Posted in Business Practice, MRTQ-PDN

Business Practices Training

UPDATE (12/22/21): APPLICATION is now available! Submit application by January 14, 2022. Those selected will be notified by January 22, 2022.

FCCAM has encouraged providers to be looking for and opening the weekly “Shortcuts” email that comes from MRTQ PDN. It’s a longer email, but easy to scan through. It shares tons of information about training opportunities all in one place. We are sharing information from the 12/15/21 “Shortcuts” just in case you missed it.

MRTQ PDN is offering a pilot of the Strengthening Business Practices for Child Care Programs Initiative.

This unique professional development opportunity includes a virtual training series with an additional two meetings in the form of a Community of Practice, specifically for those participating in the pilot. These COPs will focus on business practices allowing time for peer-to-peer support, sharing of knowledge, and problem-solving.

Additionally, upon successful completion of this pilot program, participants will be offered on-site consultation and will receive a Quality Improvement Award of computer hardware and/or software.

This free training is open to family and center-based child care as well as to out-of-school time programs.

The goal of the training is to strengthen program leaders’ foundational knowledge of fiscal terms, concepts, and practices.

The four modules on this virtual training will focus on:

  • Developing a budget and using it for decision-making throughout the year, 
  • Understanding how to project business costs, generate additional income, and plan strategically for future goals,  
  • Using fiscal reports and understanding internal controls to strengthen your program’s fiscal health,  
  • Using data and articulating features and benefits of your program for marketing purposes 
  • Understanding best practices for hiring and training staff and becoming familiar with developing a staff handbook and strategies for staff feedback.

Virtual sessions will be held 6:30 to 8:30 pm on:

  • Feb ’22: 2nd & 16th
  • March ’22: 2nd, 16th & 30th
  • April ’22: 13th & 27th
  • May ’22: 11th

Community of Practice meetings to be held in March and May are TBA for evening or Saturday morning.

For more detailed information check out the Strengthening Business Practices Talking Points.

If you have questions, please contact Karen Bergeron, Statewide Quality Initiatives Manager at

Posted in Professional Development

2021 ECE Statewide Conference Presentation Recording are Ready!

For all the family child care providers who registered for the 2021 Statewide ECE Virtual Conference that occurred live in Oct. It’s time to take advantage of the extended training viewing the virtual platform allowed. Thank you for your patience while the conference planning team worked to get all the recorded sessions active on PheedLoop. There are over 40 sessions to choose from! You will have access to the session recordings on PheedLoop though 2021 and part of 2022.

To access the sessions, please use the same email link you received to be able to join the live conference on October 22nd and 23rd. Whether you attended any live session or not this link will provide access to the recorded sessions. Once you’ve entered the conference platform, you’ll see a menu on the left side of your screen.

Click on “Sessions” for the available session recordings. To find a specific session, you can filter by presenter, audience or track.  

As you watch the session recordings, please keep in mind that the first one to three minutes of the recording will be the presenter and conference planning team preparing for the session to go live. You may fast forward through the first 60 seconds if you please. 

Professional development hours are available for these recorded sessions! Or you can just watch for the information provided.

Please keep in mind you have to watch the entire session to earn the professional development hours. When you are watching a session recording, within the first 15-30 minutes of the presentation a pop up window will appear and ask you “Would you like to receive professional development credit for your participation in this session?” Click Yes, if you would like to receive credit. You must click yes, to receive the credit. Click Submit and another window will pop up that says “Thank you!”. This is how you’ll know you received credit for the session. See below for a picture of how the pop up window will look for you.

Any credits earned from watching session recordings will need to be self reported to Maine Roads to Quality Professional Development Network by submitting an Attendance Certificate. You can access your PheedLoop Attendance Certificate by going to Account in the conference platform lobby and then clicking on Request New Certificate. This will download a PDF file with all session recordings you have watched. 

