Auburn Sixpence CCP Updates: What a Year it’s Been!  

How Do We Grow Sixpence Child Care Partnerships? 

Over the years, Nebraska Children and Families Foundation has carefully constructed an organization that helps families thrive. Sixpence, one of our Early Childhood initiatives, also aims to promote this mission, especially for children 0-3 during the most necessary time of their lives. 

Sixpence Child Care Partnerships (CCP), one of our early childhood programs, utilizes Federal Child Care Development Funds to promote high-quality early childhood development and education. 

Sixpence CCP originated when public schools, local childcare centers, and family childcare homes began maximizing Nebraska’s early childhood programs. 

The program’s resources include training, coaching, and support for licensed child care providers to partake in the Nebraska Department of Education’s (NDE) Step Up to Quality, a program that supports early childhood directors and educators to create and maintain high-quality childcare. 

There’s no better indicator of community well-being than a real-life partner’s story! Today, we asked Auburn Sixpence Program Coordinator Tyson Wessels and Sixpence CCP Coach Anne Bennett to fill us in on all the great work they’re doing to support Auburn, Nebraska’s childcare providers!  

Sixpence CCP Forms Bonds with ALL Local Providers 

“We’ve been really busy!” said Tyson. “Our focus is getting providers signed up for [Sixpence] CCP.”  

Tyson said that thanks to some added Nebraska Children Communities for Kids (C4K) funds, he and Anne worked hard over the past year to develop a network of providers, regardless of whether they participate in Sixpence CCP.  

Over the years, Auburn Sixpence has forged lasting bonds with ALL of their area's childcare providers, even those not involved in the program!
Over the years, Auburn Sixpence has forged lasting bonds with ALL of their area’s childcare providers, even those not involved in the program!

Recently, Tyson and Anne hosted an event where current program participants shared their successes. 

“We had providers talk about the work they’re doing with either Anne as the coach or in their programs,” said Tyson. 

“We’re doing our community engagement piece; these [providers] know we exist and what we’re doing. We’re advocating for early childhood and economic development!” he added.   

Anne said the current Sixpence CCP participants were encouraging as they described the program’s benefits. 

“They talked about the program’s strengths and what it’s done for them, especially the coaching piece. They shared how much work [the program] was and that it was worth the work!” she said.  

Tyson said he and Anne intend to increase bonds between the area’s childcare providers and Sixpence CCP by being as upfront as possible. 

“What helped was our transparency; we don’t want them to be intimated,” he said. Tyson reiterated that although being a Sixpence CCP partner entails more work, the positive outcomes make this endeavor well worth it.  

“There’s extra work to do, but that means less work in your [childcare] program,” he said. “We recognize how it feels to have another person come into your home. We are not that,” he said.  

“There's extra work to do [as a Sixpence CCP participant], but that means less work in your [childcare] program,” said Tyson.
“There’s extra work to do [as a Sixpence CCP participant], but that means less work in your [childcare] program,” said Tyson.

Sixpence CCP Offers Many Perks, Including Coaching  

Tyson explained that Sixpence CCP coaching is an asset to any provider. The Sixpence CCP Coaches work with providers and programs to create a developmentally thriving environment. 

“We’re trying to be transparent and say there are extra things you have to do, but nobody’s there to nitpick or change,” said Tyson. 

To boot, Anne said that any interested providers could participate in a mock coaching visit.  

“They can come to get to know me better,” she said. Luckily, this invitation was well received! 

“I had two people who signed up for [Sixpence] CCP, and I’ve been with them for a few months. Both enjoyed it; they asked lots of questions and became Sixpence CCP participants,” said Anne.  

Tyson said these sample coaching sessions have been beneficial, especially for those childcare providers who are hesitant about having someone come into their home or program. 

“[Mock coaching sessions] are a good idea for people on the fence. [The providers] said, ‘It seems too good to be true;’ the mock visit helped them see what it feels like for a regular visit!” he said. 

Anne explained that bonding with her childcare partners is essential to coaching. 

Anne said, “The first thing I do when I coach is build relationships with them. I ask them questions about the kids [in their care] and their environment. I have them give me a tour, then answer questions about what we do,” said Anne. 

One of the Sixpence CCP coach's primary responsibilities is to build relationships with providers, so they can feel comfortable striving for and achieving quality care!
One of the Sixpence CCP Coach’s primary responsibilities is to build relationships with providers, so they can feel comfortable striving for and achieving quality care!

Anne explained that coaching is often a timely convenience, as she and the provider can discuss something recent that’s arisen for them and the children in their care.   

“When I go in and coach, it’s based around something that’s come up. Today, I left a visit where I modeled for a provider to [undertake] developmentally appropriate interactions,” said Anne.  

