Pennsylvania's Promise for Children  
Early Childhood Education Newsletter


Welcome to BUILD ECE News

April 27, 2011 

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) promotes opportunities for all Pennsylvania children and families by building systems and providing supports
that help ensure access to high quality child and family services.

OCDEL in Action

Keystone STARS raising the bar for quality in early care and education, report shows

Pennsylvania's voluntary rating system for early childhood care providers is benefiting the state's youngest learners and raising the bar for all child care providers, according to the 2010 Keystone STARS program report released by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning.

Keystone STARS helps early care and education programs offer qualified teachers, age-appropriate curriculum and learning activities and partner with parents and communities to help children reach their promise.

Before Keystone STARS (prior to 2002), Pennsylvania had seen a 10 year decline in the quality of child care and teacher education levels. Since Keystone STARS, Pennsylvania has reversed that decline and experienced

  • a six year trend in increasing quality in early childhood classrooms;
  • an increase in teachers earning their CDA and degrees; and
  • a significant increase in children receiving Child Care Works subsidy enrolled in STARS programs.

The report also shows that Keystone STARS programs are preparing children for school, with more than 65% of preschoolers in STAR 3 and 4 centers ended the 2009-2010 program year with age-appropriate literacy, numeracy and social skills.

To download the Executive Summary or full report, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.

Pennsylvania's Progress Included in Report on Preparation for Teachers in Pre-K through 3rd Grade

The New America Foundation's Early Education Initiative has released a report, Getting in Sync: Revamping Licensure and Preparation for Teachers in Pre-K, Kindergarten and the Early Grades which discusses the importance of ensuring that pre-K through 3rd grade teachers learn about the science of early childhood development (including social-emotional development) and family engagement, as well as how to provide effective instruction in early science, early literacy and early mathematics.

When it comes to teaching in the early grades and ensuring that teachers are adequately prepared, only four states, of which Pennsylvania is one, are set up in such a way that prospective teachers must acquire an early childhood license to teach in kindergarten through the third grade.  Highlighted within the report is Pennsylvania's Statewide Initiative, which has led to a statewide effort to create strong articulation agreements between early childhood preparation programs in community colleges and those at universities.

The report calls for higher standards, multiple and diverse classroom experiences for prospective teachers, partnerships between community colleges and universities, and alternative preparation programs.

To read the full report, please visit the New America Foundation website.  To learn more about higher education opportunities for Pennsylvania's early education teachers, please visit the PA Keys to Quality website.

Trends and Reports

Making Connections to Make a Difference for Mothers and Young Children

Innovative, comprehensive approaches could help home visiting programs better identify depressed mothers, connect them to treatment, and address the negative effects of parental depression early in a child's life, suggests the report, Home Visiting and Maternal Depression: Seizing the Opportunities to Help Mothers and Young Children, from the Urban Institute.

Researchers have found solid evidence that several approaches to home visiting, like those found in Early Head Start and Nurse-Family Partnership, can produce results for mothers and young children.  The results relate to areas such as prevention of child abuse and neglect, child health, maternal health, child development and school readiness, family economic self-sufficiency, and positive parenting practices.

Based on a literature review and interviews with mothers, home visitors, and other service providers, the report offers guidance on how communities and programs should work to target services to depressed mothers; train home visitors to identify maternal depression and discuss its implications and treatment; connect mothers to high-quality treatment and support resources, including home-based mental health services; attend to young children's development as well as their mothers' treatment; and offer ongoing help.

To view the entire report, please visit the Urban Institute website.  Also, learn more about the Nurse-Family Partnership and Early Head Start.


Additional Trends and Reports


In The News

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, May 3

On Tuesday, May 3, Children’s National Mental Health Awareness Day will be the featured topic on Radio SmartTalk, a daily call-in show on the Harrisburg area’s public radio station, WITF 89.5. The focus for this year’s Awareness Day is building resilience in young children dealing with trauma. Guest panelists on SmartTalk will be Dr. Christopher Petersen, child psychiatrist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center and a member of the state Early Childhood Mental Health Advisory Committee, and Michele Walsh, Early Childhood Mental Health Project Manager for the Pennsylvania Key. The show is broadcast live at 9:00 a.m. (after the news) and rebroadcast at 7:00 p.m. You can also listen online at the WITF website

Also on May 3, from 2:00-3:30 p.m., the National Institute of Mental Health is sponsoring a videocast panel of children's mental health researchers. It's an opportunity to hear directly from experts working in the field. Learn the state of the science in children's mental health and ask top NIH scientists about topics ranging from normal brain development to anxiety, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. Registration for the May 3 videocast is required.


