Volume 5, Issue 3
In This Issue
Art and the Brain
Art Across the Curriculum
Art Influences Learning
CCEI News - Articulation Agreement with Concordia University
Alumni Profile: Stacie Gilliland
Professional Development
Certificate Programs
Dates to Remember
Welcome to the ChildCare Education Institute March Newsletter!
This month, CCEI Discusses 'Art and the Brain'!

Most educators and parents agree that the arts should have a place in the early childhood curriculum. Parents rarely ask "Why?" when they hear that their children will spend time drawing, painting, sculpting, dancing, or playacting activities during the day in child care. After all, art is fun and engaging and children like it! Isn't that reason enough?
 
It should be. However, as early childhood curriculum standards continue to rise, educators and parents need to ensure that arts in the preschool curriculum do not suffer the same fate as arts in the K-12 curriculum.
 
In recent years, researchers and educators have focused intently on the connection between art and brain development. In particular, people want to know if art promotes higher academic achievement. Researchers are partly motivated by a major decline in the role of art in the K-12 curriculum, spawned by an intense focus on standardized testing and skills-based curricula, along with budget cuts (which often put art on the chopping block first). For supporters of arts education, the need to find a connection between art and brain development goes something like this: "If we can show that art improves math and reading scores, maybe they will put art supplies back in the budget."
 
Researchers know that mathematicians rely heavily on the same part of the brain as musicians. For example, if you could compare brain scans from Einstein and Mozart, you would notice similarly dense concentrations of synaptic connections in the same regions of their brains. However, we still do not know with certainty whether practicing music improves math skills, or vice versa. Despite millions of dollars and countless studies, nobody has offered conclusive evidence that arts education improve standardized test scores and literacy rates.

Perhaps all that money is better spent on art supplies! Many factors contribute to whether a child performs well on a test. Maybe arts education can boost reading and math skills and maybe it can't. That's beside the point. It is far more important to focus on the things we already know about art and the brain!
 
As Professor Elliot Eisner of Stanford University said at the convention of the National Arts Education Association, "In the arts, imagination is the primary virtue." Art encourages the brain to visualize and interpret things it cannot see, touch, feel, hear, or taste. This promotes creative, inventive thought as well as critical thinking skills.

What else do children gain from the arts?
  • Art offers children an important outlet for emotional expression and the assurance that their feelings are valuable.
  • Art contributes to cultural as well as individual identity, connecting children to their roots while allowing them to discover their own talents and interests.
  • Art provides a path to dialogue, a way to share and compare ideas.
  • From the young painter concentrating intently on her brushstrokes to the dancer learning to move with grace and agility, the arts promote growth in nearly all areas of development.
  • Most research confirms that young children learn best through experimentation, exploration, and multisensory activities. Art encourages all of these things, so there is no logical argument against placing a strong emphasis on arts in the preschool curriculum.
Arts education should not need to be justified in relation to other academic areas because the arts provide direct, indisputable benefits in and of themselves. Are there specific art activities that can boost reading or math skills? Yes! We also know that creativity flourishes between ages two and five and if it is nurtured and supported, it will become a life long trait. Creative activities like singing, dancing, moving and listening help the brain stay alert and serve as a stimulus for increasing memory. These benefits will surely help children when they are focusing on the more academic subjects.

What art materials or curriculum have you introduced in the classroom to encourage learning through art? Log in to the CCEI Discussion Thread and share how you have promoted discovery, development and creativity through the use of art in the classroom.

Art Across the Curriculum
By: Francis Wardle, Ph.D.
The standards movement is having a direct, negative impact on early childhood programs. While this impact is most obvious in public school programs, it also affects early childhood programs by requiring unrealistic and inappropriate kindergarten-level entry skills. Since almost all of these standards are specific academic skills (letters, letter-sound correspondence, numbers, even reading), one result of this emphasis is that many programs have increased the time and effort they devote to teaching specific academic skills, and reduced physical activities, music, dance, play and art.
Read Article
Article Courtesy of Early Childhood News
Art Influences Learning
By: Ana Reyner, Art Therapist
Much has been written about how art enhances creativity, imagination, and self-esteem, but far less is said about how art encourages cognition, critical thinking, and learning. Our current education system places great emphasis on academic development. As a result, arts programs are being reduced or even eliminated from classrooms to accommodate more didactic teaching methods. While art educators and child development specialists recognize that the arts are not a "frill" or enrichment activity, the arts are basic to education. With the many challenges our public education system faces today, combining art with academic subjects in the classroom becomes increasingly important.