Anne explained that sometimes, childcare providers might come from different backgrounds, so she can help them tailor their interactions to infants and toddlers. 

Anne said that a provider she recently coached was a para in the high school special education program, which is different from working with toddlers. During coaching, Anne will provide an example for the childcare provider of how to interact with children. 

“I do modeling [for the provider]. For example, don’t tell a child, ‘Put your feet on the floor.’ Instead, I told her to redirect, saying, ‘Let’s go play with the blocks!’ You want to tell them what they should be doing, not what you don’t want them to do,” said Anne. 

Anne explained that sometimes, by pointing out undesirable behavior, that child may feel provoked to continue to carry out their disruptive actions. 

“That’s basic child development,” said Anne. “If you say, ‘Don’t run,’ they’ll run! We practice [this communication]. Tell [children] what you want them to do, not what you don’t,” said Anne.  

Anne said she still encourages the word “no,” in certain situations. 

“You don’t have to get rid of ‘Nos, don’ts, stops,’ you can do it if the behavior is unsafe,” she said. 

On the other hand, Anne said that she finds positive outcomes whenever she redirects children, especially in safe situations. 

Anne explains there are ways to redirect children using positive, developmentally-suitable communication.
Anne explains there are ways to redirect children using positive, developmentally suitable communication.

“Once, my nephew was going on the table,” said Anne. “I said, ‘Put your feet on the floor; let’s go play with blocks! Yay, you did it!’ Celebrate with them. We stacked blocks, and I modeled that for him,” said Anne.  

Anne said using the correct language, and encouraging, descriptive phrasing in these interactions is critical.  

“It takes [children] a while to get used to positive communication,” said Anne. “But childcare and preschools are getting better with positive feedback. It does change behavior pretty fast!”   

Aside from encouraging providers to enjoy the benefits of coaching, Tyson said the team’s making headway in enhancing providers’ awareness that Sixpence CCP is a valuable resource. 

“We’ve gotten into the doors of all providers, even those not signed up for Sixpence CCP,” he said.  

Meanwhile, Auburn Sixpence continues to draw more interest from its local providers. Tyson said that there had been some providers who already intended to sign up for Sixpence CCP. He and the team have identified two in the community working on becoming licensed, and they have been able to share resources with them and be a point of contact as they navigate the process. To partner with Sixpence CCP, a program needs to have a provisional license with DHHS and have achieved a Step 1 with Step Up to Quality. 

Sixpence CCP Engages the Whole Family and Community 

Another component for Auburn Sixpence CCP is family engagement within their childcare programs.

Tyson said Sixpence CCP has been filling backpacks with literacy materials and resources for families. These resources help create healthy early relationships for every provider in Nemaha County.   

“Every family takes home a backpack with activities and directions,” said Tyson. “Over the next few years, we’ll update materials, new books, and so forth.”   

Here's an example of the quality learning materials Sixpence provides!
Here’s an example of the quality learning materials Sixpence CCP provides!

During the Week of the Young Child (WOYC), Auburn Sixpence even hosted a showing of No Small Matter, a documentary emphasizing an often overlooked but invaluable subject: the importance of early childhood care and education. 

Sixpence joined a panel of other childcare providers, staff, and local and state leaders to share their roles and how they impact early childhood education. 

Tyson said, “Our big celebration last year was getting everyone together and having conversations. All providers in our community know what [Sixpence] CCP is here for, and they’re talking to people doing it. People are telling us what they need rather than us telling them what they need. We’ve come a long way in six months.”   

Of course, there are still more victories for those providers currently enrolled in Sixpence CCP.  

“We have so many providers who have gotten to [Step Up to Quality] steps 3,4, and 5!” Said Anne. 

Finally, Anne said she’s continuing to form mentorships between some of the seasoned Sixpence CCP participants and those newer to the program. 

“We have those [more experienced] folks mentor the other providers and answer any questions they have that I can’t answer,” she said. 

Tyson said that he appreciates the time and generosity that their mentor-partners have provided.   

“We have several [Sixpence CCP providers] who are good at what they do and are generous with their time and skill sets,” he said.  

“They have no problem taking time out of their day to meet with [newer participants] or talk through situations. We’ve gotten really lucky,” said Tyson. 

Anne said she reflects on how far this program has come. “Four years ago, when we started, [providers] didn’t talk at all,” she said. 

Nebraska Children couldn’t be happier to see the quality and level of bonds that Sixpence CCP forms with its local providers. If Auburn Sixpence CCP has managed to create this thriving level of care within the last few years, we’re incredibly optimistic for the future.

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Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

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