June 11, 2010
Trends and Reports
In the Community
Trends and Reports
The most recent issue of the Society for Research in Child Development's Social Policy Report provides a summary of selected recent studies on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis, prevalence, and intervention.
Recent prevalence rates for autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are now estimated at about 1 in 110 children in the U.S. Increases in public awareness and research funding in response to the growing numbers of children and adults with this disorder have led to numerous important scientific advances over the last several years. Nevertheless, because ASD remains a diagnosis that is defined completely on the basis of behavior, diagnostic assessment is both complex and expensive. Appropriate interventions and services are also multi-faceted and costly, and because of the pervasive nature of the disorder, are often required in some form across the lifespan. In the absence of standard societal mechanisms to pay for appropriate assessment and treatment, families must personally shoulder many of the costs associated with securing appropriate services for their children. This Social Policy Report summarizes selected recent studies on diagnosis, prevalence, and intervention, and discusses strategies for designing social policies to help improve the outcomes and independence of children and adults with ASDs.
Autism Spectrum Disorders: Diagnosis, Prevalence, and Services for Children and Families (2010) (pdf), by Catherine Lord and Somer L. Bishop is available online.
Immediate Economic Impact of Investments in Early Childhood Education
Two recent sources have recently highlighted evidence from business leaders of the positive impact of investments in early care and education on a local economy.
Infants Take Self-Regulation Into Their Own Hands
Language serves as a mental tool set for self-regulation, allowing us to reflect on and modify our own behavior. Children as young as three years talk out loud to themselves to regulate their behavior, using self-regulatory self-talk. Can preverbal children use infant signs as self-talk for the purpose of self-regulation? The author, Claire Vallotton, shares observations from a child development center using the Baby Signs® Program. Infants and toddlers use signs to request comfort in regulatory interactions with caregivers, and they use signs when alone to modify their own behavior in emotionally challenging situations. Infant signs provide infants with the cognitive tools to participate actively in their own regulation.
To view the article, please visit the ZERO TO THREE website.
Budget Update - Budget negotiations begin
Now that it is June, budget negotiations are heating up. Last week, Governor Rendell met with Legislative caucus leaders to begin discussions of the amount of money that will be available for the 2010-2011. Based on monthly revenues, Pennsylvania's budget deficit will be around $1.3 billion. The Governor and legislative leaders have begun discussions of ways to find or raise more revenue to fill the deficit. The deadline for a final budget is June 30. For more information on the budget negotiations and ways you can have your voice heard during the process, visit the Pennsylvania's Promise for Children website or sign up for weekly alerts.
The Department of Public Welfare issues weekly messages highlighting ways in which its programs and services are protecting our most vulnerable citizens and helping them become more independent and have a high quality of life. The messages are posted each Friday on the DPW website and are linked through Build.
The Office of Child Development and Early Learning is pleased to announce that the following programs began providing Early Head Start services as of the end of April 2010. Early Head Start is a voluntary, Home or Center-based program offered to Pennsylvania infants and toddlers and their families. The addition of Early Head Start to the OCDEL continuum of high quality early childhood services will support strong, locally coordinated, family-responsive infant and toddler programming that is provided by a quality, committed network of providers who have demonstrated capacity to deliver excellence in responsive services. The elevated standards for the program will ensure a high return on the investment made by providing a strong foundation to pregnant women, infants and toddlers that will later support children’s academic success. A good quality of life, quality jobs and a strong economy for Pennsylvania require that every Pennsylvanian be provided with opportunities. Early education through PA Early Head Start can open doors of opportunity for young children to be healthy and successful.
ARIN IU Armstrong County - (Home-based)
During the month of June, the Bureau of Certification Services is transitioning from four to three regional designations as follows:
Telephone numbers and office addresses remain unchanged. OCDEL is working to prepare a new regional map and will share the new map when it is available. OCDEL extends thanks everyone for their patience during this transition.
