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.
In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) created a series of new, short-term CTCARES programs. Several are designed to support child care businesses.
- CTCARES for Child Care Businesses offers a “care package” to child care providers — a variety of subsidies, trainings, and other opportunities. Learn about CTCARES for Child Care.
- CTCARES for Family Child Care offers licensed family child care providers access to supports during COVID-19. Our goal is to help your program succeed so you can continue to do your vital work. Learn about CTCARES for Family Child Care.
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.
Read NCPMI’s guide on reopening
NCPMI’s guide covers lots of important topics, including how to let families know about new routines and procedures and learn about children’s experiences while they were out of school. Read the Leadership Team’s Guide to Reopening Programs.
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.
Support learning at home
Learning resources related to the emergency
- Connecticut’s Department of Education has guidance for teachers — from preK and up — when schools are closed. Read their resources to support student learning.
- The Illinois Early Learning Project has many resources related to Learning at Home During Trying Times.
- OEC and the CT State Department of Education created a video supporting distance learning for teachers and providers. Watch the video.
General learning resources
- RESC Alliance has shared a list of tools and resources for PK3 and early care programs as a Google Spreadsheet.
- WIDA Early Years — which is housed at the University of Wisconsin Madison — has a resource with activities to start conversations with young children about their families, how they play, and more. It’s available in 4 languages. Download Learning Language Every Day: Activities for Families.
- The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has research-based resources to help children learn at home. Explore NAEYC’s page for families.
- Scholastic has a program of weekly activities and play starters. See Scholastic’s Learn at Home for PreK-K.
- Good Things for Young Children has several sets of daily activities in English and Spanish. Download 30 Days of Good Things for Young Children.
Support children and families as they 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
- 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.