: What is your favorite ECE book and why? 

  • Read for me Momma 
  • Napping House 
  • One Hungry Monster 
  • Go Away Big Green Monster 

COVID-19 Help Highlight: Ready Readers  

  • RR will release this Tuesday to all providers: 
  • Virtual Visit Program: for 3-5 year olds, provides 15-20 minutes of connection & gift books 
  • Ready Reader Pen Pals: for 3-5 year olds, child can exchanges letters with a trained RR 
  • Birth-35 months- gift books and other materials for the classroom 
  • Will continue to have extended learning activities to programs to send home with books. 

Q: Can you choose more than one session for a classroom.  
A: No, must choose one. 

Q: What age group do you work with? 
A: 0-5 

Q: Would you consider supporting School age children who are in childcare programs? 
A: We don’t currently but would consider this during Covid time to meet the needs of the children. Could also make sure the extended learning activities sheet includes activities for the older children as well. 

Possibilities: Have school age children read to children virtually, offer pen pal opportunities. 

Q: Do all providers have access to technology? 
A: Programs are working to access more technology out of necessity but are concerned about too much screen time. 

Becky Referenced St. Louis City/County Libraries supporting those in need of tech. 

Peer to Peer Support 

  • We have been hearing City providers are being asked to shut down if a case of COVID appears but in the county it has been suggested to close a classroom. What have been your experiences? 
  • Marcia mentioned that she has been calling the city health department when issues arise and they have guided her through what to do. 
  • If considering supporting school agers you will need to consider stronger restrictions then in your early childhood space. 

Opportunities 

  • City CARES funding available 
  • Let’s Talk Pilot– way to support families as they support their children’s language skills gift cards provided for time committed. Goes from September 14 to November 20- email Elisa: ziege@united4children.org  
  • Also, check out our U4C training calendar for additional trainings and the fall conference: 

https://sl4k.z2systems.com/np/clients/sl4k/publicaccess/eventCalendarBig.jsp?year=2020&month=6 

Next Meeting Dates 

  • August 12 
  • August 19 

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:helpme@united4children.org | 314-252-0078 

August 12

COVID-19 Help Highlight: Trauma and COVID-19  

  • Trauma literally means wound 
  • The event itself isn’t the main cause of trauma it’s what happens next 
  • Trauma means feeling: 1) powerlessness and 2) abandonment 
  • Avoid comparison, if you are hurt and need something honor this 
  • Start noticing your children today, acknowledge what you see and how they feel. This one small action helps them feel powerful and that you are there for them (not abandoned) 

Peer to Peer Support 

  • Teachers feeling drained and exhausted  
  • Reframe the off the wall behavior to they want to be noticed, seen, and cherished 
  • Consider how you are supporting your teams and noticing and comforting them 
  • Resources for mental health and wellness: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/mental-health-and-wellness-resources 
  • Where can we access kid size masks? Connect with your hub for masks or try websites like: Constructive Playthings, Kaplan, or Lakeshore 

Opportunities 

Next Meeting Dates 

  • August 19– Healthy Food Alliance for Early Education with the American Heart Association  
  • August 26 

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:helpme@united4children.org | 314-252-0078 

August 19

“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.” Carlos Santana 

 

COVID-19 Help Highlight: American Heart Association  

  • Healthy Food Alliance 
  • Specifically, for licensed programs in St. Louis City or St. Louis County 
  • Equitable health for all communities 
  • Healthy Way to Grow 
  • Support how we can help with healthy food, activity, sleep, screen time, and family engagement 
  • Set provider centered action plans to add in these suggestions 
  • Provide newsletters for staff and families 
  • Center recognition for accomplishments 
  • Incentives offered to programs 
  • This is the last opportunity to join in this cycle 
  • Clock hours offered through the MO workshop calendar  
  • To register complete a letter of commitment by August 31 and connect with Andrea at andrea.boeser@heart.org and cell phone is 314-346-8388 
  • Letter of Commitment  

Peer to Peer Support 

  • Concerned with rising number of COVID cases, how are people doing with that? Some staff have been exposed and quarantining them. Feels like a juggling act. Things change daily if not multiple times a day.  
  • SLPS is having space at local schools to support children through online learning, bringing in outside tutors, 8 schools with 150 children at each school. We aren’t sure which schools are going to open yet. Still looking for staff to support these schools. Plan to open 8/31. 
  • Stray Dog staff reading Harry Potter- https://www.straydogtheatre.org/index.php?/arts_in_mind/ 
  • Joy and hope information coming at the Democratic convention that is happening and we can all listen and watch on 9 network, MSNBC, and CCN or google “democratic livestream” to find it 
  • Kids Win Missouri– sign up for action alerts 
  • Ready by 5– sign up for action alerts 
  • What can we do to support our school age staff? Website sharing- https://straydogtheatre.org/ 
  • Eastern Region Alliance discussion about how to support families during COVID 8/25 2-3:30 https://us02web.zoom m.us/j/81189782865 
  • Supporting Students During Covid 

