April 2017
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Family Corner

With the warmer weather, now is the perfect time to consider an outdoor family event.  Whether it's a picnic, potluck, field day, or the start of a walking club, having your families socialize with you and your staff in a fun and informal way sets the groundwork for positive relationships by building trust between everyone.

Let your families plan the event, with input and guidance from you.  It will give them a chance to feel empowered and valued by you!  It also gives you a great opportunity to brag on them and let them know how much you appreciate their time and service.  

Family Engagement

Curricula Concepts provides the training on The Arkansas Guide for Promoting Family Engagement.  In this training, we go over the Guide step-by-step and look at all the strategies inside. 

We can also provide technical assistance to help you customize a family engagement plan using these strategies that fits the specific needs of your program and the families you serve.

If you are interested in scheduling this training for you and your staff, please contact Jamie Ward at or by phone at 501-690-4444.  

Hurry!  There are only a limited number of these trainings available!
The Book Nook
For Teachers

Are you looking to deepen and enrich your curriculum?  Now is a good time to start planning and reflecting on your current practices, what you would like to keep doing, and what changes you want to explore for the upcoming year.
When teachers use curriculum driven by children's emerging interests, they create a captivating environment where children learn and discover by participating in activities they enjoy. 

This book explores the components of emergent curriculum and how its practices and principles can improve the educational culture of early childhood programs. Emergent Curriculum offers a unique and thorough explanation of these concepts as well as information on how to observe, reflect, interpret, document, and plan long-term projects using this method.

Early childhood educators have the crucial responsibility to provide effective teaching that will foster children's enthusiasm for learning. This book is an invitation to dream, develop, and implement the curriculum that accomplishes this. Age Focus: 2-5. 
For Families
It's that time of the year!  That time when flowers blossom and seedlings emerge, caterpillars become butterflies, and baby animals begin to frolic all over the place.  Here are a few suggestions about growth and change for your classroom or to share with families.

Find more books on growing and changes below! 

Idea Alley
  Make soup!  After reading "Growing Vegetable Soup," you can extend learning by cooking a quick and easy batch of vegetable soup in a slow cooker using vegetables from your own garden or the grocery store.  One of my teachers did this very simply by using just an assortment of canned or frozen vegetables.  By the time nap was over, the soup was ready!  
 Storytime STEAM with The Very Hungry Caterpillar!  With a few materials, you can create a learning extension to the Eric Carle classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Just a few plastic bottle caps ( or play dough balls or small inch blocks) see how tall you can make your own hungry caterpillar. For more details, check out Preschool STEAM's website here.

  Teachers, if you don't already, you are about to have an overabundance of little plastic eggs.  All you need now to make egg shakers is some popcorn kernels, rice, or beads, and tape.  In her blog, Not Just Cute, Amanda Morgan shares a neat tip when making egg shakers, "All you need to do is seal the egg with electrical tape.  (Electrical tap works best because it bends around the egg rather than puckering like many of the other tapes do.)" These are great for almost any music and movement activity and the perfect size for little hands to hold on to.

Upcoming Events!

The Nutrition and Physical Fitness Conference
Date: April 22, 2017 (Saturday)
Location: UCA, Brewer Hegeman Conference Center
Time: 9:30-3:00

This event will encourage and inspire participants to make healthy choices for their home and school families.  They will receive 6 hours of TAPP training hours and a catered lunch.  You must enroll on the TAPP Registry to attend. 

This conference is Better Beginnings approved and will count toward Nutrition and Physical fitness hours that are required of Better Beginnings.

For more information, please contact Carol Crockett at the Child Care Aware office in Conway at: 501-327-6677.

AAIMH Brown Bag Lunch
The Arkansas Association for Infant Mental Health has a monthly brown bag event every 4th Thursday.   This month it will be on April 27th.  You can join us at UAMS or one of the KidsFirst satellite locations.  It is a great way to get professional development close to you!

Check out their Facebook page for more details!

Spring Concert and Training Opportunity!
Save the Date!  Mr. Al will be at the Child Care Aware of Northcentral AR's  Annual Spring Concert on April 27th at 9:30 a.m. at Batesville in UACCB's Independence Hall.  This marks Child Care Aware's 20th anniversary and they want to celebrate with the families and children they serve.  Admission is $4 per person, and proceeds will go towards purchasing new resources for the Batesville Resource Center and lending library.

That afternoon, there will be a reception for the community, and later that evening, Mr. Al will be presenting a training class for 2 hours at UACCB in Batesville.

For more information, please contact Child Care Aware of Northcentral Arkansas at (800) 737-2237.  

Staff Spotlight!

We want to give you a chance to get to know a little bit about the people that make up Curricula Concepts and who we are behind the scenes.

And this month we are introducing our newest member to the team - Amy Routt!

HI!  My name is Amy Routt and I am excited to be a part of this amazing team.  I always say that there are three things I wanted to be in this life, a wife, a mom and a teacher.  I am so grateful that I am able to be all three.  

I started in the early childhood field 26 years ago working in a toddler room while I was in college.  That has led to a variety of experiences working with children.  I have a degree in Early Childhood Education, P-4 from The University of Central Arkansas and have been blessed to use that in many ways.  I had a preschool in my home when my children were young which I absolutely loved.  I have worked with the public school systems and most recently have spent the last 4 years working for AETN as the Early Childhood Education Coordinator.  

Most of my adult career has been spent pursuing my other passion which is health and wellness.  I spent 14 years at Conway Regional Health and Fitness Center as the Program Coordinator.  I ran the group exercise program, personal training and community outreach events.  I spent my years assisting local schools to develop before and after school physical activity programs for the children and helped classroom teachers find more ways to integrate physical activity in to their daily routines.  I am currently serving as the Chair for the Early Childhood and Schools Workgroup for Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention, ArCOP, as well as other Early Childhood Obesity prevention advocacy work.

I have been married for 23 years to a stellar guy and have 3 amazing children.  I have one daughter in college in Utah, pursuing a career in Communications with an emphasis in PR and Marketing.  My middle daugher will attend UCA in the fall tackling a Mathematics degree and doing the STEM Teach program and the baby of the family, he will enter high school next year and loves music, tennis and books.  

 My personal hobbies include loving my family, loving to exericise and still teach others about health and wellness.  I love to bake, garden and dream big.   I am the only girl of four brothers (the middle child) and was raised playing in the woods and I still have that love of the outdoors in me.  I crave sunshine and fresh air.

I am looking forward to getting to share my love of family and love of education with all of you. 

Stay tuned next month to see who we are spotlighting next! 
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