Quality Matters in Child Care Program, Here’s How Our Coaches Help!

It is true to say that quality matters in child care programs. At BANANAS, we’re committed to providing early childhood educators with the tools and resources to help them build, and sustain, successful child care programs. With that goal, we partner with First 5 Alameda County and the City of Berkeley to offer Quality Counts on-site coaching to child care providers.

The Quality Counts program helps early care and education providers improve their programs so that children are prepared for kindergarten and succeed in school and life. Our quality improvement coaches spend time at licensed child care centers and family child care homes to discuss ways to improve and support the implementation of health and safety practices and create nurturing environments. The coaches also provide support in child development and school readiness through child observation, developmental and health screenings. The coaches connect providers to workshops and trainings, prepare them for assessments and ratings, and help them identify their program’s strengths and areas where they need more support.

Recently, one of our quality improvement coaches, Sue Mei offered individualized on-site coaching to support teachers at Golden Gate Learning Center in Berkeley. Su Mei’s work has been incredible and helped dramatically improve quality of the child care center.

“I meet providers where they are, talk about what is possible, and map out a continuous plan of quality improvement,” says Su Mei who has worked in early childhood for more than 10 years. “I work with providers to improve the environment and create more enriching teacher-child interactions. When you have these elements in place, the programs run more smoothly and teachers are motivated to improve quality care for children.”

Routine, enriching teacher-child interactions are critical to a child’s development. It’s one of the most important areas where coaches help providers. For example, Su Mei observed a teacher say “good job” to a child pouring water in a cup. Su Mei suggested the teacher that saying “good job” is nice. It is also important to acknowledge child’s efforts by saying “I could see you are pouring water carefully without spilling.” Small changes like these are more likely to keep a child motivated to learn and challenge their cognitive and thinking skills.

Nadia Rivera, Program Director at Golden Gate Learning Center says that Su Mei has made immense contributions to the school. “She helped guide me in the direction that our center would most benefit. The workshop she gave us on health and safety turned our view on cleaning around. Every time she visits, the teachers feel excited to learn.”

Su Mei also suggested behavioral management strategies to address challenges such as biting or sharing issues amongst children. Providers also receive videotaping, observation, and feedback sessions that prepare them to meet these challenges better. Children thrive in programs that provide quality care and opportunities to learn through play. Su Mei ensures that her quality improvement efforts create lasting benefits for children and families.

“Ms. Su Mei is a delightful ray of sunshine for all of us. She has helped turn our classrooms around immensely. She’s very insightful and always strives for us to be our best selves as teachers. She’s great at listening to our concerns and advocating for both the children and teachers. Thank you for all that you do Ms. Su Mei,” says Fergie Acosta, Teacher.

 

 

This Father’s Day, Give in Honor of Your Dad

This Father’s Day, honor your father by participating in All for You Dad, a campaign to help our families. From June 11-18, 2018, All for You Dad asks mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, and caregivers to make a donation to BANANAS and give a gift with a lasting impact.

When you donate to BANANAS, you help us support families so that parents can go to work or attend school, while their children are exposed to social and learning experiences in child care. Every day, we work with families in Alameda County and help them choose the best care for their child by offering child care referrals and resources. We assist parents with paying for child care and offer parent education, support groups, and playgroups. We consider it a privilege to offer support to families, especially when we know it is going to change lives.

Inti with his Children

Inti Fernandez aspires to be a good father, a superhero to his two children. In addition to raising his kids alone, Inti is pursuing his dream job of becoming a visual designer. For a long time, he struggled to find an affordable child care program for his children. He needed child care so that he could go to work, support his family, and attend court hearings to secure custody of his kids. Being a single father was tough and he had to take more than one job to make ends meet. “I made some money but not enough to pay for my family’s basic needs. I worked very hard to keep a smile on my children’s faces,” says Inti.

Thankfully, Inti’s friend introduced him to BANANAS services. After an initial phone appointment, he met with one of our alternative payment counselors to discuss his situation and learn about available child care subsidy programs. Michelle, our counselor helped Inti by enrolling his kids in one of our Alternative Payment Program through which they received full-time child care services. The counselor also shared information about free workshops and events that are available for families. Inti’s family got the opportunity to visit the BANANAS Boutique and look for clothing, toys, and books. While his kids continued to thrive in a safe and loving environment, Inti can focus on growing professionally at his job. “Being a single parent is challenging, but things have turned out well for me. I’m very appreciative of the support my family has received from BANANAS,” he says.

Each family’s situation is unique, and we seek to provide the care and services that fit their needs. When we connect parents to the resources they need, we build a foundation of success for children. Your gift will directly impact the lives of children and families. It is extremely important for our community.

Thank You for Making UnPeeled a Success

BANANAS UnPeeled Children’s Carnival held on April 14, 2018 at Urban Adamah was a one-of-a-kind family event. Yes, it was a huge success! We owe it to no one else but our community that includes YOU. More than 750 people attended the event. What a great sense of community— parents, caregivers, and children all added to the fun. As a result, the event turned out to be a lively one that made parents excited and left kids smiling and asking for more.

The highlights of the event were live shows and games. Our performers Risa Lenore, Grampa Clyde, Mariela’s music time, Chad Norris, and Kirah Caminos entertained the crowd and created a joyful experience for all the little learners. Children moved and grooved to the much loved rhymes and songs. They sang, played with drums, clapped, laughed, and jumped. In addition, the live shows kept the children engaged as they explored their creativity through pretend play.

