OCDEL in Action
Checklist aids child care practitioners in prevention of childhood obesity
Early Care and Education practitioners have the powerful opportunity to foster healthy choices that could help prevent childhood obesity. A checklist produced by Let's Move Child Care website is now available which shares recommendations for infants, toddlers and preschoolers within the Early Care and Education setting regarding:
- Physical Activity;
- Screen Time;
- Food Served;
- Beverages Served; and
- Infant Feeding
Practitioners can sign up at the Let's Move Child Care website and complete the online checklist. Once complete, they will receive a customized Action Plan designed exclusively for their program that can be used to help reach targeted goals.
For more information, please contact Maryann Olley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More OCDEL in Action
Trends and Reports
Annie E. Casey Foundation Releases 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book
The recent release of the 2011 KIDS COUNT Data Book by the Annie E. Casey Foundation finds that over the past decade, the economic well-being of low-income children has returned to the same level as the early 1990s.
According to the foundation's annual KIDS COUNT Data Book, the official child poverty rate — a conservative measure of economic hardship — increased some 18 percent from 2000 to 2009, which means the number of children living in poverty grew by 2.4 million during the decade.
While the Data Book found that five of the ten indicators of child well-being have improved since 2000 — including infant mortality rate, child death rate, teen death rate, teen birth rate, and the percentage of teens not in school and not high school graduates — three areas saw declines, including the percentage of babies born underweight, the child poverty rate, and the percentage of children living in single-parent families.
Although Pennsylvania improved in overall rank of 23 in 2010, to that of 20 in 2011, there are key indicators which show that Pennsylvania children are at similar or increased risk as in the prior years in areas such as infant mortality, child deaths, and the immunization percentage of two-year olds.
Based on the report's findings, the Casey Foundation recommends six strategies it believes can move the nation's low-income families onto the path for prosperity:
- Strengthening and modernizing unemployment insurance and promoting foreclosure prevention and remediation efforts;
- Preserving and strengthening existing programs that supplement poverty-level wages, offset the high cost of child care, and provide health insurance coverage for parents and children;
- Promoting savings and asset protection and helping families gain financial knowledge skills;
- Promoting responsible parenthood and ensuring that mothers-to-be receive prenatal care;
- Ensuring that children are developmentally ready to succeed in school; and
- Promoting reading proficiency by the end of third grade.
To view the full report, or Pennsylvania specific information, visit the Annie E. Casey Foundation website. For information about Pennsylvania early education programs that promote children’s development and help prepare them for kindergarten, visit the PA's Promise for Children website.
Strategies to encourage strong support systems for young children's mental health
The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) recently released the report, Building Strong Systems of Support for Young Children’s Mental Health, Key Strategies for States and a Planning Tool which describes key strategies for creating a comprehensive system of supports for young children’s mental health and provides examples from states using these strategies.
Young children with mental health problems miss out on developmental experiences that promote early learning. The behavior problems of some children result in actual expulsion from early care and education settings. For other children, mental health problems and challenging behavior may limit positive engagement in learning by contributing to conflictual relationships with teachers and classmates. Young children experiencing sadness or anxiety may find it hard to fully participate in growth-promoting play and learning activities, for example. At home, young children with problem behaviors may be caught in a cycle of negative interactions with parents that disrupt a nurturing parent-child relationship and further limit support for the child’s healthy development.
These strategies provided within the report include:
- Promoting early childhood mental health (ECMH) in home visiting and parenting programs;
- Enhancing supports for ECMH in early care and education programs;
screening parents for depression;
- Screening children for social-emotional problems;
- Developing a better-trained workforce to address the social-emotional needs of young children;
- Using evidence-based practices and evaluation to promote effective ECMH programs; and
- Supporting the well-being of exceptionally vulnerable children.
Also included is a tool that state planners can use to assess progress and plan steps toward building a strong system of early childhood mental health supports.
To view the entire report, please visit the NCCP website. For information about early childhood mental health supports in Pennsylvania, please visit the PA Key website.
More Trends and Reports
In The News
Goal is to ensure academic success even before school year begins
A recent article in the Williamsport Sun Gazette highlights the importance of education starting long before a child enters the doors of elementary school to ensure academic success.
Laurie Welch, family living educator for the Penn State Cooperative Extension in Clinton County conducted a school readiness survey last year in collaboration with the Clinton County Early Care and Education Initiative and found that many kids are lacking the necessary skills such as fine motor development skills, attentiveness and social adaptation skills necessary to successfully navigate kindergarten.
Initiatives led by the Local Education and Resource Network (LEARN) Team aim to fill the gaps between early childhood education and kindergarten. The LEARN Transition Team implemented a number of initiatives last year to improve the transition to kindergarten for local students thanks to a grant from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).
Read the entire article at the Williamsport Sun Gazette website.
Success Starts With Family Engagement
In a recent news article, Earl Martin Phalen, CEO of Reach Out and Read, shares the connection between an engaged family and a child's success through his personal story of how the support from an engaged family moved him from the foster care system, to a student at Harvard Law School.
We are in an academic crisis in our nation. Fewer minorities are graduating on time and many are starting school significantly behind their peers. Studies have found that only 30% of African American children enter kindergarten with basic language skills (i.e. recognizing letters of the alphabet).
One of the keys to increasing academic achievement is parental and family engagement.
To read the entire article, please visit the Huffington Post website.
In the Community
Children invited to submit artwork for display at area museum
Deadline: September 16
Five county Local Education and Resource Network (LEARN) Teams have partnered with the Please Touch Museum to promote quality early learning during October's PA's Promise for Children Month through the event Art and Play for Everyday. This event will highlight the importance of art and play in early childhood learning environments.
The LEARN Teams from Delaware, Bucks, Philadelphia, Montgomery and Chester counties invite children from these counties to submit artwork representing how they play. Artwork can be a painting, collage or drawing. Deadline for submitting artwork is Friday, September 16, 2011. Selected artwork will be displayed at Please Touch Museum from October 1-12. A limited number of works will be selected and the selected student-artists will be given one complimentary admission ticket to Please Touch Museum.
An invitation to the art opening weekend on October 1-2 is extended to all. Tickets may be purchased online to receive a discount on admission to Please Touch Museum by entering a county specific promo code.
For additional information about the guidelines for submitting artwork, promo codes for ordering tickets and partner information, please see the Art and Play for Everyday announcement.
Publicize your local PA’s Promise month events online
If you are hosting a children’s fair, teacher appreciation event, open house, celebrity reading or other event to celebrate Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children Month in October, please submit to the PA’s Promise for Children website. Your event will be posted on your county’s page and in the PA’s Promise Month’s section of the website.
For more ideas on how to celebrate PA’s Promise month, please visit PA's Promse for Children website, or contact your local LEARN Team.