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Posted By Lori Buxton, Friday, July 12, 2019

Becky Erickson, Head of Early Childhood Education, Amazon Business


Over the last ten years, federal funding for early childhood programs saw a 62% increase; however, the reality is that the nation’s 675,000 childcare providers often just break even on maintaining their programs. The reasoning behind it? Providers say the increased business costs related to new state regulations, low wages due to lack of funding, and high personal stress are causes for shuttering the business. New reports show “childcare deserts”, areas with no licensed child care providers or less than 1 slot in a licensed center.  Parents and caregivers are worried as an alarming number of early childcare providers have closed their doors. For those in operation, the vast majority of income from tuition goes towards keeping the businesses afloat.


With resources already stretched thin, finding time to keep classrooms properly supplied is one of the top issues, especially when providers often work 12 hour shifts. To understand where they shop, how often they buy, and how much money they spend on everything from classroom and cleaning supplies to toys and snacks, Agile Education Marketing surveyed 780 center directors and in-home providers from across the country about their purchasing habits and how much time is spent on purchasing supplies.


The results showed 94% of providers spend 2-10 hours a week making shopping trips and managing receipts. This highly manual process is a drain on a director’s time and money. As much as 60% of providers still shopped at brick and mortar stores and 30% said they visited between three and six retailers a week. The hours spent gathering supply requests from teachers, then driving, loading shopping carts, managing receipts, and transporting supplies back to schools are significant, resulting in less time focused on students and longer work hours. Fortunately, there are a number of ways schools and childcare centers can digitally transform their purchasing processes and bring the shopping experiences they know and love at home, to work.


When deciding which retailers to use, Agile Education Marketing found that price was the most important factor to providers, with shipping and immediate availability following closely behind. In comparison to purchasing in brick and mortar stores, an online marketplace with a large selection gives providers the ability to gain access to millions of sellers with one click. Directors have more selection, conveniently available at their fingertips and full visibility to the price.


For example, a quick online search for “STEM preschool blocks” will result in a multitude of offers from different sellers, allowing educators to compare products, prices, and customer reviews. This can help them make more informed purchasing decisions and stretch existing dollars further to create higher quality programs for students.  


The use of an online B2B store can digitally transform manual processes to help providers save time and money. “Getting my supplies within 1 to 2 days is a big deal when running a family childcare business,” Tessie Ragan, owner of Perfect Start Preschool, a school located 3 hours away from educational supply stores. “With Amazon Business, I managed to cut my monthly expense budget by at least 40% a month with bulk ordering - 95 percent of all equipment and supplies I have been looking for I have been able to find for a reasonable price and with good quality.” 


Educators seek unique items to help create an engaging learning environment for students. However, many early education providers do not always have time or staff to source niche suppliers for special education toys, Montessori sensory materials, or inspiring classroom decorations and organizers. By purchasing through Amazon Business, childcare providers can take advantage of convenient shipping options, such as next day deliveries, to get the supplies they need as fast as possible.


Unsurprisingly, the survey found over a third of respondents wished they could devote more time to educational programming development, as opposed to managing purchases. While bringing these processes online might be a process up front as managers shift current familiar shopping habits, it can give early childcare professionals the time and savings to focus on what really matters: the students.


2019 Early Childhood Supplies Purchasing Habits Survey


Download Survey Infographic


About the Author


Becky Erickson joined Amazon Business in 2018 to lead Early Childhood Education.  In her role, she leads vision and strategy for Early Childhood customers to help them reinvent their procurement processes using Amazon Business’s B2B marketplace and saving time and money so they can focus on their educational mission. 


Prior to Amazon Business, Becky worked for more than 10 years in high tech startup and children’s product development.  At Microsoft, she led product marketing for an ecosystem of 3D & Mixed Reality apps to develop children’s creative play and spatial skills.  She also worked at Disney Consumer Products managing brand strategy and product development for baby, toddler, and children’s products.  She holds an MBA with a concentration in technology and entrepreneurship from UCLA Anderson.  



Tags:  business  management  purchasing 

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The Three Costly Mistakes EC Leaders Make Everyday! PLUS - Six Tips to Correct Them

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 30, 2019


by Chanie Wilschanski, DiscoverED



The greatest struggle in Early Childhood now?


Staffing! And everything related to teachers.


As an early childhood leadership coach and culture specialist, my eyes and ears are dialed in to three components:


  1. Root cause analysis
  2. Diagnosis
  3. Strategies and solutions-based thinking




Because if we can get to the root cause of an issue, then we can choose the RIGHT strategies that will connect with the problem and actually solve it.


Most value-driven directors who are on their pathway to excellence struggle with these three things:


-       Self: How to find the key paradigm shifts in what you are struggling with today, and to see exactly how you can solve it tomorrow.

-       Teachers: Creating a common language and framework so you can coach and mentor teachers to align with the culture and values in your school.

-       Parents: How to articulate the balance between empathy and authority when communicating with parents, so you can create a pathway for mutual collaboration.


In today’s world of never enough, it’s very easy to share what we don’t want.


