May 2015 Newsletter
In This Issue
Spark New Hampshire's website is
 Visit it today for up-to-date information about the great work Spark NH is doing to better coordinate early childhood programs and services in New Hampshire.
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If you are interested in being involved in Spark NH, please contact
Director Laura Milliken at
2 Delta Drive
Concord, NH 03301
Tel: (603) 226-7900
Fax: (603) 226-7290
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Dear Friend of Spark NH,


New Spark NH Video

Spark NH has a brand new short video about the importance of early childhood in New Hampshire: "We are the Granite State."   The 72 second animated video talks about the challenges New Hampshire's children will face in a future very different from the one faced by past generations.  It points out that we can prepare children to meet those challenges by focusing on the early years and creating a strong foundation for all future health and learning. 


The video was created for Spark NH by our wonderful Communications Consultant Lynn Davey and producer Rob Shore of RC Shore Productions.   We want express our gratitude to Scott Spradling who donated his time and the recording of the narration.  We also want to thank the Endowment for Health who provided the funding for the video.


You can find the video in our public awareness toolkit. Please let us know how and where you use the video in your work. 



Thank you to Ellen Wheatley

As many of you may know, Ellen Wheatley has left her position as Administrator of the New Hampshire Child Development Bureau  (and as member of Spark NH Council)  to  move to Washington, D.C. to become the Deputy Director of the U.S. Office of Child Care.  Spark NH and the early childhood community here will miss her greatly. 


Ellen was a founding mother of Spark NH, serving on the initial Planning Committee for the Council as well as serving as the Council's first Chair for 2 years and on the Executive Committee for 3 years. Ellen is a visionary whose leadership was critical to the creation and development of Spark NH.  She stewarded the Council from the days when it was solely funded by federal stimulus  dollars, to the current diversified mix of federal and  private foundation grants.  Ellen's willingness to commit CCDF quality dollars to support the council was critical to leveraging other funders.  This is just one example of the many efforts to strengthen the early childhood system in which Ellen has been instrumental. 


Under Ellen's leadership (along with Co-Chair, Pat Cantor), the Spark NH Workforce and Professional Development committee has grown to be the largest committee with a membership of over 30 people.  Since the Committee's launch nearly 4 years ago, it oversaw  the creation of a PORTAL (Professional Opportunities, Resources, Trainings and Links) on the Spark NH website for early childhood professionals to look for jobs and professional development opportunities.  The committee also supervised the creation of 2 inventories: one of early childhood education programs in higher education and the other of early childhood health and family support programs in higher education.  More recently, the committee has nearly completed cross-sector early childhood competencies and a cross-sector professional development blueprint.  All of this work will provide support for providers of early childhood programs and services and will strengthen their work for children and families.


Ellen has been a great source of support in guiding the continued development of the Council's work.  She is a brilliant systems thinker who is always seeking to better the lives of early childhood providers as well as those of young children and their families.  The only consolation in losing Ellen in NH is thinking about the change she'll be able to make in Washington to benefit not just New Hampshire's children, but the nation's.  We wish her all the very best.


Respectfully submitted,


Laura Milliken, Esq.

Director, Spark NH


 "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
- Helen Keller

Committee and Task Force Meeting Summaries   


Quality Committee - February 17, 2015

The Quality Committee did not meet in January.
On behalf of the Data Committee, Peter Antal visited our February meeting to seek input on our ideas for data needs. We reviewed the dissemination of the quality cards over the past few months. Almost all of the Family cards have been distributed, but many Provider cards remain. The PowerPoint slides corresponding to the Quality Definition cards will be piloted by Committee over the next couple of months. The committee continues to consider the next steps of our work. 


Workforce and Professional Development Committee - February 27, 2015  

Melissa Clement, head of the Child Care Licensing Unit, met with the Workforce and Professional Development Committee at its February meeting to discuss the process for revising the Child Care Licensing Rules for 2016.  We discussed the feedback and data that will be most helpful to the revision process, as well as the importance of encouraging child care teachers and directors to provide input at public hearings.  The Committee shared its recommendation that a degree should be required for lead teachers.  The WPD Committee also discussed the next steps in finalizing the Shared Professional Early Childhood Core Competencies and generated a list of individuals and organizations to be contacted, as well as the people who will take responsibility for those contacts.  At the March meeting, we will finalize the process for making those contacts.  We also briefly reviewed the Glossary that is being developed for the SPECCC.  We had a brief conversation with Peter Antal about the Spark NH Needs Assessment but will need to follow that up with a more extensive conversation.


Policy Committee - March 2, 2015

The Policy Committee finalized the title of the latest draft of the ten, recommended early childhood policy priorities, to "A Framework for Action for New Hampshire's Young Children." The draft was shared with the Office of the Governor, and the feedback was positive.   Next steps include: background research by NH Kids Count and publishing a white paper on the priorities.  Updates were given on Spark NH's regional partnerships and the CCDF taskforce.