Keystone Babies Program for Pennsylvania Families
The Office of Child Development and Early Learning is pleased to announce that the following Keystone STARS 3 and 4 child care centers began offering Keystone Babies in May 2010. Keystone Babies is a voluntary, center-based program offered to Pennsylvania infants and toddlers and their families who also receive Child Care Works subsidy. The goal is to add more high quality care and education for Pennsylvania’s infants and toddlers and offer supportive resources to their families. The Keystone Babies programs involve parents and other family members in the early learning experience and support the relationship between each child and their family. Approximately 208 children in classrooms are being served through the Keystone Babies Program.
The following providers and their locations are participating in the Keystone Babies program.
Can you believe that summer is almost here? A message for providers
Now is the time to review your preparation for summertime activities and have plans in place for the new activities that summer brings. The following are tips from OCDEL’s Bureau of Certification Services.
Heat Precautions: Make it a priority to see that children do not become overheated or experience overexposure to the sun. Offer children plenty of liquids on a regular basis. Weather that poses a significant health risk includes a heat index at or above 90 degrees F, as identified by the National Weather Service. Check out the online heat index calculator.
Playground surfaces can be heated to excessive temperatures when exposed to direct sunlight, including ground surfacing, slides, swings and other metal surfaces. OCDEL staff have received reports of children who were seriously burned as a result of contact with hot playground surfaces. Check the temperature of ground surfacing and equipment prior to use by children. Children should wear appropriate footwear to protect their feet while playing. Playground surfaces are especially prone to high temperatures on days with a high ultraviolet (UV) index.
The UV Index indicates the strength of solar UV radiation on a scale from 1 (low) to 11+ (extremely high). Find the UV Index and UV Alert forecasts for your area by visiting the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) SunWise Web site. Enter your ZIP Code to find the UV forecast for your area and whether there is a UV Alert. Additionally, the SunWise Web Site will direct you to EPA’s EnviroFlash Web site, where you can sign up to receive the daily UV Index and occasional UV Alerts directly by e-mail.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website has general information for people of all ages online at Extreme Heat: A Prevention Guide to Promote Your Personal Health and Safety.
Sunscreen: The application of sunscreen is a good precaution to keep children safe from harmful effects of the sun. For each child in child care to whom you apply sunscreen, you should:
Water Activity: Water sprinklers, hoses and individual water containers are recommended alternatives to swimming pool activities. If you do provide pool activities as part of your facility program, please be aware of the child care regulations regarding staff: child ratio, lifeguard requirements, water safety training and emptying wading pools.
Transportation: Never leave a child alone in a vehicle. If your facility provides transportation, be sure you have procedures for staff to follow to ensure that every child is removed from the vehicle. Now is a great time to review transportation procedures with staff. All of us have heard tragic stories about children who died after being left in a closed vehicle on a hot day. Studies show that sunlight can heat car interiors to lethal temperatures in just 30 minutes, even if the weather is relatively cool.
Maintain the proper staff: child ratios when transporting children. Remember, when transporting children who do not yet attend kindergarten, the driver does not count in the staff:child ratio.
Please remember that the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Code and the child care facility regulations prohibit early learning facilities from using an 11-15 passenger vans to transport children unless the vehicle was titled and registered as a bus prior to March 1, 1993.
Field Trips: Some facilities increase off-site field trips during the summer months. If your facility plans to make field trips part of the activities, take extra care to review your procedures. Remember to carefully account for every child at various times throughout the field trip. Be sure each staff person knows each child in his assigned group and is present with the group at all times. Maintain staff:child ratios at all times.
Please take some time to reacquaint yourself with the regulatory requirements that impact the care you provide during the summer months. You can find the child care facility regulations online at: Child Care Centers, Group Child Care Homes, Family Child Care Homes.
For questions about the child care regulations, please contact your Regional Office of Child Development and Early Learning. Thank you for caring for Pennsylvania’s children. Have a safe and happy summer!
