Pennsylvania's Promise for Children  
Early Childhood Education Newsletter


March 19, 2010

Trends and Reports

OCDEL Corner

In the Community

Upcoming Events

Into Action


Higher Education



Trends and Reports


A recent study published by Wiley Interscience tracking the lives of children born between 1968 and 1975 found that poverty during the period when children are infants to age 5 has a lasting detrimental impact on outcomes related to attainment such as earnings and hours worked. Poverty and its attendant stressors have the potential to shape the neurobiology of the developing child in powerful ways, which may lead directly to poorer outcomes later in life. Negative impacts from poverty during this early period could be measured as late as age 37. Subsequent periods of poverty, when children were older, had fewer effects. Greg Duncan, University of California, and colleagues found that an increase in income of $3,000 per year between a child’s prenatal year and fifth birthday is associated with 19 percent higher earnings and an increase in hours worked.

To view the complete study, please visit the website of Wiley Interscience.

Teachers with bachelor’s degrees and specialized training in early childhood education support stronger social-emotional and cognitive development for children, says Linda Darling-Hammond, professor of education at Stanford and co-author of a new report from the Pew Center for the States. She and Danielle Gonzales, formerly of Pre-K Now, examined the research on pre-K teacher preparation, children's learning and program quality to determine how preparedness influences effectiveness. The report recommends that states move toward requiring a bachelor's degree and specialized training in early education, and highlights some models for doing so, stating, "Teacher effectiveness is among the most important factors impacting the quality of pre-kindergarten programs. When teachers hold a bachelor’s degree and have specialized training in early childhood education, they are better able to support children’s healthy development and school readiness. State and federal leaders should implement policies to require and encourage a higher level of pre-k teacher preparation and provide support systems that help educators attain advanced qualifications."

To view the complete report, please visit the website of the Pew Center on the States (pdf). 

A recent brief from the Center for Law and Social Policy looks at the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program's effect on children's health and development, finding that children who are eligible for but not receiving WIC are more likely to be underweight, in poor health and at risk for developmental delays. The program is especially effective at protecting the health of children younger than 12 months. It receives the highest rating from the U.S. Office of Management and Budget's Program Assessment Rating Tool.  The summary of findings include: 

  • WIC decreases the risk of costly health problems and developmental delays for young children.
  • Children who are eligible for but not receiving WIC are more likely to be underweight, in poor health and at risk for developmental delays.
  • WIC is especially effective at protecting the health of children younger than 12 months.

To view the complete brief, please visit the website of the Center for Law and Social Policy (pdf).

A recent article published by Early Childhood Research & Practice examines the play behavior of 70 preschool children and its relationship to television violence and regulatory status. Linear regression analysis showed that violent program content and poor self-regulation were independently and significantly associated with overall and physical aggression. Advanced maternal age, child age, and better self-regulation were independently and significantly associated with pro-social behavior.  According to t-test analysis, two other statistically significant factors associated with overall aggression were gender and the lack of a father figure in the home. Analysis of t-tests showed a statistically significant relationship between children who watched violent content alone and verbal aggression. Multiple regression analysis established that poor self-regulation was the biggest predictor of overall aggression and that overall aggression was significantly related to gender. Results suggest limiting the amount of violent programming that preschool children see.

To view the complete article, please visit the website of Early Childhood Research & Practice.

The National Council of La Raza has released a white paper entitled Responding to the Needs of Young Latino Children: State Efforts to Build Comprehensive Early Learning Systems. Recent policy developments and investments in early care and education (ECE) reflect a renewed commitment to improving the school readiness and, ultimately, the school success of young children. Most importantly, these new proposals present a prime opportunity to incentivize states to design early learning systems that meet the needs Latino children. This white paper examines how states are working to build comprehensive early learning standards and to address issues of professional development to ensure the success of Latino and English language learner children and families. Based on interviews with state leaders, the white paper reveals that states have a long way to go to develop early learning programs that are responsive to the needs of Latino and English language leaner children and families. It outlines recent developments in U.S. policies and federal funding that can help states to better serve young Latino children and their families. 

To view the report, please visit the website of National Council of La Raza.

