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Interested in learning more about our Association? Look no further! Check out our blog for insightful information regarding our accreditation process, membership, conference updates, leadership tips and so much more! Our blog is intended to assist early care owners, directors and administrators in connecting to valuable resources and information. We invite you to actively engage with us by commenting on our blog! Your opinion is very much appreciated!


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Keynote Sessions You Don't Want to Miss!

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Introducing Keynote Sessions you don't want to miss!

Alan Fine: Opening Keynote -Leading from the Inside Out

We are all capable of achieving everyday greatness-becoming our best self.However, many times we do not achieve our greatness because we cannot break through our own personal interference (fears, uncertainty, doubts and the voice in our head). In this inspirational and engaging keynote, Alan Fine shares a powerful approach for overcoming personal interference and achieving a higher level of performance using a simple process, Alan shows audiences how to redirect focus and discover how to unlock existing knowledge, talents, and skills, and take action to accomplish their goals and become their best self.


Valora Washington: Keynote -Leadership Lessons: Supporting Staff with Your Head, Heart and Hand

Dr. Valora Washington will discuss successful strategies used to develop the early childhood workforce.Each strategy welcomes a renewed commitment to professional development and support for continuous quality improvement. Participants will identify new ways to integrate successful strategies into career development plans.




Maurice Sykes: Closing Keynote -Doing the Right Thing for Children: Who are we as Leaders?

Based on his recently published book:Doing the Right Thing for Children: Eight Qualities of Leadership, Maurice will inspire you to rethink your leadership trajectory by challenging you to discover and actualize the leader that is within you in order to give voice to your vision and vitality to your vigorous leadership agenda for young children.
Join fellow leaders from across the country as they come together to learn, strategize, reflect, and share advancements in the field of early childhood education.

Don't miss out--Register for Conference today!

Tags:  31st Annual National Conference: How Successful Di  accreditation  early childhood education  Early Learning Leader  educational training  leaders  National Accreditation Commission  standards  training 

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Lead | Eco-Healthy Child Care®

Posted By Administration, Monday, November 3, 2014

Written by: Eco-Healthy Child Care®


As the mother of two young children (2.5 years and 9 months) I work to protect my children from Lead, and other common substances that may harm their health.  Like all mothers, I want my children to thrive and to have the best future possible.

Children’s bodies react differently to Lead than adults.  Their bodies are growing and developing rapidly and their immature nervous system can be permanently harmed by Lead exposure. Children can absorb more Lead through their stomachs than adults, especially if they are deficient in iron.

As the National Director of the Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) program, I worry that other mothers may not be aware of such environmental health hazards in and around their home.  Or who don’t know simple steps they can take to protect their children.

When it comes to Lead, I know that no amount of exposure to this heavy metal is safe. So, we must do what we can to protect our children. Even simple steps, like frequent hand washing with soap and water, or using only cold – not hot  --  tap water for cooking, drinking and making baby formula, protect children from Lead exposure.  Did you know that cold water is much less likely to leach Lead from pipes than warm water?

We also make sure that our walls are free of cracking or peeling Lead-based paint wherever our children spend time. The government did not ban Lead-based paint until 1978.  Many older homes, churches, and buildings have Lead paint both inside and on the outside. If the Lead-based paint is intact, it should be left undisturbed. If any paint in an older building is cracking or peeling, it is very important to have the paint tested to see whether it may contain Lead. Our house was recently built (2006), but we have asked our friends and family members to have their paint tested to be sure it’s Lead free.  Once I choose a child care provider, I will make sure that their facility is free from Lead hazards as well.

Any amount of cracking or peeling paint is potentially dangerous, as tiny (not visible to the naked eye) particles of dust from Lead paint can be inhaled.  This Lead can also end up in dust in the home that can get on an infant’s or toddler’s hands, and thus into their bodies.

Other helpful Eco-Healthy Child Care® recommendations are:
Reduce lead absorption in children by eating well.

- Children should have a balanced diet that high is calcium and iron    
- If you renovate or remodel a building built before 1978, make sure the contractor you hire is from a ‘Lead-Safe Certified Firm.’
- Avoid soft pliable plastic toys made of vinyl (rubber duckies, baby dolls, baby bath books), as some of these products have been found to contain high levels of Lead.

Unfortunately, too many American children have high blood lead levels.  Families can find out about getting tested at

For more tips to protect children from Lead, click here.

EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals. Click here find out more about EHCC.