Children had the opportunity to enjoy many fun-filled games like the penny toss, ring toss, tic-tac-toe, buried treasure, bean bag toss, duck matching, and many more. There were terrific prizes for the children to take home. They created excitement among the kids as they could trade in their tickets to win more from the prize booth. Face painting was a popular choice for all! Our talented volunteers patiently painted beautiful designs and kept the long line moving along at a fast pace. Children and adults got a range of pictures on their face, from animals, flowers, butterflies to hearts and stars.

Kids were excited to see the fire truck when it arrived. They sat in it like a real firefighter and had the opportunity to pose for photos. The officers made their presence even more special by giving out favors. The snack shack was a crowd pleaser for who does not love hot dogs and nachos. The Italian food truck La Cosa Nostra sold delicious pasta and arancini, perfect for a carnival.

Parents loved being at the carnival, socializing with other families while their kids explored on their own in a safe environment. Each child left with memories of a great day. A huge thank you to all of you for attending the carnival and making it a success. We could only have made this carnival a memorable one because of you. The goal of the event was to provide family fun for all, especially to children. In addition, raise money so that we can invest in kids and make every child’s dream come true.

We would love to hear from you about your experiences on what a great day you had. Please share your comments below!

Raise a Reader with ‘The Berkeley Baby Book Project’

What could the amazing City of Berkeley have in common with the vibrant music legend Dolly Parton? They both love giving books to young children. And so does BANANAS! Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has teamed up with The Berkeley Baby Book Project to distribute free books to kids in Berkeley, ages 0-5. BANANAS is proud to help spread the word about this wonderful program.

Calling it the “gift of literacy,” Dolly Parton began the Imagination Library in 1995 in her home state of Tennessee. Since then, the program has expanded to other states and recently it distributed its 100 millionth book. The milestone was celebrated in the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. where Dolly Parton read books to a group of children.

The benefits of reading early to children are huge. It is never too early to build that close connection with your infant, toddler, or preschooler while stimulating their brains and love for learning. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library helps make this possible with its 60 volume sets of books that include classics such as The Little Engine That Could, Last Stop on Market StreetHooray a Pinata, and many more.

To be a part of this program, a child needs to register for The Berkeley Baby Book Project. Each month, new books are mailed to the child’s home. Books are chosen based on each child’s age and will be sent until the child turns five or the family moves out of Berkeley. The books are a gift and there is no cost to families for being a part of the Imagination Library. Children get the opportunity to create an amazing personal library before they enter Kindergarten.

BANANAS is cultivating the importance of reading in a child’s early development by helping families register for the Berkeley Baby Book Project. Berkeley parents can register in-person or contact our referral line at 510-658-0381. Families are also welcome to pick up gently used children’s books from our Boutique. These books are accepted through generous donations from our community.

Share the wonderful world of books with your children and promote the importance of literacy. For more information on The Berkeley Baby Book Project, visit their website.

New Law for Child Care Providers — Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training

Parents have many fears when it comes to their children. But the worst nightmare a parent can have is finding out that his or her child is being abused while in the care of someone else. Each year, nearly a million cases of child maltreatment, which includes both abuse and neglect, are confirmed, and many more probably go unreported. If you are a child care provider who suspects that a child in your care has been abused or neglected, it is essential that you report your suspicions. Child care providers are mandated reporters of abuse and neglect, and all mandated reporters should have training to help identify child abuse and neglect and learn the procedure for reporting.

Beginning January 1, 2018, AB 1207 (Mandated child abuse reporting: child day care personnel: training) requires all licensed providers, applicants, directors, and employees to complete a mandated reporter training. Child Abuse Mandated Reporter Training – California as it’s called is designed to give child care professionals, including caregivers and administrators, the tools to prevent, identify, and report child abuse and neglect among the children in care.

The deadline for licensed providers to comply with the training is March 30, 2018. The new employees have up to 90 days to complete their training. New applicants must receive their mandated reporter training prior to becoming licensed.

This FREE training is self-paced and will provide an overview of the significant definitions, requirements and protections of the California Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA). In this training, you will learn about the roles and responsibilities of child care providers in preventing, recognizing, reporting, and responding to child abuse and neglect within and outside early childhood programs and child care settings. It also gives an overview of prevention efforts, reporting laws, and the ways child care providers can talk to children about suspected abuse and support maltreated children and their families.

At the conclusion of the training you will take a final test that requires an 80% or higher score to pass. Upon passing the test you will be e-mailed a Certificate of completion.

Sign up and take this valuable training today!

When you report day care violations and suspicions of abuse, you not only help protect your own child, but other children as well.

Become a Member of The California Early Care and Education Workforce Registry!

What is CA ECE Workforce Registry?

The California Early Care and Education Workforce Registry is an efficient, web-based system designed to verify and securely store and track the employment, training, and education accomplishments of early childhood care and education (ECE) teachers and providers. Participation in the California Early Care and Education Workforce Registry provides you and your staff the opportunity to be part of this statewide data system for all early care and education professionals.

Click here to learn more about the California Early Care and Education Workforce Registry.

What are the benefits to being a member of the Registry?

As a participant in the Registry, participants will be able to:

  • Build a professional profile that can be securely accessed and updated anytime.
  • Electronically store education, training, and employment and professional growth accomplishments.
  • Search and sign up for training workshops and professional development opportunities which are automatically stored on your Registry profile.
  • Create a resume and share professional qualifications.
  • Search for jobs using the Registry Job Board.
  • Be recognized as an Early Care and Education professional.

How to Create a Profile on the CA ECE Workforce Registry?

Creating a profile is easy. Click here for a step by step guide on creating your profile. Visit www.caregistry.org to create your account today!