Read Article
Article Courtesy of Early Childhood News
March is Youth Art Month!
In March, Youth Art Month, ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI) offers child care professionals the opportunity to discover the benefits of art in the classroom by completing CCEI690 - Rainbows and Rembrandts: Embracing Art in the Preschool Classroom, at no cost.

This one-clock-hour online course provides early childhood professionals with information and strategies for promoting children's cognitive, physical and social-emotional development. Students will learn the appropriate supplies and equipment to include in the art center, how to assess the effectiveness of an art center, and techniques to support the creative process. Students completing the course will be awarded 0.1 IACET CEU and receive a certificate of completion.
 
To take advantage of this opportunity, use the promotion code 030110 when prompted. It is easy to set up an account if you don't already have one. Click here for details.

CCEI Announces Articulation Agreement with Concordia University

Effective immediately, students entering Concordia's Bachelor of Arts - Child Development (BA-CD) Online Degree Completion Program in the College of Education may transfer in a total of 120 - 150 hours of CCEI online training as elective credit requirements. Ten (10) hours of CCEI online training is equivalent to one (1) elective credit. At the time of application to Concordia's BA-CD online program, applicants must submit an official certificate of completion and official transcript from CCEI.

Click here for complete information.
Stacie Gilliland, Wellington, Kansas
Stacie began her home child care business after the birth of her third child. She always enjoyed spending time with children and welcomed the opportunity to provide high quality care to other children in the community. 
 
Currently, there are seven children in Stacie's home care program, ranging in age from four months to five years. Their favorite time of the day is "activity time" when Stacie takes care to create developmentally appropriate activities that promote creativity and learning for each child. Recently, she and the children created a circus theme. Using household items, they made circus characters including the ring master, lion tamer, and clowns.
 
Stacie is motivated everyday as she watches the children grow and develop. It is a rewarding experience for her to have children in her care for many years, so she can witness all of the changes and growth over time. Stacie is a graduate of CCEI's Online Self Study CDA program. Stacie plans to pursue her Bachelor's Degree in Education and would love to become a preschool teacher or open her own child care center. In her spare time, Stacie enjoys traveling with her family and watching her three children grow and learn.
 
Congratulations on your accomplishment, Stacie! And thank you for the care and guidance you provide to the children in your program!
Annual, Unlimited Professional Development Subscriptions, Only $99!
CCEI offers over 100 online, IACET CEU awarded professional development courses that meet continuing education requirements. CCEI has course offerings in English and Spanish and courses are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year from any computer with Internet access.
CCEI has articulation agreements with Ashford University and Concordia University that give CCEI students the opportunity to articulate completed CCEI coursework for credit into their early childhood degree programs. For more information, visit the Partner section of the CCEI website.

Center-Based Subscriptions
Directors: Center-Based Subscriptions are a great way to manage and administer continuing education for your staff. CCEI's Center-Based Subscriptions, available for 20 and 50 users, allow you to provide training for as little as $20 per teacher for the entire year!
 
For more information, contact Admissions at 800.499.9907 or click here to enroll online.
Complete CDA Coursework Online with CCEI!
CCEI's Online CDA Certificate programs meet the clock-hour training requirement of The Council for Professional Recognition, which is needed in order to apply for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. CCEI's CDA Certificate programs focus on the six CDA Competency Standards established by The Council and contain the required hours in each of the eight specified content areas. Each hour of completed coursework is awarded 0.1 IACET CEU.
 
CCEI offers three CDA programs. The CCEI Online Self Study CDA is designed for students who are comfortable with an online learning environment and can successfully complete work independently. The Online Instructor Supported CDA Certificate, available in English and Spanish, provides students with extra support from a CCEI Education Coach (EC). Each EC is an early childhood specialist with previous experience working in a child care center or school. Students seeking college credit should enroll in the College Credit Eligible CDA Certificate program for the opportunity to earn 26 quarter-hour credits at Kendall College.
 
Online Director's Certificate
CCEI offers an Online Director's Certificate that provides professional development for early childhood professionals seeking to further their skills and knowledge in the management of a child care center. The program is composed of nine instructional units that focus on the core areas of competency required to manage a child care center. Each student in the Online Director's Certificate receives support from an Education Coach.

Click here to enroll online.

 
March 26 - National Child Care Association / South Carolina Child Care Association Leadership Seminar, Columbia, South Carolina.

April 29 - May1 - New York State Association for the Education of Young Children (NYSAEYC) Annual Conference, Verona, New York.

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