Tags:  Early Learning Leaders 

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Take a Vacation with Education

Posted By Administration, Friday, October 3, 2014



We all have that list. It’s the one with the big picture ideas. The things to research. The big changes you want to undertake. How often do you get to actually check any of those boxes? There’s always a phone call to take, a problem to solve, a fire to put out (hopefully a figurative one).

When you’re the one at the head of an early learning center, you’re the one everyone comes to with the tough problems. It’s incredibly rewarding, but it’s also exhausting! As much as we all know we need to take a break to refresh and unwind, it’s so hard to justify stepping away. When we show up at the same place every day, we fall into routines and it’s so easy to lose sight of the big picture. We get distracted by the vision that brought us to our careers and fall into the trap of taking care of whatever is shouting for our attention right now. We all do it, but we know that’s no way to build an organization.

That’s why the Association for Early Learning Leaders is offering to take you to Pompano Beach for a few days. We know you’re too busy for a vacation, but this isn’t (just) about the beach. It’s about setting aside time to focus on the big picture. Getting away from it all means getting away from distractions, getting a fresh perspective, and maybe getting a tan while you’re at it.

The Association is run by people who get it. We know what it’s like to face the demands of being a leader in early childhood education. We tailor our programs and invite speakers based on what’s keeping our members up at night. This is your chance to get facetime with the experts and to connect with other leaders in your field. Sign up today and start packing.


The Fall Leadership Symposium is a gathering of experts who are passionate about early education. If you’re looking for a community help you overcome professional challenges and bring your work to the next level, this is it.

Tags:  educational training  Fall Leadership Symposium  professional development  vacation 

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Posted By Administrator , Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Written by: Eco-Healthy Child Care®


Arsenic is well-known as a poison.  At high doses, arsenic can be fatal, as any reader of murder mysteries can tell you.  But on-going, low-level exposures to arsenic can be harmful too.  Do you know where arsenic may lurk around your home or child care?


If you don’t know, don’t worry.  The Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) program can help you answer that question; EHCC also offers tips to help you keep arsenic out of your child’s world.


Arsenic, which occurs naturally in rock and soil, can be found in older pressure-treated wood or in tap water.  Pressure-treated wood sold before 2004 -- wood used for outdoor uses, such as for playground sets, picnic tables, benches and decks  --   was usually treated with a compound that included arsenic. Over time, the compound degraded, and arsenic could leach out onto the wood’s surface or into the soil below.


Arsenic can also be found at high levels in some private wells, due to naturally-occurring minerals as well as from agriculture or industrial activities. A child would be exposed to arsenic in water by drinking water containing arsenic, but not from showering, bathing or washing with contaminated water. 


Exposure to arsenic over a long period of time can threaten a child’s health.  The greatest concern is an increased risk of cancer. EHCC’s fact sheet on arsenic provides more information on other health effects.

Arsenic is colorless, tasteless and odorless.  When a child drinks arsenic-tainted water, or swallows or inhales arsenic dust from pressure-treated wood, the arsenic is readily absorbed and undetectable.


There are some simple things you can do to protect your children.


To avoid arsenic exposure from pressure treated wood:


Encourage children to wash their hands with mild soap and water after playing on treated wood.

Test for it!  Wood test kits are available for a fee from the Center for Environmental Health.
Seal it (Apply 2 coats of waterproof stain or sealant on CCA-treated wood at least once a year.) 

Do not burn it, sand it or cut it.

Do not power wash it.


To avoid arsenic exposure from tap water:

If your water comes from a private well, call the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water hot-line (800-426-4791) to find certified water-testing labs in your area.   If high levels of arsenic are found, use a certified filter.

If your water comes from a public water system, request a copy of the Consumer Confidence Report to verify system compliance with the maximum contaminant level set by your state’s drinking water laws.

For more information visit, ‘How can I reduce exposure to arsenic in CCA’?

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Pesticides | Eco-Healthy Child Care®

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Written by: Eco-healthy Child Care®

Have you ever had ants in your kitchen, or aphids on your houseplants? Are there weeds in your garden or yard that refuse to go away? I can answer yes to these questions and I bet that you can too. However, I am cautious in how I treat these problems, as many of the chemicals that prevent or kill pests, like rodents, insects and weeds, can harm my children’s health. Like the American Academy of Pediatricians recommends, pesticides are only used as a last resort in our home.

As the National Director of the Eco-Healthy Child Care® program, I am aware of the damaging effects pesticides can have on developing children. Products that are classified as pesticides include bug spray, weed killer, insect repellants, and flea and tick collars.
Pesticides are frequently applied inside and outside of homes and child care facilities and can persist indoors for weeks on furniture, toys and other surfaces.  They can linger for years in household dust.

