Guest Speaker: Safety Sam Companion

This month’s guest speaker is Mr. Jon Fitzgerald from the Hug Me Hug You! Initiative. His message tells of a powerful new partnership in Carver County for young children in foster care. I’ve included an excerpt from their website to help you understand their mission and what they plan to do.

Safety-Sam-group“The Hug Me Hug YOU! Initiative is a Minnesota Non-Profit 317A Corporation with a mission to research, develop, manufacture, and freely distribute therapeutic companions to children in need in order to provide them with emotional support, to contribute to their overall sense of well-being, and to help each child stay connected to their support community.

Every child needs to connect to those that matter most, to communicate, to play. We know that today’s world is more inter-connected and interactive then at any other point in human history thanks to advancements in smartphone, gaming, and mobile technology, yet children suffering from long-term disability, illness, or those under the protection of child services may not have access to such devices when separated from their family, loved ones, and others in their support community. We at the Hug Me Hug YOU! Initiative are developing socially-connected plush toys in order to provide children with a way to have fun while staying in touch with their support community!

Abused children and children in foster care interact with a plush toy-like therapeutic companion that sends and receives messages. A support community or safety network made up of family, friends, and social workers interact with a web or mobile interface to invite and register community members, receive updates on the child’s status, preview and send messages to the child, and view analytics to better understand and work with both the child and the community.” Tune in to Jon’s message HERE. (On next page, click on his name) Be sure to come back and visit this blog tomorrow (Wed.) because our guest speakers this month are hosting an awesome giveaway- $50 in children’s books!!

safety sam monkey





creative writing for children book by Pam Allyn“Mastery of the written word is essential in nearly all walks of life, and success begins early. But that doesn’t mean drilling your toddler on letters and words. Pam Allynliteracy expert and author of Your Child’s Writing Life, joins Marti and Erin to talk about creative writing for children – tot to teen. Pam has simple but powerful ways to engage your child in putting ideas on paper, starting with a toddler’s scribbles or drawings and building toward clear, concise expression of feelings, concepts and logical arguments. This is all about empowering your child to use the written word creatively and effectively.” -ME *Tune in Here*MomEnough 2

ECYD Program Newsletter: September 2014


Welcome to September! For most young people, September means back to school and is an exciting time. Because I returned from Africa in August, I am cognizant of the fact that there are also millions of children that aren’t going to school. According to UNICEF in 2006, 93 million children were not in school. Nearly 80% of these children lived in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia and many were female. They were not granted the same basic human right to education.

My charge to those going back to school or those that grew up with educational opportunities is to make it count. Please don’t take it for granted. You’ve been granted a lifelong gift of which you are empowered to make a difference!

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As a student in the Early Childhood and Youth Development program, you’ll want to be sure to read the monthly newsletter. This will help you stay ‘in the know’ about the program, as well as inform you of various events, policies, dates, etc.

You can access our monthly ECYD newsletter on this page. A few of the Sept. highlights are:

  • ECYD Club Kick-Off Meeting
  • New ECYD Faculty
  • T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood MN Scholarships
  • MnAEYC Conference Save The Date

Upcoming Changes in Child Life!

I recently received an email from the Child Life Council discussing upcoming changes to their certification requirements.

“The CLC Board of Directors has approved a series of changes to the eligibility requirements for candidates for the Child Life Professional Certification Exam. These changes will not affect anyone currently certified or anyone who has already established eligibility and successfully completes the exam before 2019, as long as they do not allow their certification to lapse.”

The course work requirement will require candidates for the Child Life Professional Certification Exam to have completed:

  • A minimum of 1 child life course taught by a CCLS
  • A minimum of 2 child development courses (growth and development for all ages from birth to 18 years must be covered)
  • A minimum of 1 course on family systems
  • A minimum of 1 course on the therapeutic benefits of play
  • A minimum of 1 course on loss/bereavement or death/dying
  • A minimum of 1 course on research
  • A minimum of 3 additional courses in child life or a related content area.
    It is strongly recommended that applicants pursue this course work in the following areas:
  • human anatomy/physiology
  • medical terminology
  • ethics

I’m happy to announce that many of the courses in our Early Childhood and Youth Development (ECYD) program here at Dakota County Technical College could meet these requirements! We offer a child life course taught by a CCLS (online). We have a Child Growth and Development course, as well as many other early childhood courses (many available online). Our program also offers courses such as Working with Diverse Families and Children and Creative Development Activities. DCTC also offers the following courses: Medical Terminology, Medical Ethics, Anatomy and Physiology, and Death and Dying.

