Pennsylvania's Promise for Children  
Early Childhood Education Newsletter

 

October 15, 2010.

Trends and Reports

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OCDEL Corner

In the Community

Employment Opportunities

Upcoming Events

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Into Action

Funding Opportunities

Resources

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Did you know BUILD reaches over 8,000 individual emails twice a month? 

To submit information to be included in the next edition of BUILD, please send it to Mary Hall at marhal@berksiu.org.

 

 

Trends and Reports

The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) has released its newest report, The Impact of the Economy on Parents’ Child Care Choices and Perspectives, which found that quality and cost remain the most important factors for parents when choosing child care.  

The report shows that despite modest improvements in the economy, many families are still struggling.  Nearly 40 percent of parents say the current economy has affected their child care arrangements and they worry about not being able to meet their household expenses.  Three-quarters of parents rate affordable child care as the most important (31 percent) or one of the most (45 percent) important factors in helping working families.

Other key findings of the report:

  • The majority of parents believe state laws and regulations ensure that child care settings are licensed and safe.  Nearly 85 percent of parents believe that providers have undergone background checks; 73 percent believe providers are trained in child development; and 78 percent of parents believe child care is licensed.
  • Despite the down economy, parents want quality child care.  Nearly three-quarters of parents (73 percent) said that they support investing more government money in improving the quality of care, even if it means they would have to pay $10 more in taxes per year.

The report and related materials, including recommendations, may be found on the NACCRRA website.  For questions or additional information, please contact Grace Reef at 703-341-4100 or grace.reef@naccrra.org or Bill Huleatt at 703-341-4107 or bill.huleatt@naccrra.org.

The prevalence of technology in education is one of the key reasons schools are now able to make student data so accessible--and actionable--to families of children pre-K-12. Through email, the internet, and even text messaging, schools are reaching out to and engaging with students and parents though a variety of media. Based on research of promising practices in school districts and communities, the Harvard Family Research Project has identified a range of technological innovations that have the potential to boost key dimensions of family engagement: positive parent-child interactions, home-school communication, and parent responsibility for a child's learning.

To access the report, Logged In: Using Technology to Engage Families in Children's Education, please visit the Harvard Family Research Project website.

OCDEL Corner

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 latest update highlights improving quality through the use of health information technology.

The Bureau of Certification Services has transitioned to three regional office designations.  The regional offices are the primary points of contact for persons interested in opening and operating a child care facility, filing a complaint regarding a child care facility or obtaining information about the requirements for operating a facility.  Certification representatives who conduct inspections of child care facilities work out of the regional field offices.

North Central Region is the new name for region that has field offices located in Harrisburg, Selinsgrove and Scranton.  Terry Shaner Wade is the Director of North Central Region.  View the listing of North Central Region counties (pdf).  The telephone numbers for North Central Region are Harrisburg Office:  717- 772-7078 or 800-222-2117, and Scranton Office:  570-963-4371 or 800-222-2108.

Southeast Region has a field office is located in Philadelphia. Carmen Martin is Director of Southeast Region.  View the listing of Southeast Region counties (pdf).  The telephone numbers for Southeast Region are 215-565-2541 or 800-346-2929.

Western Region has field offices located in Pittsburgh and Hollidaysburg.  Sharon Arabia is Director of Western Region.  View the listing of Western Region counties (pdf).  The telephone numbers for Western Region are 412-565-5183 or 800-222-2149. 
 

In the Community

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. announced the designation of their Head Start/Early Head Start as a National Center for Excellence in Early Childhood by the Department of Health and Human Services.  The Private Industry Council is one of only 10 agencies nationally to receive this prestigious recognition, which will provide bonus funding in the amount of $200,000 per year for five years. 

Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County was nominated by Governor Rendell last December on behalf of Pennsylvania to compete for this award, based on their innovative practices in delivering early education services as well as the ongoing partnership with the OCDEL in the required areas of quality improvement, sound partnerships, comprehensive programming, staff competency, and participation in collaborative systems oversight through the Early Learning Council and its various committees.

