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Outlining the 2023 Child Care Cost Modeling Report
By Diane Benjamin | December 14, 2023

People in the early childhood field know that the amount that most child care programs can charge families for tuition is usually less than the actual cost of operating the programs, much less running a profitable business. A new report demonstrates this is true across almost all geographies and program types in Minnesota. In fall…

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Great Start Compensation Support Payments Launch
By Diane Benjamin | October 25, 2023

The new Great Start Compensation Support Payment Program starts this month. Last spring, the Minnesota Legislature approved a range of child care investments, including funds to continue monthly grant payments to providers. Child care centers must use the funding from the program to increase staff compensation and benefits, while family child care programs can use…

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New Parent Aware Videos Available to View
By Diane Benjamin | October 5, 2023

Parent Aware Rated programs have a lot to say about their Parent Aware experience! Recently, we were able to interview two family child care business owners in northern Minnesota, Jo and Lisa. These first-person testimonials help tell the story of the benefits of becoming Parent Aware Rated and focus especially on the positive relationships that…

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REETAIN Bonuses Help Child Care Professionals Stay in the Field
By Valerie Peterson | September 21, 2023

Workforce retention is a constant challenge in child care programs. Fortunately, Minnesota has a program to help these programs retain and support staff. The Retaining Early Educators Through Attaining Incentives Now (REETAIN) program provides competitive bonuses of $500 – $3,000 to incentivize well-trained child care professionals to stay in the workforce, creating more consistent care…

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New Parent Aware Testimonial Videos
By Diane Benjamin | October 26, 2022

Parent Aware Rated programs have a lot to say about their Parent Aware experience! This summer, we were able to interview three of them: Renee, who operates a family child care program in central Minnesota, Lili, who operates a family child care program in northwest Minnesota, and Leah, who is the director of a child…

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T.E.A.C.H. Celebrates 20 Years – Part 2
By Diane Benjamin | July 20, 2022

As we begin the 20th anniversary year of the T.E.A.C.H. Minnesota scholarship program, our Communications Director, Diane Benjamin, took time to interview our Director of Financial Supports, Val Peterson, who was there at the beginning of T.E.A.C.H. The T.E.A.C.H. program began in Minnesota in 2002, with support from 14 different funders. These included statewide and…

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T.E.A.C.H. Celebrates 20 Years – Part 1
By Diane Benjamin | July 6, 2022

As we begin the 20th anniversary year of the T.E.A.C.H. Minnesota scholarship program, our Communications Director, Diane Benjamin, took time to interview our T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship staff, Erin Young and Nghia Vang. We began our conversation with Erin and Nghia sharing that the most satisfying part of their work is helping early educators complete their degree…

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Commitment to Power to the Profession
By Christy Berg | June 9, 2022

Child Care Aware of Minnesota is excited to align our work with the national Power to the Profession (P2P) initiative, hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The early childhood education profession is working toward having unified standards and guidelines for our field. We know that high-quality early care and education…

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The Importance of Play in Early Childhood
By Cory Woosley | March 8, 2022

A recent news story on National Public Radio highlights the continued need to promote a play-based approach to learning. A randomized, longitudinal study of over 2,900 low-income children in Tennessee found that those who attended a free, public pre-kindergarten program initially scored higher than their peers on school readiness, but by third grade, were doing…

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Eager-to-Learn Turns 20 – Part 2
By Diane Benjamin | January 25, 2022

In Part 1 of this blog post, we reviewed the early days of Eager-to-Learn. In this post, we look to the program’s future. Eager-to-Learn (ETL) began 20 years ago as a pioneering online learning program for early educators and continues to innovate and grow. One program priority is to keep addressing equity and accessibility through…

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Eager-to-Learn Turns 20 – Part 1
By Diane Benjamin | January 13, 2022

