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.