But over the past decade in talking, mentoring, and coaching hundreds of EC leaders - let me pull back the curtain and show you some of the things that you DO WANT.



     Work/life balance - actually coming home in time for dinner!

     Veteran staff taking on mentoring roles

     Teachers bringing fresh ideas to the classroom, and leaving behind the mindset of "we did this last year"

     Educators who are excited and passionate about the children they work with

     Teachers who understand child development


I know you nodded yes to at least two of those!


     More than anything, you want to be the teacher’s hero.

     You want to be their guide and mentor: someone they look up to and seek out.

     Oh, and you want accountability with your teachers.


But *how, oh how* do you create the balance between empathy and authority?


Join me on this journey, and let me guide you through some common mistakes and simple strategies that will change the trajectory of how you show up every day.


These perspectives will help you approach the challenges and the daily minutia of leading a team of teachers, parents, and children with a fresh mindset.


Mistake #1 - Taking care of the children, teachers, parents, and admin team BEFORE yourself.


“We cannot give our children what we don’t have.” - Brene Brown


You cannot lead your team to:

     Innovation and risk-taking

     Challenge their ideas,

     Trying to think outside the box

     Being emotionally present with the children

     Being available to truly listen to parents when they talk…


… if you don’t practice these things yourself.


How can you practice it?


Tip #1 - Make self-care a non-negotiable


Whether that means drinking your coffee in the peaceful silence of your office, or eating breakfast behind a closed door and without interruptions, or taking a walk around the building every day for 10 minutes… you must take care of yourself.


You are modeling leadership to your team - you want them to follow in your footsteps and do the same.


Because when they don’t, they have bought a first class ticket to overwhelm, stress and burnout, which ultimately leads to them leaving your school in search of someplace else.


Taking care of yourself is the BEST strategy for retention! (Watch our school of excellence Mini Course for more retention strategies.)



Tip #2 - Make daily door time


Sometimes your door is open, and sometimes it MUST be closed:


“The director who is always available isn’t truly listening.”


If you are always available, you can’t possibly be listening and truly hearing every single story that comes through your door, because you have to get your own work done.


(Watch our school of excellence Mini Course for more on how to implement Daily Door Time, and to give you the printable door sign.)


Mistake # 2 - Sharing ideas, giving materials, and stating expectations.


This leaves all the ownership and accountability with one person - YOU!


Because you have done all the sharing.


You haven’t created the space where teachers can have a voice in the high-morale culture you desire.


There is no space for sacred trust - which is created through vulnerability.


“We need people to be braver, and we need to create a culture that allows for bravery.” - Brene Brown


How do you create a culture of bravery in Early Childhood?


Tip #3 - Meeting rituals


When your team gets together to talk about anything, ensure that it becomes an opportunity for intentional culture building.


What are some things teachers can share at every meeting?


     What are my wins?

     What do I need help with?



This practice embeds a feeling of safety and connection into your school’s culture.


Teachers learn that they can be vulnerable and share, and they won’t be judged for it. Plus, they’ll learn to build momentum by sharing wins, which is a natural morale booster.


Tip #4 - Raise morale and create ownership through gratitude


Do you want one single action to improve morale in your school? Show gratitude to your staff tomorrow with a voice memo.


When you are walking around the building saying good morning, take note of three teachers and something special that they did, or something you see in their class.


Then, record a voice memo of it using the following format:

“Hey Sara, I passed by your class and noticed a beautiful documentation board where every child’s work is represented, and this truly aligns with our school mission. I’m grateful to have you on our team.




If you make this a practice every day so teachers are consistently hearing specific gratitude and feedback from you - your culture will be a different place in less than 90 days!


(Watch our school of excellence Mini Course for more gratitude ideas that don’t cost any money.)


Mistake #3 - Not educating teachers HOW to create pathways for mutual collaboration with parents.


What is the number one reason teachers don’t connect with parents? Why do teachers avoid talking to parents? Minimize the contact they have with parents?


     They’re afraid they will say something stupid

     Or something will happen that will make them look stupid.


Tip #5 - Share about their child - make it about them, NOT YOU


Have your staff focus on 1-2 kids per day, keeping track of something special or funny that they did – then, the teacher can e-mail the parents and give feedback on what happened with their child.


Here is an example of one director and her teaching team putting this into practice. They are focusing on the gratitude part, and showing parents that they care about their child:


The teacher called up the parents to share something special the child did that day. The parents were so thrilled that they posted it on social media and shared and # everywhere! Parent retention and word of mouth in the works right here!




Tip #6 - Practice your empathy and authority script


Too many leaders step into meetings completely unprepared.


 “I'll wing it, I’ve been doing this for 25 years. I know what to say to parents.”


I'm sure you do!


But Jerry Seinfeld is a master comedian, and one of the top three things he says contributes to his success is DETAILS.


They are everything, and the nuance in his tone of voice is the difference between the joke landing or not - the difference between him getting a standing ovation, or blank stares.


How does he ensure he gets a laugh every time? He practices and memorizes EVERY WORD!


When you are meeting with a parent about the most important person in their world to them -  their child - you need to prepare!


