Posted in Professional Development

4 Workshop Series: “Stem Learning in the Early Years”

Bowdoin College Children’s Center is offering a 4 workshop series for Early Childhood Educators. All workshops will be held virtually through Zoom (this information will be sent along when you have registered).

Registration for the workshops is FREE so you want to get in early. The registration deadline for all workshops is March 22, 2021. (Registration directions can be found following the workshop descriptions.)


Children are natural scientists and engineers. They are curious about the world around them and eagerly explore, test, and manipulate their surroundings. They do this through play, and while play has been long recognized as a cornerstone of learning more recent scholarship has shed light on the importance of high-quality play and the thinking that fosters such experiences in early childhood education.

The release of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) has generated renewed focus on fostering STEM in early childhood learning environments and has given educators the language with which to articulate how STEM emerges during play. The NGSS shifts conversation around what it means to support children’s inquiry in STEM by identifying specific scientific and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and core disciplinary ideas that children should engage with. Our focus in this workshop series will be on the scientific and engineering practices that emerge as part of an indoor and outdoor, play based curriculum for preschool children – five-years-old. (We plan to offer STEM for infants and toddlers following this series).

Workshop 1:  April 5, 7:00 – 8:30

What is STEM and why it is important to identify it in our children’s play

Audience: Early Childhood Administrators and Educators

Goal and Objectives:

The role of play as a fundamental component of child development is recognized internationally yet science in early childhood education is, in practice, often an indoor pursuit directed by an adult and structured around a particular table or “station” in a classroom. This conception of early childhood science learning fails to account for the rich experiences afforded when children interact freely with the outdoors. Recent studies suggest that children’s scientific process skills are better developed through exploratory and self-directed play than through direct instruction. We will explore how scientific and engineering practices could be identified during children’s uninterrupted indoor and outdoor play.

Workshop 2: April 12, 7:00 – 8:30

Setting the stage for children’s engagement with practices

Audience: Early Childhood Administrators and Educators

Goal and Objectives: 

The preschool program can be designed to nurture early academic skills through play, exploration, and individual interests where children are offered abundant experiences outside in one to two-hour blocks of time two to three times a day. These opportunities for outdoor play can continue through all seasons with teachers adapting to seasonal conditions (including shorter periods outside several times a day during winter months).  In the play yard, children can be offered the security and safety of the caregiver’s presence while exploring the freedom the outdoors offers them with the gift of space, and the invitation to move materials and objects anywhere. 

Inside, children can find materials and opportunities to explore while they play during the later afternoon blocks of time or in individual/small group gatherings that can occur during the day.  The management of the size of the group and their access to non-directive materials influences this discovery and exploration activity.  The less-restricted environment engages children as they find themselves experimenting, and problem solving. Then we see a rich palate for them to use in their inquiry, investigations, and problem solving.  

Workshop 3: April 26, 7:00 – 8:30

Observing and Identifying Scientific and Engineering Practices in Play

Audience: Early Childhood Administrators and Educators

Goal and Objectives:

Many early childhood educators are intimidated by the idea of teaching science as they do not have the depth of content knowledge or the experience to teach it confidently.  This workshop will provide a description for each of the core scientific and engineering practices along with examples of what teacher’s observation practices might look like in a play-based environment.  Moving from observation to extending learning, we will offer opportunities to organizing curriculum plans. 

Workshop 4: May 3, 7:00 -8:30

Risk-Taking and Loose Parts: opportunities to explore and deepen learning

Audience: Early Childhood Administrators and Educators

Goal and Objectives:

In the first part of this workshop we will consider, what could happen to children’s learning when they use sticks, rocks, and large planks of wood as well as blocks, stools, and inside materials (like hammers, saws, and other wood working tools) to creating structures. When children are given opportunities to play in earnest and with great results, they are engaged and focused on the task at hand. Risk-taking behaviors are identified when the outcome is uncertain. Adults observing children taking risks in their play and with materials work to minimize the perceived danger by reducing the children’s access to the experience When adults eliminate the hazards from play and allow risk to emerge, their actions invite children to enjoy their goals for discovery. 