In the Community
The Schuylkill County CEG Team has launched a new website! The new site is a one-stop-shop for information regarding quality early childhood education in Schuylkill County. It's formatted to be simple enough for even the novice computer user, but also includes the comprehensive materials needed for the CEG Team and county providers.
The site contains information for parents, providers, legislators, community members and the Schuylkill Community Engagement Team members. The Schuylkill Report Card, brochure, goals and activities are included, as well as information about the Pennsylvania Early Childhood Education initiatives, including Keystone STARS and PA Pre-K Counts providers.
For more information about the working being done in Schuylkill County by the Community Engagement Team, please contact Tammy Spevack at 570-544-8959.
Pennsylvania has made attracting science, technology, engineering and math jobs to the commonwealth a key strategy for our economic health. If we really want a workforce that can fill these jobs, we need to continue our investment in quality early education programs such as Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Keystone STARS, Child Care Works, Early Intervention, Nurse-Family Partnership, Head Start Supplemental and Parent-Child Home Program.
Science, technology, engineering and math — STEM — jobs are the fastest-growing jobs in every industry and are predicted to outpace other occupations by more than 50 percent. As you might expect, nearly 80 percent of jobs projected from 2006-2016 in medical, computer systems and accounting sectors will require a significant background in science and technology. But did you know that 64 percent of jobs in nonresidential building construction, for example, also will require a STEM education? These jobs aren’t just for Ph.D.s and engineers; they impact every skill level and every sector of the economy.
Pennsylvania needs a pipeline of individuals effectively trained in science, technology, engineering and math to retain good-paying jobs and build a strong economy. In order to learn science and math, you need to be able to read, to be creative, to work independently and have the self-confidence to explore and ask questions. The foundation for all of these skills is formed in early childhood.
In the first five years, brain plasticity is high, with the neural circuits for vision, hearing, language and higher cognitive function peaking in the first two years of age. Experience affects which neural circuits remain and which by age 6 will be “pruned” or cut away. The first five years also are crucial for building the “soft skills” such as following directions and working with others. These soft skills are self-reinforcing and have a major impact on the child’s self-confidence and outlook on the future.
Pennsylvania’s early education programs provide the quality early learning experiences that children need for brain development and for building the preacademic and social skills they need to succeed in STEM education and careers.
For example, all of Pennsylvania’s early education programs such as Keystone STARS, PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental, Early Intervention, Nurse-Family Partnership and Parent-Child Home Program use the commonwealth’s Early Learning Standards as the basis for learning activities and child observation. Pennsylvania’s early learning standards provide research-based guidance to teachers and parents on how to support a child’s progress in building language, reading, math, science and social skills from birth through second grade.
Pennsylvania’s concerted effort to create a quality early education continuum with quality design, implementation and accountability is producing excellent results for our young children that will yield returns to our communities for years to come. In Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts last year, for example, more than four times as many children were proficient in mathematical thinking, and five times as many children were proficient in scientific thinking by the end of the school year. Nearly every child (99 percent) showed age-appropriate or emerging age-appropriate proficiency in literacy, numeracy and social skills after attending the PA Pre-K Counts program. About 485 children in Dauphin County participated in PA Pre-K Counts last year.
We cannot wait to invest in our young children. Recent studies by the American Association for the Advancement of Science report that the U.S. science and engineering labor pool is getting older and that interest in these fields among younger people has waned. In order to keep that labor force strong and globally competitive, it is essential to recruit and cultivate future scientists and engineers into the pool of talent.
Although Dauphin County is rated as a “high risk” county for children failing in school by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, only about 43 percent of children under age 5 in the county participate in publicly funded quality early education programs. Continued investments by the commonwealth in early childhood education programs are critical to meeting the goal of attracting high-quality jobs to Pennsylvania.
Mel Schiavelli, President and CEO, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Cumberland County Sheriff Speaks Out on Importance of Education
I was pleased by the recent attention given to the benefits of quality early learning programs by business and military officials in the news article "Breakfast addresses childhood education" (May 7, 2010).
