Mondays with ME: MOVING BEYOND “GOOD COP, BAD COP” (5/4/15)



3_hs“Mom Enough hosts Marti & Erin have heard from a lot of parents who get frustrated with always being the disciplinarian (bad cop) while their partner is the “fun parent” (good cop). In fact, Marti & Erin occasionally have complained that they more often get stuck in the “tough guy” role of bad cop than the dads of their kids do. But, drawing on their professional background as well as their successes and failures as moms, they have helpful guidance about the type of discipline that is most effective in the long run. And they have some great tips on how you and your co-parent can get on the same page, not only for the sake of your children but for the benefits for your own relationship.

After this interesting discussion, stay tuned for a brief Relationships that Nurture with Robin Campbell from St. David’s Center, talking about the importance of unstructured outdoor play in your child’s development.” -MomEnough TUNE IN HERE

MomEnough 2

2nd Annual Early Childhood and Child Life Career Fair!

May 5, 2015    |   6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. DCTC    |   Dakota Room
              1300 145th Street E., Rosemount, MN 55068

Students and Alumni

The next step in your career begins here!ecyd1

Are you currently looking for a new role in the early childhood profession or are you simply interested in finding out more about the opportunities presented by area employers? Looking for a practicum site? Interested in a field experience? Ready to begin networking with other professionals in the early childhood field? If you answered ‘yes’ or even ‘maybe’ to any of these questions, here is a great opportunity!

Alumni- We’d LOVE for you to come back and visit us! (We miss you) You can network with professionals, mingle with current students, and see the changes we’ve made to our space. Hope to see you! Thank you for supporting our program (and the field) by attending.

Join us Tuesday, May 5, from 6-8 p.m. for the 2nd Annual Early Childhood Career Fair at Dakota County Technical College in the Dakota Room. Dress professionally and bring copies of a current resume and be prepared to meet with several area employers and organizations looking for professionals like you. Let us know that you’re coming and JOIN this event HERE!

Representatives from the following organizations will be in attendance:

Bright Horizons Family Solutions ChildCare Aware of MN Especially for Children
CAP Agency Children's Hospital of Minnesota CDLC New Horizon Academy
Fraser Think Small True Friends
Teachers on Call T.E.A.C.H Early Childhood© Minnesota Our Savior Early Learning Center
discovery club 196 school district northfield Ventures
reading math corps Knowledge Beginnings primrose
childrens country day
tutor time YMCA
DCFCCA thebridges
 MnAEYC-MnSACA Gillette Children's
Pacer Center Teachers for Tomorrow

For more information, contact:
Dawn Braa |  dawn.braa@dctc.edu  |  651.423.8315
Sharon Bergen |  sharon.bergen@dctc.edu  |  651.423.8398

Mondays with ME: READING FOR JOY AND LEARNING: (4/20/15)



Hanson,Laura_hs“Teaching reading is not only the school’s responsibility; we parents play a huge role in nurturing our children’s love of reading and promoting their skills. And this doesn’t mean drill and drudgery! Laura Hanson, a reading specialist in the Edina Public Schools, brings a wealth of easy, fun, effective ways to choose and use books to ignite a child’s love of reading and learning. She challenges us to keep reading aloud with our children long after the preschool years and even suggests word games for drive time that will build skills and enliven a trip.” -MomEnough TUNE IN HERE


Early Childhood @ DCTC

ECYD club logoDCTC logo 2-C vert

Some of the things that set our program apart from others are:

·     Small class sizes;
·     Convenient scheduling including full time, part time and on-line options;
·     A two day per week structured pathway to ensure completion of our highest award in 2 years;
·     Transfer options to many four-year institutions;
·     Affordable tuition and fees; and
·     A hands-on approach to education that involves students in active learning of best practices.

We work very closely with early childhood programs to understand what employers are looking for and to ensure that our students are well prepared for work in schools, child care centers, hospitals, Head Start, and a wide variety of other programs related to children and families.  We are confident that you will find our classes to be active learning experiences that challenge you and hone your skills for a rewarding career working with children.