This year, Eager-to-Learn (ETL), our early education online learning platform, celebrates its 20th anniversary. An institution in Minnesota’s training environment today, ETL started when online learning was just emerging. As Cory Woosley, Director of Workforce Development, remembers, “Online learning was not a big thing twenty years ago. We worked with national partners to learn about…

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How I Grew My Career through T.E.A.C.H.
By Erin Young | October 18, 2021

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care providers increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. T.E.A.C.H. program recipient Lynn Barten recently shared the following story with us: “I had the goal of obtaining my early childhood education degree…

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The Role of Parent Aware Recruiters
By Diane Benjamin | July 27, 2021

Parent Aware, Minnesota’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, has a mission to help families find the quality care and education their children need to succeed in school and life. The five Parent Aware Recruiters are a crucial part of building the program throughout the state. Amber English is the recruiter for southeast Minnesota, based at…

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Five Tips for Choosing a Quality CDA Program
By Christy Berg | December 1, 2020

The Council for Professional Recognition recently shared a blog post with five tips for choosing a quality Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) program. This nationally recognized credential offers recognition for valuable knowledge about working with children and helping them reach their full potential. It is often a first step into a career educating young children.…

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T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA Annual Report Now Available
By Erin Young | November 19, 2020

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care early educators increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. Over 230 early childhood educators were awarded a scholarship in state fiscal year 2019-2020, and the program has awarded over 1,200…

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Supporting Program Leaders: TELL Talks
By Christy Berg | September 24, 2020

Something I have always admired about early childhood educators and program leaders is our tenacity, passion, and drive to ensure that all of the children in child care receive the best education while in their programs. We have all had to address numerous challenges and stressors during the past few months, first because of the…

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T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA Testimonial
By Erin Young | September 15, 2020

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care providers increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. T.E.A.C.H. program recipient Yun Sun recently shared the following story with us. (Her story has been edited for length.) My name is Yun…

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Eager-to-Learn Through the Years
By Diane Benjamin | August 12, 2020

Grace Kitzinger, our Online Learning Program Manager, is leaving Child Care Aware after nine years. She took some time to sit down with me and reflect on the growth of Eager-to-Learn (ETL) and the technological changes she has seen during that time. In fiscal year 2011, when Grace started her job, ETL offered 140 events…

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Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants Conclude
By Ann McCully | July 28, 2020

In mid-July, we wrapped up the third and final round of the Peacetime Emergency Child Care grants. These grants, proposed by Gov. Tim Walz and authorized by the Minnesota Legislature, were designed to support family child care providers and child care centers to ensure there are enough child care slots to serve families of critical…

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Coronavirus Resources
By Ann McCully | March 4, 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is dominating headlines and quickly becoming a concern for child care programs and parents. Our national office has shared a new blog post titled Coronavirus: How Does It Impact Child Care Providers and CCR&Rs? with helpful information for child care programs. The post provides an overview of the current situation, recommendations to…

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The 2020 Legislative Session Begins
By Ann McCully | February 5, 2020

The 2020 Legislative session begins on February 11! While this is the “short” session focused on bonding and policy, there is already a whirlwind of activity related to early childhood issues. The current state budget is already set through June 2021, but news of a $1.3 billion surplus has allowed lawmakers to discuss potential additions.…

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The Role of Play in Early Childhood Curriculum
By Marissa Albritton | January 22, 2020

With kindergarten readiness on the minds of parents, K-12 teachers, and legislators alike, the pressure to prepare children for standardized testing and stringent elementary school schedules is an increasing concern among many early educators. This has sometimes led to a bias against the use of formal curricula in early childhood programs and classrooms. Many have…

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Professional Development Advisors Are Here to Help
By Kateri Skunes | November 12, 2019

Have you ever thought about getting your CDA or a college degree in early childhood education, but didn’t know what the options were? Or maybe you wanted more information on child care topics, but didn’t know where to start? Have you thought about joining Parent Aware and wondered which trainings would count towards your Rating?…

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Supporting the Workforce Through REETAIN
By Janet Peterson | September 24, 2019