Law enforcement leaders have also realized for some time that public education, especially early education, is an important component in the fight against crime and increasing prison populations that will cost Pennsylvania hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars in the future, near and long term.
It is obvious to me that we must be doing everything possible to stop criminal behavior before it starts. Compelling scientific evidence and common sense clearly indicates that, in the long run, educational investments in at-risk children and families are critical to cutting crime. Among the most effective programs that keep kids from becoming criminals are quality pre-kindergarten and early learning programs.
As legislators and the administration negotiate the state budget, I am hopeful that they will consider maintaining funding for Pre-K Counts, Nurse-Family Partnership, Head Start Supplemental and other components of Pennsylvania’s early learning continuum. Doing so should help in the long term to alleviate these unsustainable prison costs.
Ron Anderson, Sheriff
Terrific Transitions in Greene County
The Greene County Community Engagement Team through transition grant monies, along with the staff and administration of West Greene School District, worked together to provide transition resources to children enrolled in kindergarten for the fall of 2010. The May 2010 workshops were a huge success which was reflected in the attendance of children and parents.
The transition activities not only incorporated the incoming kindergarten children but also the children who are currently attending kindergarten at their respective schools. The current kindergarten classes illustrated and wrote a transition handbook to help the incoming kindergartens familiarize themselves with the people, places and things they will be experiencing on a daily basis in kindergarten. Each child who attended kindergarten registration received a copy of the transition handbook.
For additional information about the work being done by the Greene County Community Engagement Team, please contact Angie Van Dyne at 724-852-5276 x522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This call is designed to provide Keystone STARS 3 & 4 Family and Group Child Care Providers, Pennsylvania Early Head Start programs, and Keystone Babies programs with information on the Early Learning Network (ELN) and its implementation across the state. The Work Sampling System and the Ounce Scale are a vital part of ELN. The call will discuss how these child outcome databases will be linked with other electronic information currently collected about programs, providers, families and children.
The call is designed for Keystone STARS 3 & 4 Family and Group Child Care Providers, and Directors or Administrators of Pennsylvania Early Head Start and Keystone Babies programs. The call is also appropriate for any program that should be entering data into PELICAN/ELN but has not requested access to PELICAN/ELN.
Participants will be provided with:
The conference call will be one hour in length and will take place June 15, 2010 from 6-7 pm. To Register, visit the Pennsylvania Early Learning Keys to Quality website and access the professional development calendar. You will receive a confirmation e-mail that you have registered for the event and a follow up e-mail with the call-in number and pass code for the conference call.
Have you ever noticed how different boys are in our classrooms? They usually play rougher, bigger, and louder and many times its boys we have trouble engaging throughout the day. Come to this workshop as we a take deeper look at boys and our practices that sometimes isolate and disengage them. In this workshop we will also look at practical ways to embrace boys in early childhood.
For additional information, please contact Mary Ann Oyler, PSU Cooperative Extension at email@example.com.
Are you at the end of your rope? If so, tie a knot in it and swing! Participants will be able to define stress and recognize what triggers it. We will learn the effects of stress and the negative health implications it has on us.
For additional information, please contact Cristin Cates, NE Regional Key at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-437-6000, x2383.
We can't teach and evaluate what we cannot recognize. This session will focus on how educators need to identify the idiosyncratic nature of children from atypical cultures. Participants will identify the cultural needs of their students and practice creating classroom activities to acknowledge and applaud diversity.
For additional information, please contact Beth Zewe, Edinboro University of PA at Zewe@edinboro.edu or 814-732-2544.
For additional information, please contact Jessica Kerns at Jessica@cdaclass.org or 215-467-2484.
The Value of Play: To Play or Not to Play--June 21, Greensburg
Children are pressured earlier and earlier to learn and to succeed. Missing from the criteria for success are being a good player, creating an innovative play theme, sustaining an imaginary role for an extended period of time, or resourcefully solving a problem. The dilemma over play and its value to learning and overall development in the home and classroom persists. In this workshop participants will learn the value of play in all areas of development.