     Practice how you will demonstrate empathy with their struggle

     Role-play how your tone of voice comes out

     Consider your facial expressions when you speak with authority


Dress rehearse some of the possible responses from the parent, and practice responding to them as a professional.


PRO TIP:  When I prepared for a meeting with a parent, I would sit in front of a full-length mirror and practice for hours to ensure my body language and face said what I wanted it to.




How you show up every day is a choice.


It’s consistent practice of the right routines and habits, so we can create a culture and a school of excellence.


When we say, “I don’t have a choice,” it means, “I don’t know that there are other options.”


There is always a choice, and that thought alone will unshackle you!


Your action steps:


  1. Identify one of the mistakes that you make and choose one tip that you will start putting into practice, starting today.
  2. Watch our school of excellence Mini Course for more strategies, tips, and the roadmap to building a school of excellence.




With over a decade of experience in the Early Childhood field and a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood and Special ED, Chanie’s leadership coaching and training have been used by hundreds of schools spanning six continents and twenty different countries. Her leadership program is designed to help early childhood directors build a school of excellence, a collaborative culture and create an environment that fosters the growth of teachers as leaders.


Chanie’s writing has appeared in the Huffington Post, Readers Digest, Medium, INC, and Thrive Global. She has also appeared on NBC News Radio and on WBAL-TV.


Chanie currently directs the Early Childhood Teacher Training program at the Beth Rivkah College in Brooklyn, NY - where she lives with her husband and 4 children.





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Pre-K: Decades Worth Of Studies, One Strong Message

Posted By Lori Buxton, Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Some of the nation's top researchers who've spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool.

They came away with one clear, strong message: Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don't.

The findings come in a report "The Current State of Scientific Knowledge on Pre-Kindergarten Effects," and the authors include big names from the early childhood world: Deborah Phillips of Georgetown University, Mark W. Lipsey of Vanderbilt, Kenneth Dodge of Duke, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution and others.

It lays out the current state of preschool education in the U.S. and what research can tell us about what works and what doesn't.

Among their key findings, drawing from across the research base, are:

  • While all kids benefit from preschool, poor and disadvantaged kids often make the most gains. "Researchers who study pre-K education often find that children who have had early experiences of economic scarcity and insecurity gain more from these programs than their more advantaged peers."
  • Children who are dual-language learners "show relatively large benefits from pre-K education" — both in their English-language proficiency and in other academic skills. Dual-language learners are mostly low income, Spanish speaking children, often with underdeveloped pre-literacy and pre-math skills. But, says Phillips, "there's substantial evidence now that, because they're learning two languages at the same time, they have stronger brain circuits that support self regulation." That may explain why preschool can help them make quick progress: "Their capacity to incorporate new information and to switch attention from one task to another, these are the skills they bring."
  • And yet, the researchers said, that doesn't mean preschool should necessarily be targeted toward poor or disadvantaged kids. "Part of what may render a pre-K classroom advantageous" for a poor student or a child learning English, "is the value of being immersed among a diverse array of classmates."
  • Not all preschool programs are alike. Features that may lead to success include "a well implemented, evidence-based curriculum" and an emphasis on the quality and continuous training of pre-K teachers. There's still a lot of research that needs to be done, the study concludes, "to generate more complete and reliable evidence on effectiveness factors."

Currently, the federal government, along with 42 states and the District of Columbia, spend about $37 billion a year on early childhood programs, mostly targeting low-income 3- to 5-year-olds.

When it comes to what preschools should teach, the researchers took on a big question in that field, too: Should pre-K focus on the social and emotional development of children or should it concentrate on what researchers call "skills specific curricula," namely numeracy and literacy?

The research clearly says it's not a matter of either/or.

"What we know is that children bring a vast array of experiences, both strengths and weaknesses," Phillips says. "Some children need more support than others. Some bring vast knowledge and skills."

Instruction built on social and emotional skills, rich play, toys, games, art, music and movement complements explicit instruction focused on things like learning to count and matching letters to sounds and words. Both benefit kids' readiness for school.

For researchers, the critical questions now are: What should the next generation of pre-K programs look like? What else needs to happen — in preschool and beyond — to ensure a long-term impact? And how do we connect all the dots in a child's educational trajectory beginning with preschool?

That's no easy task considering that half of the school-readiness gap between poor and affluent children is already evident by age 2, before most kids ever get to preschool.

Another major hurdle is the disconnect between pre-K and elementary education. Rather than building on the skills that kids arrive with, researchers have found lots of redundancy with kindergarten and first-grade teachers repeating a lot of what pre-K teachers do. This results in what researchers call "dead zones" that squander hard-won gains.

"On that count we cannot declare victory," says Phillips. "We need to look at the elementary grades as re-charging stations."

Pre-K programs today can also do a better job reaching out to low income families dealing with stress and mental health issues. The home, after all, provides either a sturdy or fragile foundation, researchers say.

"We know that poverty and adversity compromises the developing brain architecture and circuits," says Phillips.

And while even a high-quality program does not inoculate children from adversity and poverty, it can help mitigate those effects.