If you just need to pick up a few courses, you can register through us without declaring a major or being admitted to our ECYD program. You’d register as an undeclared student. Undeclared students are limited to 11 or fewer credits per semester. If you’re just beginning your educational journey, you might be interested to know that we offer a Child Life Assistant degree. We have transfer agreements with universities in MN, WI, and NY for this degree for continuation with your education after DCTC.

Tuition rates are the same for students whether you live in or out of MN. Currently, online tuition is approximately $200 per credit. Most of our courses are 3 credits.

Please contact me if you’re interested in learning more about what our program offers! You’ll find my contact information below.

Dawn Braa
ECYD Instructor

1st Week of Class

It’s the first week of Fall Semester at DCTC and the energy and excitement is high! Students are back on campus, instructors are ready, books are being purchased in the campus bookstore and checked out in the library, food (mainly fries) is being eaten, the parking lots are full, and chatter fills the commons area…it’s great!

In case you missed my post last week with a one-stop shop for student needs, here it is! Sharon and I wish all students success this semester – let’s make it great. Not feeling quite so awesome? Here’s a Pep Talk from Kid President!

Mondays With Me: Teaching Children About Money (8/25/14)



Dungan,Nathan_book“As parents, too often we move through life letting our children learn about money in a scattered and informal way. But, from the moment our children can say, “I want…,” we have an opportunity to engage them in ongoing conversations and action that will shape their lifelong attitudes and behavior about spending, saving and sharing. Nathan Dungan is Marti & Erin’s favorite expert on financial matters for children and families. You need to listen to this great conversation on teaching children about money!” -ME

*Tune in Here*MomEnough

Be Awesome!

School is just around the corner. Kid President says, “Teachers, keep teaching. Students, get your learn on. You want to change the world? You gotta know about it! What are you teaching the world? Be. More. Awesome!” Agreed- here’s to an awesome semester!

Career Crossings: 8/22/14

career crossingThis edition of Career Crossings includes career opportunities from Eagan Montessori, Bright Horizons, Woodpark Montessori, and Kindercare.

Eagan MontessoriEagan Montessori is looking to hire two teacher aids for the mornings. The morning hours for the aids are flexible but 7:15 AM-1:15 PM is preferred. They are also looking to hire two teacher aids for the afternoon. The afternoon hours would be 2:30 PM – 6:00 PM. There are also openings for two assistant teachers for those same morning hours and two assistant teachers for the afternoon hours. Pay is based on experience and education. Please email your resume along with a cover letter to MNEDU123@gmail.com OR fax to 651-287-3757.

Bright Horizonsbright horizons logo has  3 FT openings in Eagan. They are looking for both teacher and assistant teacher qualified folks – infants/toddlers/center assistant teacher (float). Click to view all Aug/Sept Career Opportunities at BH. Bright Horizons also has Internship Opportunities available for eligible candidates.

woodpark MontessoriWoodpark Montessori is looking for 1 full time aide for each of their two infant rooms. The hours are Monday-Friday
8am-5pm. Interested parties can call Misty at (952) 953-3933 or apply in person at 1080 E 146th St, Burnsville, MN 55337.

Kindercarekindercare_logo is looking for part-time afternoon teachers/assistant teachers for their Rosemount center. If interested, please contact Michelle Jones, Director, or Michelle Genske, Asst. Director. (651) 322-1998.

Disclaimer- Although we post the listings on our blog, we do not vouch for the integrity or quality of programs. It is suggested that applicants research the facility, their philosophy, etc. before accepting a position.

Africa Trip- Update

I’m back from my trip to Malawi, Africa. People ask me how it was and I answer the same every time, “Amazing!” Although it’s nice to be home with my family and comfortable surroundings, not a day has past that I haven’t thought of the people of Malawi.

I felt tremendous joy being in Malawi and working with the people there. The intense joy within the people there radiated and was infectious! I was humbled by the respect given to me and the experiences that I was able to engage in. I worked directly with child caregivers for three days. They seemed so eager to learn and took notes for later application in their classrooms.

Two powerful moments for me were when the school children serenaded us as we arrived at their schoolyard (see video below) and watching the child caregivers teach 150+ children the very games I had taught them the day before. To see both the adults and children playing and laughing with glee was incredible for me.

Two memories that I’ll never forget are the mice on a stick (see pic below). I took a rain-check on that experience! And also the man in the grocery store (larger city) at the deli trying to sell us a wild baboon.

Although the trip challenged me in many ways (electricity & water outages, etc.), I always felt safe and in good hands. That allowed me to be my personal best and focus on the work I was there to do. I feel blessed and honored to have taken part in such meaningful work! I’ve included a few pics from my journey below.


Adventures in Eating Recipe #16 (Chicken and Fruit Wrap)

Aug Recipe 2