Pennsylvania's Promise for Children  
Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Welcome to BUILD ECE News

July 6, 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 

A Message from OCDEL Deputy Secretary, Barbara Minzenberg, Ph.D.

I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share how excited I am to be taking the helm at the Office of Child Development and Early Learning! I am so proud of the accomplishments we’ve achieved as a community and anxious to continue our progress.

I have always believed that providing our young children with a high quality early learning experience is necessary to their future growth and development. Over the years I’ve seen early childhood education programs and providers come together to meet high quality expectations for programs and professionals and embrace a culture of accountability. The result? We have tremendous child outcomes to show how well these programs are working.   

The evidence that quality early education improves school readiness and school performance continues to grow and gain the attention of families, schools, and community throughout Pennsylvania. I believe that OCDEL and the early education community are in a strong position to honor the children and families we serve by continuing to make high quality early learning opportunities available. I look forward to entering this next phase of Pennsylvania’s early childhood education system with you and helping our young children reach their promise!


Pennsylvania's OCDEL highlighted in new NIEER Brief on financing early education

In a recent preschool policy brief by NIEER, Improving Public Financing For Early Learning Programs, co-director Steve Barnett and senior research fellow Jason Hustedt, University of Delaware examines sources and models of public financing of early care and education and makes recommendations for improving upon what currently exists so as to remove barriers to increasing program access and quality.

Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning, a creation of an early childhood agency that spans both welfare and education agencies is recognized as a model that coordinates programs and funding streams to keep parents working and providing quality early learning opportunities.

A few of the recommended policies include:

  • Provide Head Start, child care, and education programs with regulatory relief to facilitate coordination and collaboration across early care and education programs receiving federal and state funds. Allow states and Head Start agencies to jointly apply for waivers based on Early Learning Council plans for systems integration and improvement.
  • Strengthen state Early Learning Councils by providing them with adequate staffing, authority, and longevity through state statute.

To read the entire brief, including the full list of recommendations, please visit the NIEER website. For additional information about OCDEL and OCDEL programs, please visit the OCDEL website.


Trends and Reports

Pennsylvania's COMPASS highlighted in brief on strengthening work supports

The Working Poor Families Project has issued a new policy brief, Improving Access to Work Supports: Strengthening State Policies and Practices.  The brief shows that while an increasing number of families have turned to public work supports in the wake of the recession, a large number of eligible, low-income, working families fail to receive assistance because of complex application requirements, limited outreach strategies and social stigma associated with receiving help. Recommendations to mitigate such issues include expanding program eligibility and outreach. 

Pennsylvania is highlighted as an example of state-initiated efforts to improve access to work supports through improvements to outreach, screening, and application procedures. In 2001, Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare launched the Common Point of Access to Social Services (COMPASS), a Web-based tool that offers screening, application, renewal, and case management information for multiple work support, health, and human service programs, such as Child Care Works.  Families may also use COMPASS to find information about early learning programs (such as PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start, Early Intervention, and Keystone STARS), search for child care providers, or discover available early learning supports available in their community.

 To read the entire brief, please visit the Working Poor Families Project website.  For additional information about COMPASS, please visit the COMPASS website.


Report highlights the importance of curbing childhood obesity

According to a new report Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Policies from the National Institute of Medicine, limiting television and other media use, encouraging infants and young children in preschool and child care to spend more time in physically active play, and requiring child care providers to promote healthy sleeping practices are some of the actions needed to curb high rates of obesity among America's youngest children.

The report recommends steps that should be taken by child care centers, preschools, pediatricians' offices, federal nutrition programs, and other facilities and programs that shape children's activities and behaviors.

To view the entire report, please visit the Penn State, The College of Health and Human Development website.


More Trends and Reports

In The News

Kids learning by doing

A recent article in the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era demonstrates the lengths one early learning professional goes to ensure a learning environment for young children.

Wearing kimonos, six preschool children were all smiles and laughter as they tried their hand at origami.  Another day, the children became sushi chefs and enjoyed eating the healthy ethnic cuisine.  Other days, they played African drums, and learned about the Spanish culture on Cinco de Mayo.  They took a nature walk into the back yard, hearing about trees and seeds. Or they talked about healthy bodies, making skeletons from pretzel sticks and macaroni.

Whatever the day, Junko "Jun" Wright makes it fun with hands-on activities at her Pequea Township home child care center.

Wright has been a Pennsylvania Child Care training system trainer for 14 years and an instructor for PQAS Quality Assurance System for seven years. She recently received the United  Way of Lancaster County's Success by Six award for Family/Group Child Care Provider.

To read the entire article, please visit the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era website.

In The Community

Getting a taste of Kindergarten in Northumberland County

On June 21, 23 soon-to-be Kindergartners and their families participated in a tour of the elementary school in the Mount Carmel Area School District and became familiar with the place where their formal education will begin in just a few short months. 

The Early Care and Education Coalition of Northumberland County and Mount Carmel Area School District held its fifth annual Kindergarten Day for students and families so they could get a “taste” of what it will be like to attend kindergarten. Visits included stops along the tour and writing their names in the kindergarten classroom, listening to a story in the library, making clay creatures in the art room, and playing parachute games in the gym.

To read more about why this event is so important to the families and schools in Northumberland County, visit the PA's Promise for Children website.


New parents pledge love, patience

A recent article in the Centre Daily Times from a father conveys his thoughts on what children need from their parents.  

There is a group of men who have been producing the fathering column for the Centre Daily Times for the past 10 years. We write with the assumption, and we have expressed this several times throughout the years, that we do not consider ourselves “Dadologists.” We are just regular guys who think that our role as fathers, as is true with motherhood, is important and worthy of thought and discussion. We regularly make parenting mistakes. We try to learn from these mistakes, each other, our wives, our friends and our children. We continue to use these articles to grow personally and hopefully encourage conversation so we can all learn from each other.

To read the entire article, please visit the Centre Daily Times website.


More In the Community 


Funding Opportunities

Everyone Breathe Asthma Education Grants, Deadline July 29 

Sodexo School Engagement Grant, Deadline August 15

Mechanicsburg Area Foundation Grant, Deadline August 26

The Franklin County Foundation Grant, Deadline August 26

P. Buckley Moss Foundation for Children's Education grant, Deadline September 30


Employment Opportunities

PA Key Director, Harrisburg

Multiple positions Lancaster School District, Lancaster

Project Manager/Technical Assistant, State College



Podcasts on BAM! Radio's Educators Channel

Penn State unveils the Look Out for Child Abuse website

Focus on Early Childhood Mental Health offers resource sheets in 17 different areas

Smart Start-Centre County, First Letter to our Baby booklet

Shine your STARS: Outreach Tools


One Family's Story

Nurse-Family Partnership has helped me with being a better, stronger mother than I could imagine.

Imani, Nurse-Family Partnership participant

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  
July 19-21:  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 19:  Rock, Rhyme, Read and Write with Dr. Jean, Schnecksville
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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