Nicholson (1971) coined the term “loose parts” to articulate the idea that children benefit from using open-ended materials.  These materials may be used alone or with other materials, have multiple uses, with not one specific use defined. This means that children may use them in a variety of ways. Loose parts do not have specific instructions of how the product needs to be used. Through exploration and manipulation of the materials, children figure out how they can be combined, redesigned, taken apart and put together in multiple ways. 

Then we will examine how to assess children’s play and learning in order to document their cognitive growth, skills, and abilities.  We will share conference report templates as well as information on how to build assessments for individual children over time as they play, take risks, and deepen their interactions with materials and each other.

Registration Directions

  • Please email registration form to Martha Eshoo with subject “STEM Workshop Registration”. If more than 4 staff members will plan to attend, please reach out to Martha by separate email to organize this.
  • Registration form can be attached to email or feel free to enter information directly into body of email


NAME: __________________________________ DATE: _______________________________

ADDRESS: _____________________________________________________________________

EMAIL: ________________________________________________________________________

PHONE: _______________________________________________________________________

WORK SETTING NAME & TYPE: ____________________________________________________



AGES ONE WORKS WITH: Infants Toddlers Preschool K-3

DID YOU ATTEND THE Outdoor Workshop Series in FALL 2020 YES NO


Workshop 1: What is STEM and why it is important to identify it in our children’s play

Workshop 2: Setting the stage for children’s engagement with practices

Workshop 3: Observing and Identifying Scientific and Engineering Practices in Play

Workshop 4: Risk-Taking and Loose Parts, and Assessment

Posted in Professional Development

Upcoming Training Opportunities

FREE Webinar: Children & Grief – Beyond the Basics / Friday, February 11, 2021  |  3:30pm

(no awarded training hours)

Join us for a deeper dive into supporting children, parents, and caregivers when the serious illness or death of a family member or close relationship happens. We will highlight the impact of grief and loss for children and families during the pandemic and share strategies to deepen meaningful conversations in supporting grieving children.

Goal: To provide a deeper understanding of the complexities of children’s losses within the context of their environment, and how to support them as they move through grief, loss, and change.

1. Participants will gain awareness around how the complexity of grief, loss, and change is related to a child’s environment and experiences during development.

2. Participants will be introduced to strategies for supporting children as they navigate grief relative to a death, an illness in the family, or collective loss.

MCD Public Health is proud to sponsor three Playwork’s Play Leadership Essentials workshop series in March, as part of this year’s Healthy Kids Healthy Future’s effort.

The workshop series are FREE, open to any interested provider. 8 contact hours will be awarded to attendees who complete the series. The workshop series is offered on 3 different schedules. Registration links are provided for each separately scheduled series below.

Register Here! for Series 1

Register Here! for Series 2

Register Here! for Series 3

Playworks is a nationally recognized program renowned for their evidence-informed services and strategic approach to scale. The focus of these workshops is on the power of play and includes proactive group management strategies, effective game facilitation and indoor play design. 

NEW FREE Training:COVID-19 Safety Training for Child Care Providers

The University of Southern Maine’s Cutler Institute, with funding from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has developed a no-cost, web-based COVID-19 safety training for child care providers. The training focuses on worker safety, is accessible on the MRTQ PDN training portal, and completion results in 1.5 contact hours.

Why is this training important?

As a child care provider, you play a key role in supporting children and their families during this pandemic. By implementing and following infection prevention practices at your workplace, you can keep yourself and the children you care for safe.

The training is:

  • Free and easy to use.
  • Accessible via computer, tablet, or smart phone.
  • Approximately 90 minutes in length. Start and stop at your convenience and pick-up where you left off!
  • Focused on the specific risks of COVID-19 to people working in child care settings and provides information that will help you stay safe.


This material was produced under grant number SH-99003-SH0 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Labor, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Let’s Go! water Break Trainings has 2 more free webinars coming up……. contact hours will be awarded

Movement Matters: COVID Safe Considerations on Feb. 22nd/ 1-1:30 pm

Registration Required

Tips, Tricks and Recipes for Healthy Snacks! on March 29th / 1-1:30 pm

Registration Required

Posted in Business Practice, Professional Development

Still Need to Join MRTQ-Professional Development Network’s Registry?

