Rhode Island’s Professional Development System Plan: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Rhode Island’s Professional Development System Plan

Last week the Rhode Island Early Learning Council approved Rhode Island's Early Learning and School-Age Professional Development System Plan, developed by the council's Professional Development Work Team. The Team, led by co-chairs Karen Beese from the RI Department of Human Services (DHS) and Tammy Camillo, Director of Rhode Island AEYC and BrightStars, began work on the plan in the Spring of 2011 with facilitation from Anne Mitchell, former NAEYC President and current President of Early Childhood Policy Research, an independent consulting firm in New York specializing in evaluation, policy analysis and planning on early care and education.

This plan is designed to support the adults who educate and nurture infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their families, and those who work with school-age children in out-of-school time programs. The plan details the current landscape of professional development in RI, describes what an ideal professional development system should have, and includes recommendations to advance professionals' skills and knowledge, to develop sustainable careers and ultimately improve child outcomes.

Many of the recommendations included in the plan will be implemented through the state's Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge program.
To learn more about Rhode Island's Early Learning and School-Age Professional Development System Plan and to view the Plan and Executive Summary, please visit the Early Learning Council website at www.earlylearningri.org or contact Lisa Hildebrand at (401) 398-7605 or lhildebrand@BrightStars.org.

RI Featured in National Report: Confronting the Quiet Crisis: a BrightStars News Article

RI Featured in National Report: Confronting the Quiet Crisis: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

RI Featured in National Report: Confronting the Quiet Crisis

The national publication, Confronting the Quiet Crisis: How Chief State School Officers Are Advancing Quality Early Childhood Opportunities features information and examples of what states leaders are doing to advance quality early childhood opportunities.

The report takes a look at Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Deborah Gist who has made rapid advances, including the development of a strategic plan, department reorganization, serving as co-chair of the Early Learning Council, leading the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge win and more.

Gist notes that, "We will be able to lift up quality and support early childhood educators to provide the best experience for our littlest Rhode Islanders. We will see more kids coming to kindergarten better prepared to be successful right away."

The state profile notes that the Commissioner consistently looks at what has and is being done in the state and whether current efforts can be built upon to reach higher levels of quality and larger numbers of children. The report notes that BrightStars is an asset for Rhode Island and is helping programs continually build capacity to enhance quality.

Read the full report.
 

Limiting Screen Time for Young Children: a BrightStars News Article

Limiting Screen Time for Young Children: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Limiting Screen Time for Young Children

There are many reasons why children should have less screen time (which includes TV, videos, DVDs, computer, video games, and handheld devices). One of them being that limited screen time is essential for healthy development and staying active.

The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, Let's Move Child Care, and the American Academy of Pediatrics are great tools and resources.
Early care and education programs should strive to follow the Screen Time Standard in Caring for Our Children:

  • No screen time for children under age two.
  • For children two years and older, total media time should be limited to 30 minutes or less weekly during child care.
  • No screen time during meal or snack time.
  • Computer should be limited to no more than 15 minute increments except for school-age children completing homework assignments and children with special health care needs who require adaptive computer technology.

Read more on this Standard on page 62 of Preventing Childhood Obesity in Early Care and Education Programs.
 

State of Family Child Care Homes in Rhode Island: a BrightStars News Article

State of Family Child Care Homes in Rhode Island: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

State of Family Child Care Homes in Rhode Island

Nearly two million children are in some type of family child care home setting each week. This month, NACCRRA released its latest report, Leaving Children to Chance: 2012 Update, which reviews the state-by-state child care programs standards and oversight of family child care homes.

According to the report, only four states scored 70 percent or higher on the basic requirements needed to ensure that children are safe and in settings that promote healthy development. Rhode Island received a score of 60 which equates to 40 percent.
According to the report this low score is attributed to:

  • Licensing inspections of family child care homes are only conducted once every two years. By Rhode Island General Laws, fire safety inspections for family child care homes are completed every year.
  • Child care licensing staff have an average caseload of 200 programs.
  • Neither complaint nor inspection reports are online.
  • Providers are required to complete only 12 hours of annual training plus CPR and first aid.
  • Requirements do not address the following health standards: universal health precautions and weekend/evening care.

Strengths of Rhode Island's child care system include:

  • Routine and complaint based inspections are unannounced.
  • Child care licensing staff are required to have a bachelor's degree in early childhood education or related field.
  • Family child care providers undergo a background check.
  • Providers are required to have 36 hours of comprehensive initial training, plus first aid and CPR certification.
  • Safety standards address 10 of 10 basic standards.
  • Providers must meet requirements regarding parent involvement, daily/frequent communication with parents and allowing unannounced parent access.
  • Providers are permitted to care for no more than two infants and toddlers.

For more information and to view the report click here.
 

Join Let’s Move! Child Care: a BrightStars News Article

Join Let’s Move! Child Care: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Join Let’s Move! Child Care

The Rhode Island Department of Health has joined the National Let's Move Child Care Challenge, and is working to provide all child care sites in the state with free resources (e.g. checklists, trainings, and action plans) to help create and maintain healthy child care environments.
Sign up as a Let's Move Child Care site and see how you can create a healthier future for kids in your early care and education program:

Receive a recognition certificate signed by First Lady Michelle Obama
Children who eat well and are physically active:

  • Sleep better
  • Feel more ready to learn
  • Get sick less often

Providers with further questions should contact Heather at LetsMoveRI@gmail.com.
 