Our Early Childhood program is already enrolling for fall semester. Appy now to reserve your spot! Use the contact information below to visit our Facebook page or to begin a conversation with either of the program instructors.

ECYD Instructors
Dawn Braa ,  Sharon Bergen
Dawn.braa@dctc.edu ,  Sharon.bergen@dctc.edu
651-423-8315 ,  651-423-8398


Program Testimonials
Lorelei Rein
Early Childhood & Youth Development Alum
Special Education Paraprofessional, School Readiness Inclusive Classroom

lynnLynn Kokal
Early Childhood & Youth Development Alum
Child Life Associate, Children’s Hospital and Clinics

I graduated from the program feeling I had a wealth of practical knowledge…I felt prepared to succeed in my choice of career. I was interested in exploring career options within the early childhood education field and liked the variety of programs that were offered. Many of the courses in the program would also transfer over to another college. I liked the flexibility provided by being able to choose on-campus, online and hybrid courses to fit around my family’s schedule. I appreciated the expertise and supportive mentoring of my instructors and valued their eagerness to help me succeed in gaining internships, employment, etc. The lab room that is available for students to create their curriculum materials is also fantastic!

I appreciate the fact that I graduated from the program feeling I had a wealth of practical knowledge, as well as useful materials to use ahead. I felt prepared to succeed in my choice of career. I continually draw upon what I have learned in my role as Child Life Associate on a daily basis. Everything I learned comes naturally as I strive to meet the needs of our patients and families, which is a testament to the quality of education I received at DCTC.

JenniferJennifer Blom
Early Childhood & Youth Development Alum
Owner – Jenny’s Puddle Jumpers Daycare

The Early Childhood & Youth Development teachers made the classes and the environment fun. I felt comfortable and the classes I took were some of the best I’ve ever taken. I enjoyed the connections and friendships I made in the classroom.

One thing people don’t realize about DCTC is that everyone is so friendly. It’s a very easy-going campus that makes it so you can do what you want to be doing. The education I received at DCTC helped me open my own successful business just six months after graduating.

I would tell other students thinking about the Early Childhood & Youth Development program to do it. It’s a great program with awesome instructors who help you build your confidence and give you the tools and materials you need to be successful in the field. It’s a great opportunity and experience to meet new people and learn skills you never knew you had. I am glad that I picked DCTC. I would do it again if I had the chance because I enjoyed the program that much!

ShaunaShauna Thilmany
Early Childhood & Youth Development Alum
Assistant Teacher for Pre-K

The support I received from my instructors played a crucial role in my success. Dawn and Jill continued to support me through every decision I had to make. It did not matter if it was a decision that was school related or family related. I am forever grateful for this support. When I was hired for my first employment in the field of Early Childhood, my boss knew the level of education I was receiving. This led me to a lead teacher position. When I interviewed for my second location within the field, I brought my portfolio filled with projects, lesson plans, educational ideas and my school accomplishments. All these items I presented allowed me to gain the assistant teacher position within a Head Start location. The professors always presented to the students the best manner of practice in each and every class. These best practices also have led to my success. I have recommended the school to various individuals within my field. I have always stated that the school has integrity, support, small classes and fabulous teaching standards.

Admission Information


Dakota_County_Technical_College 2

Get an inside peek of our classroom and lab space, as well as activities that our students are engaged in by visiting our Facebook page photos https://www.facebook.com/EarlyChildhoodIdeasResources/photos_stream 



 International Opportunities in Early Childhood & Child Life

An organization that teaches moms to sew and cut hair, has a companion preschool program that would like your help: Train preschool teachers about child development and how to develop enrichment program much like Head Start.

Rwanda has gained a reputation for what a turn around it has made since the genocide. Paul Kagame, their president, believes that the way to prevent conflict is to see that the people are prospering. Come see the modern miracle that Rwanda now is.

UGANDA: PARENTING SKILLS – help moms – who had been child soldiers – with their kids’ behavior Northern Uganda was devastated by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as he took kids to be child soldiers and girls were forced into marriages with LRA commanders. Northern Uganda is quiet now and Joseph Kony is long gone. The young mothers of those forced marriages now have kids that are 9 yr to 14 yr. They would like help with parenting skills and behavior problems.