Pesticides used outdoors have been found to make their way into child care facilities and homes.

Research indicates that pesticide levels in indoor air are often higher than those found in outdoor air. The health effects of pesticides vary depending upon the chemical class and formulation of each pesticide, the level and length of exposure, and the age of exposure, with children being more vulnerable. In general, we want to minimize children’s exposure to all pesticides. Exposure to pesticides can cause both short and long term health problems. For example, recent studies have found that exposure to a common pesticide before birth is linked to lower IQ and poorer working memory at age 7.
Think twice before buying or using any chemical pest control products. I recommend that you adopt the ‘Integrated Pest Management’ (IPM) approach. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive way to control pests and weeds. IPM does not prohibit pesticide use but uses the strategy of ‘least toxic methods first.’ IPM uses techniques that pose the least hazards to people, property, and the environment.

Your state university or extension program may have an IPM program with experts who can help you understand and adopt IPM.  And studies have shown that IPM is both cheaper and more effective than routine pesticide application.
First determine whether the pest is a real or perceived problem. Not every living thing that doesn’t “belong” is a pest that needs to be destroyed by using toxic chemicals. For example, dandelions may be “weeds,” but these plants can be uprooted by hand  -- or left alone. Some proven strategies for eliminating the root causes of pest problems, such as ants, mice and cockroaches, include:

•    Clean up food and drink spills right away
•    Do not leave dishes standing in the sink.
•    Keep trash in a closed container and take it out frequently; don’t let trash pile up.
•    Do not allow children to eat food other than in designated areas (and clean up immediately after the meal or snack)

If you must use chemical pesticides:

Child care providers should:
•    Notify families and staff in advance of the pesticide use and what product(s) will be used.
•    Make certain any pesticide applicator is a licensed professional. Choose a pest management professional (PMP) that practices IPM.

Parents should:
•    Read and follow the label instructions on the pesticides.
•    Ensure that pesticides are not applied when children are present. Follow label instructions for the allotted time between application and children’s exposure.
•    Choose pesticides of low toxicity first (be sure products are EPA registered).
•    Use of baits and traps is preferable over spraying.
•    Ensure baits/traps are not accessible by children.

The Eco-Healthy Child Care® Pesticide Fact Sheet offers lots more tips and resources.
Eco-Healthy Child Care® helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

Tags:  children's safety  Eco-Healthy Child Care  pesticides 

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Let's talk about...Standard A10

Posted By Erin Schmidt, Monday, July 14, 2014
Training is a vital component in the ongoing pursuit of quality. Thoughtfully chosen training takes into consideration the needs of individual staff members, the needs of the children in their care and the needs of the classroom and program environment. It is of the utmost importance that the training taken be of the highest quality and provides each staff member with meaningful professional development that is individualized to their specific professional development goals. The Formal Education and On-going Training Log is required at more than one stage of the National Accreditation Commission process and is essential in determining a program’s ongoing compliance with Staff Qualifications and Training Standards. The Education and On-going Training Log also provides a history of staff retention, training topics covered over a period of time, quality and sources of training. Using the the the following information provided, create one typed log for each paid staff member who has either supervisory responsibilities or who is included in the staff-child ratios.

- Name
- Title (Program Title: Pre-K 1 Teacher; Education Coordinator)
- Hire date
- National Accreditation Commission classification (Director/Onsite Supervisor/Lead Teacher/Asst Teacher) Each person is given only one classification, even if they have multiple roles (choose the classification with the greater level of responsibility).
- Classroom Group (Name of the classroom they are primarily assigned. If assigned to multiple groups, list each (Pre-K, Toddler 1, Lily pads, Infants).
- Typical age range of children in the group, given in months (15 mos–24 mos, 36 mos–48 mos, etc.). List multiple age ranges if staff member supervises more than one group of children.
- Number of years in ECE field
- Level of education
- Past two years of training (calculated by the date of submission to the National Accreditation Commission for review)

The formal education field should report one of the following items:
- High School or GED if no formal education has been pursued.
- Field of study and number of college credits if degree is not yet complete.
- Degree (with major, if unspecified).