OCDEL Corner

On September 22, 2010, all facilities that have embedded outdoor equipment must be in compliance with the new requirements relating to protective surfacing.  This marks the end of the two year grandfathering period afforded to facilities that were legally operating when the new requirements for protective surfacing went into effect on September 22, 2008. Those facility operators who were provided additional time to comply with the new requirements should be finalizing their plans in view of the fast approaching September 22, 2010 deadline. 

The new requirements that were effective September 22, 2008 are as follows:

  • Outdoor equipment that requires embedded mounting must be mounted over a loose-fill or unitary playground protective surface covering that meets the recommendations of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (see 55 Pa. Code §§3270.102(c), 3280.102(c) and 3290.102(c)).
  • Pea gravel and other materials with a diameter of less than 1 inch may not be used in spaces where infants or toddlers receive care (see 55 Pa. Code §§3270.102(e), 3280.102(e) and 3290.102(e)).
  • A facility that was lawfully operating or registered as of September 22, 2008, was given until September 22, 2010, to comply with the new protective surfacing requirements (see 55 Pa. Code §§3270.233, 3280.215 and 3290.212). 

For further information regarding the requirement, please see the regulation for child care centers, group child care homes or family child care homes and the Office of Child Development and Early Learning’s statement of policy entitled Playground Protective Surface Covering (pdf). 

Contact your Regional Office of Child Development and Early Learning (pdf) for additional information.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a voluntary recall of the Graco Harmony™ High Chairs. The screws holding the front legs of the high chair can loosen and fall out and/or the plastic bracket on the rear legs can crack causing the high chair to become unstable and tip over unexpectedly. This poses a fall hazard to children.

This recall involves all Harmony™ High Chairs. The Harmony™ high chair was manufactured from November 2003 through December 2009 and is no longer in production. The model number can be found on the label that is located on the underside of the foot rest.  To view all recalled Graco Harmony™ High Chair model numbers, please visit the website of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Consumers should immediately stop using the Harmony™ high chair and contact Graco to receive a free repair kit.  To order a free repair kit, contact Graco toll-free at (877) 842-3206 or visit the website for Graco. For additional information, contact Graco at (800) 345-4109 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday.

In the Community

In the March 15, 2010 Erie Times News article (pdf), vice president of Commercial Lending with Eriebank, Betsy Bort links prosperous communities and thriving businesses to a qualified workforce, of which the first step is quality early education. 

Bort urges the community and Pennsylvania's leader to pay particular attention to young children's needs, stating "When money is tight, we have to make tough choices. When our economy suffers, we have to cut back. But one area that we cannot cut is the education of our children from birth. If we cut early education, we are increasing our costs for special education, remediation, grade retention, public assistance and corrections.  If we cut early education, we cut our children's future potential, which hurts our local businesses and our local economy. Access to quality early education is absolutely essential to help our young children bridge the achievement gap, break the cycle of poverty, and reach their promise."

In a March 4, 2010 Philadelphia Inquirer, Letter to the Editor (pdf), Philadelphia District Attorney, R. Seth Williams makes note of recent meeting of Schools Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, and others on February 24, 2010 to begin the process of identifying potential solutions to Philadelphia's youth violence crisis. 

Williams conveys that one of the key solutions to curbing violent youth crime in the city's schools is to ensure that more of Philadelphia's children are earning their high school diplomas, stating, "Fortunately, many efforts are under way in Pennsylvania to increase graduation rates. I urge Philadelphia's state delegation to continue to fight youth violence and help our children succeed by working to ensure maximum funding in the state 2010-2011 budget for high-quality early-education programs like Pre-K Counts and Head Start."

Blair County is coming together to celebrate the National Week of the Young Child during April 2010!  It's a time to recognize the needs of young children and to thank the adults involved in their education and care.  Celebrate by attending all of the fun and exciting events coordinated by the Blair County Community Engagement Group, and other sponsoring organizations in the community! 

