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  Fall News

Wachusett Community Partnership for Children
A Mass. Dept. of Education Program

November 2005


New Dept. Gathers Information

 “On July 1, 2005 a new Department of the Massachusetts State Government was opened. It is known as EEC or the Department of Early Education and Care. The new department represents a merging of the Office of Child Care Services and the Early Learning Services division of the Dept. of Education. The people, services, and resources of these two agencies are joining together to better meet the needs of our youngest citizens, their families, and  you, the providers of early education and care services. “

“All current OCCS and ELS forms, contracts, grants, voucher documents, licenses and mailings now display the new Department’s name. All regulations, standards, guidelines, policies and procedures will remain in effect until revised or repealed by the Dept. of Early Education and Care. Likewise, all licenses, certificates and approvals issued before July 1, 2005 will remain valid unless otherwise notified by the department. “

“We look forward to working with you to develop and grow early education and care in Massachusetts.”

This information is taken from the DEEC website:

Since July, the new department has prioritized it’s work and will focus first on three main areas  assigned to three main internal working groups: Rates, Access and Quality. Inadequacy of reimbursement rates, multiple regulations and  uneven access for families  to high quality programs are all issues under discussion.

In October, DEEC hired the Public Consulting Group, an independent agency, to gather information from CPC’s and Resource and Referral Agencies around the state by means of interviews and surveys. The goal is to gather as many facts as possible to complete a picture of where the strengths and weaknesses of the system are now. In November, the new  department will discuss options for system development and present them to the board.



Program Accreditation Continues in the Region

Wachusett area child care programs continue to improve their quality and have worked extremely hard to gain, and keep, nationally accredited status. Our congratulations to First Congregational Church of Holden Nursery School on their recent accreditation from NAEYC. Village Green Preschool has also been awarded re-accreditation., which takes place every five years.

Centers and family child care provider programs go through an intensive process of self-study and must meet many criteria in areas of curriculum, health & safety, relationships with children and families, business practices and much, much more. The entire process typically takes two-three years from start to finish, ending with the on site, day -long observation/validation visit. The validator reports back to the national program, and an impartial commission makes the final decision.Recently, some programs have been held up by long wait times of over one year for the observation/validation visit. All programs participating in the Wachusett CPC must complete this process.

For more information visit



Thank You Fair Volunteers !

You make it all possible!

Yvonne Bishop

Linda Greene

Sterling Nusrsery School

Kerri Felton



Scholarship Opportunities in Early Childhood Education

$1 million has been allocated at the Board of Higher Education for early educator scholarships

On October 12th the Dept. of Early Education & Care  (EEC) shared preliminary information on a pilot scholarship program established by the Massachusetts Legislature for fiscal year 2006. The legislature has allocated funds for scholarships for early childhood educators who are in associates’s or bachelor’s degree programs for early childhood education or a related field such as education, child development or child psychology at a Massachusetts college or university. Applicants must be working in a licensed or license exempt early education program in Massachusetts. Applicants must be willing to continue employment as an early educator after graduation (for 6 months per semester of scholarship assistance received, up to a maximum of 2 years after receiving an AA and up to a maximum of 4 years after receiving a BA). The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)  must be filed each year the student is in the program

Students may be funded for up to three classes per semester, but must take at least three classes a year. Scholarship

funds will be provided for the 2006 Spring & Summer semester. Other requiremnts/guidelines are not yet established:

Stay Tuned for more information by mail or e-mail or in the Winter News



Issues At the End of the Day: information from Holly Elissa Bruno


The following information is from the article “At the End of the Day: Policies, procedures and practices to ensure smooth transitions” by Holly Elissa Bruno printed in Child Care Exchange, September/October 2005. The entire article is available on line at Note: This article does not serve as legal advice; please consult with your attorney.

The end of the day at child care is a mixed bag of tired parents, children and teachers  all trying to gracefully exit the scene with a minimum of fuss and  upset. Most days, this occurs but as everyone in the field of early education knows, anything can happen and surprises are always in store for us.

Some of the toughest situations faced in child care occur at pick up time, and clear policies are essential. Issues like separation, divorce and ugly custody battles  are all too common, as well as incidences of parents arriving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or sending someone not on the list to pick up, or even safety issues such as no car seat for the young child, or an unlicensed driver . The best protection for both the child and the center is to have a clearly thought out and agreed to policy prepared in advance. All staff should be made aware of what steps to follow if a questionable situation occurs. How much easier for the closing staff person if they can refer to a signed policy handbook.

Rewriting policies and procedures for the parent handbook takes time. Parents and staff need to be involved in the process. This involvement of parents and staff is part of “due process”, and it pays off when everyone buys into the outcomes. Due process requires notification of  and an opportunity to discuss intended changes to your policy with those who will be affected by it.

But what to do if an end of the day emergency erupts before you have a policy in place?  Keeping the well-being of the child the top priority is essential.