Data Committee - March 2, 2015

The Data Committee had the opportunity to meet with DPHS staff working on the Web-based Interactive System for Direction and Outcome Measures (WISDOM), which is a web based data platform for Public Health information. The current data that is available and operability was reviewed. The group discussed upgrades planned for the near future that will incorporate some new data related to children and the potential for collaboration regarding additional child related data.


Evaluation Committee - March 6, 2015

The group gave final feedback on the Spark NH Committee member survey. Peter is planning to cross check the survey with the Wilder Tool questions to see what additional questions could be added. A discussion about Project LAUNCH evaluation needs also took place. The components were reviewed as they relate to the larger Council. Priority of questions was also discussed.    


Family Partnership and Engagement Task Force - March 9, 2015

The task force reviewed their past work and talked about the plan for the upcoming year. Plans include opportunities for parent feedback, participation in Parent Advocacy Day, and creating materials for parents. The hope is to contact new parent groups that might not yet be involved with the work of Spark NH.


Executive Committee - March 11, 2015

The group approved the meeting summary and debriefed the last Council meeting. A draft of the updated committee guidelines was shared. The group discussed the equity work of the Council. Language around an opportunity from the National Governor's Association was shared. We are working to fill the higher education position on the Council. There are some project funds left to be spent. Committee chairs can forward their requests to Laura. Public Awareness opportunities were discussed including a Bedrock presentation to the Institute on Disability and an early childhood strand at the DOE Summer Summit.


Workforce and Professional Development Committee - March 27, 2015

The Workforce and Professional Development Committee held a discussion with Peter Antal as part of his work with the Spark NH Data Committee.  WPD Committee members offered feedback on the Spark Needs Assessment Survey and identified data that would be helpful for the purposes of our committee.  We made final revisions to a letter that will be sent to relevant stakeholders with the draft Shared Professional Early Childhood Core Competencies (SPECCC).  The SPECCC will be reviewed and approved at our April meeting.  We also identified stakeholder groups from which we would like to recruit members for our committee and agreed on a process for recruiting and orienting new members.  Ellen Wheatley has taken a new position in Washington DC and will no longer be able to serve as co-chair of our committee.  We have all appreciated her leadership and will miss her!


Policy Committee - April 6, 2015

"A Framework for Action for New Hampshire's Young Children" has been formatted into a nicely-designed one-pager.   The committee heard updates about the "Framework" white paper and NH Kids Count's research on these policy priorities. The committee continued discussions about the release of the "Framework." Members shared how they have used the document during this legislative session. The committee discussed ideas for Spark NH project funds and recommended continuing collective impact discussions between regional partners of Spark NH. Peter Antal led a discussion regarding recommendations for Spark NH's data needs and future data products. Updates were given on Spark NH's regional partnerships and the CCDF taskforce.


Data Committee - April 6, 2015

Peter Antal helped the committee discuss the next steps in thinking about indictors. We discussed how to rate indicators and then how to group them.   Between meetings, Peter will send out a grid to help the committee rate indicators to help to narrow and reach consensus on a core group of indicators. We will discuss them at the meeting. This may be done over 2-3 meetings depending on the complexity.


Executive Committee - April 8, 2015

The group accepted last month's summary and created the Council agenda. A revised budget was approved. They reviewed committee proposals for project funds. The updated committee guidelines were finalized. Next steps for the equity work at the Council level were discussed. Several regional early childhood initiatives are interested in connecting with each other and further connecting with Spark NH. The next meeting with the Governor's office and Commissioners is scheduled. All of the Council positions have been filled at this time.

Upcoming Meetings 

Meetings are held at 2 Delta Drive in Concord NH unless otherwise noted.


Friday, May 1, 2-4
Evaluation Committee (1st Friday of Every Other Month)
Monday, May 4, 9-10:30
Policy Committee (1st Monday of Every Month)
Monday, May 4, 2-4
Data Committee (1st Monday of Every Month) at Endowment for Health
Thursday, May 7, 10-11:30
Communications and Public Awareness Committee (1st Thursday of Every Other Month)
Wednesday, May 13, 1-3
Executive Committee (2nd Wednesday of Every Month)
Thursday, May 21, 1-3
Quality Committee (3rd Thursday of Every Month)
Friday, May 22, 9-11
Workforce and Professional Development Committee (4th Thursday of Every Month)

Monday, June 1, 9-10:30
Policy Committee (1st Monday of Every Month)
Monday, June 1, 2-4
Data Committee (1st Monday of Every Month) at Endowment for Health
Monday, June 8, 9-10:30
Family Partnership and Engagement Taskforce (2nd Monday of Every Other Month) at NH Children's Trust
Wednesday, June 10, 1-3
Executive Committee Meeting (2nd Wednesday of Every Month)
Friday, June 25, 9-11
Workforce and Professional Development Committee (4th Thursday of Every Month)

Upcoming Events, Workshops and Webinars


Visit the PORTAL at to view upcoming events, workshops and webinars, and job postings available throughout the state!  