In “Section 8: Training”, of the 12/30/2020 proposed Family Child Care Licensing Rule there is a new requirement :

“B. Ongoing Training. 3. All Providers and Staff Members must register with Maine’s Professional Development Network.

Many providers already meet this new requirement, as they are already part of the Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network Registry.

For those who have not joined the Registry here’s the link to get you started. The MRTQ Registry is FREE.

Look for….

…. and click the “Join” button.

Complete the information asked for and click “CREATE” for your Registry account. Opening your Registry account is that easy.

Once you have created your account you will be able to add information about your educational background and trainings. You can come back at any time to add or update your information. If you can set aside even 15 minutes you can get a good amount of your information in place. Listing elective training is optional and that is where most time will be needed if you want to post any you have taken in the past 5 years. Please know you do not need to list past trainings.

Let’s look at what some of the informational input pages (found in the top menu – highlighted blue) look like…….

Notice, if you attend any of the Community of Practices (CoP) that MRTQ facilitate those hours are automatically added to your elective hours record.

Licensing accepts this record from MRTQ for tracking your annual training hours required to maintain your license.

Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information, NAFCC, Professional Development

Have You Considered Accreditation for Your Program?

If you have considered going through the NAFCC Accreditation process for your program now is the time to get information on the process and support available to you.

The PLC is passing along this message from Tammy Dwyer, MRTQ-PDN District Coordinator:


My name is Tammy Dwyer and I am a Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network, (MRTQ PDN) District Coordinator for York County.

If you have interest in learning more about the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) Accreditation process and the resources here in Maine to support those quality improvement efforts, we have informational meetings planned for providers.

The MRTQ PDN NAFCC Accreditation informational meetings have been set for:

1/26 from 6 – 7:30 pm or 

2/25 from 6:30-8:00

During our meeting, we will briefly discuss the NAFCC Accreditation process and requirements, plus MRTQ PDN technical assistance resources/ supports.

We meet using an app called Zoom. You can access Zoom using a Desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Learn more about zoom at:

A Zoom meeting link will be sent 1 week prior to our meeting to all that have registered. Please reach out to with questions or call me at (207)956-2937. 

Please Register Here

Posted in Professional Development

FREE Webinar: Happy & Healthy – Fostering Healthy Eating Habits and Reducing the Use of Food Rewards for All Kids

Let's Go! logo

Join Diane Boas, for a virtual training to learn more about inclusive approaches to support healthy eating habits and reducing the use of food rewards for Early Care and Education Programs. Learning objectives:

Thursday, December 17, 2020  |  1:00-2:00pm

  • Review the challenges to healthy eating for young children.
  • Gather ideas to improve healthy eating at your program.
  • Understand how to reduce the use of food rewards.
  • Discover how other professionals can help you improve children’s eating habits.

Pre-registration is required.

Posted in Professional Development

Supporting the Student with Learning Differences

With school-age children attending school by hybrid and/or remote learning, family child care providers are finding they have a new support role for students with learning differences in their program. In this webinar sponsored by Teachstone, participants “will learn about the benefits of, challenges to, and strategies for effective interactions among the adults involved in the education of students with learning differences towards the end of promoting high-quality interactions for learning and the prevention of problem student behavior.”

FREE Webinar: Strategies for Effective Interactions Among Adults Supporting Students with Learning Differences

Wednesday, December 9, 2020  |  2:00pm EST

Complete the form to register for the webinar.

Posted in FCCAM, Professional Development

New 24/7 Archived Training

The Family Child Care Association of Maine (FCCAM), from its founding has had a primary goal of providing training for providers. The Professional Learning Committee (PLC) has been charged with offering training on developmentally appropriate practices and current topics in early childhood education that supports the important work of the family child care professional. The PLC provides links on state and national trainings, as well as, development of our own trainings on our dedicated website: FCCAM Webinars. The PLC seriously considers provider feedback as it works to develop training to meet the need of family child care provides in Maine.