Do not immediately release the childDiscuss your concerns with the person. Engage the child with another staff member.

Contact the other parent or another responsible adult on the authorized list. Enlist them in solving the problem.

Offer alternatives.  Ask if you can call a cab, or if another person on the authorized list can pick up the child to allay your concerns.

Release the child with reservation. Call the appropriate state or municipal agency to report your concern. For example, ask the police to shadow the car of a parent who may be under the influence.

Call the authorities.  When someone’s safety/well being is threatened, call the police and other appropriate government agencies.

Keep children and families safe!




Healthy Fall Snacks: Recipes from “Super Snacks” by Jean Warren

Apple Coleslaw

1 apple, grated

1 small head of cabbage, shredded

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Place apple and cabbage in a large bowl. Mix mayonnaise, milk and lemon

 juice together. Add to the cabbage mixture and toss until combined.

Sweet Carrot Sticks
Cut carrots into sticks. Place in a container and pour in unsweetened pineapple juice  to cover.
Chill for an hour or more before serving.


Frosty Fruit

6 cups mixed fruit cup in small pieces.  Line a medium sized baking pan with plastic wrap.

Cover it with a single layer of mixed fruit. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap.

Freeze for 2-3 hours or until frozen. Serve plain or with yogurt for dipping.   Keeps up to 3 days in freezer.



Head Lice:  Everybody’s Favorite Fall Topic!

Head lice is NOT a sign of uncleanliness !

Between six and twelve million Americans are infected with lice each year. Lice are very  small parasites that live among  human hairs, draw blood from the skin, and lay eggs (or nits) on the hair shafts.  Lice themselves are very small and are seldom seen without the aid of a magnifying glass. Usually, it is easier to find the “nits”. Without magnification nits will appear as tiny white or translucent lumps on hair strands—they can not be brushed or shaken off.

Their bites can cause irritation (itching and scratching), especially on the scalp, neck and behind the ears.  Lice can live in clothing, bed linens, combs, brushes and hats that have come into contact with an infested person. Young children and teens are the most likely to catch lice because they often share personal items and are in close contact with other children.

Stop the spread!

Head lice is not a sign of uncleanliness!  Lice are found in all families from all walks of life, and prefer a clean head to inhabit.

. The best way to avoid lice is to:

·     avoid physical contact with a person with lice

·     Not share combs, brushes, hats, scarves, etc. If lice are present in the child care center, clothing should not be hung  in closely crowded areas.

·     Examine and treat children and adults who have had contact with someone with lice

There are many over the counter medications that will kill head lice. They may contain pyrethrins and instructions must be followed carefully. Some medications only require one treatment , and some require a repeat treatment seven to ten days later.

When to call the doctor

If your child is constantly scratching his or her skin or if he or she complains that the itching will not stop, call your health care provider. He or she will recommend a shampoo, cream or lotion that will kill the lice. Children should be kept home from school or child care until the morning after treatment is started.   It is also recommended that you wash clothing and bed linens in hot water (over 125 degrees) and that you soak brushes and combs in hot water in order to kill the lice and their eggs.

Remember, many child care centers and family child care homes have strict guidelines on when children can come to care when they are sick or have an infection and/or are contagious.  Always check with your child care provider before returning your child to the program to prevent the risk of re-infestation.

Information in this article is courtesy of  “Healthy Times”,
a newsletter of the Child Care Resource Center’s Health Access Project


Upcoming Events


Building Social Skills in Young Children
by YOU, Inc.

Wednesday, February 8, 2006
6:30-8:30 PM
Rutland Public Library
280 Main St., Rutland MA


Understanding the Autism Spectrum

by Valerie Chase,

Seven Hills Clinical Associates


Four Part Series

February 28, 2006: Overview

March 7, 2006: Language Issues

March 14, 2006: Asperger’s Syndrome

March 21, 2006: Behavioral Issues

6:30-9:00 PM

Holden Senior Center

1130 Main St., Holden MA


$25.00/per person

10 PDP contact hours, or 10 EEC hours

Tips for Good Storytelling & Stories to Tell
By Katie Green

Tuesday , January 10, 2006
Snow: January 24
6:30-8:30 PM
Holden Senior Center
1130 Main St., Holden M
Free for parents and child care providers


Please RSVP to all

508-829-0729 or


Do you have something to add to our newsletter?
We'd love to publish your poetry, prose, news or comments -
just call or email our Program Coordinator at

For more information call the Wachusett Community partnership office at (508)829-0729 and speak to the Program Coordinator.
Mailing Address:  Wachusett CPC, P.O. Box 206, Jefferson, MA 01522

The Wachusett Community Partnership for Children is  funded, in whole,  by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Education, which is committed to Early Childhood Education and quality programs for children.  The grant provides working parents with the opportunity to access affordable quality care for their preschool children.  WCPC serves the Holden, Paxton, Princeton, Rutland and Sterling communities.
This material does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Massachusetts Department of Education or the federal government.

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