MaineAEYC Free Monthly Webinar: Early Start Maine

2016 Fall Conference Wrap-up

A nice Fall day welcomed the participants to the 2016 Fall Conference onto Bowdoin Campus. From registration sign-in to evaluations turned in there were many opportunities to network and expand our knowledge around engaging children and families in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.

Janna Doherty, from Boston’s Museum of Science got the hands-on learning started with a simple, fun experiment that involved milk, food coloring and dish soap……..


The workshop breakout sessions engaged us in many hands-on activities and shared many resources. (We’ll be posting resource links provided to us in Past Conferences.)


We ended what was already a full day of learning with some STEAM activity tables and tours of the Children’s Center at Bowdoin College.


Thank you to our sponsors and vendors for their support.


In the Spotlight!


MaineAEYC is pleased shine the spotlight on ………….

Quality member, Christen “Chrissie” Davis.  Chrissie is a member of the Kennebec Valley Community Action Program and is a HomeStart Family Child Care Provider. Chrissie has been a Family Childcare Provider in Skowhegan since July of 2001 and has displayed a true commitment to high quality education for young children.  Her outstanding dedication is evident in all aspects of her program – from a purposeful learning environment to an individualized approach that meets the needs of each child. Chrissie has the knowledge and passion to provide an exceptional program for both children and families.

chrissie-davisIn addition to giving her all to her program and families, Chrissie has earned an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and holds NAFCC Accreditation.  She is a Step 4 on the Maine Quality Rating System and has recently obtained the Maine Youth Development Credential.  Chrissie continues to expand her knowledge and skills through a variety of professional development and grant opportunities.  She completed the ‘Infants and Toddlers: Social Beings and the Ability to Communicate’ Course through CMMC this summer with a scholarship from the Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network.  After completion of the course, she received a mini grant to support the purchase of Infant and Toddler specific equipment and materials. Chrissie has also applied for the T&L Foundation Grant through Somerset Public Health. She hopes to receive a mini grant to implement a curriculum that supports healthier environments, eating habits and knowledge of where and how food is grown.  The utilization of these grants brings forth offerings for children and families enrolled in her Family Child Care that would not otherwise be available. 

In her partnership with KVCAP’s HomeStart Program, Chrissie attends Monthly Provider meetings where she has had the opportunity to network with other Family Child Care professionals. She has become a role model for others due to her high standards, professionalism, and devotion to the children and families in her community.  Chrissie devotes her time to improving her quality and knowledgebase whenever and wherever she finds an opportunity.

MaineAEYC is proud to recognize Chrissie’s efforts and dedication to her field as a Spotlight Member. Her commitment to networking, education, high quality, and grant acquisition demonstrates her passion for her program and willingness to offer children and families an atmosphere that is nurturing and educational.  Thank you, Chrissie for going above and beyond in your efforts.

Come join our team! 

With changes to the affiliate structure the MaineAEYC Governing Board is expanding and seeking nominations to fill four upcoming vacancies: 

* All four positions for Members-at-Large are three-year terms

All four Board members elected in December of this year will begin their terms on January1, 2017.

Meeting Clip Art - ClipArt Best

We are a volunteer board that acts on behalf of the needs, rights, and well-being of all young children in Maine and their families, with special emphasis on developmental and educational services, professional development and public policy.  MaineAEYC supports the growth of the affiliate membership and the professional development of members and all early childhood professionals in Maine.

Serving on the Board is a great way to get more involved in the early childhood community in Maine and at the national level!  Board membership also offers many opportunities to network with colleagues and take on a leadership role in the field.  Our Board members represent many different voices in early childhood and share a common vision of supporting all young children and their families. To allow for individuals across the state to serve on the Board 1 evening a month a conference call is held. There are also 2 face-to-face full day meetings usually held on Saturday, in early Spring and Fall.

To be eligible, nominees must be current members of MaineAEYC.  Suggestions for nominations or letters of interest may be sent to up until the end of the day on Friday, October 28th.

Questions?  Please contact us at

MaineAEYC Public Policy Forum

The Maine Association for the Education of Young Children, affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Cloud 1 (1)invite you to join us for a public policy forum designed to promote and support open dialogue between providers and organizations across our field in order to identify challenges and successes occurring in early childhood public policy.

We are honored to have Lauren Hogan, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Mary Beth Testa, Policy Consultant for the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFFC) to facilitate discussions and offer guidance concerning important public policy and advocacy issues that we face on local levels across the state of Maine.

