ChildCare Education Institute September Newsletter
Teaching Critical Thinking      
In This Issue...
Thinking about Critical Thinking
Ten Takeaway Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking
Bloom's Taxonomy: A simple roadmap to learning
Custom Child Care Training Programs for New York
Reach Quality Recognition Program Standards with Child Care Training
CCEI Students Exceed One Million Hours of Online Child Care Training
Learn to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in Preschool
Alumni Profile: Felicia Fisk
Annual Training Subscriptions - Individual + Center-Based Options
CDA Coursework, Director's Certificates, & Early Childhood Credential

Thinking about Critical Thinking   



There is much talk these days about "teaching" critical thinking skills to children, and that's fine, but the first thing educators at all levels need to recognize is that you can't really teach most of these skills explicitly or directly. You can and should promote critical thinking, but it will take years for children to develop into true "critical thinkers."


In a general sense, critical thinking is the brain's way of solving complicated problems and deciding whether or not something is true or feasible. More specifically, critical thinking skills enable humans to draw logical connections between ideas, to construct and evaluate arguments, to detect inconsistencies and mistaken reasoning, to solve problems analytically, and to develop and reflect on one's personal beliefs and values.


For an everyday example, imagine shopping for a new car or other "big ticket" item. Someone with poor critical thinking skills would believe every word out of the salesman's mouth. By contrast, someone with strong skills would do some independent research, seek advice from others, and apply knowledge from past experience before signing anything. Critical thinking skills aren't new; they are a defining characteristic of the human brain. They are survival skills, necessary for avoiding dangers and traps as well as achieving success and prosperity.


Prior knowledge and experiences play important roles in critical thinking, but knowing is only half the battle. Critical thinking is far more than the ability to recall and apply information: it is about making inferences and predictions, drawing conclusions and judgments, finding solutions to new, complex problems, and seeking relevant sources of information and guidance. And it's not just about finding fault or "criticizing" other ideas; critical thinking is also essential for cooperative reasoning and collaboration (i.e., learning to work and play well with others). It takes time for a child to develop these skills, but it definitely begins in early childhood!


Many early science and math activities promote some kind of critical thinking, including activities requiring observations, determining cause-and-effect, sorting, logic (such as brain teasers), and compare-contrast. Many literary-based activities promote critical thinking, as well, such as learning to differentiate facts from opinions, identifying true-false statements, and a host of story and writing activities. With older children (ages four and up), well-facilitated group discussions are great for encouraging children to think critically about a range of topics.

Regardless of the subject, it is always helpful to ask open-ended questions, which require more than a yes or no answer. Encourage children to use their language and express their ideas, and critical thinking skills will follow. If you are interested, CCEI offers COG101, a one-hour class on critical thinking designed specifically for early childhood educators. Also, please see the related links in this newsletter.

Volume 8, Issue 9

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Ten Takeaway Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking
By: Mariko Nobori


Ideally, teaching kids how to think critically becomes an integral part of your approach, no matter what subject you teach. But if you're just getting started, here are some concrete ways you can begin leveraging your students' critical-thinking skills in the classroom and beyond.

1. Questions, questions, questions.

Questioning is at the heart of critical thinking, so you want to create an environment where intellectual curiosity is fostered and questions are encouraged. For Jared Kushida, who teaches a global politics class called War and Peace at KIPP King Collegiate, "lecturing" means integrating a flow of questions throughout a lesson. "I rarely go on for more than 30 seconds without asking a question, and I rarely stop at that one question," he explains.

Article courtesy of Edutopia, of the George Lucas Educational Foundation

Bloom's Taxonomy: A simple roadmap to learning

By: Jena Borah

I'm a big picture kind of person. I like to look at the map and stay focused on the destination. But homeschooling is full of little details that threaten to pull us off the path and down rabbit trails.


That's why, here at the beginning of the school year, I like to remind myself of how simple education really is.


In the 1950s, a committee of educators came up with a list of broad learning objectives called Bloom's Taxonomy, and it's been revised over the years. The first step in learning is simply remembering facts, and as a student progresses through the levels, he or she takes the learned material and creates something new. I love that.


View Article

Article Courtesy of Simple Homeschool

Custom Child Care Training Programs for New York

ChildCare Education Institute is proud

to announce the introduction of two online professional development programs approved by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (NYS OCFS) to fulfill annual training requirements. The CCEI Online NY Professional Development Certificate I and Online NY Professional Development Certificate II programs of study each provide 15 clock hours of approved training required by employees and those responsible for developing, directing and supervising the daily activity programs for children in registered or group family day care, school-age child care and day care centers in the state of New York. The two online programs correlate to New York Training Topic Areas for Professional Development. Those who complete NY Professional Development Certificates I and II will satisfy the 30-hour New York mandated training requirement that must be completed every two (2) years. Both of these CCEI training programs are available through online enrollment at any time and grant IACET CEU credit upon successful completion.