Where Do Children's Minds Come From? The Relational Roots of Healthy Brains 

Presenter: Allan Schore, Ph.D., Award Winning researcher and professor, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA 

Wednesday, May 20th, 1-5pm

Wilder Event Center, 2087 Hartford Ave., Wilder, VT


Allan Schore was the first neuropsychologist to relate brain development to the quality of babies' attachment. His 1994 book, Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self, changed the climate of scientific opinion about the nature of the mind. This workshop will describe how early experience shapes children's brains, how it builds mental capacity to manage feelings and behavior. Workshop participants will learn how they can promote self-regulation in young children and strengthen these functions in troubled older children. The workshop will consist of two 75-minute lectures, each followed by discussion. Bring you questions to this leading expert in brain science. Talk with him about its surprising and hopeful implications. This advanced workshop is designed for childcare directors and staff, and all persons interested in child development (including early interventionists, preschool special educators, home visitors, mental health professionals, and teachers). This rare opportunity is co-sponsored by the Child Care Project at Dartmouth College, the Early Childhood Mental Health Network of the Upper Valley, and Let's Grow Kids. The workshop fee is $40, with scholarships available. To register, contact the Child Care Project at 603-646-3233.


Promoting Life-Long Health: The Psychological Roots of Physical Well-Being 

Presenter: Allan Schore 

Wednesday, May 20th, 7:30-9pm

Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH


In this 45-minute lecture, Schore will describe how early psychological experience establishes habits of mind, body, and behavior that set the path for life-long health or disease. This lecture is designed for all how care about children's development, form policy makers to parents, and will be followed by a 45-minute discussion. Bring your questions about how brain science applies to our community's children. This lecture is co-sponsored by the Early Childhood Mental Health Network of the Upper Valley and by Let's Grow Kids. It is free and open to the public; certificates of attendance will be available.  



Links of Interest       



Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation
The Institute of Medicine and and the National Research Council delved into the science behind child development. The report provides recommendations on how to best build a workforce that can provide high quality care, which includes education requirements and the creation of specialized standards.

The Power of Prevention: The Potential for a Generation of Cavity Free Kids
The Schuyler Center Oral Health Leadership Team has published a report on the importance of dental care in the early years. The report focuses mainly on New York State's push for dental care. Recommendations on how to best support oral health during the early years are made throughout the publication.

A Housing and Shelter Provider's Guide to Developmental and Behavioral Screening
The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education have released a guide for housing and shelter providers on developmental and behavioral screening. The guide was specifically made for housing and shelter providers because they serve the most vulnerable families and children. The guide includes talking points and how to engage with families about developmental and behavioral screening.
Pennsylvania's Promise for Children's Early Learning GPS
Pennsylvania's Promise for Children's has created an Early Learning GPS (Guiding Parents Smoothly), which has been designed to support parents in the process of readying their child for success in kindergarten and throughout life. The website offers many tools, including a way to follow their child's milestones, save important resources, and search for local organizations and resources that can support transitions. The parent needs to answer at least ten questions, and the GPS will then guide them through resources for their child.

CDC's Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers
The CDC has designed an online resource for parents of toddlers and preschoolers. The Essentials for Parenting includes videos, activities, and strategies for working through struggles that parents face.

Maryland's Early Learning Challenge Grant
In 2011, Maryland was awarded an Early Learning Challenge Grant. One of the top goals was to increase the level of family engagement across the early childhood system. The Maryland Family Engagement Coalition was created in 2012 as way to reach the goals outlined in the grant. The Coalition developed a Family Engagement Framework. The framework outlines goals for family engagement. Currently, the Coalition is working on an Effective Practices Guide, which is aimed at providers in the childcare, pre-kindergarten, home visiting, and library settings. The guide is also planning to strengthen resources that are currently in place. The Family Engagement Framework was used to infuse family engagement indicators into the Quality Rating and Improvement System. A series of Parent Cafes have also been held across the state.

Services for Families of Infants and Toddlers Experiencing Trauma: A Research-To-Practice Brief
The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation published a brief regarding the impact of trauma on infants and toddlers. Known information about the impact of trauma on young children is discussed and intervention strategies that have the potential to protect infants and toddlers from adverse consequences of traumatic experiences are shared. The brief also includes how childcare, Early Head Start, home visitation, and child welfare programs can become trauma-informed infant/toddler service delivery systems. 