PHMC helps bring Pennsylvania's One Book, Every Young Child to Philadelphia

On March 29, 2011, Public Health Managment Corporation (PHMC), along with the Philadelphia Free Library and City of Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, joined others across the state to kick-off the Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child literacy program—a state-wide campaign to highlight the importance of early literacy development in preschoolers ages 3 to 6 through a single, shared reading experience.

Celebrity readers throughout early learning sites in Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties read this year’s book, Whose Shoes? A Shoe for Every Job by Stephen R. Swinburne, to more than 9,000 children. 

To read the entire article, please visit the PHMC website.


Preschool children visit Oak Park Elementary, Montgomery County

Changes can be scary, especially if you’re a small child.  To ease the transition from a preschool to a public school setting, a group of very excited kindergartners from All My Children Day Care and Nursery School spent several hours visiting Oak Park Elementary School in Hatfield.

While some of the children will attend schools in the North Penn District in the fall, others will go to elementary schools in the Souderton Area School District.  But the visit gives all of them an idea of what it might be like in a big kids’ school.

To read the entire article, please visit The Reporter Online website.


Program readies kids for kindergarten in York County

Five-year-old Makenna Einsig typically hides behind her mother when strangers approach -- especially when it comes to children her own age.

Since Makenna was enrolled in Ready Freddy -- a six-week program at Northeastern Conewago Elementary School designed to help children adapt to kindergarten -- Jessica Einsig said her daughter's shyness has improved.

Read the entire article at the York Daily Record website. 



  Funding Opportunities

Grants for Improving Services for Children and Youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Deadline May 9

Carol M. White Physical Education Program Grant, Deadline May 13 

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Back to School and Youth Literacy Grants, Deadline May 18

Supplemental Services for Recently Arrived Refugees Grant, Deadline May 20

Healthy Living Grants, Deadline rolling



 One Family's Story

On Sunday afternoons when I tell Sam he will return to school in the morning, he invariably exclaims, "Yayyy!"

A Mifflin County mom sharing her son's thoughts on PA Pre-K Counts

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


 PA Promise for Children on Facebook 

 Become a fan of PA Promise for Children on Facebook and get up-to-date information on how to help Pennsylvania children reach their promise!


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April 28-29:  2011 Meeting the Challenge: Educating Homeless Children in Pennsylvania Statewide Conference Valley Forge
April 29:  Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit 21 EI Speaker Event featuring Kathie Snow, Schnecksville .
April 30:  5th Annual Cops 'n Kids Celebration of Reading, Bethlehem
April 30:  2011 Berks Early Care and Education Council Conference, Reading
May 3:  National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
May 4-5:  PHSA Spring Conference Standing Strong for Children & Families, Harrisburg
May 5-7: Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC) Early Childhood Conference, Philadelphia
May 6:  No More Meltdowns: Handling Challenging Behaviors and Teaching Social Skills, featuring Dr. Jed Baker, Center Valley
May 7:  2011 Disability Awareness Celebration, Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Houston Astros, Pittsburgh.
May 22-24:  2011 Higher Education Institute, Building Quality: Educational Leadership in a Changing World, State College
May 24:  Early Intervention Families' Night at The Washington Wild Things, Washington
May 25:  United Way of Lancaster County’s Success By 6 Early Care and Education Recognition Event featuring Kurt Kondrich, Lancaster
June-August:  Child Care Health Advocate Course, Bethlehem 
July 19-21:  Save the Date:  A Brighter Tomorrow:  Cultivating Infants and Toddlers Social Emotional Development
August 13:  WITF Ready , Set, Go…Kindergarten, Harrisburg 
August 13:  Great Things Happen in Early Education Seminar, Edinboro University
September 28-30:  Facing the Challenge Train-the-Trainer Session, Villanova
November 11-12:  Pennsylvania School Age Child Care Alliance Networking:  Communicating with a Strong Voice Conference, Harrisburg
November 17-19:  27th Annual International Conference on Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families, Maryland
November 30 - December 2:  Early Childhood Education Summit, State College



Visit Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Education

Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare

Pennsylvania Keys to Quality 

Pennsylvania's Promise for Children



The Early Childhood Education E-Newsletter is a project of the Pennsylvania Build Initiative, Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare to inform early learning professionals, the early childhood community, policymakers, community leaders and the public on developments in early childhood education and care in Pennsylvania.
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