BANANAS Honors New Board Member Nancy Harvey for Women’s History Month!

March is Women’s History Month, which serves as a helpful reminder to highlight the contributions of the women in our lives. This month, we are honoring a woman who is a child care provider, child care advocate, a proud member of SEIU Local 521, and a new Board Member at BANANAS — Nancy Harvey.

Nurture, care, and educate is the philosophy behind Nancy’s mission whether she is serving children in her family day care, Lil Nancy’s Primary Schoolhouse in West Oakland, supporting parents in raising their children, or advocating for other child care providers. As a former grammar school teacher, Harvey witnessed first-hand how crucial early care and education is for our littlest learners.

A hallmark of Harvey’s care is the low staff-to-child ratio that ensures children in her care have the necessary adult-child interactions that promote quality learning opportunities and prevent education gaps from developing. She has leveraged educational resources in the community to better serve the children she cares for, from the local public library to Oakland Parks and Recreation opportunities.

Children are never too young to learn. I love my work and have never doubted that my calling is to educate children in their earliest years”, says Harvey.

Harvey comes from a family of activists. Her passion is to advocate for child care providers, fight for better wages and overall respect for the profession, and push policymakers to fix California’s inequitable child care system. In November 2017, Harvey boldly spoke before the Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education about how collective bargaining is also about professionalizing the industry, creating career ladders for providers to move-up to better-paying positions, reducing high turnover, and ensuring that tax dollars are spent on the families and children who need early care and education the most.

In 2018, Harvey was heavily involved in Ballot Measure A, Alameda County’s Child Care and Early Education Initiative, and also supported Measure AA, the City of Oakland’s initiative. While, Measure A proposed raising the sales tax in Alameda County to support early childhood education, Measure AA, the Oakland Children’s Initiative, proposed expanding access to quality, affordable preschool for every child from a low-income background in Oakland. The measures did not pass, but Nancy and her team of advocates feel hopeful for the future. Most recently, Harvey has been working with state lawmakers to get the new bill AB 378 through the legislature. She is confident that the bill if passed, will push for higher quality early child care access and the opportunity for child care providers to form unions.

We owe it to the next generation to make a change, or else we won’t have a quality child care industry that affects every family, workplace, and the local and state economies”, says Harvey.

Harvey feels that by being on the Board for BANANAS, she can better represent child care providers and make their voices heard. She loves BANANAS’ wide array of programs and is extremely fond of parent and provider workshops. Her favorite is the SEIU On-The-Job Training Project classes. In her free time, Harvey goes out for nature walks, indulges in interior design showcases, and spends time with her three children.

Please join us in welcoming Nancy Harvey as our new Board Member!

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Children

Educate our youngest learners about the many accomplishments of women and involve them in celebrating Women’s History Month. Here’s how:

  • Read books to your children about great women who made big contributions to the world
  • Plan a trip to a local museum and learn about various events about Women’s History Month
  • Take your children to a local women’s organization to learn about what they do for the community and possibly volunteer
  • Every family has their own amazing women worth celebrating! Plan a breakfast with your child and the special woman in your family (mother, grandma, aunts, cousins) and have your children listen to her stories

The ABC’s of School Readiness

At the start of a new school year, it’s natural for parents to feel anxious about sending their child off to kindergarten. You want to make sure that your preschooler is completely ready for their first-ever experience in a classroom. But what does school readiness really mean for a child? School readiness is much more than just learning a set of facts and skills. Getting children ready for school is a process that starts as soon as the child is born. It requires you to spend time reading, talking, and playing with your child.

Here are some tips to help you prepare your child for kindergarten.

Read aloud to your child– Take visits to the library. Check out books, attend a storytime, and be sure to read to them every day. Point to pictures in a book and say the words together. Make reading fun and perhaps create different character voices to make it interesting for your child.

Engage your child in language and literacy activities– Encourage your preschooler to write their name. Let a toddler scribble, draw, and write. Sing nursery rhymes and do fingerplay to stimulate their understanding and use of language. Appreciate their attempts and watch their skills develop with practice. Praise them for trying new things.

Develop and follow routines– Daily routines such as cleaning up after play, taking baths, packing their own bag for an outing offer rich opportunities to support your child’s learning and development. Have regular routines for mealtime and bedtime. Furthermore, getting up around the same time every day will get them used to a school schedule and prevent lack of sleep that can lead to behavioral issues.

Teach them independence– Children feel a great sense of pride when they are able to complete self-care tasks such as dressing themselves, tying their shoes, and using the bathroom without assistance. Let your child do simple chores like setting the table at mealtimes.

Nurture social and emotional learning– The ability to get along with other children, follow directions, and say “goodbye” to parents are skills that are essential for success in school and overall child development. Young children learn these skills through interactions with parents, teachers, and friends. Don’t forget to hug and kiss your child several times a day.

Enhance their thinking skills– In their every day experiences, children use and develop an understanding of math concepts, such as counting, sorting, and problem-solving skills that they will need for school. Give your child puzzles, blocks, and board games. Even better, get on the floor and play with them. Take your child to the zoo, grocery store, and post office. Talk to them about all the animals they saw at the zoo and what sounds they make. Make a list of all the items you want to buy at the grocery store—counting them as you place them in your basket. You can also point out the numbers and wording on the aisle signage by pointing up and saying “Let’s look for aisle 4, we need to find juice”. On the ride home, talk about the colors of the trees, the sky, and cars.

Play, play, and more play- Play is the centerpiece of learning. High-quality play experiences help improve children’s memory, language abilities, and social-emotional skills. Children learn by playing with every day objects and by pretending. The most effective ways for kids to learn about the physical and social world are by testing out new materials, playing with sand, water, and mixing bowls while engaging themselves in pretend play. Encourage your child to use their imagination.

Because kindergarten has more structure, it’s important to prepare your little one for the new environment. The best way to prepare is to talk about it. Before school starts, talk to them about what things will be like at school, how they’ll meet new people, learn new things, and make new friends. Visit the school and walk your new kinder down the halls and to their classroom. Encouraging your child to talk about how they feel is important, and how they should feel comfortable expressing their feelings to their new friend, their teacher. This is definitely a milestone to celebrate, even though your baby is growing up.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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!