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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. 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
- February 2, 2012: PaTTAN Harrisburg
6340 Flank Drive, Suite 600
Harrisburg, PA 17112
- February 6, 2012: PaTTAN Pittsburgh
3190 William Pitt Way
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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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
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