This social work program addresses many of the needs in their community. They have a strong youth program. They welcomed skate boarders to show alternatives to drugs. Teach them child development and enrichment for their preschool program. Teach them family life skills or about family systems. (And note how important families are in Africa.)

Help these children adapt and thrive despite their disability.

Kids skip school when their parents go to work – out to sea to go fishing. This program has a strong after school program to bolster academic skills and recreational and enrichment programs – sports, drumming, capoeira – to involve them in positive activities.

Ghana is one of the drumming-est African countries. It has a beautiful coast.

Help kids with major medical problems through activities, esp the arts. Help them come out of their shells…or cope with illness…or make new friends…or to express themselves through music, dance or the arts.

Many people are drawn to Thailand: great food, interesting culturally with its many hill tribes.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. This organization’s aim is to see that kids are educated and off the street;
that they learn English as one of the tickets out of poverty,

Everyone knows that Nepal has drop dead gorgeous mountains. If you love the out of doors or hiking, Nepal is amazing.

Sri Lanka is also asking for help with child development and activities to engage kids. Sri Lanka is an island paradise south of India.

Do you have a bent for puppetry? mime? circus? theater? music? the arts? Reading to kids? Ecuador is fascinating to explore: a land of volcanoes, the Galapagos and the Amazon. It is helpful to have Spanish…but if you don’t, often the shared activities can carry you.

Please read NGOabroad website http://www.ngoabroad.com/ and send answered Questionnaire and resume to: info@NGOabroad.com

These are volunteer opportunities. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.




McGiffert,Jasmine_hs“We’ve heard so much about the increase in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in recent years, but how do you know if your child should be evaluated? And if your child is identified as having an ASD, what kinds of services are likely to help your child learn and develop as well as possible? For decades, St. David’s Center for Child & Family Development has provided multi-disciplinary early intervention services for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other special needs. This occupational therapistJasmine McGiffert, joins Marti & Erin to discuss this important issue faced by so many families and children – a fitting recognition of April as both Autism Awareness Month and Occupational Therapy Month.” -ME Tune in HERE!

MomEnough 2

Thinking about transferring after DCTC?

April 22nd, 2015
6:00-7:15 p.m.
Early Childhood Education Majors
Join Metropolitan State University Early Childhood staff to learn more about their program offerings
Advisors will be available as well…
1450 Energy Park Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55108
Phone: 651-793-1300

SkillsUSA State Competition 2015

This weekend was the SkillsUSA MN State Competition.Two of our ECYD students, Kaily B. and Joy D., competed in the Early Childhood event. SkillsUSA conferences/contests allow participants  to demonstrate career skills, enhance presentation skills, increase networking opportunities, and allow for feedback from industry professionals. 

Students need to show academic achievement and be nominated by an instructor to be in SkillsUSA for ECYD. Once the student has accepted the nomination and filled out the paperwork, they are ready to prepare themselves.  

Our students have been working diligently over the past few months to prepare for their moment to shine. They both had that opportunity this weekend. Although they mentioned that they were a bit nervous in the beginning on Saturday, they both came out smiling…perhaps relieved it was over!

The students were evaluated on a series of events during the competition: a knowledge test, a resume, a job interview, reading a storybook aloud with activity, and preparing a lesson plan and presenting the activity. They were critiqued on both knowledge and presentation. The entire process took about 4 hours. The competition was small in size.

Although the morning was filled with seriousness and professionalism, we were able to squeeze in a few fun moments prior to the competition (to calm the nerves). 


Kaily read the book I Know A Wee Piggy, followed by a color sorting class activity promoting teamwork. Later, she presented a science activity that focused on gravity and wind. 

kaily 1

kaily 2

Joy chose to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, followed by a story recall activity using magnetic letters. Later, she presented an  activity focusing on math (graphing) and color recognition. 

Joy 1

Joy 2

Sunday morning started out with a SkillsUSA breakfast at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel.  There were eggs, hash-browns, bacon, assorted muffins, milk, and juice. It was delicious! 

