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"In 2021, I commit to increase statewide, intentional outreach and information sharing so families can access the available support they need to nurture healthy, well-adjusted children who are ready to enter school and learn. Early childhood programs that provide a system of care with stability and continuity are essential components that the ADECE will strive to improve for all Alabama children and families."

Dianna Tullier, Senior Director
Operations, Research, and Evaluation

"Every adult can choose to positively impact the life of a child. This is my daily choice for Alabama's children and for our nation's children."

Pamela Truelove-Walker, Ed.D.
Senior Director, Early Learning and Early Education

"The Alabama Head Start Community experienced challenges in 2020 that required programs to be flexible in providing services to young children and families throughout Alabama. In 2021 we trudge ahead in our mission realizing that we still have opportunity to be CREATIVE and COMMITTED to quality service. Forward march Head Start. Together, we will continue to accomplish much."

Dr. Trellis Calloway
Director, Head Start Collaboration

"Every child matters! I am committed to work in tandem with partners across the state of Alabama to create possibilities for children to have an opportunity to grow up to be productive citizens."

Liletta Jenkins
State Children’s Policy Council Manager

"My commitment to Alabama’s children is to bring an awareness and respect to the importance of a high-quality early childhood education for children to not only build a foundation for future academics but also a foundation for higher thinking skills which will be needed for success in all areas of life. With this commitment, includes supporting all those who touch the lives of children birth through 8 by embedding recent research in educational neuroscience to validate their importance and to bring power to early childhood education professionals."

Joy Winchester, Director
Office of Early Childhood Development and Professional Support

"In 2021 I am grateful that we have an opportunity to stretch ourselves to tackle uncharted waters, overcome discomfort and try new techniques to support Alabama’s early childhood educators, young children and their families."

Tara Skiles, Director
Professional Development

“Alabama’s children deserve learning environments that are conducive to learning experiences that are sensitive to children’s social-emotional needs and that stimulate language, cognitive, and physical development. It is my belief that by embracing the primary role of families in children’s development, we can create the types of learning environments that set students up for success in school and in life.”

Gay P. Finn, Assistant Director
Office of School Readiness

"Children are our future and it is our duty to provide them with high quality childcare, motivation, dedication, and support. If we can reach children with quality childcare in the early years, there will be endless possibilities for learning and developmental growth in our Alabama schools."

Bonnie Sullivan, Ph.D.
B-5 Cohesive Systems Director

"I believe that all children in the state of Alabama are TODAY'S treasure. This belief causes me to have a daily sense of urgency to steward well the resources and projects that I work with as the as the Director of Innovative Projects and Assessment at the ADECE. What I do TODAY contributes to this treasure, Alabama's Children, becoming tomorrow's hope."

Jeannie Allen, Director
Innovative Projects and Assessment

“Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health is a rapidly growing field that crosses multiple disciplines, requiring specialized training and expertise. It takes the collaboration of many organizations with the same vision for a healthy Alabama to create new systems of care. As the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health State Coordinator, I am committed to being part of a leadership team that fosters intentional change in our systems building efforts.”

Dallas Rabig, LPC, NNC, IMH-E® - Clinical Mentor
State Coordinator, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Monthly Newsletter
January 2021

Purpose of Monthly Newsletter
We are committed to being transparent in communicating our priorities for the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE). We have created the ADECE Monthly Newsletter to ensure our public remains abreast of the work of the department. The ADECE 5 priorities are:

Preschool Development Birth to Five Grant
Coleman Center Foundation Site

The Coleman Early Learning and Family Enrichment (Coleman Center), located in Dothan, Alabama, received First Class Foundation Site Funding through the Preschool Development Birth to 5 renewal grant. This grant supports high-quality early care and education by providing funds for coaching, professional development support for the teachers, instructional, assessment and playground enhancement materials.

The Coleman Center was established in 2019 by Troy University’s College of Education and College of Health and Human Services. Both colleges have a long-standing history of concern, commitment and involvement in programs for young children and their families. This commitment is exemplified through the university’s mission of educating the mind to think, the heart to feel, and the body to act. Their mission is accomplished through teaching, research and outreach. Teacher candidates and other students who are training in related fields observe and study the developmental characteristics of young children while gaining invaluable clinical experiences and an in-depth perspective of the early childhood industry as a career in education, health or human services.

The Coleman Center is building upon the quality of the First Class Pre-K Program. The ADECE values and appreciates its continued partnership with the Coleman Center. 

Office of Early Child Development
and Professional Support 

Early Head Start - Child Care Partnership Project 

The Coaches and Quality Specialists of the Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) are working with teachers to raise the quality of childcare in Alabama—so high, in fact, that nine classrooms have earned a STAR-rating from the Department of Human Resources Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)! Our goal is for 100% of our programs to be STAR-rated by June 2021.

The EHS-CCP is developing a distance learning platform, individualized for children birth to age 3. The focus of the project is to empower parents as their child’s first teacher. The goal is to build strong connections between the family and provider/teacher that promote collaboration and maintain the educational foundation without disruption. Especially in these times of uncertainty, our children need us to work together. The project will launch January 2021.

Also starting in January, teachers will be provided virtual professional development training. Topics will include curriculum, assessments, learning environment and Conscious Discipline to help support the classrooms.

