Pennsylvania's Promise for Children


Build ECE News header, v. January 2013


Welcome to BUILD ECE News

August 17, 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 

Keystone STARS Technical Assistance demonstrates benefits

A recent research brief, Research Brief Issue 4: Keystone STARS Technical Assistance, released by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) revealed that Keystone STARS child care providers who received Technical Assistance (TA) were 2.2 times more likely to advance a STAR level than providers who did not receive TA.  These odds were even higher for those who completed their TA action plan. 

Across all provider types and levels, providers receiving TA had higher rates of moving up a STAR level.  STAR 1 facilities were nearly six times more likely to move up a STAR level when receiving TA. Although lower STAR level providers were more likely to move up a STAR level when receiving TA, the higher STAR level providers were more likely to meet a greater percent of their TA action plan goals.

The goal of STARS TA is to establish and support the implementation of an action plan that will assist eligible providers in meeting the appropriate standards of quality and in moving up to higher STAR levels. 

To read the complete research brief, please visit the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) Research website.  Visit the PA Promise for Children website to learn more about Keystone STARS. 


More OCDEL in Action


Trends and Reports

Half of young children in the U.S. are read to at least once a day, Census Bureau reports 

Many young children are getting a head start on acquiring the skills needed to read, as family members take time out of their day on a regular basis to read aloud with them, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported. In 2009, half of children age one to five were read to seven or more times a week by a family member.

While reading interactions are more frequent among families above poverty, reading interactions among low-income families have increased over the last 10 years. In 2009, 56 percent of one- and two-year-olds above poverty were read to seven or more times a week, compared with 45 percent below the poverty level. However, while parental reading involvement for children above poverty was not different from rates in 1998, it rose from 37 percent for those below poverty.

Other highlights include:

  • The percentage of children who talked or played together with a parent three or more times in a typical day increased from 50 percent in 1998 to 57 percent in 2009.
  • The percentage of children who ate dinner with a designated parent seven times per week on average increased slightly from 69 percent in 1998 to 72 percent in 2009.
  • The percentage of children whose parents praised them three or more times per day increased from 48 percent in 1998 to 57 percent in 2009.

A series of tables, Selected Indicators of Child Well-Being (A Child's Day): 2009, uses statistics from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to provide a glimpse into how children younger than 18 spend their day, touching on subjects such as the degree of interaction with parents and extracurricular activities. These statistics are compared with those from earlier years.  To view these tables, please visit the U.S. Census Bureau's website.


A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas

A recent publication by The National Academies Press, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, outlines a broad set of expectations for students in science and engineering in grades K-12 that will address the critical issues of U.S. competitiveness and better prepared workforce. The publication proposes a new approach to K-12 science education that will capture students' interest and provide them with the necessary foundational knowledge in the field.

The expectations presented will inform the development of new standards for K-12 science education and, subsequently, revisions to curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development for educators. The goal is for all high school graduates to have sufficient knowledge of science and engineering to engage in public discussions on science-related issues; be careful consumers of scientific and technological information; and have the skills to enter the careers of their choice.

Framework for K-12 Science Education is the first step in a process that will inform state-level decisions and provide a research-grounded basis for improving science teaching and learning across the country. The book will guide standards developers, curriculum designers, assessment developers, teacher educators, state and district science administrators, teachers, and educators who work in informal science environments.

Although the book is available for purchase, a PDF copy is available for free download at The National Academies Press website


In The News

Early education programs help close the gap

In a recent Letter to the Editor, Barbara K. Fraust addresses the value of early education programs for at-risk children.

Well-fed children pay more attention. Children with proper medical and dental care do not devote time and energy keeping the pain at bay. Children who sleep at night in safe neighborhoods do not fall asleep in class. A good start is critical to a good result.

The politics of education needs a refresher course. More than 35 years ago, the importance of a good head start was understood. The Head Start Program was created and addresses issues. Everyday 1,200 children take part in programs Community Services for Children offers: Safe Start for Babies, Early Head Start and Head Start. The children are given the start many of us take for granted.