With newer NAFCC Accreditation Cohorts and MRTQ grants for advancement on Quality for ME, providers have recently raised questions on the usage of today’s technology within their businesses. There has also been expression of looking for training options other than zoom calls or video/recorded webinars. To this end the PLC will offer their first “written” training under the 24/7 Archived Trainings.

The “written” training is a newer style that shares the presenter’s thoughts, notes and experiences in a written format. This format resembles a blog post with sections built out for easier navigation. Material shared in a “written” training can be saved in multiple ways with the linked resources easily being bookmarked for future reference.

Google Drive in My Family Child Care (1.5 hrs) starts with setting up the free gmail account needed for Google Drive. We then proceed through initial set-up of your Google Drive, getting into specifics on Documents, Sheets, and Forms. We will discuss how a family child care provider can make use of Google Drive for business records, eportfolios, handbook, etc.

You can register for this new training from the link above or from our training website. Reminder all PLC trainings are free for members of FCCAM. This training is also free for MaineAEYC members. The training is $5 for non-members.

Posted in ECE Information, Professional Development

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Coming Soon!

From MaineAEYC:

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Maine logo

MaineAEYC is excited to partner with The Office of Child and Family Services to introduce the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program. T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® collaborates with early childhood educators, higher education institutes, child care centers, and family child care providers to offer scholarship programs and support systems that improve the knowledge and compensation of early childhood educators. In return young children receive high quality and consistent education from highly qualified educators. 

Scholarships will be rewarded to early childhood educators that are currently working in a child care facility or family child care program who are already enrolled or interested enrolling in a 2 year to 4 year college or university for Early Childhood Education.

In the coming weeks, MaineAEYC will be sharing more information. For the time being, to learn more information, read answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and access a new Careers in Early Childhood Directory, please visit our website: If you’re interested in applying for a scholarship or sponsoring an employee, please email Morgan Tolin, T.E.A.C.H. Counselor

Learn More about T.E.A.C.H.

Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information, Professional Development

Providers Watch for These Changes!

UPDATE (8/12)*** Program Portal is active and the Quality Improvement Awards and Minigrants will officially open on Wednesday, August 26!

Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN) has recently announced in their weekly “Shortcuts” email 2 changes that re coming soon and are important for providers to be aware of as both have to do with your business.

Program Portal on Child Care Choices

The Program Portal will allow individual programs to update the information displayed on the Maine’s online search for child care programs: Child Care Choices.

Beginning in August of 2020, programs will be able to update the following information:

  • Number(s) of openings, listed by age:
  • If the program accepts Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP) funding.

More information will be coming in SHORTcuts in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!.


Quality Improvement Awards and Minigrants

MRTQ PDN is excited to announce that additional funding through the Child Care Development Block Grant has been designated for Quality Improvement Awards and Minigrants!

Coming in August, programs that have moved up from Step 1 to 2 or 2 to 3 with Quality for ME, are pursuing national accreditation and Step 4, or have maintained a Step 4 will be eligible to apply for a one-time funding award. The grant period will extend back to July 1, 2019.

FCCAM encourages all providers and staff join the MRTQ Registry.

Posted in Professional Development

Changes to Maine’s Community of Practices

Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network (MRTQ PDN) has been supporting the development of Communities of Practice in all regions within Maine.   The formation of the Communities of Practice group taps into existing provider groups, groups with a specific early childhood focus and/or support for forming groups to bring those in the early care and education field together.  A facilitator is contracted by MRTQ PDN and groups are given opportunities for networking, topical information sharing and/or elective training.

Like so much of our professional and daily life, COVID-19 has impacted the established face-to-face Communities of Practice. As of 3/16/2020, all Communities of Practice (CoP) meetings are happening via Zoom video conferencing. In response to provider requests, MRTQ PDN has added new CoPs and increased the frequency of others.  You can find the the complete updated list of these FREE offerings HERE.

Here’s some highlights about the new CoP meetings ~

NEW Statewide CoP –  Well-being in the Time of Social Distancing and COVID- 19

We know this is a challenging and confusing time for all of us.  MRTQ PDN is offering a weekly CoP focusing on health and well-being during this difficult time which is open to anyone who wants to register. In April, weekly on Wednesdays via Zoom from 1:00 – 2:30 pm. There is a limit of 20 registrants each week.  Register Here
This is a chance for us to share our thoughts and feelings about what is happening in our programs, in our relationships with kids and families, and most of all to offer a listening ear and compassion to each other. The facilitators will have resources to share that you can pass along to staff and families.  

