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Ivy Learning Resource & Referral Newsletter // North Central // June 2022

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

Welcome to June!

Hello Providers!

As we are moving into the summer season, it seems we are moving into a new season in Oklahoma’s early childhood scene as well. As many of you are aware, Oklahoma’s Quality Ratings Improvement System (QRIS) is moving to a 5 STAR rating system from the previous 3 STAR system. There are some fantastic changes coming with this including being able to obtain the highest STAR level WITHOUT being nationally accredited! Everything has been digitized and applications are submitted and reviewed online. Cash incentives are available if you apply before November 30th to keep your current level or apply for a new level. If you apply for a 1, 2, or 3 STAR level now, you’ll receive the incentive associated with that level and then when you are ready (before November 30th) you can apply for a 4 or 5 STAR rating and receive the difference between the incentives (so more cash flow to help you maintain that quality). New subsidy rates will go into effect January 1 as will new STAR levels. If you choose not to recertify, you of course won’t receive any incentives, but most importantly, you will automatically be dropped to a level 1 on January 1st.

The online application system has a help desk available that you can submit questions to anytime or can call (405) 521-6177 between 9:00am-4:00pm, M-F to talk to someone directly for help or answers regarding the actual application process. When you are ready to work on those things that will get you to a higher star level and you have questions, there are people available to help with that too. Normally, you would be able to reach out to us directly and we’d jump right in to help you. DHS has set the system up differently this time in order to track the process so you must request help through the website QRIS ( There are 2 help options (buttons) available: Business Consultant and Childcare Coach. Business consultants are available to help with anything on the administrative side. Childcare coaches are available to help with things like lesson plans, transition plans, daily schedules, learning environments, etc. Our wonderful business consultant is Tracy Hinton. Our wonderful coaches include: Kelsey Thomas, regional director; Heather Cruz, childcare coach; Renae Barnett, childcare coach with an emphasis on infant/toddler; Kayleigh Ferguson, DHS childcare coach; and Stacy Plunk, DHS childcare coach. When you request a coach, you’ll be assigned one based on availability.

There is training available on topics that will be helpful in this process too. You can find all of the available trainings at and search by topic. Lesson plan training seems to be in high demand at the moment, so find one and register ASAP if you are interested.

While we are all focused on QRIS for the time being, if you have a need not related, please reach out to one of us and we’ll see how we can help and support you as we’ve always done.

Thank you, your North Central R&R team


Brain Boosts

Find ways to learn and grow together with your baby.


The Book Corner

Infant & Toddler

Smithsonian Kids: A Walk in the Forest (Wheels of Wonder) Board book

Curious toddlers and preschoolers will learn fun facts in this Smithsonian Kids book about forest creatures including deer, bears, beavers, foxes, rabbits, birds, and many more. Every page features an engaging "spinning wheel" that when turned by younger children will help build fine motor skills. Grade schoolers will enjoy additional forest plants and animals in the viewing window. The sturdy board pages and built-in handle are just right for children's hands, and the beautiful, detailed illustrations will engage, entertain, and educate kids as they expand and grow!

Purchase Smithsonian Kids: A Walk in the Forest on Amazon or the Rainbow Resource Center.



The Wonders of Summer by Kealy Connor Lonning

The Wonders of Summer is a heartfelt book, that will inspire children to go outdoors, and appreciate the wonders and beauty of nature. This fun and playful story, will encourage kids to celebrate familiar summer themes, using their senses to play, learn, and dream. Adults will become nostalgic, thinking about their own past experiences. This touching book is a wonderful reminder that ordinary days, can be amazing and extraordinary, creating happy memories, that will last forever.

The Wonders of Summer applauds the power of childhood play, and family love.

Purchase The Wonders of Summer on Amazon.


School Age

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner (author) and Christopher Silas Neal (illustrator)

This sweet exploration of the hidden world and many lives of a garden through the course of a year "could not be more lovely," according to the Washington Post. Up in the garden, the world is full of green—leaves and sprouts, growing vegetables, ripening fruit. But down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home. In this exuberant and lyrical book, discover the wonders that lie hidden between stalks, under the shade of leaves...and down in the dirt.

Purchase Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt from the author or on Amazon.


Northcentral Provider Reconnect Event

North Central providers and potential providers join us a for a fun day of reconnecting! Participants will receive 4 hours of formal training, a light breakfast and a full lunch. A Q&A session on QRIS will be provided. Amazing door prizes will be given away! Bring a potential provider and receive an extra ticket. Limited seating. Only 2 participants per facility.


Ivy Learning is here to serve you!

Ivy Learning 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 Resource and Referral can provide technical assistance to child care providers. Technical Assistance services help providers improve or enhance the quality of child care 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, andsafety issues.

Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm

Automated system available 24/7.

Questions? Email:

Information, Resources, & Trainings

Oklahoma Child Care Resource & Referral (OCCRRA)



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