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Pennsylvania to compete in early learning Race to the Top
Pennsylvania's family engagement efforts highlighted in national report
Seeking Pennsylvania early care & education centers to help improve the quality of infant/toddler child care
Study show parent's commitment to encouraging their children to learn
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Pennsylvania Will Apply for $52.5 Million Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge GrantRTTT


Governor Tom Corbett has announced that Pennsylvania is eligible and will apply for up to $52.5 million through the federal Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant program. The grant will help Pennsylvania further improve and expand quality early learning programs.


In anticipation of the grant, the departments of Education and Public Welfare are working with the early learning community to write the state's grant application.


The grant application will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education in mid-October, and award announcements are expected in December. For additional information, please see the Pennsylvania Department of Education website. Comments about PA's Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge grant and letter of support are welcome at

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Pennsylvania early care and education centers sought to participate in grant program to improve the quality of infant/toddler child careECELS



The Early Childhood Education Linkage System (ECELS) of the PA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics is presently enrolling early care and education centers to participate in a grant program. ECELS recently received a federal grant from the Maternal Child Health Bureau to improve the quality of infant/toddler child care. Child Care Health Consultants (CCHS) will provide health and safety consultation to a small group of Pennsylvania early care and education centers.



ligible centers will be enrolled on a first-come, first-served basis into two groups, until both groups are filled. One group will have an evaluation and then work with a CCHC right away. The other group will have an evaluation and wait 12 months to have a CCHC work with their program for results related to participating in the evaluation.


Participating center requirements include:

  • Must be located in the Southeast, Northeast, South Central or Southwest Regions
  • Must be currently caring for infants and toddlers and a Keystone STAR 2 or STAR 3 program
  • Must be willing to have a skilled evaluator conduct observations, ask questions and check health and safety documents during a visit lasting about 4-5 hours on one day.
  • Must be willing to pay one-time $240 co-pay toward the cost of the CCHC's work with the center, and work with the CCHC to choose and make improvements. ECELS will pay the remainder of the consultant's fee. ECELS will mentor and support the CCHC.
  • Must commit to participating in the grant activities for at least 2 years


To apply, please see the Infant Toddler QI Center Recruitment Flyer. For additional info, please contact Rosemary Johnston, RN, MSN, Program Coordinator at 800-243-2357 or 484-446-3041.   

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Pennsylvania's family engagement efforts included in national reportparentengagement

The National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) has published a new report, Parent Engagement from Preschool through Grade 3: A Guide for Policymakers. Pennsylvania was listed as one of several states who have used their Early Childhood State Advisory Councils, authorized by the Improving Head Start Readiness Act of 2007, and funded between 2010 and 2013 by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to address parent engagement. The outreach in Pennsylvania was developing and disseminating parent education materials, serving as an unique opportunity for enhancing and aligning parent engagement across the preschool to early grades period.


The term "parent engagement" is used in this report to describe parents' efforts to promote their children's healthy development and learning through activities that can be encouraged by educators in child care, preschool and school settings. The report makes the case that effective parent engagement in children's learning during preschool through grade 3 is a key contributor to children's positive academic outcomes.   


The report presents:

  • Highlights of research on preschool through grade 3 parent engagement
  • Promising models and state initiatives
  • Opportunities for states to strengthen parent engagement
  • Recommendations for policymakers

For additional information, please see the report, Parent Engagement from Preschool through Grade 3: A Guide for Policymakers. For more information about Pennsylvania's outreach efforts, contact the Local Education and Resource Network (LEARN) partner in your community. 

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Upcoming Deadline: Request for Information for approved authentic assessment tools
Proposals due: September 27, 2013

The deadline is near for the RFI for approved authentic assessment tools! OCDEL has issued its Request for Information (RFI) to seek input from the publishers of evidence-based authentic assessments that are interested in submitting authentic assessment tools for review and possible use by Keystone STARS, PA Pre-K Counts, Early Intervention and Head Start providers as part of the Early Learning Outcomes Reporting strategy.

In order for an assessment tool to be approved, the vendor must demonstrate that the tool is valid and reliable; demonstrate alignment with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards; develop a crosswalk and scoring method that produced individual outcomes for each framework indicator; and establish a process for reporting outcomes data to OCDEL.

Vendors can download the full RFI and access additional information on OCDEL's Early Learning Outcomes Reporting strategy from the PA Key website. The due date for responses is September 27, 2013. Early learning programs may want to forward this information to authentic assessment tools not already approved by OCDEL. 



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Snapshot of U.S. Child-Care Arrangements and Parental Involvement snapshot

A recent study, Early Childhood Program Participation, From the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012, conducted by the National Center of Education Sciences found that a majority of the 21.9 million children from newborns to age 5 in the United States spent at least one day a week in the care of someone other than a parent. This report presents data on the early care and education arrangements and early learning of children in the United States from birth through the age of five who were not yet enrolled in kindergarten in the spring of 2012. The report also presents data on parents' satisfaction with various aspects of these care arrangements and on their participation in various learning activities with their children.

The study reported that most parents say that the learning activities offered by that care provider are very important to them, however, also demonstrated was the parent's commitment to encouraging their children to learn, with approximately

  • 95 percent of children ages three to five who were not yet in kindergarten had parents who read to them in the past week;
  • 83 percent had parents who told them a story;
  • 98 percent had parents who taught them letters, words, or numbers;
  • 94 percent had parents who sang songs with them; and
  • 86 percent had parents who worked on arts and crafts with them.

