Pennsylvania's Promise for Children  
Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Welcome to BUILD ECE News

January 18, 2012 

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

Public Review and Comments:  Application by PA Department of Public Welfare under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for FFY 2012, Comments Deadline February 16, 2012

The Department of Public Welfare, Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is inviting public review and comment on the state’s proposed grant application for Federal Fiscal Year 2012 and new and revised policies and procedures under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Pub. L. No 108-446) as amended in 2004. Comments will be accepted through February 16, 2012.  The State is required to submit an application at least annually to receive federal funds under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The state’s application describes the Department’s Early Intervention services for eligible infants and toddlers from birth to 3 years of age and their families, including the state policies, procedures, methods and descriptions as well as assurances and other provisions required by Part C of the IDEA. 

Under 34 CFR §303.208, the State is required to provide notice and an opportunity for public comment on the proposed grant application and conduct public hearings on any new or revised state policies and procedures. Persons who would like to review the proposed application and review the new and revised policies and procedures can access the documents through the Department of Public Welfare website, Department of Education website, or the PaTTAN website under Featured Resources.  Hard copies may be requested by emailing or by calling 717-346-9320.

Written comments regarding the proposed grant application and the new and revised policies and procedures can be directed to Ms. Kim Koteles, Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Bureau of Early Intervention Services, 333 Market Street, 6th Floor, Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333 or at If you need an accommodation or assistance to review the proposed application or to submit comments, please contact Ms. Koteles at 717-214-4129. The state application, along with the new and revised policies and procedures will be available for review through March 4, 2012, with comments accepted through February 16, 2012.

Public Hearings. Additionally, opportunity for oral testimony on the proposed grant application and new or revised policies and procedures will be held by the Department of Public Welfare, Office of Child Development and Early Learning. One written copy of oral testimony at the time of presentation would be appreciated. Presentation should be limited to 15 minutes. Dates, location and time for oral testimony regarding the proposed grant application and new and revised policies and procedures are as follows:

  • February 1, 2012:  PaTTAN King of Prussia
    200 Anderson Road
    King of Prussia, PA 19406
    (10:00am-1:00 p.m.)
  • February 2, 2012:  PaTTAN Harrisburg
    6340 Flank Drive, Suite 600
    Harrisburg, PA 17112
    (2:00-5:00 p.m.)
  • February 6, 2012:  PaTTAN Pittsburgh
    3190 William Pitt Way
    Pittsburgh, PA 15238
    (10:00am-1:00 p.m.)

To schedule an opportunity to present oral testimony or if you are a person with a disability and wish to attend the public hearing and require an accommodation to participate, please contact Kim Koteles at 717-214-4129 or no later than January 25, 2012.

All comments will be reviewed and considered by the Department before submitting the final grant application.


Reminder Regarding New Crib Safety Standards

Child care facilities have until December 28, 2012 to comply with the new U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) federal regulations for crib safety standards. The mandatory crib standards stopped the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs and include requirements that impact all types of cribs by making mattress supports stronger, crib hardware and materials more durable and safety testing more rigorous. All cribs manufactured as of June 28, 2011 are required to meet the new standards. 

For further information, please see the Child Care Provider Guide published by the CPSC and New Crib Standard: Questions and Answers posted to the CSPC website.


Communications Training Available through Expand the Brand Cohort, Application Deadline March 9, 2012

Expand the Brand (EtB) is a professional communications training and development series (C3 with PQAS and Act 48 credit hours available) for early childhood service providers to improve their skills for branding and positioning themselves as leaders in their community. Participants receive clear and consistent messaging about early childhood education and the benefits of quality. Tips, tools, and training for participants to effectively present their messages and engage families, schools, and businesses are also provided. The training entails three workshop sessions, conference calls and homework assignments. Complete information, along with the application, are available at the PA's Promise for Children website. Applications are due by March 9, 2012.


Trends and Reports 

Pennsylvania's efforts highlighted for improving school readiness and success for children

A recent article, Improving School Readiness and Success for Children, by the Social/Emotional Development and Learning (SEDL) Southeast Comprehensive Center reviews the significance of school readiness and factors that help young learners prepare for school, and highlights the efforts by OCDEL as the first state to implement its Early Learning Council and one of the first to establish learning standards for early childhood.