The Private Industry Council will use the funding from this award to assist children, parents, and early education programs in preventing, reducing, and treating aggression and other inappropriate behaviors by promoting children’s emotional, social, and academic competence. The funding will also be used to disseminate best practices to Head Start, Early Head Start and other early education programs.

For additional information about the Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc., please contact Sandra Hall, director of Head Start/Early Head Start/PA Pre-K Counts at 724-430-4818, ext. 101.

According to the March of Dimes, about one in every 12 babies in the United States is born with low birth weight.  In Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania's service area, eight percent of all births in 2008 were low birth weights. These babies are at increased risk for serious health problems as newborns and for lasting disabilities, but there are steps women can take during pregnancy to reduce their risk of unhealthy birth outcomes, such as seeking prenatal care during a pregnancy.

September was National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, and The Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania recently renewed its grant support for the nationally recognized Maternal and Family Health Services Nurse-Family Partnership program, which provides prenatal and healthy infant programs for first time at-risk mothers. A Blue Ribbon grant of $10,000 is helping Maternal and Family Health Services, with an office in Milford, purchase educational materials for 200 new low-income expectant and first-time mothers in the coming year.

For more information on funding priorities, application deadlines and eligibility criteria, please visit the Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania website and click on The Blue Ribbon Foundation tab.  For the full Blue Ribbon Foundation article, please visit the Pocono Record, October 11, 2010.

 

On October 7, over 50 centers and hundreds of readers read Snowy Day to thousands of children as part of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record in Montgomery County. 

Special guest, local affiliate NBC 10’s Michelle Grossman read to children at Calvary Baptist Children’s Learning Center in Norristown.  Ms. Grossman brought her 2 year old daughter and also shared with teachers and adults her sister's experiences working in child care settings. 

Another special guest also participated in Jumpstart Read for the Record.  The Montgomery County Child Care Consortium (MC4) and the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation invited former bachelor, Craig R. from the TV show, The Bachelorette, to read at a child care center.  After his reading, Craig shared that his mother has been a special education teacher for years, and he offered his support of advocacy for the early childhood education community. 

This event was a result of the Foundation's Meet, Greet and Bowl fundraising event in September, where monetary donations were collected to purchase the Snowy Day books and distribute to children at different child care centers throughout Southeastern PA.  For pictures of the Jumpstart Read for the Record event, please visit the MC4 website.  For additional information on this event, or the ECE outreach in Montgomery County, please contact Erin Connolly at 610-617-4550 ext. 3045 or econnolly@melc.org.

In addition to being the true harbinger of fall, October brings with it a wide variety of callings. Among other things, October is fire safety month, domestic violence month, pastor appreciation month and disability awareness month - all noble causes.  But put in simplistic terms, most folks may view the calendar's 10th month as colorful foliage, increased heating bills and Halloween trick or treaters.

Included among the many banners worn by October is the Pennsylvania Promise for Children campaign designating the month as Pennsylvania's Promise for Children Month. The intent is to provide an opportunity to recognize the importance of quality early learning opportunities for young children and celebrate the families, teachers and leaders that help our youngsters reach their promise every day.

"(It) seems these days there has been a lot of talk about natural resources in our area," said Scott N. Lowery, executive director of the Lycoming County United Way. "In reality, there is no greater natural resource than our children. We all, collectively and individually, need to do all that we can to ensure that these preschool treasures are given every opportunity to get off to a good start in life.

Read the entire Op-Ed at the Sun Gazette website.

