Our Educator Spotlight this month recognizes the participants of the 2024 Spring cohort of the Family Service Credential who completed the 54 hours toward obtaining the credential. We also want to thank Kathy Boivert, our colleague and trainer at the Portage Project in Wisconsin, for delivering this amazing training. 

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


Wellness Corner

Farm to ECE

Did you know that Go NAPSACC has an entire learning module centered on Farm to the ECE?

One of the best practices from Go NAPSACC is that each center has a garden. Having a garden at your center can be beneficial in providing healthy foods for the children as well as giving them more learning opportunities surrounding food origins. Growing food from a school garden is a great way to provide fresh fruits and vegetables for children, and the program benefits from this cost  saving practice.

While beginning a garden can seem overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be! Don’t be afraid to start small with container gardens in the space that you have available. 

There are also many resources and grants available. Click here for a list of grants available throughout the year. Reach out to our partners at Arkansas Farm to School for more information on training and support. You can also check in with your local CACFP sponsor for more information on how to credit foods from your garden for reimbursement. 

Have more questions about Go NAPSACC and Farm to ECE? Contact for more information.

Calling all Early Childhood Educator Directors! 

Are you gearing up for summer trainings or planning back-to-school in-services for your staff? Look no further!

Curricula Concepts is your go-to destination for professional development focused on family engagement and health and wellness. Our expert team offers interactive training sessions, innovative approaches, and practical strategies to empower your staff. Our trainings will help create meaningful connections with families and promote health and wellness for staff, families, and children!

Visit to learn more and schedule your professional development today! 

Child Care Provider Call

Please see the OEC (Office of Early Childhood) provider notes below and the meeting video link.

Meeting Video (Scroll down and click on April 2, 2024 - Child Care Provider Call)

OEC Staff Directory

LEARNS Act Updates (Tonya Williams:

  • Child Nutrition has moved to School Nutrition at the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE)

    • Contact: Pamela Burton,

  • Part B and Part C

    • Contact: Matt Sewell,

  • IT has moved from DHS to ADE

  • Local Leads (1st cohort) 

    • OEC has funded the first 12 local leads (33 of 75 counties).

    • The goal is to engage the early childhood educators and business in the community to identify needs and resources in the community around early childhood education.

    • The local leads have submitted plans and completed a child count.

    • All programs that take public funds must participate with their local leads.

    • Visit to learn more about local leads: HERE

  • Local Leads (2nd cohort) 

    • Applications due April 10, 2024

    • Local Leads cohort 2 will be announced in early May 2024

    • Apply HERE

  • Better Beginnings Leveling Up

    • Many programs are moving up to levels.

      • Level 1 - 144

      • Level 2 - 513

      • Level 3 - 429

      • Level 4 - 191

      • Level 5 - 84

      • Level 6 - 84

  • Child Care Expansion for Early Childhood Employees and Adoptive Parents (Federal Waiver)

    • Note: Tonya Williams spoke a little about this waiver. Some of the notes below are from a prior Child Care Provider Call. These notes were added to allow more clarity to providers.

    • Employer Requirements for Early Childhood Employees

      • Arkansas licensed or registered child care provider

      • Active CCDF Participant Agreement

      • Provider verification of employment for employees

    • Note to All CCDF Program Participants: CCDF does not pay parents to care for their own child(ren). Please ensure that child(ren) who have been approved for CCDF funds are not in the same classroom where their parent/caregiver is the teacher.

    • Child Care Staff/Employee Requirements

      • At least one adult in the household must be actively employed in an Arkansas licensed or registered child care program. The program must have an active CCDF Participant Agreement.

      • Eligibility can be a combination of work, school, or a training program to equal 30 hours.

        • If there are two adults in the household, both must meet the work/school/training program requirement.

        • Income guidelines are waived. However, all household income must be submitted.

      • Households whose assets in excess of $1 million will be denied. 

    • Authorizations for child(ren) will only be extended to providers who have an active CCDF Program Participant Agreement.

    • The 60-month lifetime limit and the co-payment will be waived.

    • Child Care Staff/Employee Application Process

      • Apply for child care assistance (Those who currently have an open case WILL need to reapply.)

      • Applications must be submitted to:

      • Provide all items required on the application checklist, unless previously submitted

      • New applications and verification of employment are required for ALL

    • Adoptive Parents

      • Families with adopted child(ren) may be eligible for up to thirteen (13) months of childcare assistance.

        • Adopted child(ren) must be transitioning from Arkansas Foster Care

        • Child care assistance will only be provided for adopted child(ren)

    • Contact:

    • Contact: Brandy Ishmon -

    • Contact: Patricia Johnson -

  • Seven rules will be going to promulgation in coming weeks, then to public comment

  • Foster Care payments are automated with DCFS.

  • Federal Essential Worker Child Care Assistance (Ends: 3/31/34) payments were inconsistent due to federal funding being drawn down a little at a time. 

  • Regular Low Income Child Care Assistance should be paid routinely as providers bill in the system.

Background Checks (Kayla Bodi)

  • Kayla Bodi,, 501-320-8926 

  • The following changes will occur to the background check system but providers will not have to do anything and the process will not change.

    • When providers are completing a consent form in the online portal. The prefix was CHI and now it will be ECE. The same prefix (ECE) will appear in the INA account when providers are submitting new applicants.

  • Office of Early Childhood Background Check Website/Resources

Gwen Williams (Guest Speaker)

  • Mary's Little Lambs Daycare (Ashdown)

  • Gwen Williams shared background about the center and how the federal funding due to COVID was spent in their program (including lowering ratios and staff travel and training).

Next Child Care Provider Call: May 7, 2024 at 12:00 pm


AAIMH SUMMIT - Register Here!

Well-Being Wednesday!

The Great Outdoors

If you want to hear Rachel's full interview, you can watch it HERE!

Join us on Facebook for our next Well-being Wednesday! 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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"Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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