Pennsylvania's Promise for Children  
Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Welcome to BUILD ECE News

June 22, 2011 

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) promotes opportunities
for all Pennsylvania children and families by building systems and providing supports
that help ensure access to high quality child and family services.


OCDEL in Action 

Office of Child Development and Early Learning welcomes new Acting Deputy Secretary

On June 20, 2011, Pennsylvania's Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) welcomed Barbara Minzenberg, Ph.D. as the new Acting Deputy Secretary for OCDEL. 

Dr. Minzenberg comes to OCDEL from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, where she served as assistant executive director for Early Childhood, Family and Community Programs. She has an extensive career in education through both the Allegheny IU and the Pittsburgh Public Schools, where she began her career working with students with disabilities, and holds several state educator certifications.

She has been the chair of the Early Learning Network committee and valued member of the Early Learning Council. 


Pennsylvania one of nine states selected to host mayoral summits on afterschool learning

Pennsylvania's Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) is one of nine networks selected to host upcoming mayoral summits on afterschool and expanded learning opportunities during 2012.  Mayors and other municipal leaders who attended the first round of summits gave the events high marks as a valuable peer learning opportunity.

Building on similar events held in five states in 2009-10, the summits are designed to:

  • raise awareness of the important role of afterschool programming in addressing city priorities such as crime prevention, education, job readiness and children's health;
  • help city leaders learn and share best practices for building robust out-of-school time systems that reinforce in-school learning;
  • engage mayors in efforts to shape state policy; and
  • facilitate strategic partnerships among cities, afterschool networks and state agencies to advance local afterschool initiatives.  

City officials from the nine states who are interested in participating in or helping plan the second round of summits are encouraged to contact Meeta Sharma-Holt at (202) 626-3008 or For additional information, please visit PSAYDN website or the National League of Cities website.


Postponed:  Best Practices in Early Childhood Education:  The Kindergarten Year Summit

 Postponed until further notice is the Administrators’ Summit, Best Practices in Early Childhood Education:  The Kindergarten Year, State College originally scheduled for July 27-28, 2011.  For those with concerns, please contact Jamie Esbenshade, Early Education Specialist at 717-214-5704 or


More OCDEL In Action:


Trends and Reports

Study highlights long-term impact of preschool

A recent Early Childhood Education longitudinal study shows that attendance at a program designed to extend from pre-k through 3rd grade is connected to a person’s success in life 25 years later.

Arthur Reynolds, a professor of child development at the University of Minnesota, and his research team have been tracking attendees of the Chicago Parent-Child Centers since they were preschoolers.  Their latest research reinforces that early education programs are a critical part of education reform, as well as improving the next generation’s well-being.

The study found that those in the program were doing better at age 28 than a control group of their peers. The outcomes include students who:

  • Stayed in school longer
  • Completed high school at higher rates
  • Graduated from high school on-time at higher rates
  • Had higher socio-economic status

In addition to the study's ability to track the program's impact into adulthood, the study is notable for the way it provides data on differences across many variables, such as the length of time that children were in the program, how much preschool alone provided a boost, and how the program affected children from different family backgrounds.

For additional information about the study, visit Science Magazine website, or listen to the podcast interview with Arthur Reynolds.


Video highlights how actions affect life outcomes of children

In 2009, the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University began collaboration with the Interactive Media Division of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California (USC) to develop and test new ways of communicating the science of early childhood development using interactive media.

The first collaboration of this partnership, a recent production of the “Brain Hero” video, depicts how actions by a range of people in the family and community impact child development. This 3-minute video adapts the visual sensibility of interactive game models to a video format. Based loosely on such games as “Guitar Hero,” “SimCity,” and “The Game of Life,” the video portrays how actions taken by parents, teachers, policymakers, and others can affect life outcomes for both the child and the surrounding community.

To view the video and access other multimedia resources from the Center on the Developing Child, please visit their website. 


Importance of background checks for child care providers

The National Association of Child Care Resources & Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) has posted a one-page summary about why background checks are important to ensure the safety of children, as well as information about state background check requirements and recommendations to strengthen the law.

Legislation is pending in Congress to require comprehensive background checks for all licensed child care providers and for those providers who receive CCDBG subsidies to care for unrelated children.