Reach Quality Recognition Program Standards with Child Care Training from CCEI

CCEI announces its support of child care professionals and programs working to improve and maintain Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) requirements through the provision of appropriate online professional development coursework. Participation in quality recognition programs is a voluntary initiative and standards are designed to exceed state regulations and provide high-quality, effective child care. A key incentive in participating in QRIS programs, aside from providing children with better early education experiences, is local and statewide recognition of child care program achievements. Community and financial awards, technical assistance and scholarships for professional development are sometimes awarded according to an achievement-based point system. In turn, these incentives affect the attainment of quality indicators and other measurements. CCEI offers over 30 hours of intermediate and advanced level online child care training coursework that meet many quality recognition program standards for continuing education. Coursework is available through online enrollment at any time. Check CCEI's child care training course catalog for specifics.
CCEI Students Exceed One Million Hours of Online Child Care Training

CCEI is proud to announce that its students have completed more than 1,000,000 professional development hours online. CCEI has provided high-quality online child care training coursework for over eight years and students continue to benefit from the competency-based, self-paced coursework that fits any schedule. CCEI online professional development training courses are open for enrollment at any time and IACET CEU credit is awarded upon successful completion. Child care establishments, associations, administrators, and individuals choose CCEI for continuing education, and to remain updated on relevant topics and recommendations for best practices. In addition to allowing child care providers online access through the use of an annual, unlimited training subscription, many organizations choose to participate in center-based, or multi-user, subscriptions offering administrative features which allow the ability to assign courses, monitor progress, and print reports for licensing. Current students with active, unlimited subscriptions can enroll in courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. Users without subscriptions can purchase child care training courses anytime through online enrollment.

Learn to Teach Critical Thinking Skills in Preschool with CCEI Online Training

Online child care training course COG101: Critical Thinking Skills in the Preschool Environment is available as a no-cost trial course to new CCEI users during the month of September. Critical thinking is the ability to use information and skills in a variety of ways in order to solve problems. The development of critical thinking skills is intended to build high-level skills involving analysis, evaluation, and creation. However, children need to build a strong foundation of skills and knowledge beginning in early childhood. The Critical Thinking course focuses on Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning Domains and includes relevant classroom activities to administer these concepts. Understanding the role of open-ended questions, developmentally appropriate practices, and strategies for incorporating critical thinking into the classroom are also covered within this one-hour online course. Current students with active, unlimited subscriptions can enroll in courses at no additional cost when logged in to their CCEI account. For more information on ChildCare Education Institute, call 1.800.499.9907, prompt 3, Monday - Friday, 8 am - 5 pm EST.
Felicia Fisk
Cedar Springs, MI
Congratulations to Felicia Fisk for successfully completing CCEI's One Millionth Hour of Online Professional Development Training!

Felicia first realized that working with children is her calling years ago as a nanny and now works with toddlers in a child care center. The toddlers in Felicia's care love exploring new textures, and she loves watching them interact with one another and learn right from wrong. Felicia also appreciates hearing the children laugh, enjoying the post-nap hugs, and watching their individuality unfold as they develop.


For her ongoing licensing requirements, Felicia continues to use CCEI online training courses as part of her center's site-based subscription. Felicia plans to one day obtain her national CDA Credential from the Council for Professional Recognition, and later a degree in early childhood development.

When Felicia isn't working she loves being outdoors, reading and spending time with her two nephews. She recommends CCEI to others and explains, "This is the perfect school for anyone who wants to go to school for early childhood development but doesn't think they have the time or resources. You can do it on your own schedule, whenever you have free time. That makes it so easy and accessible! The assessments before each final exam are very helpful! They make the course work a lot more comprehensive!"


Congratulations, Felicia! CCEI is proud to call you an alumnus!

Individual Professional Development Subscriptions for only $99 per year!  
CCEI offers over 100 IACET CEU-awarded online child care training courses that meet continuing education requirements. CCEI has professional development offerings in English and Spanish, and courses are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year from any computer with Internet access.

Center-Based Subscriptions 
Center-Based Subscriptions are a great way for directors to manage and administer continuing education for staff members. CCEI's Center-Based Subscriptions, available for small and large centers, allow directors to provide training for as little as $20 per teacher for the entire year!
Online CDA Coursework
CCEI's Online CDA Certificate programs of study meet the clock-hour training requirement of The Council for Professional Recognition, which is needed in order to apply for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. CCEI's CDA Certificate programs focus on the six CDA Competency Goals established by The Council and contain the required hours in each of the eight specified content areas.

Online Director Programs
CCEI offers several online programs for directors including the Online Director's Certificate and
Director's Certificate Renewal, Georgia Director's Certificate, Texas Director's Certificate and Texas Director's Certificate Renewal, and Florida Director's Certificate Renewal. These programs provide the professional development required for early childhood professionals seeking to further their skills and knowledge in the management of a child care center. Each student receives support from an Education Coach (EC) and CCEI's Customer Support Help Desk.

CCEI Early Childhood Credential

The CCEI Early Childhood Credential (ECC) is designed to give a basic framework of early childhood theory and application through online content-based coursework, reading assignments, practical application exercises, essays, parent interviews, classroom observation and oral and written exams. The instructional units and the 180 hours of coursework cover major topics in early childhood education including the Principles of Child Growth and Development; Safe, Healthy Environments; Social and Emotional Development; Motor, Language, and Cognitive Development; Principles of Child Assessment; Program Management, Families, and Professionalism. The credential awards 18 IACET CEUs, and is recognized by NAEYC to meet a part of the Alternative Pathways for directors to achieve educational qualifications. The ECC is a clear pathway toward higher education and raising the knowledge and skills of the early education workforce. Holders of the CCEI Early Childhood Credential can be considered qualified for Head Start positions that require a minimum of a CDA or other certificate. Graduates of CCEI's Online Early Childhood Credential (ECC) will have met all training, portfolio, and observation requirements of the national CDA Credential and only need to complete the Council's exam at a PearsonVue testing center to finalize the CDA Credential application process.The ECC is an expanded program that incorporates the other CDA required elements such as the formal observation and portfolio creation.


CCEI coursework is eligible for college credit through articulation with one of CCEI's articulation partners, and has received college credit recommendations by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (National CCRS), which has more than 1,500 schools willing to consider credit. Contact Admissions at 1.800.499.9907, or visit the ChildCare Education Institute website for more information or to enroll online.

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