Events include:

  • 5K and 2 Mile fund Walk, April 3
  • Free Magic Show by Michael DePrio, April 8
  • "Pay it Forward" Blood Drive, April 12
  • "What a Treasure", April 16
  • Tyrone Family Fun Blast, April 17
  • Healthy Kids Day, April 17
  • Free Family Sake, April 18
  • Story time with "Daisy Duke", April 20
  • Story Time in Rhyme, April 23
  • Poetry of HOPE, April 23
  • Fancy Nancy Poetry Workshop, April 23

For additional information of these exciting events, including times and locations, please see the Celebrate Young Children 2010 flyer (pdf), or contact the Blair County Community Engagement Coordinator at 814-944-0884.

In an effort to build public awareness for early childhood education the Northampton and Lehigh counties Community Engagement Group will celebrate Week of the Young Child, April 11-17, with a variety of events being hosted throughout the Lehigh Valley.  Both the Northampton County Commissioner’s office and the Lehigh County Commissioner’s office will be issuing proclamations recognizing Week of the Young Child at a kick-off event on April 8 being held at the Moravian Book Shop in downtown Bethlehem.  This is just one of the many activities the Community Engagement Group has coordinated to focus public attention on this week. 

For additional details about the Week of the Young events in Northampton & Lehigh counties, please see the brochure (pdf), or contact the Community Engagement Coordinator at 610-253-5376.

Check for local WOYC events in your community on the PA Promise for Children website and click “Early Education in my County.” Events are listed on the right side of each county page.


Families are learning about all aspects of financial planning in Susquehanna County through a special four sessions program called “Right on the Money”.

Penn State Cooperative Extension,  Susquehanna County CARES and the Susquehanna County Literacy Program have teamed up to provide the classes for parents and their children ages 4-8.  While the adults spend time examining everything from their spending habits to keeping better financial records, the children learn about the value of money, how to save and the differences between needs and wants.  The financial literacy project is another way of promoting quality family education in the rural county. The program, sponsored by funding from a United Way of Susquehanna County grant, is free to participants.

For additional information, please contact Susquehanna County CARES at

Upcoming Events

Join the excitement when the 7th Annual Family Fun Fest celebrates Spring! On March 20, 2010, Indiana County Community Engagement and the Children's Advisory Commission of Indiana County will once again sponsor this popular event for young children and their families. From 10 AM until 3PM, Indiana Mall will be the place where a kid can explore and learn through play and fun. The Theme for the 7th Annual Family Fun Fest is: Spring F.L.I.N.G. (Fitness, Laughter, Invention, Nature, and go Green).
Human services agencies, children's organizations, businesses, and civic groups will incorporate the Spring F.L.I.N.G. theme and provide arts, crafts, games, stories, dancing, hands-on activities, and more. Plus, parents will have the opportunity to collect valuable information on services for children and families in Indiana County.
For additional information, please visit the Fun Fest Web Page.

Join the excitement as Pennsylvania kicks off the fourth annual One Book, Every Young Child early literacy program on Tuesday, April 13, 4:00-6:00 p.m. at the East Wing Rotunda, The State Capitol of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, PA.

Hear from some of the collaborating agencies who all believe strongly in early childhood literacy and have helped bring to fruition this important initiative.  Also joining the event will be author and illustrator Jane and Will Hillenbrand, whose book, What a Treasure!, was chosen as this year’s selection for the One Book, Every Young Child program. They will be available to sign copies of their book.

One Book, Every Young Child is made possible through a collaboration of the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Please Touch Museum, State Museum of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Library Association, Pennsylvania Center for the Book, Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children, The Pennsylvania Child Care Association, PennSERVE, HSLC/Access PA and Verizon. This program was supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by Pennsylvania’s Office of Commonwealth Libraries.

Pennsylvania Libraries is sponsoring a celebration for Pennsylvania to recognize innovative library programming during the Pennsylvania Early Learning Forum on Wednesday, April 14 at Hilton Harrisburg, Market Square, Harrisburg, PA.

9:30 a.m. Coffee and Registration
10:00 a.m. Welcome and Introduction
10:15 a.m. Keynote by Jill Stamm, Ph.D., Co-Founder of New Directions Institute for Infant Brain Development. She is also an author and speaker on early brain development and the connection of healthy brain growth to later learning and school achievement.
11:45 a.m. Lunch
12:45 p.m. Jane and Will Hillenbrand, author and illustrator of What a Treasure!
1:30 p.m. Best Practices Award Ceremony for PA Libraries
2:00 p.m. Book signing by the Hillenbrands (copies will be available for sale)

Space is limited for this event. RSVP by Friday, April 9 by emailing Brigette Plummer at, by phone at 717.232.1898 or by fax at 717.236.6793. Please mention any special dietary or other needs at that time.