MaineAEYC recognizes the value that each facet of our state’s providers offer to the early childhood field including family childcare, center based childcare, public pre-k, headstart, and our public and private k-2 classrooms. Each plays a vital role in the lives of Maine’s children and families. While we face different advocacy challenges concerning our unique settings, we all share the same bigger picture: providing safe, high-quality care and education for our state’s youngest learners. There is a need for our expertise to be represented when policies are made in Augusta.

We hope you join us for this dialogue as we aim to support our profession, represent the children we care for, and create a stronger, more unified voice in our legislation.

Date: Saturday, September 10th 2016
Time: 9:00am-12:00pm
Location: Viles Arboretum, 153 Hospital St. Augusta Maine


 Please let us know if you would like to skype or call in, if you cannot join us in person

*refreshments will be served

King, Burr Combine Forces to Fight for More Affordable Childcare for American Families  

thThe following information was received from Sen. Angus King’s office. It is an update on a bill that Sen. Angus King has submitted with a Senate colleague. MaineAEYC is sharing as we feel this should be of interest to our membership and others working in the early childhood education field.


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) joined forces to introduce the Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone (PACE) Act, legislation that merges two previous bills they introduced that would improve the major federal tax policies that help make childcare more affordable for families across the country.

“Childcare is becomingly increasingly more difficult for families to afford, and that’s not only bad for them, it’s bad for the economy,” Senator King said. “We need to ensure that our tax policies keep pace with rising childcare costs and that working families have the support they need to stay on the job. The PACE Act merges two sensible approaches to current policy and will ensure that fewer American families have to make the impossible and unfair choice between childcare and their jobs.”

“Affordable, reliable child care is one of the greatest challenges that many working families face,” said Senator Burr. “I’m glad we can come together to expand affordable child care options for parents who are working to build a better future for their children. I fought hard to improve child care and to make it more affordable for working families with the Child Care and Development Block Grant Law of 2014. But as any parent can tell you, we’ve got more to do. Parents need safe, affordable child care. And this bill has the added benefit of helping families who need a caregiver for their aging parents.”

For too many families, the cost of childcare can make it difficult to maintain employment and make ends meet. In nearly half of the country, the annual cost of full-time childcare for a 4-year old is greater than the average cost of in-state tuition at a 4-year college or university. Those pressures are felt most by low-wage workers who spend on average more than 30 percent of their income on childcare.

While the federal government provides two significant tax benefits to help offset childcare costs – the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) – they are both in need of an update.  For example, neither policies have kept pace with inflation, meaning they have become less useful over time as the cost of childcare increases. 

The Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone (PACE) Act – which combines the Access to Childcare Expansion (ACE) Act Senator King introduced yesterday and Senator Burr’s Child and Dependent Care FSA Enhancement Act to create a strong, bipartisan bill – would enact several changes to make both tax policies immediately more generous and modify them to reflect the changing economic landscape by requiring an annual inflation adjustments that will provide families with greater spending power when seeking care for their children. Because both tax provisions affect care for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, those enhanced benefits will extend to them as well.

More specifically the Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone Act would:

1.     Modernize the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by:

  •  Making the credit refundable in order to expand the credit’s reach to low-income working parents.
  •  Increase the value of the credit by raising the credit rate for families of all income levels and creating a new top credit rate of 50 percent that phases down to 35 percent for higher-income families in order to expand the reach of the credit and put more money back into the pockets of working parents.
  • Indexing the credit to inflation to ensure the value of the credit will not be eroded over time by rising childcare costs, but instead, will remain at a sufficient level to help make costs more affordable.

2.     Enhance Dependent Care Flexible Spend Accounts (FSAs) by:

  • Increasing the amount of pre-tax dollars families can put into these accounts from $5,000 to $7,500. This exclusion from gross income allows families to save money on income and FICA taxes, and the PACE Act’s increase means those savings will go even further than current law’s.
  • Indexing the new cap to inflation so FSAs can keep pace with the cost of childcare. Because the current $5,000 cap is not indexed to inflation, families are falling further and further behind the rising cost of care.  By raising the cap to $7,500, and indexing that amount to inflation, the PACE Act ensures FSAs are reliably updated to keep steady a parent’s purchasing power for their child’s care.

To read a copy of the legislation, click HERE.