"Absolutely," says Phillips. "That is pre-K education's primary function."

May 3, 20176:00 AM ET



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Gross Motor Activities for the Winter Months

Posted By Lori Buxton, Monday, January 23, 2017

by Janice Nieliwocki, Ronald V McGuckin & Associates


Now that winter has finally arrived, don’t take a vacation from activities designed to promote the development of gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are the abilities needed to control the large muscles of the body. These muscles control movements such as walking, running, crawling, throwing and similar activities. The importance of a good preschool movement curriculum can’t be over-emphasized. Children love to move and movement helps to develop the large muscles of the body necessary for the above mentioned activities and promotes self-esteem and self- confidence. In addition, physical activities, introduced at an early age, encourage physical fitness and set the stage towards healthy and active lives, especially important today as we face a nationwide increase in childhood obesity. You are probably spending more time indoors due to winter weather and it can be a challenge to incorporate physical activities and movement into your everyday regimen. Why not face the challenge, be creative and have some fun, keeping in mind that your ultimate goal is to promote and improve gross motor skills?


When planning your movement curriculum, look at the developmental level of each child. Take care to ensure that your lesson plans and activities are developmentally appropriate yet offer a certain degree of challenge. Arrange your activities in a hierarchical sequence so that earlier skills build towards more complex physical skills. If incorporating equipment into your movement program, make sure that the equipment is developmentally appropriate and inspect it periodically to ensure it is safe and in good condition. Include activities that promote balance, spatial orientation, coordination and body awareness. Incorporate movements that are designed to work the major muscles of both the upper and lower body.


Parachute play is a perfect indoor activity for improving upper body strength and coordination. Spread the parachute out and position children equidistant around the perimeter, instructing them to hold a portion of the parachute. Allow children to manipulate the parachute up and down in a wavelike motion. Incorporate a lightweight ball into the activity and have children either toss and catch the ball with the parachute or roll it around the parachute in a circular pattern. These activities and similar ones will work the muscles of the wrist, arm, shoulder and trunk. You can also include activities which involve crawling under the parachute, etc. to further involve other large muscle groups. You can also purchase music CD’s which include music and activities designed for parachute play.


Beanbag and/or lightweight ball toss can easily be adapted for indoor play. Work to improve throwing and catching skills. In keeping with a winter theme, you can also simulate “snowball” activities, having children roll white tissue paper into pretend “snowballs”. Children love having a “pretend” indoor snowball fight or tossing their pretend snowballs into a basket or other container. You can also involve kicking activities, as long as space allows and there are no safety risks. An indoor obstacle course is easy to set up and can provide a great deal of fun as well as focus on improving gross motor skills. There are many pieces of equipment, such as a low balance beam, fabric tunnel, or sets of stairs, specifically designed for just this purpose which can be purchased fairly inexpensively. However, lack of equipment shouldn’t prohibit you from this activity as you can use items from your classroom to establish an indoor obstacle course. You can easily put together a make-shift tunnel by draping a sheet over chairs or tables. Large wooden blocks can serve as a “balance beam” on the floor or as an obstacle for children to step over. Small classroom chairs can be set up in a particular configuration, so that children can “weave” through or around them. Large hoops, laid flat on the floor, are perfect for children to step (or jump) in and out of. Make an effort to incorporate various movements and challenges into your obstacle course activity, including, but not limited to, crawling, jumping, skipping, stretching, climbing, and left and right coordination.


Consider your particular classroom situation and environment and the developmental level of the children you’re working with. Proceed accordingly, keeping safety in mind. Dancing to music can be a favorite activity for young children and can serve to develop gross motor skills. It is the perfect activity to incorporate stretching and reaching movements. Include ribbon wands with your dance motions and improve coordination and rhythm, as well. Don’t overlook the importance of static activities, which work to improve stability and balance. Have children stand on one leg, switch to the other leg, and/or perform other balancing actions. The game of Simon Says is the perfect venue for these activities. When inclement winter weather limits your ability to play outdoors, seize the opportunity and accept the challenge to focus on physical activities indoors. The benefits a good movement curriculum can provide is well worth the extra time and effort it may take to plan and execute. The children you serve will experience improved gross motor skills, as well as increased self-esteem and confidence!



Discover more great resouces from Ronald V McGuckin & Associates at

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Emotional Safety is the Overarching Developmental Goal of Childhood by Denise Durkin

Posted By Lori Buxton, Thursday, January 12, 2017


Personal competence and self-efficacy are the result of feeling safe, and the reverse is true as well. How can we expect children to tap into their sense of personal competence and feel like they are effective at “doing life” if they do not feel safe being themselves in their families? In their schools and communities?

Emotional safety is the overarching developmental goal of childhood. Period. Here are six ways we foster it in children.

1. We are infinitely patient and kind. We are firm when needed as children grow, but never not these two things. Patience and kindness show respect. When children feel respected by us, they will respect themselves and know their lovableness. This is emotional safety.

