Series of workshops helps train parents, child care providers on early childhood literacy

Posted at 4:53 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 20:10:00-04

BOISE — Child care programs have taken a hit during the pandemic. Some aren't offering in-person care, and others had to shut their doors for good. To help combat the significant need, Idaho AEYC offers the Early Learning Academies. They provide free learning materials for parents, teachers, and child care providers. "The need for understanding early childhood development is more needed than ever before," said Beth Oppenheimer. Idaho AEYC is offering three workshops for parents turned educators. The first two focus on developmental milestones and understanding the impact trauma has on early learning. The third workshop focuses on early childhood literacy. "This workshop, which I imagine will be very popular, will help parents and caregivers understand what they can do with the little ones at home promote school readiness," said Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer says these workshops typically would be held in person, but they're offering them online and for free due to the pandemic. "You'll get a lot of just valuable information, and in addition to that, you'll get a kit of free materials that you can use in your home or classroom," said Oppenheimer. These workshops are typically only for childcare providers, but they're expanding that reach because more people are taking on that educator role at home. "Typically these children are in child care or preschool or in school or something like that, and all of a sudden the parent is playing a teacher role," said Oppenheimer, "Having that knowledge and understanding is really more important than ever." Idaho is losing valuable child care programs. Nearly 300 programs closed because of the pandemic. These services could help fill the gap while working to strengthen the existing programs. "Child care providers right now, they're really just looking at how to sustain their business," said Oppenheimer, "This is an opportunity for them to take their minds off of running the business and get the professional development that they need."