Make Your Own Activities for Those MELDS

After a trip to the local Dollar Store, the Membership Committee had a table full of low cost activities that support Domains/Indicators for the Maine Early Learning Developmental Standards (MELDS) ready to share a the Spring 2016 Conference. Did we come up with all these ideas ourselves? Not all. Thankfully there are many willing to share ideas from their classroom experiences. To help gather ideas in one location, MaineAEYC has established a Pinterest page where we will be continually pinning resources that support the work of Early Childhood Professionals.
Here are some a few of the activities from the 2016 Spring Conference:


  1. Cat toy which included a jingle bell. We stuffed with different lengths and pieces of fabrics, ribbons and yarns. Young children love to get their fingers busy pulling these pieces out and stuffing back in. Lots of sensory, problem solving and fine motor. Also fun to just roll along the floor.
  2. A simple fruit juicer with a cut piece of sponge adds a new exploration to water play. Fun hand work out.
  3. Jazz up your dice. Take plain wooden square and add googly eyes (a kid favorite) to represent whatever numbers you want. Have found great for normal 1-6 dice. If have those super small eyes can go higher.
  4. These are free ABC exercise cards from Home School Share’s Human Body Unit that have been doctored up with ABC letter stickers. Keep on a keyring for storage and easy flipping to use.
  5. Ice cube tray with chip bag clip and some of the pom-pom that always seem to be around and early ed classroom. Fine motor to start, but depending on the pom-poms you can count, sort, match, pattern build…….

What to do with a Dollar Store foam Alphabet Puzzle? You don’t need another puzzle, but it’s just $1……

Buy it, remove the letters and hot glue them onto popsicle sticks.
2016_04_25_IMG_0131 Now you can take them outside and hide them around your space for an Alphabet Hunt. Or use in circle as the sticks make them easy to hold. Or…………….

2016_04_25_IMG_0132Don’t throw away the puzzle form!

Cut it up for each letter area to be separated.

Now you have what I think of as negative letter forms.

Use for the tactile experience, use in sensory bins, press into sand/salt/playdough, lace in alphabetical order, use as a stamp for painting…….



Button Threading Snake:

Simple, low cost, adaptable and very easy to make.
Length of ribbon, at least 15”
Button at least ¾” wide
Fabric pieces at least twice width of button
– Adapt with textured fabric or a fun alternative is a multi-colored pack of kitchen scrub sheets.
– Adapt with shape. Squares are easiest to cut and 2” square usually works well.

To make the button slit fold in half on the diagonal and snip at center point of fold in about ¼”.
Sew button on one end of ribbon. I like to knot the other end and place a stopper piece of fabric, so we have button on and button off practice. Many examples have it left as an open end and the children just slide the buttoned pieces off. With the stopped end they have to unbutton. 


ABC Nesting Spoons:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 8.56.29 AMYou’ll need 2 sets of different colored spoons (having one clear has benefits), one color for uppercase, and one for lowercase. On one set of spoons write the uppercase letters using a sharpie. On the other set of spoons write the lowercase letter. Can write in the spoon bowl or on the backs depending on how you want the spoon to nest.
Use for ABC placement. Use to match upper and lower. Or use as shown here matching to ABC flashcards or strip.
Here is a free downloadable printable for the ABC strip from Confessions of a Homeschooler who has a wealth of other ABC activities posted for sharing.


Number Nesting Spoons:

2 sets of spoons: clear ones with the numbers written on them and white ones that had dots in the amounts of the numbers. Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 8.57.02 AMMake another set with number symbol and written name to extend learning.
Subitizing Spoons  (Children may be able to identify a number without actually understanding what it means. Subitizing is an important first step in gaining true number sense/knowledge. Subitizing is the recognizing of groups automatically without having to count the individual items within the group.)

One great use for these spoons can be found at Mrs. Lirette’s Learning Detectives ~
Lay all of their spoons with the number out on the table and hold the clear spoons with the dots.  Call out a number and the children find the spoon with that number on it and nest it with the spoon with the corresponding amount of dots.


Crazy Straws:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.02.53 AMFirst match your felt pieces to your crazy straws. Using your scissors, cut out 2×2” squares out of fabric. Now cut small slit in center of each shape.
Put out for play!
Will they match? Count? Put them all on one straw? Make patterns?
This activity works for many ages from toddler up. Great practice for counting, matching, sorting and fine motor.
Do the colors really need to match? What about shapes? Different fabric for a different tactile experience? (We cut up kitchen scrub pads in different colors)



Slime Basket:

Familylicious provides us with a twist on slime with a Slime Basket
1/2 tsp borax
1 1/3 cups hot water
In a separate bowl:
2 cups school glue
1 1/2 cups hot water
liquid water color or food coloring
Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.08.55 AM


  • Mix borax and water
  • In a separate bowl mix glue, water, and coloring
  • Stir mixtures together

It falls through the holes in a basket slowly and keep the runny consistency even after cooling. Think about providing scissors for the children to cut the strands that come down. Or maybe try holding at different heights? Wonder what other ways the children will imagine to explore this?
Be sure to have a bucket to catch the slime that makes it to the ground.


