Who inspires you professionally or personally? And why? 

One of the people that I admire the most is my mom, Brenda McDowell. She taught me how to pray and to prioritize going to church. She is kind to others and shows respect to all. 

What are some of your hobbies? 

I enjoy hiking and traveling with my husband, Charles, and our sons, Alex and Aaron. Some of our favorite places to hike are Hot Springs and Jasper, AR, and we recently fell in love with Big Bend National Park.

What is your most treasured accomplishment? 

I enjoy being challenged physically, mentally, and spiritually. A past victory is running a marathon with my friends, and another recent achievement is earning a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) and memorizing 2 Corinthians 4:3-7.  

What do you do to treat yourself? 

I enjoy having a day of pampering, like a massage. 

What is one thing you cannot do without? 

The one thing I can not do without is my favorite brand of running shoes, Brooks - Adrenaline GTS. 

If you are an educator and want to share your story,
contact Deborah at!

Wellness Corner

Breastfeeding Environment in the Childcare Center

Do you have a breastfeeding friendly child care center? 

Recent data has shown that in the state of Arkansas around 70% of mothers attempt to breastfeed their newborns. By the time 3 months rolls around, 43% are exclusively breastfeeding and that number drops to 19% at 6 months. Many factors play into why a mother stops breastfeeding when she does, however, many of these factors are centered around a lack of support. 

As childcare providers, (even those who do not serve infants) you can provide a breastfeeding supportive environment for the families you serve and for your own staff. A great place to start is putting together a list of resources to help new mothers and families know where to look for more information. Having open lines of communication with families is a great way to find out what needs they may have. Another great way to be supportive is to provide a breastfeeding safe environment in your center for families and staff members to feed their baby or pump if needed. Remember, our job is to help and support, not push. Be open and supportive to each family's individual needs and wishes.

The Go NAPSACC Tips & Materials Library has several suggestions for items to include in a successful lactation space along with other resources. If you are interested in learning more about Go NAPSACC or any of our trainings related to Go NAPSACC, reach out to for more information.

Check out our amazing Curricula Concepts Team  and the sessions they are presenting

at the AECA Conference!

Register for the AECA Conference HERE!

DCCECE Provider Information Call


If you missed the September 5, 2023 Provider Call, click HERE and scroll down. Click on September 5, 2023 - Child Care Provider Call to watch. 

LEARNS Act Update

  • The Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is now a part of Arkansas Department of Education.

  • The OEC is actively working to streamline processes to create efficiencies during the transition. 

  • Payments were delayed last month, payments should not be delayed, more than 24 hours, in the future.

  • Contact: Tom Sheppard -

Local Leads (First Phase)

  • The OEC is in the process of identifying local lead pilot sites, across the state, to coordinate early childhood services work on behalf for their community.

  • The RFP is due September 29, 2023.

  • Local Leads will be chosen by October 18, 2023.

  • Any program who accepts public funds will have to certify that they will be a part of the local leads program. In the LEARNS Act this is called academic approval

  • Contact: Paige Cox -

COVID Update

  • Licensing - There are not any new requirements at this time. The Office of Early Childhood encourages providers to follow the minimum licensing standard requirements. 

Guest Speakers: Ted Beck, Dr. Nikki Edge, Melissa Sutton

  • Update on BehaviorHelp 

Enterprise Licensing System (ELS) - Add Curriculum and Enrollment:

  • Providers are encouraged to update the Enterprise Licensing System (ELS) with current enrollment and curriculum. 

  • This update is a requirement in the LEARNS Act under academic approval.

  • The OEC requests that providers update rates in the system.

  • Contact: Dawn Jeffrey -

ARPA Updates

  • Emails will go out next week, to eligible providers, to apply for the final ARPA, American Rescue Plan Act, grant funds.

  • OEC urges providers to apply for the funds as soon as the notification email is received.

  • Providers must be a voucher participant to be eligible.

  • Providers must have been a participant in the voucher program by August 16, 2023.

  • Applications must be received by 4:30 pm on September 20, 2023.

  • Portal link to apply:

  • Contact: Tom Sheppard -

  • Contact: Paige Cox -

Hot Weather Vehicle Alert

  • Reminder to pay close attention to detail and procedures when transporting children

Exciting Future News (More instructions will be provided when these processes are complete.)

  • Individuals who work in a school district, will only have to complete one background check. 

  • The OEC is working to create one application for ABC and CACFP.

CACFP - Lauren Dotson (Slide Attached)

  • Open enrollment started August 1, 2023.- Enrollment closes September 30, 2023.

Next Child Care Provider Call: October 3, 2023 at 12:00 pm


Well-Being Wednesdays are the first Wednesday of every month!  Join us on Facebook! If you missed a Well-Being Wednesday, you can also find them on our YouTube Channel.

Curricula Concepts Inc. is offering trainings in person and online via Zoom for families and educators! Go to our Training Calendar to sign up! Have questions or problems with registering for trainings? Contact Deborah at!

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Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.
– Emily Brontë

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