For additional information, please contact PAEYC at email@example.com.
This presentation is an opportunity for you to begin to understand how a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder may experience the world around them. Through sensory activities we will explore what children with autism might experience on a daily basis. We will also discuss the importance of the teacher/parent relationship.
For additional information, please contact Melissa Nagengast, Harrisburg Area Community College at firstname.lastname@example.org or (717) 780-1931.
Going Green in Early Childhood--June 22, Camp Hill
In this session we will explore and reflect upon the value of the three fundamental elements of "going green." Participants will outline the changes they can make, professionally and personally, in order to ensure a positive universal impact. Participants will share ideas, discuss strategies for implementation, and learn through one another's past challenges and successes of community change.
For additional information, please contact Dara Reed, Capital Area Early Childhood Training Institute at email@example.com or 717-236-1381.
Nominations Requested for the 2010 EIFA Family Involvement Advocacy Award
Deadline: June 22, 2010
The Early Intervention Family Alliance (EIFA) has announced the opening of nominations for the 2010 EIFA Family Involvement Advocacy Award. It is the intent of this award to honor professionals who do not have a personal and/or family experience with Early Intervention service; but have provided outstanding support of meaningful family involvement on behalf of infants and toddlers and their families. Last year, the award was given to Sherida Falvey from Michigan. The award will again be presented at the National Office of Special Education Early Childhood conference.
Nominations need to be received for this award by June 22, 2010. Letters of nomination and accompanying letters of support need to be submitted electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To be eligible for this award, individuals or organizations must have engaged in activities that result in the following outcomes:
To submit a nomination, please submit a letter containing the following information:
For more information on the EIFA award, contact Roxane Romanick at 701-258-7421 or email@example.com.
The part-time Early Childhood Education Grants Coordinator will provide services related to meeting the requirements of the Early Childhood grant(s). This position is primarily responsible for curriculum development, recruitment, coordination of enrollment, scheduling classes, budgeting, and reporting grant expenses in compliance with all grant reporting requirements. The coordinator works cooperatively with the grant funding source personnel, registrar’s office, business office, admissions office, bursar’s office, financial aid office, credit and non-credit faculty, and all others as needed. This part-time position is grant-funded and, as such, is a temporary, 12-month assignment beginning July 1, 2010 and ending June 30, 2011. Please see the complete listing of requirements and job duties (pdf).
Criminal background clearance required as a condition of employment. Starting wage is $18.00/hour with no benefits. Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcripts, copy of PQAS certification and the names and telephone numbers of at least three (3) professional references to: Pennsylvania Highlands Community College, Assistant Director of Human Resources, firstname.lastname@example.org, 101 Community College Way, Johnstown, PA 15904.
Priority consideration will be given to candidates whose material is received on or before June 22, 2010. However, applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
This position will implement curriculum for the program, provide tutorial support, supervise children, and communicate with parents. A successful Lead Teacher must be able to perform each essential duty, and meet the following qualifications and requirements:
For additional details, please contact Andrew Randall, Director of Public Relations, Today's Child Learning Centers, Inc. at (610) 583-2273 x121 or email@example.com.
This position will plan and implement curriculum for the program, provide tutorial support, supervise children, and communicate with parents and supervises staff. A successful Curriculum Director must be able to perform each essential duty, and meet the following qualifications and requirements:
For additional details, please contact Andrew Randall, Director of Public Relations, Today's Child Learning Centers, Inc. at (610) 583-2273 x121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ruddie Memorial Youth Foundation has announced that it is accepting applications for evaluation grants for innovative youth programs (birth to 25 years of age) to fund studies that document successful programs. Grants are designed to fund the evaluation of innovative youth programs or services with the purpose of identifying which programs and services are most effective. The foundation seeks to promote programs that are innovative and have a potentially replicable service concept; are offered by small or medium nonprofit organizations (operating budget of less than $5 million); promote scholastic, professional, athletic, and/or other excellence in youth; and provide youth with new opportunities for health, personal growth, and success in the greater metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and other major cities.
