by Michelle Swanson, Family Child Care Network Specialist, Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative
Through its Licensing Toolkit program, the Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative (NECC) supports both new and existing family child care providers on their journey to obtain a state license.
The free program provides mentorship and hands-on support, resources and materials for enhancing health and safety practices and membership in a professional network of family child care business owners.
The Licensing Toolkit program helps providers improve their child care environment, elevates professionalism and positive transformation within the field of early childhood education, empowers business owners as they strive to provide high quality early care and learning and build economic sustainability within households and the community.
After enrolling in the program at toolkit.nebraskaearly.org, participants are matched with a Family Child Care Network Specialist who guides them through the entire process. As providers progress through the steps in the licensing process, they receive toolkit boxes to assist them. The program is self-paced, but typically takes 3-6 months.
Toolkit #1: Getting Started with Licensing
The first Toolkit starts providers off with items that support the state’s health and safety regulations, including hard-wired smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher, outlet covers and a first aid kit. Participants will receive the Licensing Guidebook, including the licensing application and all required documents. They also have access to the Nebraska Early Childhood Exchange which contains valuable resources for creating sound health and safety policies and procedures for programs.
Toolkit #2: Quality Enhancement Kit
The second Toolkit box has a wide selection of kits developed in partnership with Lakeshore Learning. This phase focuses on creating a safe and appropriate child care environment and prepares a provider for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services licensing inspection. Providers receive many materials supporting active, hands-on learning environments for children, and each box is packed specifically to align with Nebraska’s Early Learning Guidelines and The Family Child Care Environmental Rating Scale by Lakeshore Learning professionals.
Toolkit #3: Professional Development & Community Resources
When providers reach the Provisional License period, they receive the third Toolkit box with professional development and community resources to keep them engaged in pursuing professional growth and striving for quality. It includes many materials to support their training endeavors and enhance the quality of provider-child interactions in the child care program.
Toolkit #4: Social-Emotional Kit
Developed in partnership with Lakeshore Learning, the fourth Toolkit focuses on children’s social-emotional development, and has materials promoting social-emotional competence, creativity and storytelling with an all-in-one kit based on Coy Bowles’ new book, “Behind the Little Red Door.”
To learn more about NECC’s Licensing Toolkit or to sign up, visit toolkit.nebraskaearly.org.