Early Childhood Education and Care

Pacific Union Conference
Volume 14, Number 4, Fall 2016

No Ordinary Day

By Julie Majestic
Loma Linda Academy Children's Center
Wednesday, December 2, 2015 started out like any other day. I was making a few phone calls, and getting ready to go snack shopping before heading to the children’s center.  Around 11:00 JoAnn Bergvall, the associate director, called to tell me that a parent had informed her of a shooting at the IRC (Inland Regional Center), which is a little over two miles from the children’s center.  JoAnn contacted the security department at Loma Linda University Medical Center and they confirmed that there had in fact been a shooting, and it was a highly critical situation.  After confirming the shooting, JoAnn called a modified lock down.  At our center a modified lock down means that we all stay inside with doors and windows locked. We only let people into the building who are authorized to pick up a child. 

Shortly after news of the shooting broke, Loma Linda Medical Center began receiving bomb threats. Many of our families have parents, grandparents, or other family members who work at the medical center. I arrived at the children’s center just a few minutes later and the phone was ringing off the hook with calls from concerned parents. We tried to reassure parents, giving them as much information as we knew. We emailed parents letting them know we were safe and on modified lock down, but like most of us they weren’t reading them immediately.  Email is our typical way of communicating with parents. However, this crisis showed us that we needed a faster way to relay critical information. 

In the months following the shooting, we began debriefing, discussing, and reassessing our emergency plan, should a similar circumstance happen in our community. We are now included in a more streamlined way of receiving information. Loma Linda Medical Center has set up a command center for emergency situations. They receive information directly from law enforcement and relay it to all who are a part of their system.  As one of the four campuses of Loma Linda Academy, we are now part of their instant messaging system that sends text messages directly to parents as a way to keep them, as well as teachers, informed in a more immediate way. As an additional safety measure, we have added cameras outside to provide a full view of our parking lot. This allows us to see individuals before they reach the building. We also added an intercom button outside the front door, enabling us to speak with unknown individuals from our front desk phones, before allowing them to enter the building.
The true success of surviving that day is a credit to the amazing individuals that I am honored to work with each day. They maintained the consistency that children need and parents expect. These teachers had friends and family members at the IRC, and yet they kept singing songs, reading stories, and giving hugs.

Plan, prepare, and pray…What I see as the true take away is that God is in control, and we have to pray and ask for His guidance daily; because we never know what today will bring.

Preparing for Disaster

By Julie Yamada

Are You Prepared for the Unthinkable……Fire, Flood, Earthquake, Active Shooter?

Eight Tips to Help You Prepare for a Disaster
In today’s world, senseless acts of violence, horrific explosions/fires or catastrophic tornadoes, floods, hurricanes or earthquakes can occur at any time and place. If it happens at your facility, the question is:  would you and your organization be prepared? Often times these tragedies occur with little or no advanced warning. (Blinci, 2013) Following are eight tips to help you become prepared and know how to respond in the event of an emergency that is critical to your life safety and survival. 


Prepare an Emergency Disaster Plan. It is critical that every organization has a well-thought-out emergency plan.  Even Jesus taught the principle of having a plan to prevent loss before it occurs. (Matthew 24:43) These types of tragic events can occur like a “thief in the night”.  When the alarm sounds, it is time to take action; there is no time then to start the planning process! (Blinci,2013) As you look at planning or updating your early childhood program emergency preparedness plan, it is important to write the disaster plan that is specific to your program and community.

When writing your emergency disaster plan, it is important to:
  • Take into consideration the size of your program and the risks of specific events to your area. This will determine how detailed your plan will need to be. 
  • Address the needs of the children, volunteers, and staff.
  • Identify a clear leadership structure in emergencies and inform everyone about key roles and responsibilities during an emergency. California State Community Care licensing form, LIC# 610 Emergency Disaster Plan for Child Care Centers, will need to be filled out and posted so your plan is visible. This plan should be reviewed on a yearly basis in case of staff or other changes that could affect the meeting places or key roles. (For other States, check with your local child care licensing agency.)
  • Identify a meeting place outside the facility as well as an alternative meeting place. Discuss with the staff the situations they will need to shelter in place, assemble outside, or leave the premises entirely.
  • Write a plan that can be shared with your local emergency response agencies, partners, staff, volunteers, and parents/guardians.
  • Include in your plan how you will account for the care, evacuation, and transportation of children and employees with disabilities or who need extra assistance with evacuating, such as infants who will be placed in cribs for evacuation. Discuss how to keep children· together as they may not be able to see or hear the teacher during an evacuation.
  • Have you included awareness training for all individuals as part of your emergency planning? What should be done if something looks out of place, if a suspicious item is found in the area around the early childhood program or someone unknown is lurking on your premises or seems out of the norm? Employees, volunteers, and parents need to be alert for items or actions outside the scope of normal events and report what they observe to the appropriate leaders or authorities. (Blinci, 2013)