Submit your Attendance certificate to Maine Roads to Quality PDN to have it added to your registry by scanning and emailing a copy to:

All conference participants that attended the ECE Conference live on October 22nd and/or 23rd will receive professional development for each day they attended. Thank you for your patience as Maine Roads to Quality works toward awarding over 500 conference attendees their certificates! You can rewatch any presentation through these recording, but training hours are only available for the first viewing.

Posted in Business Practice, ECE Information, MRTQ-PDN

What’s Important About “SHORTcuts”?

All child care providers, whether they are licensed-exempt, FCC providers, center directors or any child care staff are required under the active Licensing Rules for FCC and Facilities to join the state’s Registry that MRTQ PDN handles. Part of being on the registry means you will receive “SHORTScuts” a weekly e-newsletter. It usually hits inboxes on Wednesdays.

Why should you care if it’s in your spam box or not?

Most of us get too many emails to deal with as busy providers. With our limited time to do required and recommended record keeping, when checking emails it’s just so easy to trash ones we see as unimportant to our daily work. And the ones already in the spam box are really easy to ignore. You want to check out SHORTScuts before you trash it. Yes, it’s a longer email, but you can quickly scroll through it only stopping at items of interest.

The weekly SHORTScuts is the best place to see what is happening in the wider ece field for trainings. MRTQ PDN has the ability to gather resources on training opportunities that no other organization or agency in Maine does. With SHORTScuts they have pulled together news about local, state and national training opportunities. If you see a training opportunity of interest you can easily access more information from the link buttons included in the descriptions. They also share informational updates, usually at the beginning of the e-newsletter.

Still don’t think you’ll have time to deal with checking your email for this weekly e-newsletter? That’s ok. MRTQ PDN has the publications from March 2020 to the latest SHORTScut e-newsletter on their website. You can always just go there.

The weekly SHORTScuts e-newsletter comes from: Be sure to adjust your email’s recognition of this, so the email doesn’t sit in your spam box.

Posted in Business Practice, MRTQ-PDN, Professional Development, QRIS

CCDF Health and Safety Orientation Training

*Updated 7/2021 ~~

Questions have arisen about the Health and Safety Orientation training following the email providers recently received about the upcoming Child Care Stabilization Grants.

Here are some points for providers to consider:

To meet requirements to apply for this stabilization grant opportunity all owners, directors, and staff have to complete the State approved health and safety training within 90 days of hire. This training is the free 6 hr Health & Safety Orientation training reached through MRTQ PDN On-Demand. For providers and staff that have been working longer than the 90 days of hire, we believe you will also need to have this training completed.

If you participate in the subsidy program you have had to complete this training, and also complete the annual review training.

If you have opened your program in the past few years you probably took this training as it has been part of pre-licensing requirements.

Having read through the QRIS pilot report, this training was noted as a requirement to maintain Star 2 and up. (Rising Stars for ME has not yet been formally adopted and introduced yet to providers. It is expected to be rolled out Fall 2021.)

When you go to register for this training if you cannot enroll it means you have already taken it and MRTQ has that information. If you are needing to take the annual renewal that is time/date sensitive and you cannot take it before your previous year is met.

*Note: the training title is now CCDF Health and Safety Orientation. It previous was dated and CCDF was not included. It has been the top training listed on the On-Demand site.

To access the CCDF Health and Safety Orientation Training, begin by logging into the MRTQ Registry. If you haven’t joined the Registry yet you will need to do that first. Here’s how to join.

Click the “Access” button under Online Training.

You should now find yourself here:

If the CCDF Health and Safety Orientation Training is not the first training you see scroll down through the listed trainings.

You will see a button below the training description. It will either be a green “Enroll” or a gray “Completed”. If you see the “completed” button it means at some point your took this training and it’s on your Registry record.

Here’s a working link to MRTQ Registry home page.

If you find yourself with time some day explore your training history on the Registry, check out other trainings available at MRTQ PDN and enroll for anytime access to the QIT Toolkit.

