CDC dedicated to Child Development

Child Development Center staff listen to a brief during the Training Day, May 25. During each session staff received professional development in a variety of topics, provided by several local subject matter experts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennisse Jones)

Child Development Center staff listen to a brief during the Training Day, May 25. During each session staff received professional development in a variety of topics, provided by several local subject matter experts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Dennisse Jones)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- On May 25, the staff of the Child Development Center took part in a Training Day. The day was set up like a mini-conference, where staff rotated through the various sessions.
Everyone who works at the CDC requires a great deal of training. This training and dedication sets the CDC apart from programs which just meet the state minimum child care standards. It is what makes our program a child development program as opposed to a child care or day care center.

During each session staff received professional development in a variety of topics, provided by several local subject matter experts. The day was a huge accomplishment and a success because of the dedicated individuals who provided their time, expertise, and support for this endeavor.

Ginger Moore, retired flight chief, educated staff on the Air Force Sudden Infant Death Safe Sleep practices. Laying infants on their backs to sleep has been proven to lessen the incidents of SIDS. CDC ensures that all the staff understands the importance of safe sleep practices. Marietta Garza, one of the attendees stated that she was surprised that the teaching staff from other age groups was unfamiliar with some of the SIDS Safe Sleep Practices, taking place in the Infant room.

"I think it is really important to keep educating parents about the need for placing infants on their back to sleep, to ensure safety," she added.

Susan Mc Daniels, retired Family Child Care Coordinator, provided staff with the knowledge to prevent, identify and report child abuse and neglect.
 
The staff at the CDC is all mandated reporters and take this responsibility seriously. Our main goal however, is prevention and that is accomplished by building a relationship, partnering with, and supporting the families we serve.

Tiffany Cook, a trainee, reflected on the training saying, "McDaniel's passion reminds me of how important our voices are for the children who don't have a voice."

Glenn Haffner, Assistant Fire Chief of Prevention, instructed staff on the emergency response procedures needed to help maintain safety during various emergencies.
 
Each staff member has a personal role and responsibility in ensuring the safety of every child in our care and that is a priority of the program.

Samantha Rose, a trainee said she was both reassured and amazed that Goodfellow Fire Department is so proficient that they have an under-two- minute response time, to pretty much anywhere on base.

"We often forget that when an emergency is taking place, two minutes might feel like a millennium," she added.

Marilyn Stewart, CDC Assistant Director, trained staff on the topic of health and sanitation.

Understanding how to maintain a hygienic environment, to stop the spread of germs, is achieved by following the guidelines set forth by the Air Force and The National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Sandi Winters, a teacher in a two year old room said she didn't realize there were so many important steps to washing hands.

"All staff and children wash hands throughout the day but, being more diligent with the process may be needed to ensure a hygienic, healthy environment," she added.

Dennisse Jones, CDC Director, provided instruction on Professionalism, Confidentiality, and Quality Early Childhood Programs.

Being the only NAEYC accredited program in San Angelo, reinforces the dedication to establishing and maintaining a quality program based on best-practices for an early childhood development program.

When I asked staff to give me insight about the training Christy Pratt said she really liked how Jones emphasized that, no matter who you are, when you work with children you are a professional.

Melody Avants, Adult Military Family Life Consultant, provided training on Partnering with Families.

Working in partnership with families ensures that the program and families are in sync with helping the child reach their full potential. The program and family share the same goal and that is for every child to be successful in school and life.

Carmen Lee Rodriguez, a trainee, felt that this training provided a new perspective to consider when working with families.

Yolanda Thomas, Family Child Care Coordinator, took on the task of providing the food service staff the required training needed for their position.

The food service staff has a great responsibility to meet the nutritional needs of all the children in the program. They ensure the food we serve is low in sugar, fat, and salt. If children have special dietary needs, due to allergies, the staff is diligent to provide alternatives.

Lani McClane is the CDC's head cook and she felt that Thomas presented in a way that everyone could understand.

"It was very professional and interesting to attend," she added.

As the training and curriculum specialist, I provided teaching staff with a Child Growth and Development training. Understanding how children develop is the foundation for planning curriculum based on the needs and interest of the children. The staff learned through a Jeopardy game, which made learning fun, engaging, and interesting. This is exactly what we strive for, when we plan learning experiences for the children in our care.

Roxanne Work off and Lusia Rico, both trainees, really loved the Jeopardy game and said it made learning fun.

The instructors received excellent evaluations from all the participants. Thank you all for being so dynamic and engaging. An enormous thank you goes out to everyone who provided support for this endeavor. Appreciation goes out to Steve Williams and the staff at the Education Center for letting the CDC invade your building. We were all excited to sit on adult chairs and that is significant in our world.

The CDC teaching staff is required, by AFI 34-248, to receive 24 hours of annual training, in various topics related to early childhood care and education. This training day was just a sampling of the training they will receive this year. Once the staff receives training, they reflect on their role and responsibility to implement the information they learn. It is highly stressed that training is not just a "tick-in-the-box", but a process to ensure our program implements best-practices, based on the most current research in early childhood education.

The staff of the CDC is dedicated in their duty to provide outstanding experiences for children to develop physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and language skills. This task can only be achieved through ongoing dedication to professional development opportunities. The staff of the CDC is amazing in their hard work and dedication to the children and families we serve.

Next time you see a CDC staff member, acknowledge their hard work, professionalism, and dedication to the military child.