Opportunities 

Next Meeting Dates 

  • August 26
  • September 2 
August 26

“Sometimes all you can do is accept that there is not much you can do. And sometimes all you can control is how you let go of control.”– Lori Deschene 

COVID-19 Help Highlight: Understanding Vicarious Trauma 

Renee Reed- Miller of Miller-Reed, LLC spoke to us about vicarious trauma. Renee specializes in collective trauma and being culturally responsive when working with trauma. You can dive deeper, take classes for yourself or set them up for you group at her website: https://www.reneereedmiller.com/  

  • Trauma effects our bodies, communities, and societies 
  • Compassion is the antidote for trauma 
  • Letting go is self-compassion 
  • Vicarious trauma leaves traces on us 
  • Different than compassion fatigue 
  • Secondary post-traumatic stress are the symptoms that come with being “in” trauma 
  • If you are a caring professional, you are opening your heart to receive the good and not so good  
  • Babette Rothchild- Vicarious traumatization is a sign that a clients history has an impact on a therapist. When we think of this in our caring professions- this happens to us ALL THE TIME 
  • Related to oppression, systematic challenges, and racism 
  • We learn to be caring and active in taking it in 
  • We need to build tools to take care of ourselves 
  • Self-care buffers you against vicarious trauma 
  • During the pandemic we are all experiencing the collective trauma, this reengages trauma in us 
  • Vicarious trauma builds up in our bodies and creates body challenges 
  • On a sensory level these symptoms include sleep disturbances, change in worldview, possibly less inclined to feel empathy, changes in trust, loss of hope, intrusive memories and thoughts, flashbacks of own trauma, cynicism, emotional disturbance, social isolation 
  • Recognize when you need to put up your own red flag that you connect with someone else who has had the same experiences you may have had- this triggers that trauma response  
  • We are not immune to vicarious trauma 
  • Plan for your self-care 
  • You can experience or reexperience through someone else 
  • If you can take personal time it will be good for your immune system 
  • These symptoms of vicarious trauma overlap with compassion fatigue- irritability, frustration, self-esteem issues, intimacy issues, mental fog, inability to reason and analyze   
  • Compassion fatigue comes from vicarious trauma that is not addressed 
  • We then become fatigued of mind and spirit 
  • Self-care interrupts vicarious trauma 
  • Love yourself enough to practice self-care 
  • Leadership can be mindful to check in with staff around this- know your staff may not recognize their trauma  
  • Acknowledge the individual needs self-care and find resources for the whole team 
  • Individual self-care will help the full team navigate waves of trauma 
  • Self-care and self-compassion help us care for our bodies mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually 
  • The 6 aspects of self-care are: proactive and protective regular routines for restoration and regulation, self-management (think self-control), creative expression for healing, social connections and intersectional identity, financial stability, spiritual health 

Questions 

What is the neurobiological response? The body is the brain. We change the body to change the mind. Looking at a mind gut connection- operating with our whole bodies to make a decision with our brain. You can feel a gut response before you can put words to it. This causes your amygdala to grow unless you help stop it with practice of self-care (explore the disruptive harmonics class on the website) 

What is the difference between vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue? Vicarious trauma comes over time through exposure. When vicarious trauma is exposed and continues over time, this will create burn out and compassion fatigue. You can stop vicarious trauma with self-care.  

What is scaffolding? This is the structure that holds the frames of the house. Self-care needs to be the structure; we need to see this as essential and not an add on. Think of your rituals to support our self-care. Coffee every day or tea before bed maybe. Regular routines of self-care scaffolds and creates the structure needed to support trauma you encounter.

Resources to come and will be attached to the website: https://united4children.org/2020-04-early-childhood-educator-connection/ 

Peer to Peer Support 

We explored what areas of trauma we want to learn more about.  

  • Let’s look at how to do self-care more deeply 
  • Dealing with COVID deaths 
  • Healing through creative arts 
  • How to handle seeing painful images over and over- it’s such a gut reaction 
  • Gut and mind connection 
  • How to be hopeful- hopeless to hopeful 
  • How to be more compassionate and teach to be compassionate 
  • Visioning activities and meditation 
  • How to stop the harmful comfort activities  

Tip from colleague: 

  • Mr. Rogers said always look for the helpers in a frightening situation. 

