Sitio en español

IEL Quarterly News

IEL Quarterly News
2014, January-March

Welcome to the latest issue of the IEL Quarterly News! Each quarterly newsletter will contain information about early care and education for parents, caregivers, or teachers of young children not only from the IEL Web site but at the state and/or national level as well.

ExceleRate Illinois

ExceleRateThe Illinois early childhood community continues to move forward with the ExceleRate Illinois system. ExceleRate Illinois orientation materials for licensed child care providers are available through Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR& R) offices or online through the Gateways i-learning System.

ExceleRate Illinois uses a set of standards that reflect four domains: teaching and learning, family and community engagement, leadership and management, and qualifications and continuing education. Programs can move through the Circles of Quality based on meeting standards under each of the four domains. This is an exciting time to be involved in the Illinois early childhood community as we work together to increase the quality of care provided to all our young children.

Head Start Front Porch Series: Broadcast Calls

Front Porch Archive Banner ImageThe National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL) holds a broadcast call on the fourth Monday of each month from 12–12:45 (Central Time). Broadcast calls focus on research and ideas for practical ways teachers and caregivers can use this information in their daily work with young children. Several of the broadcast calls are recorded and are available on the Front Porch Series: Archive. Some examples of topics include early math readiness; characteristics of intentional, mature, make-believe play; promoting language and literacy; science for preschoolers; and many more.

New Learning Can STEM from Cardboard Boxes

Not long ago, while searching for online resources about toys that promote children’s knowledge and understanding of ideas and concepts related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), IEL content specialist Jean Mendoza happened across website for the National Toy Hall of Fame. There, she was delighted to find a noncommercial inductee to the Hall of Fame that is also one of the least expensive STEM toys around. For more, see her full blog.

Using Tip Sheets as Resources for Benchmark Activities

IEL staff members exhibited resources at the January Opening Minds conference in Chicago and at the Illinois ASCD PreK-Kindergarten conference in Schaumburg in March. At IASCD, they also presented a workshop on using IEL resources to address the 2013 Illinois Early Learning & Development Standards (IELDS). Workshop attendees were glad to know that the 72 IEL Tip Sheets that referred to specific 2002 Illinois Early Learning benchmarks have been updated and revised so that they now link to 2013 benchmarks. Participants at both conferences shared information about how they use Tip Sheets that refer to particular benchmarks.

  • One trainer told us that she always directs her workshop participants to the IEL Web site to locate benchmark-related Tip Sheets relevant to the workshop topic.
  • A site director said she would recommend that teachers look at relevant benchmark-related Tip Sheets when planning classroom activities.
  • Several Pre-K teachers reported that they like to keep a binder with the two-sided print copies of all the Tip Sheets, even though they can download them from the IEL site. One teacher commented, “Sometimes it’s just easier to glance through my binder and find what I need than it is to log on, find the Web site, click on the Tip Sheet, and print it out. I don’t always have a lot of time on the computer when I’m planning.”

All Tip Sheets can be found online in both PDF and HTML formats and can be downloaded and printed free of charge.

Printed copies of all 177 IEL Tip Sheets (English on one side, Spanish on the other) can be ordered online. Packets of all 72 Tip Sheets that refer to specific benchmarks can also be ordered through our special online form.

Polish versions of all the Tip Sheets are available online, as are versions of selected Tip Sheets in Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Arabic.

Expelled by Five: Implications for Early Childhood and Beyond

While it’s been widely known that racial minorities are more likely than white students to be suspended from school, alarming new statistics reveal that even as early as preschool, black students face harsher discipline than other students.

Children’s Home + Aid and the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood Development are sponsoring a daylong conference and training to explore issues contributing to expulsions from early childhood programs and to enhance provider’s skills to improve children’s success. The conference will be held April 8 at St. Patrick Catholic Church of Merna in Bloomington, IL. The conference includes a keynote address by Walter S. Gilliam, director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at the Yale School of Medicine.

Katz-echisms: Thoughts from Lilian Katz

“Everybody agrees that children need to feel loved by the adults who care for them. But what they often forget is that they need to feel loved by someone they can look up to, and they cannot look up to an adult who is indulgent, who they can manipulate, who is unclear about what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable.”

Upcoming Conferences/Meetings/Workshops

  • The Spring Project Approach Meeting will take place on April 12, 2014, at St. Ambrose University in the Quad Cities. E-mail Sallee Beneke at for more information.
  • The McCormick Center is hosting its 14th Leadership Connections national conference May 15–17, 2014, in Wheeling, IL. Professional development sessions for child care administrators, policymakers, resource and referral specialists, college instructors, family child care providers, and independent consultants are planned, along with networking opportunities.
  • Advanced Training in the Project Approach with Judy Harris Helm and Pam Scranton, June 18–20, 2014, in Peoria, IL.
  • Summer Institute on the Project Approach with Lilian Katz, Sallee Beneke, and Debra Brownson, July 29–August 1, 2014, in Davenport, Iowa.

Join Us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter

  • Visit us on the IEL Facebook page, where we feature items of interest and periodic questions or requests for your feedback.
  • Also follow us on Twitter at @ielproject.

We’d Love to Hear from You

  • Call the IEL Project toll free at (877) 275-3227.
  • Contact us through our convenient online form.

See Also:
Quarterly News Archive


The opinions, resources, and referrals provided on the IEL Web site are intended for informational purposes only and are not intended to take the place of medical or legal advice, or of other appropriate services. We encourage you to seek direct local assistance from a qualified professional if necessary before taking action.

The content of the IEL Web site does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education; nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the Illinois Early Learning Project, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or the Illinois State Board of Education.