December 2017 eNews
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Maryland EXCELS in the Community
The Maryland EXCELS tree at the 28th Annual Festival of Trees at the Maryland State Fairgrounds was beautifully decorated this year with handmade ornaments. Children from Maryland EXCELS participating programs throughout the state crafted animal-themed ornaments to decorate the Maryland EXCELS tree!
If you would like Maryland EXCELS to have a presence at an event in your community, contact us at

Earlier this year, Minds in Motion increased their published Quality Rating from 2 to 3 in Maryland EXCELS.
A higher Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating allowed the program to reap additional financial benefits from Child Care Subsidy. The team has already purchased new transit vans this year using the additional funding.

Read the full provider spotlight here.
TIPS! Creating Meaningful Activities and Schedules

Here are some ways to create a daily schedule that gives children opportunities to learn as they play and participate in daily routines.

Provide whole group, small group, and individual learning experiences 

Whole group activities provide interaction with all children in a program. Circle time, morning and afternoon exercise, family-style snacks and lunches, and fun transition times are all examples of how children can spend time learning together. Consider including a mix of calm group activities and more energetic ones. 

Small group activities give children time to work with each other in a teacher-directed or child-directed environment. You can create cards for games like alphabet bingo, use traditional board games like Chutes and Ladders, build structures using props in the block area, or set up a more high-energy round of musical chairs.  

Individual learning experiences address a child’s unique abilities and skills. Teachers can adjust their lesson plans for specific children. Teachers can also take the time during small group activities to provide these one-on-one learning opportunities with children. 


Toolkit Tips: Connect with Families

This is a good time of year for child care programs and providers to connect with families by scheduling family conferences to share information about the program and their child’s progress. Children will benefit from this collaboration as families and staff strengthen their partnership with the common goal of encouraging the child’s development and learning.
If you’re new to family conferences, you’ll find helpful tips and information in the Maryland EXCELS Toolkit. If yours is a School-Age Only program, the Toolkit offers resources on communicating with families about a child’s progress.
Look for information in the Toolkit under any of the five Quality Ratings. You’ll find Family Conferences and Family Communication listed under Administrative Policies and Practices.
Fingerprinting Updates for Programs and Providers

All Maryland child care programs and providers who have not been fingerprinted since Sept. 21, 2017, will need to get reprinted due to new federal requirements.
To help with the financial burden, the Office of Child Care (OCC) will reimburse the cost of background checks through a reimbursement procedure.

For more information from the Maryland State Department of Education about the conditions for reimbursement, and to adhere to the schedule for fingerprinting and reimbursement, please visit MSDE’s website here directly.

Please check the MSDE website frequently for updates, as information may change as the process continues!

Extra Precautions During Flu Season
The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) is encouraging those working with children to take extra precautions during this flu season due to a variant strain of the virus.

In addition to the seasonal flu, Maryland health officials have identified a type of variant flu virus in people who had contact with pigs at fairs around the state. While some flu viruses normally would just affect pigs, this one, called H3N2v, is considered variant because humans can be infected as well.

Even though Maryland’s fair season is over, MDH is urging child care providers and school staff to be aware of situations where children could still be exposed to pigs. Field trips to farms, petting zoos, and similar outings are places to be mindful of how children are interacting with animals.

For more information about how to minimize your risk, visit MDH’s website.

Maryland EXCELS by the Numbers: December 2017

Search for published programs at and on the Maryland EXCELS mobile app! For more information about how to participate in Maryland EXCELS, visit here.
Maryland EXCELS Workgroup and Training Schedule
Are you interested in attending a Maryland EXCELS approved Core of Knowledge Training? Would you like the opportunity to work directly with a Quality Assurance Specialist on developing, revising, and submitting documentation? Consider attending a Maryland EXCELS Workgroup or Training. 

Access the schedule here.
Follow Maryland EXCELS on Social Media!


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Maryland EXCELS · 6740 Alexander Bell Dr · Columbia, MD 21046 · USA