Keep Up-to-date Files. Be sure to keep all health and safety information current for children and staff in their files and also stored in an easy-to-carry device such as a binder or file box. These up-to-date files are vital during an emergency. When having to evacuate to another location off-site, it is important that all the emergency contact information be current for children, staff, and volunteers. Each classroom should have a class roster that includes all the children, adults, and the unique needs for each such as allergy information. There should be two sets of rosters, one for each classroom and one of each classroom for the director to cross check with the teachers. The rosters should be readily-accessible so that the teachers and director can quickly find it in an emergency. (Myers & Mendel, 2013)

Prescription medication also needs to be accounted for and designating a staff member and a backup staff member to be in charge of gathering locked medication and health care plans is important to consider. (Hendricks & Pettibone, 2015)


Develop Communication Plan. Develop and implement family communication and reunification plans and backup plans. Families expect to be quickly notified when an emergency happens, but effective communication should also happen before and after an emergency. Because telephone service could be disrupted during an emergency, prepare a backup plan, perhaps asking a local radio or television station to broadcast your program’s emergency status. (Myers & Mendel, 2013)


Assemble Emergency Kits. Assemble emergency kits for each classroom with materials such as non-perishable foods, bottled water, small paper cups, diapers, wipes, gloves, Band-Aids and other first aid supplies to last at least 72 hours. Other items to possibly include would be, flashlights, handheld radios, battery-operated radio for weather updates, etc. It is important to check the supplies in each emergency kit regularly to make sure the supplies are up-to-date and equipment is stocked and works properly. The kits can be assembled in backpacks or other easy-to-carry containers. The kits should be easily-accessible during an emergency. (Myers & Mendel, 2013)


Train Your Employees, Volunteers and Others. Emergency plans cannot just be well-detailed guidelines kept in a notebook on the shelf in the office. They must be a living document which become internalized by your employees, volunteers, and children. When the alarm sounds, will your people know how to immediately respond?  Have you taken the time to train your employees and volunteer leaders on what to do in the event of an emergency? If not, why not? (Blinci, 2013)


Practice, Practice… Practice Your Plan! To internalize emergency planning requires a commitment to both training and practice. Once you have taken time to train your teachers, it is essential to conduct practice drills on a regular basis. (Blinci, 2013) Drills should occur throughout the year at different times of the day, including nap time so children know what to do and how to follow directions that could save their lives.  Likewise, adults need to know how to evacuate your buildings or shelter in place in the event of an emergency.  There is no greater act of stewardship than practicing life safety skills.

California State licensing regulations states: “Disaster drills shall be documented and conducted every six months”. As a director, I conducted them every three months, but doing them more often would be good also. Keep a record of the drills in an easily-accessible area such as on the office door, on a clip board hooked on the wall in the office, or in a clearly labeled binder. 


Partner with Emergency Agencies. Often times when an emergency strikes, you are on your own until the storm passes or first responders can be onsite to begin the rescue efforts.  It is estimated that even the best fire and police response can take 3 to 5 minutes to arrive on scene. Major storms can often times overwhelm the capabilities of first responders and you will need to rely on your own first aid skills and emergency supplies. Now is the time to work with your local fire and police agencies to have them assisting your emergency planning. Invite them to walk through your facilities and help to identify appropriate evacuation routes and safe zones within your buildings to shelter in place and the type of necessary emergency supplies to be kept onsite. (Blinci,2013) Invite your local law enforcement officers and fire fighters to visit the children in the early childhood classroom and share with the children what their role is to help keep the children safe during an emergency.


Stay Calm and Take Action. When you hear the alarm or receive a storm warning, always remember TIME is of the essence!  In a fire emergency, you often have less than two minutes to safely evacuate all occupants from the building before the area on fire becomes uninhabitable due to extensive heat, smoke, flames, and poisonous gasses. Being alert to weather-related warnings can allow time to activate your emergency plan and take the appropriate evacuation or shelter precautions as may be warranted. Staying calm will help to minimize panic and will help others follow appropriate directions that can lead them to safety. When disaster strikes, a well-trained staff can have confidence they are doing the best thing possible for their survival. In times like these, when we have done everything within our human power ~ lest we never forget the promise that “The angel of the Lord encamps around about them that fear him, and delivers them.”  Psalms 34:7 NIV (Blinci, 2013)

Blinci, A. F. (2013). Would You Be Prepared? Retrieved from
Hendricks, C.M., & Pettibone, M. B. (2015). Disaster Planning and Preparedness in Early Childhood and School-Age Care Settings. St. Paul, MA: Redleaf Press.
Myers, P., & Mendel, M. (2013, September/October). When Disaster Strikes, Will the Children in Your Care Be Safe? Childcare Exchange (pp.20-22). Retrieved from
Photo credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images


Updating Your Emergency Disaster Plan

Things change within a program and around the facility. For this reason, it is important to review and update your facility’s Emergency Disaster Plan on a yearly basis. Emergencies can happen quickly and without warning so making sure your Emergency Disaster Plan is up-to-date will make sure you, the staff, the children, and their families are able to take the appropriate action quickly to keep everyone safe.