Employment Opportunities

The Family YMCA of Easton, Phillipsburg & Vicinity is seeking an individual to assist with overseeing the daily operations of an early childhood center servicing 84 children, to include toddlers and preschool children. Individual must bring to this position an educational background and experiences suited to the requirements of a Child Care Professional in compliance with DPW and Keystone STARS Standards. Must have the ability to work independent or under direct supervision, strong organizational and time management, communication and listening, team building, relationship building, and problem solving skills.  Must have a commitment to excellence and high standards.  Must have knowledge of Creative Curriculum, PA Early Learning Standards, Differentiated Instruction, Keystone STARS and Work Sampling. BA in Early Childhood Education desired, a minimum of two years teaching preschool children, Career Lattice Status – Level V or higher.  Full time position available, excellent benefit package – medical, dental, vision, retirement, Vacation, Holidays and Sick Days, Family Membership, $700 in “Y” dollars towards tuition for child care and/or YMCA programming per year and 25% discount for child care.  Please submit resume to cheryl@familyymca.org.  Deadline October 31, 2010.  EOE.

Manor College is currently accepting applications for a full time position as Program Director of its Early Childhood Education program. Responsibilities include teaching introductory and specialty courses; supervising program instructors; course and curricular development including on-line and web-assisted modalities; advising students; service to the college and community; active participation in divisional activities and professional development. Summer teaching opportunities are usually available.

For a listing of qualifications and application procedures, please see the Early Childhood Program Director Announcement (pdf). 

 

The Community Renewal Team, Inc. (CRT) seeks a highly committed, innovative leader to be the Director of Early Care and Education (ECE). CRT is fully dedicated to supporting the basic needs of low-income, disadvantaged individuals and families. This is an exceptional opportunity for a senior executive with expertise in managing Head Start and Early Care and Education programs to bring his/her skills to a well respected, highly effective, mission-driven organization. The successful candidate will broaden CRT’s reach and impact by leading the programmatic initiatives of the agency that are committed to serving families and children, and to its mission of "Preparing our Community to Meet Life's Challenges."

For additional information about this position, including the organization, description of position, qualifications and application procedure, please see the CRT Position Profile document (pdf). 

Upcoming Events

It's not too late to register for Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice, a conference for teachers of students with learning disabilities (October 29-30 in Baltimore, MD). The conference is for teachers of students with learning disabilities and includes sessions on decoding, vocabulary, comprehension, writing, RTI, ELLs, Universal Design for Learning, math, and more.

For additional information, or to register for the conference, please visit the Teaching LD website.

The CAAEYC's 23rd Annual Night of Networking is designed to give teachers an opportunity to view quality early childhood programs and gain insight for both their staff and learning environments.  It will take place on November 1, from 6:30-8:00 pm at Bright Beginnings CDC, Inc., 98 S. Clover Lane, Harrisburg, PA  17112.

Registration is required and there is a $5 fee to attend (CAAEYC members are free).  For additional information, please see the Registration form (pdf), or call Amy Bennett at 717-671-8810.

On Tuesday, November 9, from 5:45-7:45 pm at Altoona Area Public Library, 1600 5th Avenue, Altoona, PA, Professional Development Resources at Your Library will be presented.  Providers will learn how to develop search strategies to find needed information and will get hands-on guidance using the library's automated catalog, Power Library, and selected Internet sites. Providers will also review the newest print and audio-visual resources including picture books, literacy kits and teaching materials.

This workshop is approved for DPW and Act 48 hours.  Register at the PA Keys website or contact Mary Lykens at mlykens@altoonalibrary.org or (814) 946-0417 ext.156) for more information. Registration deadline is October 26.

This year’s SAS Institute is scheduled for December 5-8 in Hershey, PA. The theme of this year’s Institute is “Bridging Research and Practice.” Another focus of the Institute is to present SAS through a lens that reflects educators’ roles in the learning continuum, emphasizing connectedness and collaboration. OCDEL is excited to be an active member in this year’s SAS Institute. Presenters will be challenged to keep connections between early childhood, elementary, secondary, and higher education in mind in their presentations. Breakout sessions will provide an opportunity for teachers along the learning continuum to interact, discuss, and share insights about the presentations. OCDEL staff will assist in facilitation of these break-out sessions and will be providing three presentations on SAS through the ECE lens. Registration will be opening in late October.  Watch for additional information in future editions of BUILD.