Plunger Painting:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.46.15 AM Mummy Musing and Mayhem had some nice example of this fun for all ages activity that is super fun outside.
Plungers provide resistance when painting. Not to mention gross motor (arms, core), cooperation, color blending, and that beautiful circle shape.
“Heavy Work”
Take the paint away, clean off the plungers and add in a scooter and you have a whole different gross motor experience. The Motor Story has a detailed Scooter and Plunger activity.



Lacing or Weaving Mat?

2016_04_26_IMG_0137Tie a length of ribbon to one corner and let children sew, loop, and twist throughout. Or weave the long or short (hotdog/hamburger) way. What materials will you use? Ribbons, yarns, fabric strips, pipe cleaners, straws…… Think eye-hand coordination, fine motor (pincer grip), approach to learning, and math (patterns).
Don’t forget undoing it is half the fun.

This sink mat was cut with regular scissors in half. For smaller pieces could be easily cut in half again.




Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 12.30.59 PM Straws are passed through holes in a basket (circular is best) to form a lattice.

The pom-poms are then placed on the top and held in place by the lattice.

Players take turns removing a single straw from the basket while trying to minimize the number of pom-poms that fall through the lattice to the bottom of the basket.
Once a player has committed themselves to a particular straw by touching it, they must remove it.

The player who counts the fewest dropped pom-poms wins.
But who’s to say you cannot make up your own rules?
2016_04_25_IMG_0126Think fine motor, counting, social studies (rules), approaches to learning, social-emotional.

Celebrating Our Members, Quality and Innovation!

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The MaineAEYC Membership Committee is looking to recognize professionals and programs in the field that excel in their efforts to achieve high quality for the children and families they serve.

We will be featuring a Spotlight on Members, Quality, and Innovation in the field both here on the blog and on our Facebook Page.

• MaineAEYC member
• Nominated by self, coworker, supervisor, colleague or family served
• Completed nomination form with testimonial of professional accomplishment or extraordinary teaching practices (completion of degree, CDA, MRTQ credential, service to early childhood, classroom project, grant(s), etc.)
• Photo of member (requested but not required)

• MaineAEYC member
• Nominated by self, family served, or colleague
• Evidence of quality: QRS Step 3 or above or Accredited by NAFCC, NAEYC or COA
• Completed nomination form with evidence of meeting requirements
• Photo(s) of members and / or program photos (requested but not required)

• MaineAEYC member
• Nominated by coworker, supervisor, colleague or family served
• Completed nomination form with testimonial of innovation the positively impacts quality of program (grants, community service projects, classroom projects, school to home connections, etc.)
• Photo(s) of member (requested but not required)

*Written submissions can be emailed to including the
information listed above, contact information for the nominee (phone number
and email), and any other additional information you feel should be shared in the spotlight.

(In order to respect the privacy and confidentiality of families, MaineAEYC will only post media with children where the organization providing the media has secured signed releases for its use in this limited situation)

A Creative Challenge

MaineAEYC Membership Committee decided it would be fun to challenge those attending the 2016 Spring Conference to think outside the box. To this end they decided to find an item with one purpose and ask conference attendees to come up with suggestions for using with young learners or within their early education programs.

What would you do with a silicone glove oven mitt, $1 from the Dollar Store?

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 7.10.34 AM

If you play “Duck, Duck, Goose” in your program can you imagine the fun for the child that is IT wearing this on their hand while going around the circle? Or maybe they drop it for the Goose to put on and chase them with.

What about decorating it up with pom-pom, googly eyes for a monster? yarn hair? pipe cleaners for alien or bug antenna?

Use for any talking hand role playing

Retelling stories especially singing ones like “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”

At circle time having this be the “Right to Talk” item. On hand can talk.

Some interesting ideas generated in a very short time. How would you use it? What can you imagine? Please share in a comment.


NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child 2016

We all understand that the education of young children should be a priority at all times, but it’s important to push it to the forefront through a focused celebration. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) does just that when they annually encourage engagement in “The Week of the Young Child”. This national celebration focuses public attention on the needs of children and their families. While recognizing the early childhood educators and programs that meet those needs day in and day out.

photo Wells CC for WOYC 2016This years #WOYC16 runs from April 10 – 17 with the theme “Celebrating Our Youngest Learners!”

Programs all over Maine are celebrating this week.

Many programs celebrate within their classroom, while others work to engage the wider community.

Programs in Wells and Kennebunk worked together to engage their wider community by sharing artwork from children in early childhood education programs around their communities.

photoThe displays are up in community business to be viewed thru the week.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 7.17.11 AMScreen Shot 2016-04-13 at 7.17.41 AM