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From the BrightStars Blog

From Our Blog

New USDA Nutrition Guidelines In Effect October 1st!

Helping children develop healthy eating habits is an important goal in every quality childcare setting. In April 2016, the USDA released new guidelines for healthy meals and snacks for all ages effective starting October 1, 2017; as of this date these are the standards BrightStars assessors will use during an ERS observation when assessing adherence to USDA guidelines.

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Choosing and Using Cleaning Products for your Classroom

Some general tips for cleaning surfaces in your classroom:

Use the appropriate EPA registered product for each job: cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully, noting whether the surface must be pre-cleaned, how long the product must remain on the surface before wiping and whether the surface must be rinsed with water after use.

Avoid spraying any product when children are nearby.

Post manufacturer’s instructions clearly, preferably directly on the bottle.

Use a separate paper towel on each surface.

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BrightStars Program Focus: Bright Start Academy in Smithfield

Bright Start Academy in Smithfield recently renewed its BrightStars participation and maintained their quality rating of 4-Stars. The program also scored nearly identical overall ERS results, exceeding a score of 5.0 for the second participation cycle in a row. These consistent, high quality results are a testament to the program’s overall environment. “The program offers a safe, clean, and caring environment that actively engages children in acquiring new skills and knowledge,” says assistant director Jill Cabral-Boni, who joined Bright Start’s team in 2017. “Each classroom contains well-equipped learning centers that are arranged to promote independence, foster decision making, encourage involvement, and include all developmental domains.”

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Independent Outdoor Play

BrightStars promotes the importance of providing safe environments to children and we see the incredible value of independent outdoor play without barriers. Outdoor play as an essential part of a child’s development.  It provides opportunities for children to advance physically, emotionally and intellectually.

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BrightStars Program Focus: Emmanuel Day School

Emmanuel Day School, located in Newport, began its BrightStars participation in 2015. The program “offers a nurturing, intimate, and exciting learning environment with enriching opportunities for preschool children to discover and explore,” says Carissa Perkowski, director and lead teacher. “By building on children’s natural passion for discovery, we encourage students to work together in a multiage environment to investigate new concepts. Our intimate setting gives each child an individualized learning experience that excites the imagination, inspires creativity, and instills lifelong curiosity.” Carissa and her staff’s vision comes to life in a spacious, multi-age classroom, which is located in a converted meeting hall in Emmanuel Episcopal Church.  The open space is filled, wall-to-wall, with whimsical interest centers that foster play across all domains.

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The ERS and Books and Language Materials

As one of many items considered in each scale, The Environment Rating Scales (ECERS-R, ITERS-R, FCCERS-R, SACERS-U) each include at least one item that is used to assess how books, language materials and language activities are experienced by children. One of the criteria considered in certain items is whether the books and language materials are appropriate for the ages and abilities of the children enrolled in the group being observed.

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Summer Learning

Summer learning programs are important to a child’s year-round learning experience.

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Incorporating Dance and Creative Movement Into Your Home

Child Care Plus shares a facility with a dance studio, The Rita Beaulieu Dance & Performing Arts Center. Once a month, our Preschool students takes a dance class with Miss Erin where they learn about movement, dance, stretching, and of course have tons of fun! However, you do not need to have a dance studio to incorporate dance and creative movement in your homes, all you need is an open space! 

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Talking to Children About Tragedy

Fred Rogers is quoted as saying, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." 

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Sun. Rain. Snow. Wind. Clouds.  LET’S PLAY!

As the weather begins to change, your child’s early care and education teacher will want to continue to ensure that all children have a chance to play outside.  Sometimes parents worry about outdoor play in different weather.  Early childhood professionals know that this is a concern, and they take the proper steps to ensure fun, learning, and safety. 

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Lifelong Learners

Early Care and Education professionals participate in several different professional development opportunities each year.  Your child’s teacher is on a continuous path to learning!  

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National Childhood Obesity Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Month. About 1 of every 5 children in the United States has obesity. Obesity is a major public health problem that is influenced by many factors such as too much time spent in activities such as television viewing, lack of physical activity, and lack of healthier food options.

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Have you seen the BrightStars Commercial?

We have a new commercial that began airing on WPRI Channel 12 and it’s affiliates this week! The commercial is aimed at increasing awareness of the importance of quality early care and education to families. To view the commercial on our YouTube page, click here.   

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Kid’s Corner: In the Kitchen

As a mom of two grown children and a veteran Early Childhood Educator, I have never met a child that didn’t love time in the kitchen, whether it was to cook or to create something to “get down and dirty” with.

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Learn about the BrightStars Assessors

You may have entered your program and seen an unfamiliar face in your child’s classroom, or a teacher may have mentioned that an assessor from BrightStars may be visiting your child’s classroom.

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The Importance of Fine Motor Activities in the Early Childhood Years

Fine motor skills is the coordination of small muscle movements – usually involving small, precise thumb, finger, hand, and wrist movements. Fine motor activity in the early year’s help children refine their pincer grasp (grasping an object with their thumb and pointer finger using their preferred hand) and are a precursor to handwriting.

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Tips for Reading to Children

Last week The Rhode Island Association for the Education of Young Children came together with early care and education programs in Rhode Island to celebrate the national Week of the Young Child™. Staff and early learning professionals were invited by programs to read the book Good Night Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann then donating the book to the program.

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Welcome to the BrightStars Family Blog

I’m so glad you are here! My name is Jo-Anne DeGiacomo Petrie, Manager of Operations at RIAEYC/BrightStars.  As a children’s author, mother of three grown children, and more than 30 years experience in the field of Early Childhood Education I am thrilled to be a part of the BrightStars team and introducing you to our blog.  

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