Next, everyone (participants, advisors, administration, honorees, family, and guests) gathered in the ballroom for the awards ceremony. We had about 35 minutes to spare until the ceremony began. I recently heard that it’s important to take your job seriously, but to not take yourself too seriously. I think we’ve got that covered…20150412_09202120150412_092423

Ms. Jen, SkillsUSA MN Executive Director, welcomed everyone and presented awards. After about an hour and a half, it was time to begin announcing the competition results! 

MedalsMs Jen

Kaily’s and Joy’s nerves were rising the longer that they waited for their results. Then the moment came when we heard, “The Early Childhood Post-Secondary Silver medal winner is Kaily B. The Early Childhood Post-Secondary Gold medal winner is Joy D.” They both jumped out of their seats and hurried to the stage to take their place on the medal podium.


Those medals look good on you ladies! They were all smiles when they returned to their seats.

20150412_112814“It’s not about the award. It’s about seeing how far you can use your knowledge of  early childhood education and apply it in a professional setting. Through the competition, I gained a new perspective of how I can push myself to limits I thought I would not be able to reach. And today, I was able to reach them!” (Joy)

“SkillsUSA was a rewarding opportunity where I was able to gain new ideas and techniques from others. Aside from learning from others, I also learned a lot about my own abilities. It was so exciting to be able to apply what we have been learning at DCTC into this competition! I’m proud to be part of an organization that truly believes in and supports their members/participants.” (Kaily)

Afterwards, we captured a few more pictures and savored the moment, talking about some of the weekend highlights. What a great weekend! I am so proud of both of these ladies!! That wraps up this Skills post…until Nationals!



ECYD Program Newsletter: April 2015

AprilThis weather has been something else this year, hasn’t it? Hopefully the temp will continue to rise and the sun will begin make a regular appearance. (Please!)

duedatesApril is always a busy month and the end of the semester is just around the corner. Students- it’s a good idea to check in with your instructor(s) about final due dates and any questions you may have on assignments and/or projects. We don’t know that you have questions unless you ask. Don’t wait until the end! It’s also a good idea to review your current grade so you are fully aware of where you need to be for the remaining assignments in order to achieve your desired grade.

1. ECYD students planning to complete Practicum I, Practicum II, and/or Field Experience this summer need to register by April 17th. This allows us time to ensure a placement for you and prep as needed. If you are not registered by April 17th, you will not be able to complete Practicum this summer. You’ll need to connect with the instructor of the course for more details. Please note that there will be a Practicum mtg. in late April, early May. Contact Dawn (ECYD1510) or Sharon (ECYD2510) for the date. Students are best set up for success when they attend this meeting- plan to attend!

SkillsUSA-logo2. Students in the News- Kaily Blount, Joy Davitt, and  Julie Hanly will be attending the SkillsUSA Minnesota State Conference Championships on April 11th & 12th. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student excel. SkillsUSA’s mission is to help its members become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens. Congrats and good luck!

3. Celebrating our Youngest Learners! Week of the Young Child, April 12 – 17

NAEYC_WOYCBannerThe Week of the Young Child™ is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world’s largest early childhood education association, with nearly 80,000 members and a network of over 300 local, state, and regional Affiliates.

The purpose of the Week of the Young Child™ is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs. NAEYC first established the Week of the Young Child™ in 1971, recognizing that the early childhood years (birth through age 8) lay the foundation for children’s success in school and later life. The Week of the Young Child™ is a time to plan how we—as citizens of a community, of a state, and of a nation—will better meet the needs of all young children and their families.

What’s Happening at DCTC?

Celebrating Childhood Graffiti Wall
Outside our classroom door there will be a paper-covered section of wall and some markers. Put your creativity and ideas out there for all to see by helping to decorate our Celebrate Childhood Graffiti Wall. Use the idea prompts on the wall or your own ideas to show and share the importance of early childhood and children in our world. Get your creative juices flowing!

Commons Area Table Tents
Several weeks ago, the ECYD Club met to create over 80 table tents to decorate the DCTC commons area. During the WOYC, check out the creative efforts of this engaged group of students!  The table tents highlight fun facts about development during the early childhood years and raise awareness about the importance of early childhood education.