To read the entire Letter to the Editor, please visit The Morning Call website.


In the Community

Comcast rolls out Internet access for low-income families

Cable and Internet provider Comcast is launching a new program to offer discounted Internet service and computers to low-income families.

The program, called Internet Essentials, will provide low-cost access to the Internet and affordable computers as well as digital literacy training to families with children who are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program.  Also available are options to purchase a computer at a reduced rate, as well as access to free Internet training. 

This effort is a result of a by-product of the Comcast-NBC merger, in which the company agreed to increase broadband deployment in low income households as one of a number of conditions to the acquisition.

For a listing of eligibility criteria and program enrollment, please visit the Comcast Internet Essentials website


Funding Opportunities

Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy National Grant Program, Deadline September 9

I Love My Librarian Award, Deadline September 12 Afterschool Grant, Deadline September 15

Teacher Grants from Kids In Need Foundation, Deadline September 30

Global Green School Makeover Competition, Deadline September 30

Lowe's Toolbox for Education Public School Improvement Projects, Deadline October 14

Dollar General School Library Relief Fund, Deadline Rolling

National School Library Program of the Year Award, Deadline January 2, 2012


Employment Opportunities

Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Head Start Itinerant Teacher Assistants

Allegheny Intermediate Unit, Day-to-Day Head Start Substitutes

Community Services for Children, Classroom Support Assistants

PaTTAN Pittsburgh, Full Time EITA Consultant



Early Intervention Family Resource Brochure

Online Tutorial:  Recognizing and Supporting the Social and Emotional Health of Young Children Birth to Age 5

Observation Toolkit for Mental Health Consultants

Penn State Extension, Better Kid Care August eNews now available

Text Messages Encourage Healthy Babies in Butler County

Bright ideas for back-to-school night... and beyond

CDC Milestone Moments for 2 mths. to 5 years

Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders Learning Module Available

Free Studentreasures Publishing Kits

Resources from FWI for Commemorating 9/11:  9/11 As History


Higher Ed

Directors' Credential Course offered at Shippensburg University:  Families, Schools and Communities


One Family's Story

Keystone STARS has been a tremendous help to all of our (child care) sites.  It has increased the quality of care we provide through the evaluation of our environments and interactions, the implementation of appropriate curriculums, and better training and professional development opportunities for staff.  Most importantly, we have used Keystone STARS as a support system in order to build better relationships with parents and to become a resource for families, all in an effort to give children a better start in life. 

Francine Mills, Senior Child Care Director, Butler County Family YMCA


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  
August - December:  Child Care Health Advocate Course, Online, Northampton Community College
August 19-20:  Environmental Symposium, Erie. 
September 12-14:  19th Annual Licensing Seminar Forging Bonds: The Power of Partnerships in Licensing, Pittsburgh
September 24:  Lancaster Area Association for the Education of Young Children (LAAEYC) A Great Place to Grow Conference, Lancaster
September 28-30:  Facing the Challenge Train-the-Trainer Session, Villanova.
October:  Pennsylvania Promise for Children Month, Statewide 
Beginning October:  Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking for Families of Children in Early Intervention, Temple University
October 10:  Fifth Annual Professional Development Day, Early Care & Education...It's Everyone's Business, Bethlehem .
October 10:  2011 Babies from the NICU Conference, Pittsburgh
October 15:  Keystone STARS Essentials Professional Development Day, Butler
October 15: 17th Annual Awareness Walk, Three Rivers Dash for Down Syndrome, Pittsburgh
November 6-8:  PEAC's 1st Annual Inclusion Conference, It's More Than Access, Philadelphia
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:  Keystone STARS Essentials Professional Development Day, Edinboro
November 19:  Rock, Rhyme, Read and Write with Dr. Jean, Schnecksville
November 30 - December 2:  Early Childhood Education Summit, State College
14, 2012:  Keystone STARS Essentials Professional Development Day, Indiana 



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-news is a project of the Pennsylvania Build Initiative and the 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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