For more information about the survey, please see the Early Childhood Program Participation, From the National Household Education Surveys Program of 2012 report. For more information about ways families can support their child's early learning, visit the PA Promise for Children website where families can take the Early Learning GPS quiz and sign up to receive the monthly Learning is Everywhere enews

 More Trends & Reports 



Promoting Pennsylvania's Promise for Children Month toolkit: October is Pennsylvania's Promise for Children Month, a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of quality early learning and celebrating the families and teachers that help our young children reach their promise every day. The toolkit provides dozens of ways to celebrate PA's Promise Month, including four new infographics that are great to share over social media. 

Supporting Healthy Oral Health in Children: Did you know tooth decay affects more than one out of every four children, ages 2-5? Learn about new tools you can use in your program to support oral health with the ECELS Oral Health Self-Learning Module. The module uses an online, interactive training from the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center called, "Open Wide." The module includes a resource list, dental referral resources and curriculum activities. View the module at the ECELS website - Select Professional Development/ Training, select Self-Learning Modules and click on SLM Online Oral Health.


The 2013 issue of Imagine, the online early childhood music therapy magazine, has just been released. This issue is 130 pages of ideas, inspirations, and evidence-based approaches to supporting learning, development, and joy through music. Using the navigation options at the top of the page, look at featured articles, examples of music therapy from around the world (The Colors of Us), photo stories (materials with children and families), and much more. Be sure to check out the podcasts and particularly the September 1, 2013 podcast on drum games for preschoolers in inclusive settings which has great ideas for how to integrate drumming in circle time.


Bookmark the Parent Center Network: The federally funded Parent Technical Assistance Network is your go-to resource for finding parent supports. On the network's website you can find links to local parent centers, current news on special education and early intervention, archived trainings, and more. 
Apps for children with special needs: The Friendship Circle offers a database with over 1,000 Apple and Android apps for children with disabilities. Search by platform, category, or price and see descriptions, costs, average ratings, and testimonials from users.
Tools for Dealing With Parental Incarceration: Sesame Workshop has produced a toolkit for service providers and caregivers as a part of Sesame Workshop's Little Children, Big Challenges series that offers resources to help parents and caregivers build resilience in children and help kids learn how to express themselves. Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration offers printable downloads, multimedia tools, and more for helping children and caregivers dealing with the unique challenges caused by parental incarceration. A guide for parents offers tips for helping children cope and information about family visitation.
Students Create App to Track Kindergarten Readiness: The United Way in Illinois has a new app for parents of young children, and it was created this summer by students who were learning themselves. Working on a strictly volunteer basis  a total of about 20 Parkland and University of Illinois students built an app this summer to help parents learn about and track their children's kindergarten readiness.
Child Care Technical Assistance Network (CCTAN) Web site: The Office of Child Care (OCC) has launched its Child Care Technical Assistance Network (CCTAN) Web site. Assistance involves assessing Child Care and Development Fund grantees' needs, identifying innovations in child care administration, and promoting the dissemination and replication of solutions to the challenges that grantees and local child care programs face. This technical assistance helps states, territories, tribes and local communities build integrated child care systems that enable parents to work and promote the health and development of children.
Webinar Recording: How to Use the NCLR Latino Kids Data Explorer: National Council of La Raza led a webinar to demonstrate their Latino Kids Data Explorer, a web-based research tool that helps users easily download and creatively present up-to-date information on the status of Latino children in their state and nationally.
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Thank your public library for making summer reading fun: LEGO DUPLO and the ALSC - The Association for Library Service to Children have joined hands to celebrate and support local libraries. Enter your name, state and zip code and LEGO® DUPLO® will give $5,000 to the public libraries in the neighborhood with the most entries! Deadline October 15

September 18, 2013
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In the Community


Lehigh Valley Children's Centers Holds Open House


West Chester Area Day Care Center is recipient of the Child Care Advocate Award

Did you know?


During Pennsylvania's Promise for Children month in October, PA's Promise will recognize stories of
real Pennsylvania children and families 
 on the website and through state and local activities.
Professional Events


September 20-22: Bringing Back Childhood for the Future of Society, Philadelphia

September 21: From Babies to Backpacks Conference, Plymouth Meeting

September 22-23: National Business Leader Summit on Early Childhood Investment, Atlanta

September 24: Easter Seals PD Workshop: Commonly Asked Question About Child Care Centers & the ADA, Philadelphia 

September 25: Webinar: How to Support Teachers Use of Story Retelling to Build Comprehension and Oral Language in Early Learning Programs 

September 28: National Black Child Development Institute conference, New Orleans

October is Pennsylvania's Promise for Children Month: visit for tips on how you can celebrate!

October 2: Webinar: The ECE Director's Guide to Must-Have Literacy Practices in Early Education Classrooms

October 2-4: Facing the Challenge: Helping Teachers Work with Children with Challenging Behavior, Villanova

October 7: ECE/SACC Provider Resource Festival, Philadelphia

October 8: Easter Seals PD Workshop: Client Confidentiality: Families, Parents & Staff, Wyndmoor

October 11: Friedberg-Segel Early Literacy Conference, Pittsburgh

October 11: Cavity Free Kids 1-day training-for-trainer event, Philadelphia

October 14: 7th Annual Lehigh Valley Early Care and Education Professional Development Day Building Cultural Competence . . . Our Children, Ourselves

October 15: Easter Seals PD Workshop: Client Confidentiality: Families, Parents & Staff, Morton

October 16: Webinar: Using Developmentally Appropriate Practice with Early Learners to Evaluate Apps

October 17-18: PA-AIMH 5th Annual Pennsylvania Infant Mental Health Conference, Philadelphia

October 21: Easter Seals PD Workshop: Client Confidentiality: Families, Parents & Staff, Wynnfield

October 22: Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): Effective Classroom Interactions: Supporting Young Children's Development


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.

Find more about Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania
The Early Childhood Education e-news is a project of the Pennsylvania Build Initiative and the 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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