Wacky Wednesday, April 15
On Wednesday, April 15 we encourage you to help us celebrate the Week of the Young Child by showing your ‘wacky side’.  Come to class with a wacky hat, hair, outfit, shoes, socks, etc. Be as wacky as you like!  Of course, remember that ‘Wacky’ means fun – never offensive or hurtful in any way. Prizes will be awarded for excellence in ‘wackiness’ – don’t miss out on the fun!!

ECYD “Wild Child’ Photo Contest
Using the photos brought to class during the Week of April 6, we will construct a photo match contest. See how many of your classmates you can match to their baby pictures!  And, just have some fun seeing how we all started out as children! Prizes will be awarded for the best baby photo detectives!

And much more ….
There is much more planned but we are keeping the rest a surprise!  You won’t want to miss the fun!

4. ECYD Field Trip! Join us for a field trip on May 1st at the Science Museum (Wonder Years exhibit). Then we’ll grab a quick lunch and head over to the Children’s Museum. We estimate the day to last from approximately 9am-3pm. Sign up (ASAP) in the ECYD classroom by the Club bulletin board or email Dawn/Sharon.

5. 2nd Annual ECYD & CLA Career Fair: Students- be sure to SAVE THE DATE of May 5th between 6-8pm as you’ll want to attend this event! It’s a fantastic opportunity for you to meet with industry professionals that are ready to hire- bring a resume and dress to impress! If you are happy in your current position, still attend! There will be many professionals in attendance for you to network with for possible future opportunities. Click HERE for a snapshot of last year’s event.

6. DCTC Graduation this year is on May 15th at 7pm. The event is held off-campus at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN. If you are graduating this spring or summer semester, we look forward to seeing you at graduation! Click on the link for more info.

Want to be an Early Childhood Superstar?

DSC05168Attend our Early Childhood New Student Open House on Thursday, Apr. 2nd between 4-7pm at Dakota County Technical College, 1300 145th St. E., Rosemount, MN 55068. (Rm. 2-206)

JOIN US at our open house to meet faculty, tour our space, ask questions, and learn more about educational options in the early childhood and child life fields! Full-time and part-time options, day (only two days per week!) and online. TEACH Scholarship eligible! Now is the time to be thinking about fall semester – seats are limited.

*Fill out an application at the open house event and your application fee will be WAIVED!*

Dawn Braa, 651-423-8315

Sharon Bergen, 651-423-8398

ECYD Program Newsletter: March 2015


CLICK HERE to access the March 2015 newsletter. It’s another info-filled newsletter so please take time to read it.

Questions/comments about something in the newsletter? Ask Dawn, Sharon, or Cory.

Child Life Guest Speaker: Global Child Life

D09_33_232In honor of Child Life Month, this month’s guest speaker is a Certified Child Life Specialist. I’m honored to introduce Morgan Livingstone.

Morgan says, “As a Certified Child Life Specialist I am an expert in child development, promoting effective coping through play, preparation,education, and self-expression activities. I provide emotional support for families, and encourage the optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare, illness, trauma and hospitalization. Understanding that a child’s well-being depends on the support of the family. I provide information, support and guidance to parents, siblings, and other extended family members. I also believe strongly in educating caregivers, administrators, and the general public about children under stress. My advocacy work is for the provision of child and family friendly healthcare across the globe.” Her specialties include: Oncology, Retinoblastoma, Trauma, TBI/ABI, Fears/Anxiety, Surgical preparation, non-compliance issues, Children’s Mental Health, Global healthcare, and Inter-cultural competence in clinical practice.morgan livingstone africa

One of Morgan’s career highlights is bringing sustainable Child Life to Kenya. I invite you to TUNE IN to Morgan’s astounding message regarding global health. She shares her story about creating locally sustainable, global child life in Africa, as well as some basic principles for partnership.