The fifth annual National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is on Thursday, May 6, 2010. For the first time, the emphasis is on the social and emotional development of children from birth through age 8. Awareness Day 2010 will focus on the importance of positive mental health to a child’s healthy development from the moment of birth and encourage the following actions:

  • Integrate mental health into every environment that affects a child’s development from birth
  • Nurture the social and emotional well-being of children from birth
  • Look for and discuss milestones of a child’s social and emotional development from birth

Highlighting the observance will be a Nationwide Art Action. The theme is “My Feelings Are a Work of Art.” Communities across the United States are invited to engage young children in art activities to help adults and young children talk about having and expressing feelings. The American Art Therapy Association will provide materials to help parents, teachers and caregivers work with young children.

To register online and receive the necessary materials and support, please visit the website of American Art Therapy Association for ideas on how to plan events for May 6 and for graphics which can be used for publicity in individual communities. More information is also available from the website of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). SAMHSA is the sponsor of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day each year.

Into Action

The Pennsylvania Community Providers Association (PCPA) Conference Committee is soliciting workshop proposals for the association conference to be held October 5 - 8 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort. This premiere statewide event strives to provide participants with a variety of educational opportunities spanning clinical, administrative, operational, and regulatory realms. Information about proposal content, deadlines, and requirements of presenters are outlined below.

The Call for Proposals form outlines expectations for submissions and includes the need for a workshop overview, abstract, and development of measurable learning objectives. Proposals are due in the PCPA office by 6:00 p.m. March 26. Proposals must be submitted electronically. No proposals will be accepted via mail or facsimile. Proposals received after the deadline will not be considered for inclusion in the program. Electronic confirmation will be sent upon proposal receipt.

The conference offers diverse educational tracks within the structure of the event. Proposal submissions are needed in every area. Tracks include adult mental health, adult and children's drug and alcohol services, developmental/intellectual disabilities, children's services, financial management, human resources, agency and business operations, and leadership. Presentations are encouraged which assist community-based providers in developing and maintaining stable, effective, quality treatments, services, and agencies in an industry where change is constant. If a proposal is selected for inclusion in the 2010 conference, the presenter will be notified by May 15. Additional Information about writing objectives is available at the PA Providers website and the full announcement (pdf).  Questions about the submission of proposals may be directed electronically to conference coordinator at


Community Services of Venango County is currently interviewing for Early Head Start ERSEA Coordinator for Crawford County.  Responsible for planning, developing, implementing, monitoring and coordinating all aspects of Eligibility, Recruitment, Selection, Enrollment and Attendance (ERSEA) as outlined in the Head Start Performance Standards. This is a full time, full year position for a Home Based Early Head Start program located in Crawford County. BA/BS Degree and three years experience in social work, human services, family services, or related experience preferred. Knowledge of Crawford County social service agencies and local programs along with computer skills, valid driver’s license and proof of insurance, as well as Act 34, 73 and 151 clearances required. Send letter of interest, resume and transcript to address below.

Community Services of Venango County will soon begin interviewing for: Six Early Head Start Home Visitors.  Provide in-home weekly early, continuous, intensive and comprehensive child development and family support services that will enhance the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of children.  Provide prenatal education and promote healthy pregnancies.  Provide support for parents in their role as their child’s “first and best teacher and greatest advocate”. BA/BS in Early Childhood Education, Special Education, Mental Health or related family services field.  Prior experience working with families and children in their home environment preferred. Knowledge of Crawford County social service agencies and local programs along with computer skills, valid driver’s license and proof of insurance, as well as Act 34, 73 and 151 clearances required. Send letter of interest, resume and transcript to:

Early Head Start Director, Crawford Program
Community Services of Venango County, Inc.
206 Seneca St.
Oil City, PA 16301

Hildebrandt Learning Centers currently has full-time Assistant Director/Program Specialist positions available at various locations. 