Natural Playgrounds Initiative: a BrightStars News Article

Natural Playgrounds Initiative: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Natural Playgrounds Initiative

Child care programs play a critical role in offering natural play environments that support children's learning, promote active play and provide exposure to an array of natural elements.
The Rhode Island Child Care Facilities Fund (RICCF) is seeking three to four licensed child care centers from across Rhode Island to serve as model playspaces. Participating child care centers will receive, at no cost, conceptual design plans for a complete re-make of its playground area. Participation will involve:

  • Site assessment and analysis
  • Interviews with staff to determine goals and aspirations for the space
  • Schematic design that includes low and higher cost options
  • Conceptual drawings

The plans developed as part of this project will be featured in a day-long playground training session offered later in 2012. Child care centers selected for this model plan project will receive a grant of $15,000 - $25,000 towards their actual playground project. Proposals are due no later than March 13, 2012 at 12:00 noon.
Click here to read the full RFP.
 

Important Changes to the “Use of Blankets” Standard in Caring for Our Children: a BrightStars News Article

Important Changes to the “Use of Blankets” Standard in Caring for Our Children: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Important Changes to the “Use of Blankets” Standard in Caring for Our Children

The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education announced this month an important change to a safe sleep standard in Caring for Our Children. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that blankets not be used in infant cribs.

Although the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) has decreased, other causes of sleep-related deaths have increased in incidence since the AAP published its last statement on Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 2005. This recommendation was made to reduce the risk of SIDS, suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation.

The AAP publication states that "loose bedding, such as blankets and sheets, might be hazardous and should not be used in the infant's sleeping environment". The "Feet to Foot Rule" is no longer recommended.

Visit http://nrckids.org/ to view the revised language in the sleep standard.

Effective Expanded Learning: a BrightStars News Article

Effective Expanded Learning: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Effective Expanded Learning

Three-fourths of U.S preschool-aged children are in child care, and most of their day is spent in inactive activities. The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a study to identify potential barriers to children's physical activity in child care centers. The study was based on discussion from nine focus groups with 49 child care providers in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Researchers identified three main barriers: (1) injury concerns, (2) financial restraints, and (3) focus on academic programming. Stricter licensing codes intended to reduce children's injuries on playgrounds have resulted in less interesting and physically challenging playgrounds. Child care providers felt pressured from state standards and parents to prioritize academics at the expense of gross motor play.

Click here to view the full study.

Study Finds Barriers to Children’s Physical Activity: a BrightStars News Article

Study Finds Barriers to Children’s Physical Activity: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Study Finds Barriers to Children’s Physical Activity

Three-fourths of U.S preschool-aged children are in child care, and most of their day is spent in inactive activities. The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a study to identify potential barriers to children's physical activity in child care centers. The study was based on discussion from nine focus groups with 49 child care providers in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Researchers identified three main barriers: (1) injury concerns, (2) financial restraints, and (3) focus on academic programming. Stricter licensing codes intended to reduce children's injuries on playgrounds have resulted in less interesting and physically challenging playgrounds. Child care providers felt pressured from state standards and parents to prioritize academics at the expense of gross motor play.

Click here to view the full study.

Early Learning Council Focus Group Report Provides Feedback about BrightStars QRIS: a BrightStars News Article

Early Learning Council Focus Group Report Provides Feedback about BrightStars QRIS: a BrightStars News Article

En Español

BrightStars, Rhode Island’s Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement system, assists families in finding care and recognizes and supports quality in early care and education programs.

Early Learning Council Focus Group Report Provides Feedback about BrightStars QRIS

As part of Rhode Island's Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant, the state is revising and aligning program quality regulations and standards. Standards to be revised include BrightStars QRIS, DCYF licensing standards, and RIDE Comprehensive Early Childhood Education Program Standards. This work will span from July 2012 to March 2013.
To seek input from key stakeholders on how DCYF regulations, BrightStars QRIS, and RIDE approval standards can be strengthened and better aligned, the state hosted a series of focus groups and open forums this fall. Read a full report of this work.
The report highlights the following strengths of BrightStars QRIS:

  • The standards clearly define what a quality program should look like.
  • The BrightStars quality frameworks are simple and clear, making it easy to see what is expected of programs.
  • Quality standards are reasonable, fair and attainable as well as grounded in evidence and measurable.
  • There was much praise for the BrightStars quality improvement process and the supports that were provided by BrightStars to help programs progress.

The report includes the following quotes from focus group and forum participants:

  • "BrightStars really makes you look at the classroom. Our teachers really learned a lot and the BrightStars staff is excellent to work with."
  • "The BrightStars staff is encouraging, accessible and willing to help. You can pick up the phone anytime and they are so helpful. This is very important. They provide strong guidance and help us through the process step by step."
  • "We can see our progress and this is inspiring." "BrightStars...encourages us (family child care providers) to continue our education.

In addition, the following constructive feedback was offered:

  • Programs want to be able to re-apply to increase their star rating immediately (not annually).
  • Some suggested that BrightStars allow for variances.
  • There was some concern about including the Environment Rating Scales in the quality standards.
  • Participants did not want ratings to be assigned through a "building blocks" model (as they are now).
  • There was a desire to eliminate the current standard of a floor-to-ceiling wall dividing groups of children in order for a program to achieve 5 Stars.

Thank you to all the participants who offered positive and constructive feedback about BrightStars QRIS. Please stay involved with the revision and alignment process by attending future focus groups and forums as well as staying up-to-date on the work of the Early Learning Council and its subcommittees. More information about the Council and future meetings may be found at www.earlylearningri.org.