A good place to start would be to complete the Pacific Union Conference Annual ECEC Safety Report. This will give you an idea of things that need to be repaired or added to your facility to better the safety of the children, staff, and facility.

The Pacific Union Conference ECEC Policy Manual states: #5535. Safety Report. The ECEC program director, in collaboration with the host site safety committee and safety officer, shall work together to complete the Annual Safety Report, which is due on the same date as those required by K-12 to the local conference office of education.

Some other resources to help prepare for a disaster with the staff would be:

A vodcast presented by Better Kid Care called, Review & Update Your Emergency Plan.

Along with this vodcast you will find handouts to help facilitate a discussion with staff and also an example of what to check for as you update your Emergency Disaster Plan.

Discussion starter:

Example of a tool to help update emergency disaster plan: 

CREATION Kids “Find a Friend” Feature

As some of you begin or are just getting comfortable enough to see what else the CREATION Kids curriculum has to offer, I want to introduce you to a networking feature within the curriculum. Once you have purchased the curriculum and are on the library page, you will see at the top of the page something that looks like this: (Your Name) 0 Followers 6 Following Find Friends. You will need to click on the “Find Friends”. Once there, you will need to know the e-mail of the person/people you would like to follow. In the curriculum, you will notice that on the top right side of the page is a small circle with an “i” in it. When you click on this, it will open up a notes section on the right side of the page with a box to type into. This will allow you to share notes, ideas, and ask questions about lessons in the curriculum, and those who are following you will be able to see your notes and respond.

In order to help connect those who are using the curriculum, we are requesting that you send Cheryl Dickerson the e-mail address that you used to create your Inkling account. This way she can compile the e-mails and send out a list so that we can all connect and network while using the CREATION Kids curriculum.  I look forward to seeing your notes and ideas. Even though I am not in a classroom, I will still be going through the curriculum, and if I think of any ideas or questions, I will post them in the notes section.

Send the e-mail you used to sign up to Inkling to:
To follow me on Inkling use this e-mail:

Opening Reports Due Again!

It is that time of year again when we need to have the data from your Opening Reports. The ECEC Policy Manual states:

5610. Annual Opening and Closing Reports
The director of the ECEC program shall submit an Annual Opening Report/Program Staff Worksheet to the local conference office of education by September 15 of each year or a date determined by the local conference liaison. The director of the ECEC program shall submit an Annual Closing Report/Program Staff Worksheet to the local conference office of education by the end of the fiscal year or a date determined by the local conference liaison. The Opening and Closing Reports are supplied by the PUCOE ECEC Division. Refer to the PUCOE ECEC website:

Why do we require this data you may ask? As the North American Division has started to provide more support for the ECEC’s throughout the Division, it is important to have the data on the Opening Reports so that we can better show the growth and needs of ECEC’s. The goal is for our ECEC’s within each Union and also within the NAD to become a system such as the K-12 schools. Each year the Director for the Pacific Union Conference Education Department, Dr. von Pohle, uses this data in a report that is shared with Union executive officers and at Fall Ed., a gathering of principals, associates and superintendents.  Sharing accurate data about our ECEC’s help to show that our ECEC’s are an important mission of our church that is more extensive than they may have realized.

Publications such as the NAD Education Report Card are compiled and need to reflect accurate data.

How do I fill out the Opening Report?
First of all, the forms have been updated, so the only ones we will accept are the current forms on the website.

One of the most common questions that we have received in the office from many directors and yes, I was one of them, is how do you come up with FTE’s? Cheryl and I decided to make filling out the Opening Report easier by explaining it in a step-by-step process. To help you fill out the Opening Report, we have created a slideshow so that you can scroll through in your own time. We hope you find this helpful. And thanks to Shari at Sacramento Academy CDC there is an Excel form available on the website that will calculate the FTE's for you!

ECEC Grant

CREATION Kids curriculum grant is available through the Union. If you have purchased the curriculum at any time, you will receive $100 grant money for the first purchase. Please email a copy of your receipt to, and you will receive a $100 check. It is that simple. Each year, we plan to offer the grant for additional curriculum orders and support materials. Don't let this money go to waste!

NAEYC 2016

I hope you are planning to attend the conference this year since it is in Los Angeles, California! For those who attend, we invite you to stop by the JW Marriot, Olympic 3, on Thursday, November 3, 6:00-8:00 p.m.

For details about the conference, visit the NAEYC site:

Fall Name Activity for Preschoolers

By Fun Fantastic and Learning

Materials Needed:
  • Red felt
  • Green ribbon
  • Two green buttons-bonus if you can find ones with holes like these!
  • Sharp scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Fray check (optional)

Spider Web Discovery Basket

By The Train Drive’s Wife

Materials Needed:
  • Laundry basket
  • Yarn
  • Various sizes and textures of toys
Books to read:
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider Finger Puppet Book (Little Learners) Board Book by Parragon Books
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani (board book)
  • Sign and Sing Along: Itsy Bitsy Spider by Annie Kubler

And I am sure there are many more…….
Copyright © 2016 Pacific Union Conference ECEC Division, All rights reserved.

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