How many years have you worked with children?

22 years

What brought you to work with children and families?

Both of my parents and my grandfather were educators, so from an early age, I saw the importance of a supportive educational environment. Growing up I heard so many people tell stories about the impact my mom, dad, and papaw made in their lives. I wanted to be the kind of person who served others and made a difference, too. After spending 10 years in the classroom and working in Special Education, the opportunity presented itself to leave the school system and go into the home. I saw this as an opportunity to make a bigger impact by starting earlier with children and involving parents, grandparents, and even siblings, as well. When I see growth in a child or a family and know that it is a result of something I have taught or encouraged, I am reminded that I am on the path that God laid out for me.

Who inspires you professionally or personally? And why?

My inspiration comes from my incredible family. My husband, Kevin, is supportive and always encourages me in every new step I take. He prays for me and for the work that I do, which reminds me that I am working to give glory to God. My parents never hesitate to help others. They give of their time and resources wherever they are needed. My sister, niece, and nephew all inspire me to be the best version of myself and to set a godly example with my actions and words because they show me daily the impact I can have on others.

What is your most treasured accomplishment?

It's not really an accomplishment on my part, but the most treasured thing that I have been a part of is leading someone to Christ.

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

The most memorable moment in my job was being named first runner up for the Scott Gordon Home Visitor of the Year award. The significance for me comes from knowing that I was nominated by my staff and hearing the kind words that were shared. Leading a group of passionate women isn't always easy, but I am blessed to be part of an amazing team that focuses on supporting and lifting once another up. I couldn't ask for a better work family.

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

My current goal is to become a doula.

What are some of your hobbies?

I love to read, crochet, plan parties and events, cook, bake, take photos, and go on trips with my family. I hope to have more time in the coming year to focus on gardening and crafts.

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

Wellness Corner

Setting Goals in the New Year!

January brings in a new year and a new year brings in new goals and resolutions. Setting goals or resolutions is a great way to see growth in your life. When getting ready to make goals, here are a few tips to keep in mind to help make you as successful as possible. SMART is an acronym used for creating goals that you can reach. 

  • S-Specific: Make sure your goal is specific so you can know when you reach it! For example, if we say we want to “exercise more”, but we do not have a specific plan or goal we may give up sooner because we never feel successful. A better goal would be to say “I want to go on a walk every day.” 

  • M-Measurable: By making our goal measurable, we are able to know when we have met our goal. We could say, “I want to walk every day for 15 minutes.” This is something we would be able to track.

  • A-Attainable: Our goals need to be something we can actually accomplish! If we set goals that are not attainable, we are more likely to get discouraged and give up. If we set our goal to go to the gym for an hour a day, seven days a week and right now we are not exercising at all, that may be too much to jump into! Not to mention, if you have a family, home, or a job, there may be days that an hour in the gym is not possible! When that is your goal and you are not able to reach it, you may get really discouraged and start feeling like a failure. 

  • R-Relevant: Goal setting requires some self-reflection time of what is important to us. When setting goals, we need to be honest with ourselves about what we are actually capable of doing. We do not need to sell ourselves short! 

  • T-Time-bound: Be sure to set a time of completion. You can have different time domains for different goals. I like to set smaller, more attainable goals and once I reach those extend my goals to my larger long-term goals. For example, my long term goal could be “I want to exercise 5 days a week.” If I’m not exercising at all right now, I could challenge myself to exercise 2-3 days a week for a little while until I am able to do that consistently. By doing this, I am allowing myself to succeed before I push myself to exercising 4 or 5 or even 6 days a week.

Resolutions do not have to be abandoned by February! Set yourself up to succeed by setting SMART goals.

If you are interested in goals for your childcare program, Curricula Concepts has several different programs that could be beneficial for centers and staff. Our Be Well Care Well program focuses on staff well-being and wellness goals. Our REACH program helps your staff set goals around improving the social-emotional well-being of our little ones. 

We also have several trainings focused on Go NAPSACC which has a built in system to help you set goals and action plans in the areas of health and wellness for your program. Check out our website or reach out to our email address at

We want to hear your goals! Send an email to with any goals you want to share.


We all know in early childhood education we have to modify and adjust!  With all the rescheduling and weather-related concerns we have, we are pivoting to VIRTUAL!  This way everyone can join in from the comfort and warmth of their home or office.

There is a lunchtime option and an evening option available too!

As a dedicated leader in early childhood education, your commitment to nurturing young minds is truly commendable. We understand the challenges you face daily, and that's why we're excited to offer our upcoming workshop for directors – Taking Care of Yourself Every Day: Director's Self-Care Workshop.

Why Attend?

  1. Rejuvenate Your Spirit: Explore practical strategies to recharge your energy and enthusiasm for your important role.

  2. Community Building: Connect with fellow directors, share experiences, and build a supportive network within the early childhood education community.

  3. Prioritizing Your Well-being: Develop a customized self-care plan that aligns with your goals and fosters a healthy work-life balance.

Investing in your well-being is crucial for sustaining your passion and effectiveness as a director. To secure your spot, simply click the button or link or scan the QR code to RSVP. 

Limited seats are available, so don't miss out on this opportunity to prioritize yourself.

We look forward to supporting you on your journey to enhanced well-being and continued success in guiding our youngest learners.

Register HERE!

Child Care Provider Call

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

Meeting Video Scroll down and click on January 2, 2024 - 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 

Tonya Williams (OEC Director)

  • Encouraged providers to tell other colleagues about the OEC Provider Call.

  • Early Care and Education staff can receive child care vouchers (regardless of income)

    • Child Care and Education staff MUST work at a facility that accepts vouchers

    • The Child(ren) of the staff member must attend a facility that accepts vouchers

    • Additional information will be provided and the application will be shared

Anna Rice (Guest Speaker)

  • Early Education Center Program - Little Heroes Learning Academy (Jonesboro)

  • Shared information on the growth of the program and striving for high-quality child care and education, through Better Beginnings, Arkansas Early Learning, and CDAs

Kayla Adaway (Guest Speaker)

  • Early Education Family Home Program - Ready, Set, Learn!

  • Shared a video on the program's improvements and upgrades

Michele Snyder (OEC)

  • PreK STEM Model Rubric

  • Shared information about providers becoming a dedicated STEM program

  • Interested providers should view the meeting video for all details

  • Website

Theresa Cooper (Essential Worker Funding)

  • Essential worker funding/vouchers will end on March 31, 2024, for all currently authorized vouchers

Dawn Jeffrey (LEARNS)

  • Curriculum

    • Providers should add the curriculum being used in the program to the Enterprise Licensing System (ELS) as soon as possible

  • Questions or Technical Assistance Contact: Dawn Jeffrey

  • Academic Approval

    • Licensing specialists will review all areas stated in the LEARNS Act for Academic Approval during the licensing visit

  • Providers:

    • 1,432 centers

    • 214 homes

    • 168 EIDT

    • 148 Out-of-School Time

    • 6 Registered homes

Next Child Care Provider Call: February 6, 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!

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"The best is yet to come."

― Frank Sinatra

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