A Message from the CEC's Program Director 10-3-17

Sunday night, we learned that there had been yet another horrific act of violence in our country and we are asking, once again, "How does one make sense of this tragedy?" With numerous events and natural disasters in rapid succession, many of us may be experiencing upset, worry, and a sense of being overwhelmed. If adults are challenged to comprehend the enormity of human suffering that has resulted from violence and the forces of nature, how can our children understand, let alone feel that they are safe?

Having been a teacher and Program Director for many years, I have had the opportunity to talk with parents and staff about research and developmental theory and how they inform us about what children need to know about these types of events or natural disasters. Thankfully, there is ample information to help guide parents, teachers, and caregivers as we strive to help children feel secure, as well as find support for ourselves.

According to Diane Levin, Ph.D., Professor at Wheelock College, child advocate, and author:

"One of the most important things for healthy development is for children to feel safe and secure. Violent images in the news can scare children even if they are far away, and undermine their sense of well-being. Therefore it's important to protect young children as much as possible from these images... If young children are exposed, remind them that they are safe at home and provide concrete examples using age-appropriate terms..."

In agreement with Levin, many experts recommend keeping young children away from repetitive graphic images, dialogue, and sounds that may appear on television, radio, social media, computers, etc. These images only magnify the sense of worry or fear children may feel.

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Another recommendation that I have found beneficial and wise is that of Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'" At the CEC, we strive to remind children of the power of goodness and the importance of offering and accepting help from their family and community.

The following resources provide additional perspectives and specific information about talking with children about violence and disasters. If there is anything I can do to assist you, please feel free to contact me. 

Lisa Cain-Chang

Parent Resources:

A Message from the CEC's Program Director 9-26-17

Entering the last week of September, I am once again marveling at how smoothly the new year has begun. As I move through the program each day, I am overjoyed to see children's curiosity, creativity, sensitivity and joyful expression through their relationships, play, and learning.  We are immersed in the development of meaningful relationships and focused on helping each child build familiarity and trust with their teachers, peers, and new environments.  

As we focus on making sure the children are thriving, we want to make sure that you are as well. Even though the teachers and directors are available to you on a daily basis, I know that we are able to make the program stronger and more supportive when we receive written input from you. Therefore, I would like to request that each family (Infant-Toddler & Preschool and Cooperative Preschool) complete this brief questionnaire:

We would like to receive all completed questionnaires by next Friday, October 6th. If you have any questions, please make sure and contact me or a program director.    

Please note: This is for both the Infant-Toddler and Preschool Programs at the Oak Grove site and the Cooperative Preschool at Caltech. If you have multiple children enrolled, please complete one survey per child. 

Thank you in advance for your assistance,
Lisa Cain-Chang
Program Director

A Message from the CEC's Executive Director 9-19-17

Pancake Breakfast & Annual Fund Kick-off 2017

I hope you were able to join us at the Pancake Breakfast and Annual Fund Kick-off on Saturday. If you did, I’m sure you will agree it was the perfect way to begin the weekend – eating a sumptuous breakfast with your family, seeing friends, making new friends, and enjoying the active play of your children with their friends.

We filled the Preschool Yard to over-flowing with more than 450 people in attendance. Special thanks to the Parent Council and the incredible breakfast team under the leadership of Jennifer Westin and Nick Van Der Wende. The team was masterful in turning out the pancakes, eggs, fruit, condiments, and beverages and Jen reported that the crew also had great fun at the grills and behind the scenes. Thanks also to the Fund Development Committee for the Annual Fund coordination and kick-off. We’ve started the year with great enthusiasm and record-breaking participation.

Finally, no event can be successful without the set-up and clean-up crews. Many, many thanks to all of you for creating such a special, fun morning for all of us in the CEC community. You are fabulous and amazing! Whether you helped create the event or joined in as a happy participant, it is this quality of full engagement that creates the strength of our community. We’re off to a great start and a wonderful year.

With joy and gratitude,
Elyssa Nelson
Executive Director

Welcome New Board Members!

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Each year, the CEC’s Board of Trustees approves new Board members, who are then presented to the general membership (CEC parents and employees) for confirmation. Most people vote through the proxy process. This voting process is a simple and extremely important moment for the CEC organization, since the CEC Board is responsible for the governance of the organization, ensuring its fiscal health, and remaining true to the CEC’s vision and mission. The members of our Board, led by CEC alum parent and Board President Kira Johnson, are a highly engaged, committed, and caring group, representing a broad range of professional skills and expertise.

New Board members were formally accepted by the CEC membership at the Annual Members’ Meeting last week. We enthusiastically welcome the following new members and look forward to the unique contribution they will each make in the coming three years:

  • Dianne Parker
  • Kelsey Szamet
  • Megan Lorenz Angarita
  • Amy Fiore, filling the position designated for a CEC teacher
  • Sandra Bordi, filling the position designated for a Parent Council Chair (ex-officio)

To learn more about each of these members, brief bios are included here.

At the same time that we welcome new members, several Board members are departing after years of service. Each of the following people made an important, if not critical, contribution to the Board during their tenure.. We are honored to recognize the following Board members for their generous service to the CEC:

  • Mary Baerg (2010 – 2017), former Board President, who led the Board in the development of the current Strategic Plan.
  • Janet Sedhom (2013 – 2017), who contributed thoughtful wisdom as the designated teacher on the Board.
  • Joyce Kwon (2016 – 2017), who provided a vital connection between the Parent Council and the Board of Trustees as Co-Chair of the CEC Parent Council.

A Message from the CEC's Program Director 9-12-17

Happy Birthday, CEC!

On September 17, we celebrate the Center’s 38th anniversary.  In 1979, the Center opened with 30 children and fewer than 10 employees. Today, 120 employees ensure that we provide exceptional care and education for 400 children daily at multiple sites, including a vibrant school age program. Along with its own children's programs, the Center has been able to advocate for excellence in all programs for young children by sharing our knowledge and pioneering approach within the early care and education community through our Consulting and Educational Services branch and Outdoor Classroom Project.  

As we reflect on our 38 years and celebrate the impact the CEC has made in the field of early childhood education, we give thanks to the vibrant community of parents, staff, alumni, fellow educators, and family that have supported us over the years!

Thank You!

Lisa Cain-Chang
Program Director