Closing the Opportunity Gap for Babies and Families: ZERO TO THREE's Road Map to Reach America's Potential
"Closing the Opportunity Gap for Babies and Families" is a road map created by ZERO TO THREE to inform Congress and the Administration  that all babies must have the resources to be supported and be able to succeed. The road map includes policy recommendations and research that supports the significance of the early years.

The Effect of the Great Recession on Child Well-Being
The Policy Lab at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and First Focus investigated the effects of the Great Recession on child well-being. Their work was framed by four domains; health, food security, housing stability, and maltreatment. The report also shares how each of those domains relate to the well-being of children.

Access to Early Childhood Programs for Young Children Experiencing Homelessness: A Survey Report
The National Association of the Education of Homeless Children and Youth released a brief that provides findings from a 2013 national survey that focused around access to early childhood services among families experiencing homelessness. Recommendations are made in response to the data collected.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Rankings by County
See what effects health in each US county be selecting one of four factors of health; Health Behaviors, Clinical Care, Socioeconomic Factors, and Physical Environment. On a state by state basis, counties are ranked by healthiest. Each county has a "County Snapshot" page and shows where they rank in comparison to the other counties in the state.

Family Engagement Inventory
The Family Engagement Inventory (FEI) was created for use by those working in child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, early education, and education. The FEI defines family engagement and explains how the various child service fields listed above can best engage families in their work. The FEI provides strategies for practice, program, and system. The FEI was created to promote and support cross-system collaboration across the various fields of practice working their the same children.

A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America
The U.S. Department of Education released a new report on preschool in America. Research found that 59% of four year olds in the country are not enrolled in a publicly funded preschool program. The report shares barriers to high quality care and how those barriers contribute to achievement gaps. The Federal government and states are currently employing strategies to remedy the unmet preschool needs of American children. Those strategies, as well as next steps, are shared in the report.

National Standards Project, Phase 2
The National Autism Center has released Phase 2 of the National Standards Project. This report updates findings that were released in Phase 1 in 2009. The new report includes reviews and analysis of interventions for autism spectrum disorder, including interventions for those aged 22+. Phase 1 and Phase two have been combined, making this the largest collection of autism spectrum disorder studies ever reviewed. The National Autism Center intends for this work to provide information and resources to parents, practitioners, educators, and organizations in order to guide them t make informed decisions about interventions that provide the best promise for the future for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

Progress in Identifying Infants with Hearing Loss
The CDC highlights developments in identifying infants with hearing loss in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Early Hearing Detection and Intervention programs are in place to ensure that all newborns are screened and they receive follow up testing if they do not pass the original screening. The Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Follow-Up Survey was first implemented in 2006. The report draws from data collected by this survey from 2006-2012. 

A Place to Get Started: Innovation in Infant and Toddler State Policies
ZERO TO THREE has published a new policy brief, which looks at how to better coordinate comprehensive early childhood systems. The brief highlights states that are taking steps to better coordinate these systems. Strategies that can be considered by states and  an overview of how some states are putting those strategies to work are included.

The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program: Partnering with Parents to Help Children Succeed
The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program was created by Congress in 2010. This program supports at-risk pregnant women and parents with children up to kindergarten entry age. The brief, released by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, shares information on program participation, expansion of services, achievements, research, and evaluation. Home Visiting State Fact Sheets have also been released; they provide state by state information on programs and practices. 

Child Health USA 2014
The annual report on child health and service needs of American children has been published by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Data from over fifty health-related indicators are summarized. Long term trends are addressed. Users can create their own queries and may isolate data based on various characteristics. 

The Magic of Everyday Moments
The Magic of Everyday Moments is an online series of videos posted by ZERO TO THREE. These videos focus on child development and how parents can nurture important skills. Four new videos, all based on development from birth to 36 months, have been added to the online series. 

Brief Video Series on Resilience
The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard has released a video series on resilience. The short series shares why resilience matters and how to strengthen it in children. The videos provide an overview of the working paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. 

Use of Technology to Support Early Childhood Practice
The Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation released a new report that shares the way technology can be used in the early childhood classroom. The report focuses on three areas; instruction and assessment, parent, family, and community engagement, and professional development and informal learning. The ways that technology can be infused in each of these areas are outlined. The evidence base for each of the technologies is outlined. The obstacles and opportunities faced when using technology in early childhood are also discussed. The related practice briefs are linked here: Instruction and Assessment Brief, Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Brief, Professional Development and Informal Learning Brief

Business Leader Actions to Support Early Childhood: A Global Imperative; A Local Opportunity
ReadyNation released a new report that shares actions that business leaders around the world are taking to support early childhood. Research findings that show the benefit of quality early childhood are reviewed. 

Late or No Prenatal Care: Indicators on Children and Youth
Child Trends' DataBank released a report which focuses on women receiving late or no prenatal care. The report shares data on those women least likely to receive prenatal care and the implications on the children.