The dynamics of funding in our early childhood education system creates quite a conundrum when it comes to wages for educators. For parents, the cost of child care can significantly strain their family budget. For educators, child care fees aren’t enough to fund a livable wage, which results in many leaving the work they love…

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A Huge Passion for Early Childhood
By Cory Woosley | September 10, 2019

I have been a member of National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) since 1980. That is 38 years, longer than almost anything else I have done in my life. What keeps me coming back is passion – a huge passion – not just for children and their families, but for the people…

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Words Matter
By Kylie Cooper | August 27, 2019

When I first joined the early childhood education profession in 2009, my official title was “Child Care Worker.” This title was one step below assistant, and meant I was in a support role to the other staff and should never be solely responsible for the safety or supervision of children. In the years that followed,…

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Parent Aware Cohort Summary
By Katherine Norton | August 13, 2019

As the Rating Team Manager, I coordinate the Parent Aware Rating review process. We review hundreds of examples documenting school readiness practices that programs all over the state are using every day. It is always exciting to see the creativity and passion of so many family child care providers and center-based programs. The Full-Rating Pathway…

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T.E.A.C.H. Makes College Possible
By Erin Young | July 30, 2019

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care providers increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. T.E.A.C.H. program recipient Ndeye Anta Diop recently shared the following story with us: “I am from Senegal, and I have been living in…

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Understanding the Parent Aware Experience
By Diane Benjamin | July 16, 2019

Understanding the experiences that child care professionals have with Parent Aware is the key to creating a program that is responsive to their needs. A recent survey conducted by Child Trends gives us the opportunity to learn more about these experiences. Child Trends surveyed Minnesota child care providers that participate in Parent Aware, that have…

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Planning for Emergencies
By Valerie Peterson | July 2, 2019

With summer and severe weather season in full swing, I can’t help but reflect on our work with emergency preparedness. In Minnesota, we have our fair share of situations including tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, blizzards, floods, house fires, and gas leaks which require child care homes and centers to be prepared so that children are safe.…

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Access Ambassadors Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
By Karen Fogolin | May 8, 2019

Every month since February, a group of twelve Child Care Aware staff volunteers from all program areas have been meeting together as Access Ambassadors. Our goal? To create a system where everyone is welcomed, respected, supported, and valued. We also want our programs to reflect our values of diversity, equity and inclusion. We carefully discuss…

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How T.E.A.C.H. Changed My Life
By Erin Young | April 10, 2019

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® MINNESOTA is a scholarship program that helps early childhood and school-age care providers increase their levels of education, compensation, and commitment to the field by earning college credits and degrees. T.E.A.C.H. program recipient Patricia Monacelli recently shared the following story with us: “Where do I even begin? T.E.A.C.H. literally changed my life. I remember over…

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R.E.E.T.A.I.N. Bonuses Are Helping Child Care Professionals Stay in the Field
By Valerie Peterson | March 26, 2019

Workforce retention is a constant challenge in child care programs. Fortunately, Minnesota has a program to help these programs retain and support staff. The Retaining Early Educators Through Attaining Incentives Now (R.E.E.T.A.I.N.) program provides a competitive bonus system to incentivize well-trained child care professionals to stay in the workforce, creating more consistent care for children…

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Celebrating Parent Aware
By Katie Hoffman | February 12, 2019

Each year, we gather as a Child Care Aware system to celebrate the success of Parent Aware. Our most recent event was held on a summer day in August (and included an ice cream social, of course). This year’s celebration highlighted positive results from a new study of coaching practices, gave districts a chance to…

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Five Things You Need to Know About the Child Development Associate Credential
By Kylie Cooper | January 29, 2019

As Child Care Aware of Minnesota’s Workforce Advising Coordinator, I hear just about every question about the Child Development Associate (CDA). What is it? Is it necessary? Is it beneficial to my career? Does it count towards my higher education degree? Here are the five things everyone should know about the CDA: The basics. Candidates…

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