2. We carefully choose our words so they (our words) do not equate children’s behaviors to their identity – to the goodness they feel about themselves that defines them as a person in the world. We refrain from saying things like, “Be good.” “If you’re good/bad today, you’ll get/you won’t get to have or do ____.” because even though you may referring to his behavior, when a child hears this he is actually internalizing a negative message about who he is.

The message a child internalizes when he hears statements like this, and/or experiences negative attitudes from us because we believe this too, is that his value and essential acceptance as good enough, lovable enough, acceptable enough – depend on his behavior.  So he thinks that when he has a meltdown, hits another child, withdraws, refuses to share, (fill in the behavior here) – that he himself “is not good”.  This is not a message we want him to internalize about himself because it relays conditional acceptance by us based on his “not good enough-ness”, and this does not feel safe.

By relating with him with total acceptance of who he is and explaining to a child that no matter what they do, feel or express, they are always “good”, we teach them that good is who they are; it is their essence, and thus their core identity.  See this article for more info on the psychological dynamics of identity development as it relates to self-regulation abilities.

3. We have reasonable expectations for children, and for our plans of the day/week. We explain them as best we can, and keep it flexible. Our flexible attitude and manner allow children to see that life is not a straight line, mistakes are made and forgiven, and the built-in bumps in life can be managed gracefully and in good humor. They learn we are not perfect, and that it is okay that they aren’t either. They know their true worth and feel safe.

4. We feed them real food. Feed a child simple sugars like bread, pasta, pretzels, fish crackers, pancakes, cereals, muffins, etc., and little to no green veggies, protein or good fats for a week. His behavior will likely be the outward sign of a lack of internal balance that is affecting how safe he feels in his body. Feed him nutrient dense foods like unprocessed oatmeal, fruit, veggies, fish, nuts, seeds, meats, etc., instead and watch his behavior. His body will begin to rebalance and his mood and behaviors will show improvement (sans sugar withdrawal symptoms), suggesting that he is feeling safe in his body. I recommend Dr. Bill Sears’ book to read the science behind this as well as for good meal and snack recipe ideas. Vegetarians and vegans can easily accommodate many recipes.

5. We show children that they can Trust us. We are right there when infants and young children cry, and understand that allowing children to cry for long periods of time negatively affects their understanding of being valued, and safe.” We say goodbye to them when the sitter arrives and we have to leave; we avoid sneaking out on them.  If we say we’ll attend an event, we do that. When we are trust worthy, children feel safe.

6. We actively support our children to be entirely who they are, to express the entirety of what they feel and think without our shaming them or attempting to stifle or otherwise change their expression. We don’t tell boys it’s not okay to cry. We don’t push “pink trends” onto girls. We see children through the many lenses of holism, ensuring we are meeting all of their needs as the unique beings they are and we teach them to see themselves through these same lenses of wholeness. There are nine such lenses as I see it. They are Attachment/Relationships; Creative Self-Expression; Cognition/Intellectual Stimulation; Biology/Physical Expression; Sensory; Nature; Nutrition; Environment; and Spirituality/Consciousness(c). These lenses are research tools for how to accurately perceive and approach our children to best help them feel safe. They make up a Venn diagram called The Wheel of Holistic Perception (c) which is one of three components comprising The Holistic Child’s Self-Regulation Program about which I provide trainings and write.

The unconditional acceptedness children feel with us in our perceiving and relating to all aspects of their beingness supports them to be fully who they are and helps establish what I consider to be the overarching developmental goal of childhood – emotional safety.

Author and Resource:  Denise Durkin, M.A., Early Childhood Mental Health Consultant;

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ADHD Diagnoses in Preschoolers Curbed Under New Guidelines

Posted By Lori Buxton, Monday, December 12, 2016

In a bit of good news, the rate of diagnoses for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among U.S. preschoolers has leveled off, a new study finds.

At the same time, the prescribing rate of stimulant medications for these young patients has also stayed steady, a promising trend that researchers credit to treatment guidelines that were introduced in 2011.


The guidelines, issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), called for a standardized approach to diagnosis, and recommended behavior therapy -- not drugs -- as the first-line therapy for preschoolers.

"There [was] a concern that preschoolers get too much behavioral diagnosis and medications for behavior problems," explained study author Dr. Alexander Fiks. He is associate medical director of the Pediatric Research Consortium at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

One in every three children diagnosed with ADHD is diagnosed during preschool years, Fiks said. Of these kids, 47 percent are treated with medication alone or in combination with behavior therapy, according to the study authors.

Among more than 87,000 children aged 4 to 5, about 0.7 percent were diagnosed with ADHD before the guidelines, the study showed.

After the guidelines, 0.9 percent of more than 56,000 kids were diagnosed with the disorder. And, the rate of prescribing stimulant medications such as Ritalin remained constant, at 0.4 percent of those diagnosed with ADHD, according to the report.

"One might have worried that if you were telling pediatricians how to manage preschool ADHD that all of a sudden there would be an explosion in the number of kids being diagnosed, or many more would be on medication. And the fact that the increasing trend leveled off is reassuring and that medication use didn't increase is also reassuring," Fiks said.