Connect with Morgan on Twitter @ChildLifeMorgan 


Early Childhood New Student Open House

Calling all prospective students-DSC05168

Now is the time to register for fall semester! Attend our Early Childhood New Student Open House on Monday, Mar. 23rd between 1-4pm at Dakota County Technical College, Rm. 2-206. Fill out an application at the open house event and your application fee will be WAIVED!

Dawn Braa, 651-423-8315

Sharon Bergen, 651-423-8398


Mondays with ME: REDUCING MATERIALISM (3/16/15)



Dungan,Nathan_hs3“Did you know that being less materialistic is associated with greater happiness? Nathan Dungan, founder of Share Save Spend and Mom Enough’s go-to source on kids and money, builds on previous research in a groundbreaking new study that shows how a 3-part learning intervention reduced materialism and increased self-esteem for adolescents who participated. Nathan joins Marti & Erin for a lively discussion about how to promote good values around money, how to give your kids choices and a voice in spending decisions even at very young ages, and how your children will benefit longterm from these practices. Marti & Erin are eager to try Nathan’s tips, and you will be too!” -ME Tune In Here! 


Thinking About A Career in Early Childhood?



Guest Speaker: Michelle Figlar (PAEYC)

Figlar Headshot 2014I’m honored to introduce our next guest speaker – Michelle Figlar. Michelle Figlar is the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC), a local affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), serving a ten-county region in Southwestern PA, with over 1,400 members.

Since joining PAEYC in February 2006, Ms. Figlar has worked with leaders in Southwestern PA to grow membership, create programs that enhance professional development and NAEYC Accreditation, and develop a coordinated plan for early care and education advocacy efforts. Ms. Figlar serves as a member of the Pennsylvania Early Learning Council and the Pennsylvania Early Learning PA Campaign. In addition, she serves on the board of the Education and Policy Leadership Center, Jeremiah’s Place and the Birmingham Foundation. Ms. Figlar also serves as an Adjunct Instructor for the University of Pittsburgh. Before returning to her hometown of Pittsburgh, Ms. Figlar served as an Early Childhood Program Manager for the Office of Early Childhood, Invest in Children Initiative in Cleveland, OH. Ms. Figlar was chosen as a Head Start Fellow, in 2003 and has had opportunities to work with the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) and the National Head Start Association (NHSA). Ms. Figlar also served as a Head Start Director, a Preschool Special Education Teacher and a VISTA Volunteer.

TUNE IN to Michelle’s message about the importance of early childhood advocacy and what it means to step out of the box. She also provides key tips for professionals beginning their career and how to be a voice for children.

WINNER! Classroom Rug Giveaway

WinnerOne lucky winner has been randomly selected for the Classroom Rug Giveaway

The lucky WINNER is Lorelei R!  CONGRATULATIONS! 

Thank you to all who entered and to the local childcare facility for the wonderful donation!

Mondays with ME: Happy Together (3/1/15): Healthy Moms, Babies, and Families



Debby Prudhomme & Mary Williams_hs“So, you and your partner have gone to childbirth class, practiced your breathing and developed a birth plan. And maybe your mom or another loved one plans to be there for added support. But what if you could have a specially trained person there to anticipate your every need, clarify what’s happening with your labor and even support your anxious partner? Doulas can do all that and more, as this Mom Enough guests,Debby Prudhoome and Mary Williams from Everyday Miracles, know!” -M.E.


Mondays with ME: HEALTHY MOMS, BABIES, and FAMILIES (4/27/15)



Debby Prudhomme & Mary Williams_hs“So, you and your partner have gone to childbirth class, practiced your breathing and developed a birth plan. And maybe your mom or another loved one plans to be there for added support. But what if you could have a specially trained person there to anticipate your every need, clarify what’s happening with your labor and even support your anxious partner? Doulas can do all that and more, as this week’s Mom Enough guests,Debby Prudhoome and Mary Williams from Everyday Miracles, know!” -MomEnough TUNE IN HERE

MomEnough 2

Local Giveaway: Classroom Rug (Circle 9′)

A local preschool has graciously offered a circular classroom rug* for FREE to a lucky entrant.
See the details below and enter soon for your chance to win!
*Note that the winner must pick up the rug in person from the site (St. Paul, MN)