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Ivy Learning Resource & Referral Newsletter // Northeast // June 2022

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

Calling All Providers and Those Who Are Considering Becoming One

We are so excited to announce that we will be hosting Reconnect and Recruit on June 25th at Rogers State University in Pryor! Not only will this be a chance to meet and correspond with other childcare providers in your area, you will also get four hours of registered training from a few amazing and passionate women. Michael-Ann Vann Horn will be speaking about Social Emotional Learning, and Ginger Zaferes will be discussing art and practical ways to incorporate it into your schedules with the children. If you would like to learn more about Michael-Ann or Ginger, click their names to see their biographies. The last session we will be holding at this event will be training on lesson planning and scheduling. We know the new QRIS has brought with it a plethora of questions, and we have seen that most providers have inquisitions around Lesson Planning; this training is designed to bring about as much clarity as we can provide.

If all of this isn’t enough to get you excited, come for the door prizes! We are doing some big giveaways with a chance to win for everyone who shows up. How might you get an extra ticket to earn these prizes? Bring a friend who is interested in opening a childcare center or home! You both will have an enjoyable day and get to spend it with a friend, plus you will be able to get your pressing questions answered. Please see the flyer below for additional information and scan the QR Code to register.

See you there!


Oklahoma’s QRIS is moving to a 5 STAR rating system

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.


The Book Corner


Junebug: No Life Too Small by Nicole Daniels (Author), Addy Rivera Sonda (Illustrator)

The June bug is a large brown scarab beetle that appears in late spring and early summer... June bugs derive their name from the fact that adult June bugs emerge from the soil at the end of spring or the beginning of the summer. Females bury their eggs just below the soil surface. June bug larvae hatch within 3 to 4 weeks and feed on grass and plant roots from several months to three years.

We found some activities to go along with Junebug on Pinterest and Planning Playtime: Learning Through Play.

Purchase Junebug: No Life Too Small The Wonders of Summer on Amazon.


Staying Health and Hydrated during the HOT Summer Months

As the weather becomes warmer and more inviting most of us will be spending ample time outside soaking in that vitamin D and enjoying the beginning of the summer breeze. Everyone knows that sunscreen is a must when spending time outside, but sometimes we forget the importance of hydration. Hydration and it’s application to early childhood education has not been intricately studied until recently. Studies show that nearly half of all children do not consume the appropriate, daily amount of water. One study specifically found that although children spend 50% of their day at school, the average child only consumes 14% of the necessary water intake for the day. At face value, you may be wondering why this is important, so let's dive deeper.


Meet our New Business Consultant

Hello! My name is Jan Boomer and I am pleased to be the newest member of this amazing Northeast R&R Team! I began this position on March 1st and as I have participated in training for the Business Consultant role, it has been energizing and a great learning process of the changes in the state programs. Prior to this role, my work experience has been in state programs such as R&R, Early Childhood Advocacy, Smart Start, Early Head Start Family Services Manager, public school classroom teacher and principal, and Director of Development. Each of these positions has contributed to my knowledge base in Early Childhood and Family Relations.

I am looking forward to continuing to serve children, families, and childcare providers as I support childcare directors in the goals they have set for improving business practices, enhancing facilities and resources, or simply increasing the quality of their centers. It has been wonderful to meet so many of you who are not only passionate about your work in early childhood but also understand the importance of the early years and the impact it has on every child in your care. I appreciate being part of a regional and state staff who are outstanding in their professionalism, continually supporting children and providers and are dedicated to this important pursuit. I hope to meet you soon!


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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