Into Action

Deadline:  December 15, 2010

The Kennedy Center has announced the establishment of the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards to spotlight some of the United States' most inspirational teachers and recognize them for their contributions. The awards were created in honor of Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday and were initiated and funded through the support of Freddie and Myrna Gershon.

Each year, the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards will solicit nominations, providing the general public the opportunity to submit stories about teachers and professors who made a significant difference in their lives.

On March 22, Stephen Sondheim's birthday, a select number of these teachers will each receive the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award, a cash award of $10,000 each in appreciation for their contributions to the field of teaching. Awardees will also be showcased, along with the people they inspired, on the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards web site.

For additional information, including nomination instructions, please visit the Kennedy Center website. 

Funding Opportunities 


Deadline: December 31, 2010

The purpose of the Nickelodeon Big Help awards is to award grants to schools and community organizations that support projects that inspire kids to take care of the environment, lead active and healthy lives, engage in community service, or improve their educational experience.   Elementary and middle schools grades K-9, and after-school community-based organizations with 501(c)(3) status serving kids ages 5-15 are eligible to apply. 

For additional information, please visit the Nickelodeon website.

 

Resources

The Standards Aligned System (SAS) identifies six elements which when used together, will provide a common framework for continuous student achievement. Clear Standards, Fair Assessments, Curriculum Framework, Instruction, Materials and Resources, and Interventions are the six elements high achieving programs have in common.

New information on the Standards Aligned System, as well as practical resources for implementing SAS in early education settings are now available on the Office of Child Development and Early Learning's SAS Resources and Information website. This site has recently been updated with several new features including a revised “Learning Environments for Kindergarten,” a site index, information on daily scheduling, additional links to National and State Organizations, and upcoming professional development opportunities. Visit the site frequently to see what's new!

Transition means change and making changes can be stressful. Establishing transition practices that provide continuity and consider the contexts and relationships that interact with each other and the child can ease the transition process and provide the foundation for positive learning experiences.

Effective transition practices require the participation of families, schools, and communities and should link family-to-school, child-to-school, school-to-school, and community-to-school. The Office of Child Development and Early Learning provides The Transition Toolkit to assist in the development and maintenance of effective transition practices for young children. The toolkit has recently been revised to include research updates, many new resources for engaging families, and new resources from the field including resources currently being used in PA. The toolkit can be accessed at the PA Key website.

Writing is a process. Writing with kids can be incredibly rewarding but it can also be painstaking and frustrating, for the writer and for the adult. For most writers, it's somewhere in-between. In this interactive tool — featuring writing samples from real kids — you'll find advice about instruction, guidance on assessment, classroom strategies, video, and more.

 

Looking for poems and nursery rhymes to match the alphabet letters that children are learning? Head on over to this easy-to-use website. It's organized alphabetically — just browse, select, and print. 

The American Music Therapy Association has recently released a new early childhood online magazine, imagine. This issue includes over 50 contributions from 10 countries; latest research, trends, clinical strategies, resources, and more; interactive digital viewing mode; podcasts, photo stories, teaching episodes; international color of us series; newsletter archive; early childhood network platform; and an event calendar.

To access the online magazine, please visit the American Music Therapy Association website.

To help child care providers and child care health consultants seeking to implement best practices for health and safety, Healthy Child Care America is focusing on one health and safety related standard each month. Each standard is from Caring for Our Children, the national health and safety performance standards for out-of-home child care. A team of experienced pediatricians, child care health consultants, child care directors and family child care providers share real-life experience and suggested strategies to implement the "Standard of the Month".

The October 2010 "Standard of the Month" is Immunization Documentation, Standard 3.005 in the second edition of Caring for Our Children. Also available is the September "Standard of the Month" regarding using 100% fruit juice. For each month's entry, available sections are Standard Rationale, Standard Comments, Standard References and Learn From Your Peers.

To view the Standard of the Month, please visit the Healthy Child Care America website.

 

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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