"It suggests pediatricians are taking the guidelines to heart and not using them as a reason to willy-nilly label kids with ADHD," Fiks said. "When parents of preschoolers are confronted with a child with behavior problems, it's reasonable to talk with their pediatrician."

But one child psychologist isn't convinced that the guidelines made a significant difference.

"It really doesn't look like the guidelines have had much of an effect," said Brandon Korman, a neuropsychologist at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami.

"What's really of concern is that, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there hasn't been an increase in psychological services, as the AAP had recommended," he said.

It's unfortunate that behavior therapy hasn't been used more, Korman said. "Even if the kid is diagnosed with ADHD and they don't have ADHD, there's very little downside to behavior therapy -- it's different than giving your kid medication that has a potential downside," he added.

Korman said the problem is twofold: Pediatricians aren't referring kids for behavior therapy, and too few qualified therapists are available to treat all the children who need help.

"We need to make more of a collaborative effort between the medical folks and the behavioral health folks to come together to provide the best care for our kids," he said.

The study was published online Nov. 15 in the journal Pediatrics.

More information

For more on ADHD, visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Triclosan in Children

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 1, 2016

In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned most antibacterial soaps and body washes from being sold in stores. According to the FDA, antibacterial cleaners are no more effective than regular soap options and the antibacterial products pose health risks. Manufacturers have a year to take triclosan, triclocarban, and 17 other chemicals out of their products. Currently, about 93% of liquid soaps include triclosan which can be found in about 2,000 liquid products labeled “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial.”

What is Triclosan?
Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical. According to the FDA, “triclosan is an ingredient added to many consumer products intended to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It is added to some antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics—products regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It also can be found in clothing, kitchenware, furniture, and toys—products not regulated by the FDA.”

What are the dangers ofTriclosan?
There is no scientific evidence that antibacterial soaps are more effective than plain soap and water, (studies show that antibacterials offer no benefit over handwashing with just soap and water); however, there is evidence of several potential health risks associated with triclosan. The bad far outweighs the good!
The greatest health concerns associated with triclosan are disruption of thyroid function which effects hormones, bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and superbugs. There are other studies in progress which point to additional potential risks, such as skin cancer, liver and inhalation toxicity, heart failure, and muscle impairment.
Therefore, with no indication that antibacterial soaps do any good, and potential risks being quite serious, the FDA chose to ban triclosan and 18 other potentially harmful chemicals from soaps and body wash.
This ban does not include the use of triclosan in hospitals.

Where else can Triclosan be found?
This ban only includes antibacterial soaps and body wash for home use.Triclosan may be present in several products found everyday in most homes and child care programs. They include, and are not limited to:
·Clothes & Shoes
·Personal care products
·In the kitchen (soap, dish liquid, sponges, plastic food containers, cutting boards)
·In the bathroom (shower curtains, toothbrushes, towels)
·In the naproom/bedroom (mattresses, carpets, window treatments)

Triclosan in Children

According to a Connecticut Department of Health, “An antibacterial chemical in consumer products called triclosan may be a health risk to children. There is widespread exposure, yet no known benefit to children. Recent studies suggest triclosan may increase a child’s risk of allergy. It is also an endocrine disruptor. It is wise for parents to make sure that personal care products purchased for use by children are free of triclosan. This includes toothpaste, mouthwash, hand soap, shampoo, lotions, crèmes and deodorant. Adults who do not have a medical or dental need for antibacterial products should also avoid triclosan. Several manufacturers are phasing out triclosan but it is still present in many products.”


How to avoid triclosan:

1. Stop using antibacterial and antimicrobial soaps!

2. Read ingredient labels on personal care products and do not buy or use those with triclosan.

3. Steer clear of everyday products (toys, clothes, kitchenware, furniture) labeled antibacterial.



CT Department of Health 
Environmental Working Group
US Food & Drug Administration

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Move from Fear to Love by Tym Smith

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Move from Fear to Love

Stuff Happens 


Negativity and aggression are commonly seen in early education programs, and in everyday life. Early educators must realize how important they are in influencing behavior. Teaching children active calming and to understand their own range of emotions is one small step in building a healthy self-esteem. Below are empowering tips to help understand and end aggression and negativity in both adults and children.


It's All About the Attitude

Every child and adult has experiences as they go through life. Experiences are then stored in the lower/back part of the brain where they sit, just waiting to be released as a behavior. When adrenal glands kick in, your brain down shifts and data stored comes out. How do you control these negative experiences? It’s simple, it’s all about attitude. Maintaining a positive attitude when situations hit you keeps your brain in the executive state, preventing you from saying or doing things that are aggressive and negative. Keep this simple formula handy through out the day…


Incident + Attitude = Outcome


Maintaining a positive attitude also makes you healthier, more successful, and more likable,


Three Rules for Dealing with Aggression or Negativity                                                                                                                        

Rule #1 It’s not about you! “You’re making me angry”, “Look what you’re making me do”, “You make me so sad when you misbehave” These are all common responses to negativity and aggression. When you say these things, you are giving away your power. You are letting the aggressor know that they have control over you. You must unhook yourself and not take attacks personal. The aggressor is trying to get your attention because they have a need not being met.