For staff with majors other than Child Development (CD) or Early Childhood Education (ECE), including degrees in elementary education and staff with some college education, report the number of CD/ECE college credits in the CD/ECE Credits earned field.Training hours should:
- Include date, title, description of content, agency, trainer, and number of clock hours.
- Be conducted by a variety of sources of expertise. Some of the training hours can include in-house training.
- List individual content covered during an all-day training or conference.
- Be individualized (not be the same for all staff members).
- Include topics chosen as a result of observations or performance evaluations.
- Include management hours for all directors and supervisory staff.
- Include topics directly related to the age group each staff member supervises.
- Cover a variety of topics, with a strong focus on child development, curriculum, and classroom management, especially for staff with limited or no formal education in ECE/CD.
- Not include trainings mentioned in other standards CPR & First Aid (C7), Standard Precautions (C8), Child Abuse (C9) , Fire Extinguisher (C19) training. If these trainings are listed for convenience, the total clock hours should be zero.
- Should include the appropriate amount of hours per each staff member:
          - Director—30 hours annually
          - Onsite Supervisor—25 hours annually
          - Staff—20 hours annually

Two years of training are included with each training log submission. The two-year period is calculated by the date of submission to the National Accreditation Commission for review. To consider the training standard met, staff must meet the required training for at least one year. Once a program is accredited, staff must maintain the annual training hours to have full compliance with the standard.

Tags:  Association for Early Learning Leaders  educational training  National Accreditation Commission  staff members  standards 

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Furniture & Carpets

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 3, 2014
Written by: Eco-Healthy Child Care®

Every parent watches their infant get up close and personal with their environment -- like crawling on rugs, napping on a cushion, or mouthing an armrest.  What we may not know is that when our children pursue these natural behaviors, they may also be interacting with some invisible hazards in our home furnishings.

As the National Director of the Eco-Healthy Child Care® program and a mother of two young children, I try my best to keep our home safe from environmental health hazards.

Many parents and child care providers do not know that some household furnishings can contain toxic materials that may harm children’s health.

Two chemicals of concern commonly found in household furnishings are formaldehyde and flame retardants.  

Formaldehyde is often found in indoor air, in both homes and child care facilities at levels higher than recommended for health.  Formaldehyde is used to add permanent-press quality to fabrics like draperies, as a component of glues in particleboard furniture and plywood flooring, and as a preservative in some paints and coating products. This chemical is a carcinogen and irritates the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. Exposure to formaldehyde can also cause headaches, nausea, burning of the eyes, nose, and throat, skin rashes, coughing, and chest tightness.  

Flame retardants -- such as polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) -- are used in furniture foam, carpet padding, back coating for draperies and upholstery, plastics, computers, televisions, building materials, and electrical appliances. Research indicates that more than 80% of PBDE exposure is from household dust. This chemical has been found in human blood, breast milk, and umbilical cord blood.
Infants and toddlers who are highly exposed to PBDEs may suffer damage to their developing nervous systems. High levels of exposure   can also be toxic to the liver and thyroid.

I follow these recommendations from the Eco-Healthy Child Care® program to reduce my family’s exposure to formaldehyde and flame retardants. Please click here to view EHCC’s fact sheet on furniture & carpets.  
•    Avoid wall-to-wall carpets with carpet pads; choose hard flooring (wood, tile) instead.
•    Choose solid wood furniture. Avoid use of pressed wood products that are made with glues that contain urea-formaldehyde resins (UF).

•    Keep dust levels down by damp dusting and mopping.

•    Choose area rugs that are made with natural fibers (cotton, hemp, wool) that are naturally fire-resistant and contain fewer chemicals.

•    Clean area rugs with biodegradable cleaners.

•    Vacuum when children are not present using a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter vacuum cleaner.

•    Ventilate often, and especially while cleaning.

•    Avoid products made with foam. Dispose of torn foam items (cushions, pillows, stuffed animals).
•    Choose new items stuffed with polyester, down, wool, or cotton; these are unlikely to contain toxic fire retardants.

EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

Tags:  early childhood education  Early Learning Leaders  Eco-Healthy Child Care  household products  parental tips 

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Art Supplies

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 6, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Written by: Eco-Healthy Child Care®

It’s important for children to participate in arts and crafts. It allows them an opportunity to express their creativity and use their imagination. Whether it’s finger painting or drawing a picture, children feel proud knowing that they have created something. As a parent, I love it when my 2.5 year old daughter is creative.  We show our appreciation by placing her creations on our fridge. But I also make sure that whatever she is using to be creative is also safe.  It’s essential that parents and child care providers take the time to choose art supplies that are healthy and free of chemicals that may cause harm. Some art supplies contain toxic ingredients that when used or stored in play areas create a risk to the health and well being of children. Lead, asbestos and organic solvents are sometimes used to enhance pigmentation, preserve art products, and to improve application. These toxic ingredients can trigger asthma, allergies, headaches and nausea, especially in poorly vented areas. Children are uniquely vulnerable; and it vital to purchase and use supplies that are certified as non-toxic.

