Essentials for a strong Iowa

John Lawrence’s message from June 19, 2017

When we say ISU Extension and Outreach works with Iowans from cradle to grave, we hope there are many healthy years between those two points. One of the ways our human sciences faculty and staff educate Iowans across the lifespan is by providing training for child care providers.

Before September 2016, few Iowa child care providers had working knowledge of how to handle a child’s serious allergic reaction to food, store hazardous materials, manage infectious diseases, safely administer medicine or prepare their child care or preschool program for dealing with an intruder or weather-related emergency. Every year, children die in child care settings due to inappropriate sleep practices, accidental drowning or being shaken while crying. New state regulations now require all child care providers to have training that will protect the basic health and safety of children while in child care or preschool. Did you know?

  • Human Sciences Extension and Outreach and Healthy Child Care Iowa developed the Essentials Child Care Preservice Program to help child care providers meet new state requirements and learn basic health and safety “essentials” for child care and preschool programs.
  • Essentials Online is free, self-paced and available 24/7, making it ideal for rural child care providers and teachers who have limited hours available for professional development. In the eight months since the program’s inception, more than 15,000 child care providers, center directors and preschool teachers have enrolled in the 12-hour, online course.
  • The Essentials Program also is available in onsite workshops taught by Healthy Child Care Iowa and Child Care Resource and Referral.

While this program addresses child safety and health, it also supports economic development across the state. Yes, it provides training for child care providers so they can be employed or have a business, but it is more than the jobs created in child care. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (2014), Iowa ranks first in the nation for the percentage of young children with employed parents. When their kids are receiving quality care, Iowa moms and dads can enter the workforce and are better able to focus on their work, which makes a difference for the state’s economy. The Essentials Child Care Preservice Program is essential for healthy children, a stable workforce and a strong Iowa.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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