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 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 FCCAM, Professional Development

Upcoming Online Children’s Book Discussion Trainings

Through a grant from Maine Roads to Quality, the Professional Learning Committee is excited to be able to continue providing books that align with our Online Children’s Book Discussion, as a benefit to our members. We all understand the importance of sharing books with children. These peer to peer discussions are about sharing our professional knowledge, expanding our skills for working with children and enhancing their learning.

The schedule for the Spring book discussions has been set. Each Discussion Group will run from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm providing 1.5 professional training hours (accepted by Maine licensing). The Children’s Book Discussion Groups are offered free to FCCAM and MaineAEYC members . It is $5 per training for non-members. Non-members will be emailed an invoice for payment through Paypal.

Participants need to join each monthly discussion separately by registering (individual links are provided below). Call information is sent out separately to all participants within a week of the scheduled training.

In addition to the online discussion, the Professional Learning Committee develops resources to support the discussion that anyone can access through FCCAM’s Pinterest boards. Expanded resources can be found throughout the Boards with pins specific to individual books under discussion being gathered in their own section under “FCCAM Book Discussions“.

We hope you are able to join the discussions.

For FCCAM members be looking for your books as they have been sent out.  The books are yours to keep, or share, as part of your FCCAM membership whether you join the discussions or not.

Posted in Professional Development

12 Hours of Training…… Let’s Get to It!

Providers in Maine are very lucky to have a variety of options for earning the required 12 hours of training annually for licensing. For those participating in the state’s QRIS -Quality for ME, getting the additional required training hours for each level is also very doable.

  • Attend face-to-face full-day conferences that are offered generally in the Fall and the Spring, with discounts for members of FCCAM and MaineAEYC.
  • Take online training through Maine Roads to Quality (MRTQ).
  • Local provider network groups that providers have founded over the years or are part of the CoP program facilitated by MRTQ.
  • Monthly online CoP just for family child care providers using Zoom (how to join a zoom meeting/call)
  • Online trainings that provide certificates, cover a wide range of topics and are mostly FREE. FCCAM has linked to many of the organizations offering these training under “Training” in the top menu.

This variety of opportunities handles the most common barriers we hear about:

  • time of training,
  • travel distance,
  • cost and
  • training topic relevance.

As providers our time is truly limited. Tight budgets mean thinking twice on spending $ for trainings. Yes, the cost is tax deductible, but it can be hard to see $ going for something you see no value in. Getting comfortable with using technology to access online training will allow us each to focus on trainings that support the practices of our program and the individual needs of the children in care, not just earning those 12 hours, at both a cost and a convenient time.

FCCAM can help with getting comfortable using online trainings. We’ve put specific directions under “Training”/”Online Training Sites”. You will find specific organizations broken out in the drop-down menu. There are specific directions for setting up individual accounts and then accessing trainings. Still not sure, email us to arrange for a call to help you further.

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Example of past trainings presented through edWed early childhood education groups. These groups are open to everyone. You just need to sign up for the group.

Messy Science: Using Art to Promote Scientific Reasoning

Creative, Arts-Based STEM Learning in Early Childhood

Supporting Preschool Science Learning Through Music


TIP#1: Registering for online training webinars means you will receive links to an archived version. Don’t worry about the time of the live webinar. These archived versions also have the certificates available and the best part is they can be viewed whenever it works for you. You get access to topics of interest to you, variety in training, FREE and at a time it works for you. If you have weak wifi access at home, check out your local library.

TIP#2: Get a set of headphones (or earbuds). Having headphones means only you will hear the training. This frees up more times to take the trainings, like rest time. Is also great if you take trainings at a location outside your home, like local library, waiting room for dance lessons, etc. Headphones with a microphone also are great for live trainings like the Online CoP that use a platform like Zoom for active participation. These microphones cut out background noise from the participants side.