How many years have you worked with children?

18 years

What brought you to work with children and families?

My own personal struggles as a child brought me to work with children and families. As a child I was not a “cookie cutter” learner. I didn’t fit the typical learning model. Because of this I was called a slow learner. However, as a child; I knew I just simply processed Information differently and my extreme shyness to ask for help hindered me. Experiencing this personally gave me the compassion and stamina to reach the “so called” unreachable.

Who inspires you professionally or personally? And why?

Les Brown inspires me personally and professionally. He overcame huge obstacles of being labeled special education and became a giant in the motivational speaking industry. He’s simply an over comer, and I love that.

What is your most treasured accomplishment?

My most treasured accomplishment is definitely in the people I’ve impacted in this walk of life. Inspiring souls who have given up on themselves. Martin Luther King Jr. Said it best "If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving." This quote is my absolute heart! 

What has been the most significant or memorable moment in your job?

The most memorable  moment in my job was seeing one of my students with a disability test out of his current curriculum to making all A’s! 

Do you have any dreams or aspirations you want to share?

My dream is to open a chain of literacy focused private preschools. In addition to that, I’d love to host biannual etiquette classes for young girls. 

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

Wellness Corner

Tips to Reduce Stress During the Holidays

December can be one of the most magical times of the year. It can also be one of the most stressful times of year. There are gifts to buy, parties to attend, cookies to bake, and all in the name of making the Christmas season the best for the ones we love. 

This Christmas season, challenge yourself to take a personal inventory of your emotions in the midst of all the activities. When you start to feel stressed out, be open with yourself and others letting them know that you need to step away for a few minutes. Don’t know where to start? 

Try some of these favorite “wind-down moments” from our group here at Curricula Concepts!

  • move your body (stretch, walk, lift weights, whatever feels best to you)

  • take a bath

  • listen to music

  • call a friend

  • ask for a hug

  • treat yourself to lunch

  • practice a mindfulness technique

  • take a minute of gratitude

  • go outside

  • walk or play with your pet

Health and wellness is not limited to physical activity and nutrition. Taking care of our mental health is an important piece of our overall health. Be sure to check out our Be Well Care Well program for more information on staff wellness and how staff can take care of themselves, so they can take better care of others. 

Reach out to Susanna Creed for more information on the Be Well Care Well program.


Child Care Provider Call

Watch the video in its entirety by clicking the link below.

Meeting Video Scroll down and click on December 5, 2023 - Child Care Provider Call

To locate the contact information for OEC staff, here is the OEC- Staff Directory


Meeting ID: 993 8182 9137

Passcode: 914630 

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD)

  • Dr. Elizabeth Cleveland -


Tonya Williams

  • Transferring Child Care Licenses- One provider cannot transfer a license to another provider. For example: If a provider sells a building, that provider cannot transfer the child care license. If a provider wants to sell a business, the provider needs to work with a licensing specialist immediately to avoid possible delays.

  • Maltreatment/Investigation- Tonya Williams strongly encourages completing reference checks for applicants when hiring. Also, ask an applicant if they have ever had a maltreatment investigation or are currently involved in a maltreatment investigation.

  • Child Care Payments- A duplicate payment was accidentally made for child care billing last week. If a provider received two payments that were the same amount (approximately 445 providers) the provider does not need to return the funds. The error will be corrected in the next child care billing payment(s). Contact: Laura Webb, Brandy Ishmon, or Patricia M. Johnson.

  • Communication- Tonya Williams recommends emailing OEC staff instead of calling due to technical challenges with the phone system.

AR Outstanding Early Childhood Professional of the Year Nominations and Opportunities

  • Nominations Due- January 31, 2024 (See slide for details)

  • Contact: Paige Cox, Kelli Hilburn


  • Alicia Atwood (Pre-K RISE Specialist)

  • For providers who receive public funding, Pre-K RISE will become a requirement in the future.

  • Pre-K RISE

  • Contact: Lori Bridges, Alicia Atwood

  • Phase 2- Training Opportunity (4-year old teachers)

Next Child Care Provider Call: January 2, 2024 at 12:00 pm

We have so many amazing opportunities coming up in the new year!

REACH - Central and South Arkansas

If you are in the central or southern part of Arkansas we have openings for your program to take part in REACH!  REACH is a program-wide training/coaching series: with workshops for administrative staff and for teachers. The  goal of REACH is to increase the capacity of providers to support key life skills in young children, leading to improved behavior and academic success now and in the future.

Each workshop has a toolkit with items (e.g. books, CDs, toys, posters, puppets, parent pages) teachers use in practicing the skills and concepts. This program is offered at no cost!  

REACH also has a parent education curriculum called REACHing Parents. REACHing Parents is a six-part series focused on supporting parent-child interaction & fostering real-world skills that children need to be successful. Research says that children who practice these skills in the early years have better behavior now & more success in elementary & beyond.

Register now and get started in the new year! If you're interested in learning more about or signing up for REACH or REACHing Parents, contact Robbie Belew!

Be Well Care Well - Central Arkansas

We have opportunities for Be Well Care Well in central Arkansas! 

The Be Well Care Well program improves well-being among early childhood educators by incorporating a customized staff wellness program at their child care site. A Well-Being Coach works with staff for 1 year to identify their site-specific well-being goals & coordinate well-being activities to reach those goals - while also seeking community partnerships & resources.

If you are interested in learning more, check out the Be Well Care Well website, or contact Susanna Creed.

Engage Continuum - Central and Northwest Arkansas

If you are in the central or northwest part of Arkansas, we have openings for the Engage Continuum!

The Engage Continuum is a professional development series that helps educators tap into the power of parents. Parents are the most influential teachers in children’s lives. When they embrace that role, children have better lifelong educational outcomes. Your program may be a parent's first interaction with the “education system.” It's important to show them they are not only welcome but valued as vital partners. Give them inspiration, practice, and confidence to teach and advocate for their children from this moment on.

If you are interested in learning more, contact Sarah Paul.

AAIMH Monthly Webinar

Thursday, January 25, 2024
12:00 - 1:00 pm

Treating the Grey Area: Understanding the overlap of developmental and mental health symptoms in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

This presentation will offer participants a guide in understanding and treating the complex symptoms of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), with a special focus on cognition, self-regulation, and adaptive skills. It will also discuss the neurobehavioral approach to FASD and provide tips and tricks for supporting this at home and in classrooms.

Elizabeth Cleveland, PhD, CCC-SLP

Register Here!


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!

Send this newsletter to a friend!

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, 

with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
― Hal Borland

Email Marketing by ActiveCampaign