Qualifications include: A Bachelor’s degree with concentration in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, or early childhood special education, which addresses child development and learning from birth through kindergarten (must meet NAEYC accreditation standards and criteria, be familiar with creative curriculum and Keystone STARS).  Three years documented experience working with children.

For a listing of locations, as well as benefits and contact information, please see the Open Positions document (pdf).

Higher Education

The Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, the Pennsylvania Key, and PennAEYC issue an invitation to the 3rd Annual Higher Education Institute on Diversity, The Future is Here: Developing Responsive PreK- Grade 4 Educators & Learners, to be held on May 24-25, 2010 at the Penn Stater, State College, PA.

The purpose of the institute is to provide faculty, administrators, and other professional development providers with methods, research, and instructional strategies associated with meeting the unique educational needs of all learners in Pre-K through Grade 4. A specific focus will be on racially, ethnically, linguistically, ability, and socio-economically diverse learners and their families.

Areas to be addressed through institute sessions include:

  • Effective approaches for addressing Chapter 49-2 requirements
  • Building effective collaboration with diverse partners
  • Assessment of the performance and progress of all learners
  • Building opportunities for high quality inclusionary practices and programs
  • Emerging issues and research related to preparing current and future personnel to support all learners in Pre-K through Grade 4
  • Resources and instructional strategies for developing responsive educators

For additional information, including registration instructions, please see the 3rd Annual Higher Education Institute, The Future is Here:  Developing Responsive Pre-K to Grade 4 Educators & Learners brochure (pdf). 


The 2010 Census & Children

Children have been undercounted in every census since the first one in 1790. Local communities rely on census information in planning for schools, child care, health, and other critical services. The Annie E. Casey Foundation is supporting the Census Bureau's efforts to ensure that parents and child care providers count their babies and young children on their 2010 Census forms so all children can benefit tomorrow from community services.

Use the Census to incorporate concepts of history, collecting, data analysis, and graphing into classrooms. The U.S. Census Bureau has gathered up a nice collection of lesson plans, activities, and fact sheets. The "Census for Kids" section features interactive counting and memory games, quizzes, state facts, and more, for kids K-5.

To find out ways to incorporate the U.S. Census in classroom teachable moments, visit the website of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Every day, parents ask professionals for advice on buying toys for their children. Often, shoppers are wary of buying toys for children with special needs. However, selecting a toy for any child begins with two steps: first, learning what the child is interested in, and second, assessing his or her skill level. Let's Play: A Guide to Toys for Children with Special Needs is a helpful educational tool designed to assist with this selection process. After reviewing this guide and doing your homework, visit toy shelves (both online and at your local retailer) and sample the great products designed to excite, engage and enthrall your child. Experience with them the joy and happiness of play!

To find out additional information, please visit the website of

On-site training/technical assistance opportunities are available for Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) networks, programs, parents and their collaborators. These trainings are presented by the FRIENDS National Resource Center and are offered to states wanting to learn more about involving and sustaining parents in leadership roles for programs and policy development.  Each training is custom designed for the site and the target audience. 

For additional information, including the list of available topics, please see the flyer (pdf), or visit the website of the FRIENDS National Resource Center.

Writing is a terrific way for children to express their thoughts, creativity, and uniqueness. It is also a fundamental way in which children learn to organize ideas. And learning to write well helps children to be better readers.  When engaging in writing, young children often mirror what they see around them; adults and older children writing lists, notes, text messaging. They are observing the way writing is used in our everyday lives.

Now families can learn ways to encourage writing at home with helpful suggestions from Reading Rocket

Babies and toddlers are working on the very important skills of learning how to express their needs and feelings in acceptable ways and understanding rules and limits. However, these skills evolve over time, which means that children under age 3 simply cannot be expected to show much self-control. So what does this mean for parents and providers? Having to cope with challenging behaviors! 

To learn how to identify the root causes of a child’s behavior and develop effective approaches to dealing with them, ZERO TO THREE has created a new Web resource developed with the support of the Carl and Roberta Deutsch Foundation.

To view the information, please visit the website of ZERO TO THREE


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