As the National Director of the Eco-Healthy Child Care® program, I have these recommendations for safer arts and crafts:
  • Use only non-toxic art supplies approved by the Art & Creative Materials Institute (ACMI). Look for ACMI non-toxic seal “AP” at
  • Read labels and identify precautions
  • Do not allow children to eat or drink while using art and crafts materials
  • Ensure children wear protective smocks
  • Wash their hands thoroughly immediately after use
  • Provide adult supervision
  • Products to avoid
  • Solvent-based products (markers, oil-based paints and cements) which can be extremely flammable and release toxic vapors
  • Products that contain lead
  • Permanent felt tip markers or scented markers
  • Products that are not in the original container or without proper labeling (including donated items)
  • Products that can be inhaled or get into children’s eyes, such as: clay in dry form, powered paints, wheat paste, and aerosols (spray paint, hair spray)
EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals. Click here to learn more about toxic ingredients that can be found in art supplies and products to avoid.

Tags:  art supplies  arts and crafts  children  Eco-Healthy Child Care  tips 

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UNLUCKY 13: The Thirteen Manager Mistakes That Can Lead to Lawsuits

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Updated: Friday, May 30, 2014
Written by Ronald V. McGuckin and Associates,

Over the past several years, lawsuits filed by employees against employers have continued to rise at an alarming rate.  Sometimes frivolous, sometimes warranted, these lawsuits ultimately cost
the employer a great deal of time and money.

Our experience in representing agencies and defending employee/employer lawsuits has shown there are mistakes that managers often make in dealing with employees that can spark employee lawsuits.  By identifying and avoiding these common mistakes, managers can reduce their risk of being involved in costly employee-related legal litigation.

The unlucky 13 mistakes that can lead to legal litigation are:

1)  Improper/sloppy documentation: Our mantra in the law office is document, document and document some more.  But all the documentation in the world won’t be of any benefit, if it’s done improperly.  Make sure all documentation is legible, dated, signed, and witnessed (if warranted).  And be careful that your documentation (including emails) doesn’t reflect any discriminatory intent. Make sure your comments and written communication will hold up to the scrutiny of a court.

2)  Not knowing policies and procedures and not enforcing them: Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to knowing your agency’s policies and procedures.  Familiarize yourself with policies and enforce them across the board. If you claim ignorance regarding a policy, a jury tends to look at as intentional.  And if you only apply policies to certain employees, it can be viewed as discriminatory.

3)  Lack of legal knowledge:  Juries expect individuals in management positions to stay abreast of the law as it relates to employment. Review your policies to make sure they are legally sound (or better yet, have your lawyer review them), read HR newsletters for the latest information, and get a lawyer’s viewpoint if you have questions related to employment law.

4)  Interview mistakes:  Not only should you be able to prove why you hired a certain individual, you should be able to prove why other candidates were rejected.  Hiring one employee over another, and not being able to prove why you made that decision, might just be the spark that ignites a discrimination claim.  During the interview process, make sure you aren’t asking any questions that can be viewed as discriminatory and be careful you don’t jot down notes that can be viewed as having discriminatory intent.

5)  Inflated employee performance appraisals:  For a variety of reasons, managers often inflate employee’s performance on their appraisals.  But remember the performance appraisal might be the very document you need to prove an employee’s poor job performance which resulted in demotion or termination.  Overly inflated performance appraisals are of no benefit to the agency and will bring your credibility into question.
6)  Ignoring complaints of unfairness or improper/illegal employment actions:  If an employee complains that he/she is being treated unfairly, being harassed or possibly being discriminated against, investigate and take any necessary action.  A laissez faire attitude regarding such allegations will land you in hot water and possibly in court. Don’t jeopardize your credibility by such inaction.

7)  Being rude, insensitive and mean:  Although you might think this is just “personal style” and won’t have legal ramifications, being mean-spirited, making rude remarks, or treating your employees like second-class citizens, won’t sit well with a jury, and
depending on the remarks, might be seen as discriminatory.  Treat your staff with respect.

8)  Changing your story midstream:
We’ve seen it happen time and time again; an employer disciplines or terminates an employee and, upon getting indications that the employee is considering legal action, the employer subsequently changes the reason behind the action. Such conduct ruins your credibility and looks questionable.  Be honest and consistent regarding the reason for employment actions.