Rule #2 Spend time with the aggressor.

Relationships are the key to success when working with negativity. Relationships are the first survival skill learned by humans. Five minutes of focused, one-on-one time with someone reduces power struggles by 50%. When spending time with the aggressor, do not talk about the issues at hand. Spend quality time building a positive relationship. Focus on the desired behavior, rather than the negative behavior. Remember, the aggressor will try to bring you down. Your positive attitude must be stronger than their negativity.

Rule #3 Empower the Victim.

Anytime you have an aggressive act, always take care of the victim first, aggressor second. Most aggressors act out to get attention. They have to learn the appropriate way to get what they want. Once the victim receives first aid, empower the victim to express how they feel and that they do not like the behavior. The aggressor needs to hear from the victim, not from a person who did not feel the hurt.


Tips on Aggression and Negativity

No person can make you angry without your permission!

Don’t get emotionally hijacked. You are in control. When people or situations try to make you angry, you must not allow it. Your positive mood is stronger than any person or situation.

The motivation to be positive comes from being in a relationship

People are born to be pleasers. The need for relationship is essential to development. Relationships build trust, respect and love. When people are in a positive relationship with each other, the willingness to cooperate is greater than defiance.

You are either calling for love or showing love

In every relationship, communication has a giver and a receiver. Or in other words, you are either calling or asking for love, or giving or showing love. Don’t look at behavior as disrespectful. Look at behavior as a calling. You can make a difference in every negative situation.

Every aggressive act is a call for help

Aggressors needs three things: Boundaries, nurturing and quality time. When you experience a negative act, you must first empower yourself verbally. Letting the aggressor know what they can and cannot do to you. Show empathy for their actions. Recognize that they are needing something that is missing in their life. Be there for the aggressor. Don’t lecture or preach, simple be in their presence.

There are no “bad” people

There are no “good” people. There are simply people. People who have a need that is not being met. Avoid stereotyping and labeling adults and children who are calling for love.


People can only meet the needs of other people when their own needs have been met

Sometimes we expect children and adults to automatically “know” what is right and wrong. When individuals do not have the skills needed, traditional consequences do not work. Work with aggressors on life skills needed to cooperate, love and care. People will commit aggressive acts so that others will feel what they feel. We all have unmet needs. Recognize that the aggressor also has unmet needs. Be there for that person rather than pushing them away.

All aggression stems from the perceived experience of excessive pain.

We all have our own version of reality. Our experiences create the reality we live in. Showing and understanding empathy will help you put yourself in other people’s shoes. Pain is not only physical, but also emotional. There is no “cookie cutter” approach to human development. Every individual develops different needs that may or may not have been met.

Aggressive acts are normally seen through actions. But to understand aggressive acts, one must understand the factor that creates the pain. Triggers that immediately create high emotions sits inside all of us. Even most aggressors do not know or understand their triggers.

Rather than treat people as if they are different and need a label, we should understand the love and nurturing needed by this person. They may be different than you, and their needs may be different. We should not judge someone who has unmet needs or needs that do not match your own.


Be part of the solution. Not part of the problem.



Tags:  child care settings  director  Early Childhood Education  Early Learning Leaders  educational training  Emotional Intelligence  leadership 

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Five Ways Your Early Childhood Program Can Support Immunization by the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 3, 2016


During the first years of a child’s life, cognitive, social-emotional, and physical development are inextricably linked.  Poor health in a very young child can have negative impacts on other areas of development[1].  The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) considers health and safety practices as the foundation of quality early care and education settings, and includes immunization as a key component of its Caring for Our Children Basics guidelines [2]. 

Immunizations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) help protect infants and young children from 14 diseases, such as whooping cough, that can be very serious or even deadly.  Institutional outbreaks of whooping cough, such as those in a daycare center or school, are common, taking place each year in many states. Measles outbreaks in childcare settings have also been documented.  


“By keeping children healthy and decreasing the chances of outbreaks, immunizations can help early childhood programs create a safe environment for children,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.  “This not only applies to child care settings, but also to programs in home settings, where infants and young children be can be exposed to diseases through family and friends.” 


Here are five ways that you can support on-time immunization of infants and young children in your early childhood program:


1.       Ensure that families in your program are vaccinated according to CDC’s recommended schedule and meet your state’s child care vaccination requirements.  Consult your state health department’s website to find a list of required vaccines.  Find out if your state has an immunization registry.  If it does, ask your state immunization program if early childhood administrators can use it to verify children’s vaccination status. 


2.       Ensure that your staff are vaccinated as well, so that they don’t pass along a disease to the children in your program.  It’s especially important for them to be up to date on their pertussis, measles, and flu shots.


3.       Promptly notify your state or local health department if any children in your program come down with a notifiable vaccine-preventable disease.  Visit your health department’s website for a list of notifiable diseases in your state.