Since research clearly demonstrates that learning begins at birth and that addressing children’s developmental needs early will increase their chances of success, school readiness has come to the national forefront as an entry point for providing interventions that can compensate for early disadvantages and thus improve educational outcomes for children. 

School readiness consists of three components: (1) a child’s readiness for school, (2) schools’ readiness to support the learning and development of every child, and (3) family and community supports and services that contribute to children’s readiness. School readiness also requires high-quality preschool and readiness programs, professional development for the early childhood workforce, alignment of early learning guidelines and standards with content standards, coordinated early childhood data systems, and other efforts targeted to address the needs of young children and their families.

The article also includes six actions that state leaders can take to ensure that children enter kindergarten ready to learn. To view the article, please visit the Southeast Comprehensive Center website.


Encouraging Preschool Children's Physical Activity in Child Care Centers

A new analysis, Societal Values and Policies May Curtail Preschool Children’s Physical Activity in Child Care Centers, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) shows that most children at child care centers, preschools and nursery schools spend hours doing sedentary activities and aren't spending much time playing outside. Possible reasons include concerns about injuries and parents' pressure on schools to pursue academic pursuits.

The analysis highlights that these situations may present an educational opportunity for pediatric clinicians, who interact regularly with families, to guide children’s healthy development. Recognizing that school readiness is a prevalent concern, pediatricians may need to highlight for parents the many learning benefits of outdoor play (better concentration, learning about science, negotiation with peers), and reassure parents that active time does not need to come at the expense of time dedicated to “academics” and “learning.” Also, because sometimes children are dressed unsuitably for active play, pediatricians can remind parents about the importance of “dressing for success,” which in preschool would be dressed for active play. Pediatricians should be careful not to reinforce messages that physical activity is inherently dangerous. Pediatricians can balance these safety messages with an equal dose of health promotion messages about the crucial importance of daily physical activity for both physical and mental health; and for the motor, socio-emotional, and cognitive development of young children.

In Pennsylvania, Keystone Kids Go! has partnered with Head Start to provide child care providers with access to the I Am Moving, I Am Learning initiative, which takes a proactive approach to preventing childhood obesity in preschool children. The available toolkit provides child care providers access to activities that promote healthy behavior and increase the quality and quantity of children’s instant, integrative, and imaginative movement. 

To view the AAP report, please visit the AAP website.  For information about the I Am Moving, I Am Learning initiative, please visit the Keystone Kids Go! website.


Study indicates Head Start programs may increase parents' involvement

Parents of children enrolled in Head Start programs spend more time reading, attending museums, and engaging in academic activities with their children, according to a December 2011 paper, Children’s Schooling and Parents’ Investment in Children: Evidence from the Head Start Impact Study, from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Fathers who don't live with their children spend more time with children when the children have enrolled in Head Start, and continue to do so even after the children have left the program.

The researchers find that while being enrolled in Head Start increases the number of hours a child spends in child care away from parents, parents of these students actually spend more hours investing more deeply in their children and continue to do so after leaving Head Start. The parent-child activities that increased most are those that the researchers deem most likely to impact child human capital directly, such as reading, math, and tracking their child's development.

The researchers provide several hypotheses for the increase, ranging from the straightforward—Head Start encourages parents to volunteer and be engaged in children's development—to the more indirect—the free child care provided by Head Start might reduce parents' time and budget constraints.

For additional information please see the full paper at the National Bureau of Economic Research website.


Additional Trends and Reports



In The News

A Poverty Solution That Starts With a Hug

A recent op-ed by journalist Nicholas D. Kristof in The New York Times makes the connection between the toxic environments of some young children in their early learning years, and how the early intervention work done by programs like Nurse-Family Partnership can make an impact.  Mr. Kristof writes

The implication is that the most cost-effective window to bring about change isn’t high school or even kindergarten — although much greater efforts are needed in schools as well — but in the early years of life, or even before birth...A compelling message from biology is that if we want to chip away at poverty and improve educational and health outcomes, we have to start earlier. For many children, damage has been suffered before the first day of school.

To read the entire article, please visit The New York Times website.


In the Community 

LEARN partners to support Transition to Kindergarten

A recent three-day transition to Kindergarten event for over 200 preschool children from child care centers in the Easton area, coordinated by Easton area child care centers, in conjunction with the Easton Area Public Library, and Family Connection of Easton, as part of Project LEAP (Learning Experiences: an Alternative Program) is a collaborative effort to help preschoolers have a smooth transition into kindergarten. The program focuses on fun activities that enhance reading comprehension, math, and communication skills.