Opportunities 

Check out these virtual learning opportunities for children and youth 

  • Storyline Onlinehttps://www.storylineonline.net/Storyline Online streams videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books alongside creatively produced illustrations. 
  • Funbrain    https://www.funbrain.com/books    Funbrain has dozens of ebooks like Judy Moody and Diary of a Wimpy Kid online for free. No login or download required. 
  • EyeSeeMehttps://www.eyeseeme.com/EyeSeeMe is an African American Children’s Bookstore located in University City which hosts live story time every Wednesday at 11am on their Facebook page. 
  • World Book Day    https://www.worldbookday.com/world-of-stories/World Book Day’s website includes downloadable books and audiobooks, as well as literary-themed activities and reading recommendations. 
  • Bedtime FMhttps://bedtime.fm/Bedtime FM’s website includes Story Time (a free fortnightly audiobook podcast for children ages 2-8),  
  • Peace Out (short stories that help children calm down and relax by guiding them through visualization and breathing exercises), and guided journaling exercises for children of all ages. 
  • Storytelling in the Museum from the Missouri History Museum    https://www.mohistory.orgStorytelling in the Museum is now offered virtually on Zoom 

Upcoming training! 

Next Meeting Dates 

  • September 2 
  • September 9 

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:helpme@united4children.org | 314-252-0078 

September 9

Activity 

Played a game connecting what we learned from compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma to our daily lives. 

Peer to Peer: 

  • balancing virtual classes for school aged children enrolled, especially in a home program that have various ages of children. 
  • shared strategies for working with virtual learning and phrasing it so the families know you are “hosting” and not guaranteeing you will make sure the children get all their work done while they are in your care. 
  • getting state subsidy pay for school agers that are at programs full day 
  • impact of children being in front of screens/surveillance all day 
  • free tutoring through St. Louis County Library 
  • CARES Act funding, who is getting it and what is it being used for 

Opportunities 

Upcoming trainings 

Next Meeting Dates 

  • September 16 
  • September 23 

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:helpme@united4children.org | 314-252-0078 

September 16

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” 

 COVID-19 Help Highlight: Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri 

Contact Information: 

Julie McAfee 
Hilltop Director 
314-389-1001 
juliea@Lfcs.org 

  

Heather Wall 
heatherw@Lfcs.org  573-815-9955 

  

  • Free parent services 
  • Pregnancy services 
  • live anywhere in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, or St. Charles must be enrolled before they have the child. 
  •  Can have multiple children.  
  • Offer parenting education and counseling.  
  • Talk about choices and options for parenting.  
  • Meet them where they are and we go to their home or the child care center, even work. 
  •  Provide diapers, wipes, and baby supplies.  
  • Parenting and Home Visitation services-  
  • can already be parenting.  
  • For St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles.  
  • Parent to a child under the age of 3. 
  •  Fall under 180% of poverty guideline.  
  • Many referrals from Children’s Division but can support a family for prevention before moving to CD.  
  • Will provide and offer services to other partners.  
  • Parenting classes, helping reduce stress barries- financial support, advocacy for children and much more. 
  • With home visitation offers parent cafes so it’s parent led and shared experience. Can be about parenting or life support. 
  • Being able to be with others  
  • Goal is to reduce child abuse and neglect. 
  • Julie (director at Hilltop) enjoys this program so she can help the families and build deeper relationships and connections 
  • Programs available to families not just through child care programs 
  • Informational Sheet 

Peer to Peer Support 

  • We had a long discussion about the providers concern with funding going to support agencies instead of going to the providers. 
  • There is so much confusion about supports offered in early childhood and there seems to be overlap in services offered. 
  • Other challenges discussed were based on legislative issues. 
  • With finger printing major issues due to legislative issues 
  • Some would be interested in the structure of solving a provider issue each month- would need to have an advocate for that- the group would need power 
  • Concerns with the QRIS only for school district programs- 36 hours and significant degree requirements 
  • Who will be the one to step out and say the state needs to spend the funds on the providers not more administration level and resource level things? 
  • Providers don’t feel ITERS and ECERS speaks true to program success 
  • There is confusion on which assessment to use and a feeling that following developmentally appropriate practice is the best strategy 

Opportunities 

Upcoming training! 

Next Meeting Dates 

  • No meeting on 9/23 due to the conference 
  • 9/30 

Follow our Facebook page and website for more updates.  You can always call us or email us if you need anything:helpme@united4children.org | 314-252-0078