To read more information about NACCRRA's recommendations, please visit the NACCRRA website.  For more information on Pennsylvania's background check requirements, please see PA Department of Public Welfare website.  

In The News

Heckman podcast:  The Case for Preschool

On the June 10 edition of Planet Money on NPR, James Heckman, a University of Chicago economist argues that using public funds to pay for poor kids to go to preschool actually saves the government money in the long run.

Heckman's message is that the benefits are exhibited throughout a community.  "The cost to society of courts and crime is lowered. The cost of educating kids who are unruly and undisciplined in schools, that goes down. The benefits that the kid contributes to earnings and society, that goes up. And so on down the line."

Listen to the podcast by visiting the NPR website.


In The Community 

Pittsburgh Steeler offensive lineman Max Starks tackles early literacy

At 6’8” and 370 pounds, Pittsburgh Steeler Offensive Tackle Max Starks is often called upon to use his strength and talent to read defenses and protect his teammates. Most recently he was called upon to read baby books to help infants, toddlers and parents to tackle early literacy.

The event, which was held at the Cooper-Seigel Library in the Fox Chapel section of Pittsburgh, was part of the “Reading is the Fifth Food Group” for the Best Books for Babies program.

“This is truly a great program,” Starks said of the Best Books for Babies program which is now celebrating its eleventh collection. “It encourages nurturing, brain development as well as emergent speech, writing skills and reading skills. Being able to be part of this program is a fit for me.”

Read the entire article, or learn more about the Best Books for Babies program. 

Into Action

Nominate now for the Pittsburgh Pirates Community Champion Awards!  Deadline July 1

Ephrata Reads looking for volunteers to promote literacy


Funding Opportunities

The Corning Foundation Educational Grants, Deadline Rolling

Combating Autism Act Initiative, Deadline June 24

Mockingbird Foundation, Children's Music Education Program Grants, Deadline August 1

2012 All-America City Awards to Focus on Grade-Level Reading, LOI Deadline October 14



New resource to help mobilize business to be champions of young children

Resources for working effectively with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder:  Autism Internet Modules and Evidence-based Practice Briefs

New resources from IDEA Partnership's Collection on Autism Spectrum Disorder

Launch of MyPlate helps families make healthier food choices 

First Lady Michelle Obama unveils Let's Move! Child Care to ensure healthy start for young children


One Family's Story

We do not know where to being or how to tell you how much (PA Pre-K Counts) has changed Alivia's life. She is one of the smartest, brightest, outgoing kids we have ever seen.

Andrew and Kalee C., Cambria County

Discover the experiences of other Pennsylvania families on PA Promise for Children  


 PA Promise for Children on Facebook 

 Become a fan of PA Promise for Children on Facebook and get up-to-date information on how to help Pennsylvania children reach their promise!


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Summer 2011: Summer Courses:  Physical Development, Movement and Sensory Development, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania  
June 28-30:  Early Childhood PBIS Institute 2011:  Focus on Preschool: Taking the Challenge Out of Behavior, Harrisburg
June 29:  Info Session on Graduate Early Childhood Programs at King of Prussia, King of Prussia
July 19-21:  Save the Date:  A Brighter Tomorrow:  Cultivating Infants and Toddlers Social Emotional Development .
August- December:  Child Care Health Advocate Course, Online, Northampton Community College
August 13:  WITF Ready , Set, Go…Kindergarten, Harrisburg 
August 13:  Great Things Happen in Early Education Seminar, Edinboro University
September 28-30:  Facing the Challenge Train-the-Trainer Session, Villanova
October 10:  Fifth Annual Professional Development Day, Early Care & Education...It's Everyone's Business, Bethlehem .
October 15: 17th Annual Awareness Walk, Three Rivers Dash for Down Syndrome, Pittsburgh
November 11-12:  Pennsylvania School Age Child Care Alliance Networking:  Communicating with a Strong Voice Conference, Harrisburg
November 17-19:  27th Annual International Conference on Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families, Maryland
November 30 - December 2:  Early Childhood Education Summit, State College



Visit Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

Pennsylvania Keys to Quality 

Pennsylvania's Promise for Children



The Early Childhood Education E-Newsletter is a project of the Pennsylvania Build Initiative, Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare to inform early learning professionals, the early childhood community, policymakers, community leaders and the public on developments in early childhood education and care in Pennsylvania.
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