9)  Careless statements to investigating agencies:
When a disgruntled employee files a complaint with a State or Federal agency (often the EEOC for possible discrimination), the agency must investigate.  This investigation will most likely include questioning management for information regarding the employee/employer relationship and related employment actions. Careless comments, not being truthful, or changing your story will certainly come into question and can hurt your case should it end up in court.

10) “Padding”  an  employee’s  personnel  file:  When management is planning to terminate an employee, they often bombard the employee’s personnel file with disciplinary actions in an effort to support the termination.  But a court will see through this sudden influx of negative documentation. Our recommendation is to always document an employee’s negative AND positive job performance, be consistent about it, and review your employees performance on a regular basis.

11) ADA violations:  This runs the gamut and can include unwillingness to make accommodations or dictating the accommodation to the employee.  Federal law requires employers to make “reasonable” workplace changes to accommodate the employees disability. But the employer can’t dictate the accommodation, it must be a give and take process, employer and employee working together to find a solution.

12) Terminating employees too fast:  Courts often look at whether management fired an employee hastily, without trying to improve the employee’s job performance. Some employee actions may warrant immediate termination but quick, knee-jerk firing may be viewed as insensitive or discriminatory. If the employee’s poor job performance is something you think can be improved, set goals to be accomplished within a certain time frame and revisit the situation for progress.  Ultimately, you may have to terminate the employee, but a court will look more favorably on you as a manager if you made an effort to improve the situation.

13) Taking too long to terminate an employee:  No one likes to terminate an employee, especially in today’s economy.  But sometimes employers “hang onto” an employee much longer than they should, ultimately jeopardizing the wellbeing of the program.  As stated previously, some actions require immediate termination.  And if you’ve tried to improve the employee’s performance to no avail, or the employee is a repeat offender, it is time to let the employee go.

Tags:  Early Learning Leaders  legal insights  Ron McGuckin  Ron McGuckin and Associates 

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Air Quality

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Updated: Friday, May 30, 2014
Written by: Eco-Healthy Child Care®

Clean air is necessary for good health – both indoors and outdoors.

Children are particularly vulnerable to air pollution because their lungs are still developing. Children also breathe in more air per pound of body weight than do adults.  Exposure to some pollutants can decrease lung function or cause asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, and even cancer.  
Did you know that indoor air can be 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air?  And since we spend more time indoors than outdoors, the U.S. EPA says that health risks “may be greater due to exposure to air pollution indoors than outdoors.”  In addition poor ventilation, the presence of dirt, contaminants, moisture, and warmth, which encourage the growth of mold, can trigger allergic reactions and asthma.

Outdoor air pollution can be a risk to children’s health, too.  Sources of pollution include vehicles (cars, buses, trucks), industry, ships, trains. Mother Nature can play a role, such as through wild fires.  Human activities such as smoking and campfires also contribute. Traffic pollutants include possible harmful chemicals in gasoline; diesel exhaust is a carcinogen. Child care facilities located less than 500 feet from major roadways or close to heavy bus traffic may be exposed to excessive levels vehicle exhaust.

Here are some recommendations to improve your indoor air quality:
  • Ventilate - Increase ventilation naturally by opening screened windows and using fans.
  • Prevent mold and mildew- reduce excess moisture and humidity. Fix leaks and clean spills promptly. Use a fan that vents to the outdoors in both bathroom and kitchen. For major water leaks hire a professional company to ensure drying within 24-48 hours.
  • Do not use scented candles, air fresheners or products with fragrances.
  • Never smoke on child care premises, in your car or near children. If you do smoke, wear a smoking jacket and remove it upon entering buildings. Wash hands immediately.
To protect children from outdoor air pollutants:
  • Adopt a no-idling policy. Pollution from idling vehicles can also enter a facility.
  • Know your Air Quality- Check your local air quality index (AQI) daily, usually found in your weather forecast, or visit If the forecast is for a Code Orange day (unhealthy for sensitive populations) or above, minimize strenuous outdoor activities or keep children indoors.
To learn more about Air Quality, check out EHCC’s fact sheets at Many factors affect indoor air quality.  In addition to our Air Quality fact sheet, EHCC fact sheets on pesticides, furniture and carpets, household chemicals, and radon offer additional tips for healthier indoor air. EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.  To learn more about this science-based and award-winning program, visit

Tags:  air quality  children's safety  Eco-Healthy Child Care  good health 

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