The Local Education and Resource Network (LEARN) Team of Northampton and Lehigh counties donated the books Kindergarten Rocks, by Katie Davis, and The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing to give to each participating child.

For more information about quality early learning opportunities in your county, please contact your LEARN Coordinator.



FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina offers Baby Talk newsletter as resource to support those who work with infants and toddlers

Winter 2012 Healthlink - ECELS Newsletter now available

Video:  Annie Murphy Paul, What we learn before we're born

PA Family Support Alliance offers information on PA's Child Protective Services Law & free training to mandated reporters across the state

National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education announces important change to a safe sleep standard 


Funding Opportunities

NEA Foundation and Nickelodeon Big Help Grants, deadline February 1

Fuel Up to Play 60 grant, deadline February 1


Employment Opportunities

LEARN Grant Liaison, Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13

PA State Oral Health Coordinator Position, PA Head Start Association

Various positions, Community Services for Children, Inc., Allentown

Executive Director, Multi-Language Kids, Bucks County


One Family's Story

Our daughter has grown so much this year. She has adjusted to a structured school environment, so much that she will remind the teachers what needs to be done next! She has learned how to work and play cooperatively with others and grown in confidence with adults and peers. She is well prepared for school.

An Allegheny County mom sharing her daughter's experience in PA Pre-K Counts

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



PA Promise for Children on Facebook 

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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! 











January 19:  Wayne County LEARN Team Meeting, Honesdale
January 21:  All Aboard the Education Express event, Pottsville

January 25: 
Teachers' Open House at the Mutter Museum, Philadelphia

January 25:  Family Literacy Workshop, Coatesville

January 25:  Franklin County LEARN Team Lunch, Mercersburg

January 26:  Readiness Activities for Preschoolers, Tannersville

January 26: Transition to Kindergarten Fair, Reading

January 26:  Cumberland County LEARN Meeting, Carlisle

January 28:  Children's Health Fair at Susquehanna Valley Mall, Selinsgrove
January 31:  Program Administration Scale (PAS) Overview PD Opportunity, PAS: Widening the Lens, Philadelphia

February 4:  Countdown to Kindergarten, State College

February 6:  Pre-K/K Teacher In-Service, Tunkhannock

February 8:  Susquehanna County CARES LEARN Team Meeting, New Milford

February 8:  Webinar:  Ask Dr. Judy: What Neurological Emotional Interventions Promote Growth Mindset, Academic, Social, and Emotional Success?
February 8:  Program Administration Scale (PAS) Overview PD Opportunity, PAS: Widening the Lens, Allentown

February 14: Early Care & Education Coalition of Pike County (ECEC) LEARN Team meeting, Milford

February 14: Bucks County LEARN Team meeting, Newtown

February 15-16: National Summit on Quality in Home Visiting Programs, Washington DC

February 23: Annual Transition to Kindergarten Conference for families, providers and K teachers, Boiling Springs

March:  DuBoise Area School District Kindergarten registration, Duboise

March 6:  Program Administration Scale (PAS) Overview PD Opportunity, PAS: Widening the Lens, Grove City
March 8: Early Learning Network Meeting to focus on Transitioning Into Kindergarten, Allentown
March 12:  Program Administration Scale (PAS) Overview PD Opportunity, PAS: Widening the Lens, Harrisburg
March 12:  PLAY: Understanding & Reinforcing the Motor Development of Infants and Toddlers, Indiana

March 14:  Susquehanna County CARES LEARN Team Meeting, New Milford
March 22:  Program Administration Scale (PAS) Overview PD Opportunity, PAS: Widening the Lens, Morton

March 28-31:  The Global Summit on Childhood, Washington DC

April 4:  Susquehanna County CARES LEARN Team Meeting, New Milford

April 20: 26th Annual Early Childhood Conference, Indiana

May 2-3:  2012 Pennsylvania Head Start Conference, Harrisburg

May 9:  Susquehanna County CARES LEARN Team Meeting, New Milford

May 9:  Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, National 

September 21-22:  2012 PAEYC & Family Support Conference, Pittsburgh

November 18:  PAEYC Early Literacy Conference, Digital Media Literacy and Young Children, Youngwood



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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