Kidz World – Dancing with the STARS
 

Challenging Behaviors Project

The Challenging Behaviors Project staff has been busy finalizing this six-month cycle of coaching. Staff members are collecting and compiling post-data for all the classrooms being supported. The team is currently providing Adult Resilience professional development, with an emphasis on perception and composure for the adults caring for children. Our approach is an Adult-First approach for our sites. There are self-care suggestions and components to assist with finding calm in chaotic situations. During the pandemic, with the changes that we are all experiencing, this professional development has proven to be especially helpful and easy to use for caregivers in the daily interactions between the teacher and children. Our next six-month cycle will begin January 1, 2021, and we have a full case load with 55 sites statewide. We hope all of you had a Happy Holiday and a wonderful start to the New Year.  

Baby Doll Circle Time in action, with some excited early learners
 

Conscious Discipline Project

Conscious Discipline implementation is growing across the state of Alabama. Highlighting our coaches and their growth is thrilling work to share. Conscious Discipline is influencing our coaches, both in a professional capacity, as well as in their personal lives. Coaches are going deeper in their practice through monthly in-depth reflection on the powers and skills of Conscious Discipline. As they reflect, learn and grow, they are able to apply this knowledge to every aspect of their lives (both personally and professionally) and support the providers they work with on their own Conscious Discipline journeys.  Pictured below are our Early Head Start Coaches and Teachers receiving Conscious Discipline support from Jessica Flowers (a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor) last year at our Early Head Start Child Care Partnership Conference. We continue to proudly fan the spark Ms. Flowers ignited.  

EHS-CCP Shining Bright

Family Engagement Project

The Family Engagement team is in the final stages of the current coaching cycle. To boost family involvement, programs received items for their Lending Libraries, such as take-home backpacks, zipper boards, resilience books for all age groups, and games. Each facility has newly formed family committees. The committees will analyze family survey results, as well as the new family engagement plan. Family Resource areas have been created, and they are full of information on children’s health and development, as well as community resources. All participants received technology stipends, which provided much needed resources for families and staff to build connections in the community. Staff will be able to access opportunities for professional development.  

Looking forward, the Family Engagement coaches are creating welcome packets for our new program providers. Coaches are also preparing to survey directors about the benefits of the project and gauge interest in Alabama Quality STARS.

First Class Pre-K Teachers Receive
National Board Certification

The ADECE extends congratulations to all First Class Pre-K Teachers who obtained National Board Certification in December 2020! Each of you have worked hard to reach such a milestone and we salute you for your hard work and dedication to the early childhood field. Below is a list of all NBCTs leading First Class Pre-K classrooms in the state of Alabama.

Region 1

  • Heather Campbell - Phil Campbell

Region 2

  • Angela Hill – Arab Primary Pre-K 2 
  • Tina Benson - Providence Elementary Pre-K 2 
  • Amy Harbour - Farley Elementary Pre-K 1 
  • Shelby Coates – McDonnell Elementary Pre-K 2 

Region 3

  • Alyson Lamb: Taylorville Primary
  • Margaret Worrell: Tuscaloosa Alberta School for the Performing Arts
  • Alicia Jenne’, Rock Quarry Elementary
  • Angela McClinton, Rock Quarry Elementary
  • Judy Hajek, Arcadia Elementary

Region 4

  • Stacy Farlow - Moody Elementary School
  • Sarah Hines - Minor Community School
  • Stephanie Parker - Huffman Academy
  • Elizabeth Pell - Coosa Valley

Region 5

  • Amanda Cooper - Piedmont Elementary
  • Alexia Bush - Cobb Preparatory Academy

Region 7

  • Tammy Hubbard - Small Wonders
  • Donnell Ederer - George Hall PreK

Region 8

  • Shirley McLendon - Barbour County Primary 
Focus on Mental Health
Mindful Minutes to Take Us into 2021

Accept Who You Are

  • Resist the urge to strive for an entirely new you in 2021. Instead, accept you—last year, today and tomorrow.
  • Approach personal growth, habit change and goals with a kinder self-talk that cares for your mental wellbeing.
  • Evaluate the relationship you have with yourself. Ask yourself, “Would I speak to somebody else in the way I speak to myself?” The relationship you have with yourself is crucial to your own wellbeing and to creating healthy and happy relationships with others.
  • Being kind to yourself regularly is one of the best things you can do.

5 Habits to Improve the Relationship with You in 2021

  • Invest in yourself by spending 15-30 minutes each day doing something you enjoy.
  • Write down positive things about yourself when your inner critic finds faults.
  • Act as if you were your own best friend and be kind and supportive when you stumble or feel you have failed.
  • Do something to wind down and relax at the end of each day.
  • Take a few minutes each day to appreciate the small wins you have achieved.

Here’s to taking time to accept yourself in 2021

Watch Video Clip

Excerpt from Mental Health Foundation Blog

Mental Health Consultant Highlight
  

Angela Hayes
Why did you choose mental health as a career?
"Motivation and adaptation have always been intriguing and fascinating to me. As the field progresses, we learn how influencing nature AND nurture really are and how that interplay changes our DNA and abilities to deal with life’s challenges. We all have our baggage, but we don’t have to stay in the muck. Although tough and uncomfortable, we have the ability to make repairs internally and with others.  Working a little everyday on the triad of health (spiritual, mental, and physical) can lead us to reaching our potential."

Announcements

The Alabama Pre-K – 3rd Grade Integrated Approach to Early Learning Competitive Grant Process is now open. Due to COVID and school closures, the closing date for the grant has been moved to January 18, 2021. The grant application can be found here:  
 
Apply Now

The First Class Pre-K NEW Classroom Funding Application is now open. Funding ranges from $45,000 to $120,000 per classroom. The deadline to apply is March 5, 2021. For more information about First Class Pre-K, visit the Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education website. Follow the link below to apply for a NEW classroom via Foundant.
 
Apply Now
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