Financial resources and programs for providers
Small business assistance
The state’s COVID-19 business resources page is updated regularly to reflect federal and state resources to support small business.
Small businesses can also get help from the Women’s Business Development Council (WBDC). To get free counseling, contact WBDC. You can also see a list of potential funding opportunities on their website — along with links to worksheets to help you with key documents required for filing application.
Ready Set Rebuild
OEC’s Ready Set Rebuild initiative is helping child care providers recover financially from COVID-19. The initiative oversees the distribution of all federal funding with a series of targeted programs. Our first — Child Care Program Stabilization Funding — helps programs address operational costs, including increased expenses during COVID-19. Learn more about the program.
Support children’s social and emotional needs
During COVID-19, many children are struggling to adjust. They have faced huge challenges — the shifts between in-person and home learning, stress, and for some, the loss of loved ones.
The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) has developed a series of resources to help providers support families during COVID-19.
Get an introduction to NCPMI’s resources
While NCPMI created the video for programs implementing the Pyramid model, it has useful information for any program starting back up.
Help children get comfortable wearing masks
Getting young children to put on mask — and keep them on — can be a challenge. Some kids may be anxious about the idea. NCPMI has guidance on how to make wearing a mask seem less intimidating. Read Wearing Masks from NCPMI in English or Spanish.
The CT Pyramid Partnership and OEC also have a video for providers about encouraging children to wear masks.
Get guidance on connecting with families
NCPMI has guidance and resources to help you partner with families.
NCPMI has also compiled resources for families and professionals during the emergency — including general strategies for decreasing stress and preventing challenging behavior. Get guidance from NCPMI.
Get help from the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership (ECCP)
ECCP can help with free consultations for child care providers (and families). Get guidance on topics like:
- Helping children with emotional, social, or behavioral issues
- Dealing with problems in the classroom
- Resources to help support your program
Remember that this is a resource you can also share with parents who could benefit from a consult. To find a consultant in your town, take a look at the Early Childhood Consultation Partnership section on the ECCP website.
Prepare children and families for the transition to kindergarten
Transitioning to kindergarten is often an exciting time for children and their families. But even under usual circumstances, change can be hard — and that’s especially true during COVID-19.
The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and OEC provided guidance regarding kindergarten transition in the publication Transitioning to Kindergarten: The Why, What and How of this Important Milestone for Connecticut Students. In addition, CSDE recently updated the document What Parents Should Know About Kindergarten Entry, Enrollment, and Attendance.
In spring of 2021, OEC and CSDE issued a joint letter to help early educators and schools work together to support children and families at they transition to kindergarten in fall 2021. A video, featuring early childhood and education leaders from across the state, was created to provide additional tips and guidance.
Connect with families remotely
Throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency, early childhood programs have used technology to connect with families. Here are resources that may be helpful as you connect with families during disruptions or to enhance your ongoing partnerships with families.
- Eastern Connecticut State University has guidance on building strong relationships with families from a distance, including information about exploring families’ needs and the importance of play. Learn how to keep relationships strong during COVID-19.
- Ready4K has guidance on how to keep families up to date by email and texts without overwhelming them. Watch the video on creating messages that motivate.
- NCPMI held a webinar to address questions from providers about using technology to help families. Watch their video on providing distance family support.
Refer families to key resources
Encourage families to use 2-1-1. It’s the go-to resource for families in Connecticut — especially during COVID-19. Families can get access to counselors, financial help, crisis support, and more. Tell them to dial 2-1-1 or visit the 2-1-1 website.
Refer families to OEC resources. They can check out our resources for families section, which has helpful information about finding child care during COVID-19, helping their children learn from home, and getting support. You can also distribute our handout on how they can stay emotionally healthy during the emergency.
Take care of yourself
When times are stressful, it’s important for those who work with children and families to take steps to stay mentally and physically healthy.
The Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University has developed a campaign to help. Explore their resources and watch the video below.
Get tips from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network on how to take care of yourself — and share them with your colleagues.