4.       Parents may seek the advice of early childhood program staff when it comes to health and safety issues, especially if their child does not have a regular primary care provider.  Provide your program staff with basic information about the childhood immunization schedule and the benefits and risks of vaccination.  Incorporate this information into your training for new hires and organize special professional development sessions for existing staff.  CDC’s vaccine website for parents ( contains useful information for staff without medical training. (See the Resources section.)  CDC also has a suite of materials for health care professionals, which can be accessed at


5.       Educate families in your program about vaccine-preventable diseases and the importance of on-time immunization.  There are many ways to do this.  For example:

a.       Post a link to CDC’s vaccine website for parents ( on your program website.

b.      Post messages promoting immunization on your social media accounts. Visit for sample Facebook posts and for sample Twitter messages.

c.       Order free copies of CDC’s Parents Guide to Immunizations and distribute them to parents in your program:

d.      Print, and distribute copies of CDC’s Immunizations and Developmental Milestones Tracker:

e.      Print and distribute copies of CDC’s fact sheet “Infant Immunization FAQs”, which is available in English and Spanish:

f.        If there is a disease that is of particular concern in your community, print and distribute CDC’s disease fact sheets (available in English and Spanish):

g.       Print CDC immunization posters and display them in your facilities:

h.      Publish CDC’s drop-in articles for parents through in your newsletter or blog:


Immunizations keep children healthy so that they can spend more time learning, growing, and socializing with peers.  Early childhood programs have an important role to play in educating the parents of young children about the benefits of immunization and ensuring that children in their programs stay on schedule with their vaccines. 


[1]Ensuring Adequate Health Coverage for Infants and Toddlers.  Zero to Three. Policy Resource.  March 9, 2008.

[2] Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2015. Caring for Our Children Basics. Health and Safety Foundations for Early Care and Education. 

Tags:  child care settings  Child Health  Early Childhood Education  ECE  good health  Immunizations  standards 

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Soulful Intelligence by Holly Elissa Bruno

Posted By Administration, Thursday, June 30, 2016

When you recall your worst teacher (do this only if you are willing; memories can spark unbidden feelings), what do you recall of that person’s behavior?

Can you remember that teacher’s name? How you felt in that person’s presence? What you learned, if anything (besides fear or anger or disappointment or how to undervalue yourself)?

We learn to define ourselves through the eyes of our teachers.

Raymond’s 2nd grade teacher warned him, “You can’t sing; mouth the words. No one wants to hear a fog horn.” Raymond’s singing ended on that day. Charlene’s teacher told her, “Zip your lip and for heaven’s sake, stop fidgeting!” Charlene learned to be ashamed of her bubbly toe-tapping self.

Ask anyone to tell you about her worst teacher’s behavior. You will witness the hurt or anger or both that still burn, no matter how many years have gone by.

If you want to witness a completely different response, ask someone (or yourself): “Who was your favorite teacher? Can you tell me about her or him? How did you feel in the teacher’s presence? What did you learn about yourself and about learning when you were respected for who you are? When your unique intelligences were honored?”

I recall standing in the hallway beside Nelle Smither’s tweed jacketed, curly hair-haloed, wrinkled professor self as she matter-of-factly stated, “You can write.” Decades later, as I dedicated my first book to Dr. Nelle Smither, I saw us again standing in the hallway on that day when she told me I could write.

No matter how old we students (of life) are, our spirit can be uplifted or crushed by a loving or dismissive adult:

  • Sidney Poitier was told, “Stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher.”
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
  • Beethoven’s teacher told him he was “hopeless” and would never succeed as a violinist or composer.
  • Fred Astaire was labeled: “Can’t sing. Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired from a job because she was “unfit for TV.”
  • Albert Einstein’s teachers said he was “mentally handicapped.”
  • Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything.”
  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for having “no imagination and lacking in ideas.”

Can you imagine? I’m sure you can.

“Everyone is a genius; but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, that fish will think it’s stupid,” Albert Einstein observed as an adult.

IQ, EQ, Multiple Intelligences, Standardized Tests: We have created so many ways to define our intelligence, primarily from the outside looking in. Get a high enough IQ score and you can call yourself a genius. But, what becomes of the child whose genius cannot be measured?

Each of us has to find our own brand of genius, that one-of-a-kind, no-one-can-do-it-the-way-you-do it, glowing capacity to leave-the-world-a-better-place genius.

Fellow travelers can support you and challenge you along the way. You, however, are the ultimate expert on you. You have soulful intelligence: that inner voice that reminds you why you’re here on earth.

My friend Karen tells me she is meant to care for other people’s dogs; yet, she questions the value of that: “Shouldn’t I do something more valuable for the world?” she worries herself.

Give it up, Karen. To that dog and that owner, you are the most important person. Christopher Reeves smiled and said, “I could have just been remembered as Superman.” Instead, his legacy helps researchers heal spinal cord injuries.

Soulful intelligence: We all have it.

The gift is in helping each child find her voice.

The secret is in listening to our own inner voice.

The magic is in believing that what we are meant to do matters.

Written by: Holly Elissa Bruno

Best-selling author, radio host, international keynoter


Tags:  Emotional Intelligence  Leadership Mistakes 

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