Child Care Now- December 2015

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December 2015

In the news:


Plastics & Plastic Toys

Plastic products are found everywhere.  Child care settings are no exception. Certain plastics contain chemicals that can harm human health and some of these chemicals can migrate from the product into our bodies.

Children are particularly vulnerable to these chemicals for several additional reasons. Their systems and organs are still developing. Young children’s typical behavior includes putting things into their mouths.

Two compounds of special concern are phthalates and Bisphenol A. 

Phthalates -are a class of chemicals used to soften plastics, bind fragrances in products, and act as solvents and fixatives.  These chemicals can be found in common household items such as: nail polishes, shampoos/lotions, and plastic toys.

Exposure to phthalates is linked to harmful health effects including developmental and reproductive problems, asthma, preterm birth, low sperm count, genital malfunction, hormone disruption, premature puberty, and development of some cancers.

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a hormone disrupter that is used to harden some plastics. BPA can be found in baby bottles, water bottles, canned food liners, and sippy cups. 

Adverse health effects may include breast cancer, miscarriages, birth defects, low sperm count, hyperactivity, and aggressiveness.

Follow these EHCC suggestions to protect the children you care for from unsafe plastics:

1. Avoid plastics with recycling codes #3, #6, #7 (unless the #7 product is also labeled “BPA free”)

2. Purchase baby bottles and sippy cups labeled “BPA free” or glass options (newer baby bottles are supposed to be BPA free under Federal law).

3. Never heat or microwave food or drink in any plastic containers, as leaching of toxic chemicals from plastic to food or liquid may occur. Use a paper towel instead of plastic wrap to cover food in the microwave.

4. Only buy “new” plastic toys for infants and toddlers that are labeled “phthalate-free” or “PVC-free.”

5. Discard all plastic food containers with scratches, especially baby bottles, sippy cups and infant feeding plates and cups.

To learn more about reducing your exposure to unsafe plastics, visit

EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.


Quote of the Month: 

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.

-Walt Disney


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Innovation Station Celebrates Diversity


Diversity.  Webster's Dictionary defines diversity as: The state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.

Innovation Station Child Development Center, at the Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA, created a Diversity Wall to highlight and celebrate the diversity of families in their center.  

The Center Director, Thye Sol Livingston and  her staff provided each family and staff member with a 6x6 inch canvas and were encouraged to decorate their canvas in a way reflective of their family’s heritage. Ideas included nationality, cultural/ethnic backgrounds, religious beliefs, family traditions, and more.

Families and staff decorated their canvases at home and the center, where a  dedicated room offered tables filled with creative collage materials.Families took time together to engage and decorate their canvases.

The Innovation Station Child Development Center’s Diversity Wall reads,  “Diversity is the One Thing We All Have in Common”.  Surrounding the quote were the beautiful decorated canvases celebrating their diverse center community.  Shelves nearby were filled with multicultural books, artifacts, figurines, and a map of the world.


Center Spotlight: Region 1

Celebrating the Holidays


The Kathy Herward Child Care Center, Andover, MA celebrated the holidays with a concert in the IRS Service Center Auditorium.  The children performed holiday songs and the concert ended with a beautiful slide show featuring all the children. There was also a hearing impaired translator.  Thank you to the IRS Service Center support staff and security team for making this event possible.  


Board Business: The Board Exchange is a Hit!

Thanks to all of you who attended the first Board Networking Call on December 8!  We had a great discussion and appreciate that you took time to attend. Fifty-three people were on the first call.  We discussed the Board Source Leadership Forum and presented highlights from the Conference.  Presentations from the conference, including: "Legal Issues for Boards", were distributed. 

The group also talked about the issues important to them.  Lots of future topics came up including tuition assistance goals, board roles, budget and tuition and contract negotiation. We hope you can make our future calls!

The group decided it would  like to hold quarterly calls as well as a few additional special topic calls. Fundraising was the number one issue and was the topic everyone wants as the first special call to help Boards with New Year planning.  We listened!  A special topic Fundraising Call is scheduled on Tuesday, January 26 at 1PM.  Please save that date!  

GSA Child Care looks forward to networking with you in the future. If you did not get an invitation for the Networking Call and would like to be a part of this exciting new group, please contact your Regional Child Care Coordinator.  

Happy Holidays and see you in the New Year!

Please do not hesitate to contact Jill Rhea at or Sandy Axelrod at