top of page

Ivy Learning Resource & Referral Newsletter | March 2024

Updated: Mar 14

Spruce-Up Your Outdoor Classroom

It has been a busy school year and outdoor classrooms have been loved dearly by children, educators, and families. With spring right around the corner, it is a great time to plan for a refresh and replenish your classroom for the upcoming school year. 

Before you get started, quickly assess your outdoor classroom and jot down the areas that will need attention. This is a good time to check with your staff and teachers about what is working well in the classroom, what can be improved, and learn about any safety concerns in the space. This will help as you plan work days. We recommend partnering with local civic and youth groups, businesses, as well as families.

To help you get started, our team has compiled a list of maintenance items to be considered in the following areas:

🌱 Nourishing and Encouraging Plant Growth

🪵 Caring for Wooden Furnishings

🦺 Safety

🧱 Pathways and Floorings

🐚 Loose Parts

Let’s roll up our sleeves and check some maintenance to-do’s!


Engaging Parents and Caregivers to Strengthen ACF Programs


ACF has released its new Parent Engagement Report. Throughout 2022-2023, OEA held listening sessions with parents and caregivers from diverse backgrounds who have a range of experiences with ACF programs. The ACF Parent Engagement Report provides background information on participant groups, highlights the key takeaways from each listening session, and overviews some of the many ways ACF has been and continues to be responsive to invaluable feedback and insight parents and caregivers shared. Critically, it uplifts parents and caregivers as active change agents who can help ensure compassionate and effective human service delivery. 


Parents and caregivers play critical roles in the health and well-being of children, youth, and young adults, and engaging them directly as equal partners is a crucial part of ACF’s wider efforts to embed lived experience into agency operations. Read the full ACF Parent Engagement Report and accompanying Dear Colleague Letter from ACF’s Acting Assistant Secretary for more information on how ACF develops and delivers family-led programs, resources, and services that meet the needs of diverse children and families.  



Tuning Out to Tune In: How Time Outside Can Improve Readiness to Learn Inside

by Andrea Laser

Outdoor time matters. I’ve certainly lost track of time and my thoughts and worries seemed to disappear - all because I was outdoors in a peaceful setting. As teachers we send wound up children outside to “burn off some energy.” And many of us plan our vacations based on the outdoor scenery. Our need to be restored by the outdoors and nature's almost magical effects may actually have its roots in brain research. As it turns out, the time we spend outside can do amazing work getting our brain ready for the time we spend inside. Several years ago, the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv was published that described much of the research about the powerful effects of being outside for children. His book has many studies that describe the power of benefits of being outside and in nature for children. Read entire article here



Why Reading Aloud to Kids Helps Them Thrive

“Go pick your bedtime book, right now,” I told my four-year-old. Afternoon meltdowns had turned into bedtime battles, and I was tired. He returned clutching the book Glad Monster, Sad Monster and curled up beside me.

His body began to relax as we read about all the things that made these monsters glad, mad, sad, and scared. “Did you have big feelings today, like the monsters?” I asked. Big nod.

“Do you need extra hugs tonight?” More nods. When he couldn’t quite tell me how he was feeling, he found a book that could speak for him — and that helped me give him what he needed...Read entire article here. 


North Central Region Corner

Hello North Central Providers,

As we welcome in March, we are celebrating Dr. Seuss by emphasizing the importance of reading with children every day. It can be a small fragment of time in the morning, during rest time, while waiting for a parent to arrive, etc. When I was teaching, I had one little boy at the end of the day who was last to be picked up. He would always want me to read “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” with him while we waited for his mom. After about the tenth reading, he was able to “read” it to me. Please remember when the children want to read the same book repeatedly, there is so much learning happening.

North Central still has a couple spots left for Pyramid Model implementation sites. If you are interested in receiving more information on how to put strategies in place to help reduce challenging behavior for free, please contact Heather Cruz, If you are ready to apply for the program and would like to attend an exploratory meeting, please complete the application here.


Northeast Region Corner

Hello Northeast Providers,

March has definitely roared in a LION! We are off and running with so many things including Pyramid Model implementation sites, updates in provider information, THRIVE Family Child Care Home Network and much more. Please reach out with any needs or if we can provide more information on anything.

We have a very special announcement and CONGRATULATIONS as we welcome the newest member of the Northeast team....(big applause inserted here) Courtney Garringer had her baby Tuesday Feb. 27. Our precious girl, Emirey Anne, weighed a healthy 6lb. 5 oz, and she is 19" long. Mom and baby are doing great and we are thrilled for their family! Welcome to the world Emirey!


The Book Corner

Spring Is Here! (A Changing Faces Book): A Board Book 

by Carles Ballesteros (Author)

 When spring arrives, baby animals come out to play with the turn of a page in illustrator Carles Ballesteros’s Changing Faces board book Spring is Here!Spring is here, and it’s time for bunnies to run, chicks to sing, lambs to munch clover, and ducklings to swim.Readers will delight in seeing animals’ faces appear and then change when the page is turned, thanks to the magical venetian blind element. This sweet novelty book is great fun to read aloud and the perfect addition to our Changing Faces series. Click Here to purchase on Amazon.

Up, Down, and Around by  Katherine Ayres 

"An inviting introduction to the wonder of plants, food, and gardening. . . . Will be a favorite of teachers, students, and home readers alike." — Kirkus ReviewsFrom seeds dropping into soil to corn bursting from its stalks, from children chasing butterflies to ants burrowing underground, everything in this vibrant picture book pulses with life — in all directions! Sprightly illustrations set the mood for a rhythmic text that follows nature’s course to a feast of backyard bounty.

 Click Here to Purchase on Amazon.


My Magical Foods - Get Picky Eaters to Choose Veggies and Fruits

by Becky Cummings 


You know they are growing, and food matters!

That's why My Magical Foods is the perfect book to inspire kids to eat more fruits and veggies.

Each page is filled with colorful illustrations and fun-to-read rhyming lines.

My Magical Foods teaches children how fruits and vegetables come naturally from the Earth

Order on Amazon: 


Events and Trainings

See upcoming events here!

Thrive Family Child Care Summit: Even Superheroes need support. Register here.

Click this link to go to our website for a list



Ivy Learning is here to serve you!

Ivy Learning Child Care Resource & Referral serves the North Central and Northeast Regions of Oklahoma, which includes 19 counties. For more information and to contact your regional representative, expand the section below.

North Central Region: Kay, Lincoln, Logan, Noble, Nowata, Osage, Pawnee, Payne & Washington Counties

Northeast Region: Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, Mayes, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Ottawa & Sequoyah Counties


Request Technical Assistance from our Resource and Referral Specialists

Ivy Learning Child Care Resource and Referral can provide technical assistance to childcare providers. Technical Assistance services help providers improve or enhance the quality of childcare through structured and intentional services which supports the development of specific skills and practices. As a result, providers will be able to implement knowledge about quality in their individual care giving situations.


More Resources for Information and Webinars

Additional Resources

Ivy Learning


Scholars for Excellence in Child Care Program


Insurance Assistance

Insure Oklahoma/OEPIC


Oklahoma Child Care Licensing

Oklahoma Child Care Services

Oklahoma Professional Development Registry

View the Statewide Training Calendar

Child Nutrition Program

Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP)

​Centers for Early Childhood Professional Development (CECPD)


Oklahoma Child Care Warmline

FREE phone support and consultation for child care providers regarding behavior, development, health, and safety issues.

Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm

Automated system available 24/7.

Questions? Email:

Information, Resources, & Trainings

Oklahoma Partners for School Readiness (OPSR)

(405) 429-4219


bottom of page