For additional information, please visit the website for The Ruddie Memorial Youth Foundation.
BI-LO Charities is providing grants to nonprofit organizations with a focus to support children, education, and hunger relief. BI-LO gives preference to organizations that seek community partnership that leverage additional support and meet identified needs in their community. BI-LO Charities provides funding in the form of cash donations, BI-LO gift cards and in-kind support. BI-LO Charities offers cash grants for a one-year period, unless a multi-year commitment is agreed upon.
For additional information, please visit the website for BI-LO Charities.
The Early Childhood Education Linkage System (ECELS) wants to keep everyone safe this summer. Water play offers wonderful developmental learning opportunities. However, early educators must control the risks of drowning and spread of infection from contaminated water. It takes less than 30 seconds for a young child to begin to drown. More than 250 children less than 5 years of age drown each year. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that most children age 4 and older should learn to swim. Children between 1 and 4 years of age may benefit from formal swimming lessons. However, nobody should rely on a child’s swimming skills to become less vigilant about supervising a child in the water. To learn more about how to reduce the risk of drowning, go to the websites of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the AAP. Search for “drowning” on both sites. Preventing bad germs from spreading through contact with water requires vigilance too. Early learning practitioners must pay attention to controlling both of these risks.
Recreational Water Illnesses or RWIs increase when children play in communal water. Swimming pools that groups use should have mechanical filtration and chemical disinfectant systems. Operators of swimming pools must check and adjust disinfectant and pH levels frequently. In May 2010 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the results of pool inspections in 15 public health jurisdictions. The study found that child care pools had higher levels of pool closures than pools in any other setting. The CDC warns against use of portable pools in child care settings: ”The larger number of children from different families in child care settings and schools can increase the risk for spreading RWIs…allowing larger numbers of children from different families to use these pools is likely to increase the risk of spreading diarrheal illnesses.” Pennsylvania regulates any body of water for swimming and bathing except those used only by the members of one family and their guests in a private residence. ECELS recommends using sprinklers outdoors and free-flowing tap water in water tables to reduce the risks of drowning and spread of recreational water illnesses during water play in group care settings. For more information, go to the CDC website.
For additional health and safety related information, please visit the Health Capsule, posted on the ECELS website.
Helping Families Raise Healthy Children: Infant Mental Health and Its Impact on the Family Relationship (Part 1 & Part 2) webinar provides an overview of Infant Mental Health, an interdisciplinary field dedicated to promoting healthy infant & toddler social and emotional development within the context of secure and nurturing relationships.
The webinar(s) can be completed at your convenience and can be accessed at any time through the links provided below. A training certificate of attendance will be mailed to participants upon completion of the webinar(s).
Part 1: Infant Mental Health & Attachment Theory (40 minutes)
Part 2: In the Door & On the Floor (1 hour)
For assistance, please contact Patty Schake at Community Care at email@example.com.
For families with young children, the public library is a great place to find entertainment, educational or cultural enrichment, or valuable information.
Top 9 reasons to go visit
Libraries are also working to get more of their own resources online. Your local library may have its own website with links to other resources within your community. If you're looking for the internet or the street address of your local public library, www.ilovelibraries.org offers several places to look.
By: Reading Rockets
Summer is almost here, and for many families that means time spent in the car. It's also the time when parents struggle to keep their kids reading at grade level. Why not try listening together? Whether you choose a picture book readalong, a middle grade mystery, or a young adult fantasy, AudioFile website can provide a listing of stories the whole family will enjoy.
Texing to promote maternal and child health
Text4baby is a free mobile information service designed to promote maternal and child health. An educational program of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), text4baby provides pregnant women and new moms with information they need to take care of their health and give their babies the best possible start in life. Women who sign up for the service by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 will receive free SMS text messages each week, timed to their due date or baby’s date of birth.
For additional information, please visit the website of text4baby.
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