Facilitated by: Jennifer (Jen) Maeverde ((207) 581-1382 – & Marnie Morneault ((207) 240-9135 –

Both Jen and Marnie have education and experience supporting mental health and well-being with kids and adults.  Jen’s background is in early childhood mental health.  As a clinician, Jen has worked with kids and families in many mental health settings.  Marnie’s background is in special education specifically working with children with emotional disturbance and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

We will make adjustments to the CoP as we go along and learn more about what is needed from the community.  We want you to know we are here for you. Join us if you can.

“Hi 🙂 If you don’t know me, my name is Jen Maeverde. I am one of the District Coordinators at Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network. I work with providers all over the state to support social and emotional teaching practices, problem solve situations of challenging behavior, create inclusive settings for kids with mental health and behavioral challenges, and to support all of you in your own stress management and wellness. During this unpredictable and challenging time, I wanted to reach out and offer my support in any way that would be helpful to you. I’ll be taking calls, answering email and having video chats with anyone who is interested. Of course, you can reach out to me at any time: and I’ll also be dedicating time during the week to connect with folks. For the month of April, I’ll be available on Thursdays from 10:00 to 11:30 and from 12:30 to 2:00. If you’d like to schedule a time to talk or video conference on Thursdays at these times, please send me an email. Best, Jen”

NEW – All as One
(Cumberland, Kennebec, Piscataquis, Somerset and York Counties)

Center based, Family, and Out-of-School Time Child Care practitioners from Cumberland, Kennebec, Somerset, Piscataquis, and York Counties. 

Meets weekly on Thursdays for 3 weeks (then reassess) at the following times:

6:30 – 7:30 am  Register here

12:30 – 1:30 pm  Register here

6:30 – 7:30 pm  Register here

Each meeting is followed by an hour of time in which practitioners can set up private meetings with the facilitators: Tammy Dwyer ((207) 956-2937 – / Diane Hancock ((207) 560-7325 – / Robin Holman ((207) 956-2410 –

NEW – Midcoast Regional (Lincoln, Knox, Sagadahoc, and Waldo Counties)

Center based and Family Child Care practitioners from Lincoln, Knox, Sagadahoc, and Waldo Counties.  

In April, weekly on Tuesdays via Zoom, 1:30-2:30 pm.  Register here

Facilitator: Lee Lingelbach ((207) 233-5821 –

NEW – Open CoP (Hancock and Penobscot Counties & Center based Directors from Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Washington Counties)

Center based and Family Child Care practitioners in Hancock and Penobscot Counties & Center based Directors from Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, and Washington Counties. 
Wednesday, April 1st, via Zoom from 10am-11am.

Facilitator: Jamie Spencer ((207) 956-3066 –

NEW – Downeast Regional (Washington County)

Center based,  Family Child Care, and Out-of-School time practitioners throughout Washington County /  Mondays, April 6th and 20th, via Zoom at 6:00 pm. Facilitator: Theresa Fisk ((207) 956-2070 –

Again all CoP meetings continuing to meet will be by Zoom. Following are other changes to existing CoP meetings:

License-Exempt practitioners (family, friend and neighbor care) in Androscoggin County is on hold at this time . Contact the facilitator: Marnie Morneault ((207) 240-9135 – for questions and support.

The Caribou, Houlton, and Presque Isle Center based and Family Child Care practitioners CoPs will meet together via Zoom on Wednesday, April 8th, at 6:30. Facilitator: Cathy Bohls ((207) 473-0062 –

August Out-of-School Time Child Care practitioners see the new All as One CoP above.

Statewide Family Child Care (online) see the new All as One CoP above.

Skowhegan (Somerset County) Center based and Family Child Care practitioners see the new All as One CoP above.

Kennebunk – Saco (York County) Center based and Family Child Care practitioners see the new All as One CoP above.