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In This Issue
New York Wins Federal Competitive Preschool Development Expansion Grant
Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Federal Grant
QUALITYstarsNY Implementation Update
QUALITYstarsNY Expansion & Pre-K Alignment
Child Care Development Block Grant...Reauthorization
ECAC Partners with and Supports.
Supporting Strong Families through Community Cafés
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Happy Holidays!

December, 2014/January, 2015

This is the time of year for gratitude and celebration, so let's take a moment to reflect on how much great work is taking place around the state for young children.  Thousands of children are receiving Universal Prekindergarten for the first time; more providers than ever before are receiving increased professional development and tracking it in Aspire, New York's Workforce Registry; and QUALITYstarsNY is expanding so that more programs are able to provide the highest quality possible for the children in their care. Thank you for being a part of this effort!

2014-2015 New York State Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten Program

Governor Cuomo proposed and the state legislature approved allocating $340 million to support the development full-day prekindergarten programs across the state. The Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten Program has been established to prepare children for success in school while supporting families in meeting their child care needs while they work.  In August, grants were awarded to approximately 60 upstate school districts and the New York City School District.  New York City was allocated $300 million and $40 million was allocated to the rest of state.  For a list of prekindergarten grant recipients, click here.  For more information regarding the Statewide Universal Full-Day Prekindergarten Program visit the New York State Department of Education website.

New York Wins Federal Competitive Preschool Development Expansion Grant

Great news! Last week, President Obama named New York as one of 18 states to win the Preschool Development Expansion Grant. The grant will provide $100 million over the next four years to support implementation of our most progressive high-quality approaches to Prekindergarten, including supplementing programs with innovations to strengthen the quality and capacity of our programs, parent engagement, school-community partnerships, and state partners focused on early education. The funding opportunity will support 1,725 new full-day preschool slots and convert 1,350 half-day slots to full-day in five communities across New York (Yonkers, Uniondale, Indian River, Port Chester and New York City). Along with increased access, the grant includes provisions to support increased quality using the QUALITYstarsNY quality framework. This is validation of our collective vision and hard work implementing high quality early care and education opportunities for children across our state. 

Please see the following resources to learn more:

US Department of Education Website

Pre-K Expansion Grant Announcement

New York State Grant Abstract

New York State Grant


Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Federal Grant 


The New York State Early Childhood Advisory Council (ECAC) established an Early Head Start/Child Care Partnership Taskforce to provide support to New York State applicants who were applying for the Early Head Start-Child Care Federal Grant.  Patricia Persell, director of the NYS Head Start Collaboration Project and Janice Molnar, Deputy Commissioner of Child Care Services chair the task force which is comprised of several ECAC members and representatives of Head Start and Early Head Start programs.  As a result of the efforts made by the Taskforce, 26 New York State applications were submitted to serve 3,000 children.  For a list of the areas that would be served by the applicants and to read more about the efforts made by the taskforce click here.

QUALITYstarsNY Implementation Update


QUALITYstarsNY, New York's quality rating and improvement system, is currently serving 375 programs across our state. These programs have been making progress on their Quality Improvement Plans since their initial rating in 2012 and now they will be rated again. New Active Ratings will be finalized in the spring, but there is a lot of work to do in the meantime.

QUALITYstarsNY Expansion & Pre-K Alignment  

Thanks to new local public and private investments, QUALITYstarsNY expanded this year to include 65 new programs in the Capital District and New York City. These programs are already diving into the rigorous Self-Study Process, assisted by their Quality Improvement Specialist. All sites will receive an Active Rating in spring 2015.

Child Care Development Block Grant Reauthorization  

At our most recent ECAC meeting on Thursday, December 11th, Janice Molnar, Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Child Care Services in the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), provided an update on the reauthorization of the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act, signed into law last month. This is the first reauthorization since 1996 and represents an historic re-envisioning of the program.  The new law makes significant advancements by defining health and safety requirements for child care providers, outlining family-friendly eligibility policies, and ensuring parents and the general public have transparent information about the child care choices available to them. The federal Office of Child Care will issue guidance specifying how the new law will be implemented early next year.

Please see the Office of Child Care website for more information. 

ECAC Partners with and SupportsHead Start, NYSPEP and Community Cafes

Healthy Active Living

The Promoting Healthy Development Work Group supported the development of physical well-being and health standards that are included in the

QUALITYstarsNY program standards. These standards help programs learn how and why it is important for children to eat a nutritional balanced diet and engage in regular physical activity to guide them on the path to lifelong healthy habits. The standards encourage programs to ensure that all children, from infancy on up, engage in regular physical activity and plenty of outdoor play. To meet the standards early childhood education programs need to have limited screen time, serve balance nutritious meals and snacks, and have other strategies in place to promote obesity prevention.


To support programs in achieving these standards, the Work Group, in conjunction with the Obesity Prevention in Child Care Partnership and the New York State Head Start Collaboration Project sponsored a series of forums across the state that were designed to improve health and reduce obesity risk among young children by promoting breastfeeding, reducing screen time, encouraging healthy eating habits and adding active play to the child care day. The seven Healthy Active Living forums reached over 900 participants, who learned concrete strategies to get the children in their care up and moving many times a day.  Diane Craft, a nationally known expert on physical activity delivered action filled sessions with hands-on practice of fundamental movement skills necessary for optimal development. 


As part of the Healthy Active Living initiative there is a new website to house information for people working in early childhood education programs www.earlycareandlearning.org/healthy-active-living/.   This website will house Healthy Active Living strategies that work and the resources to support programs and providers implement these strategies. 


Supporting Strong Families through Community Cafés 

In addition, the ECAC supports Community Cafes as another way to promote family engagement, leadership, building community capacity to meet families' needs and strengthening New York families.  Community Cafés are a series of guided conversations facilitated by parent leaders.  In September 2014, two Community Café orientation training sessions were held with a total attendance of over 50 people. Parent leaders and agency partners learned how to facilitate their own Community Cafés. The New York State Parent Leadership Team is committed to supporting those interested in taking on a leadership role in their communities. To learn more about Community Café approach, please click here

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Thank you for your interest in the Early Childhood Advisory Council. We would welcome your thoughts and questions. Please contact me at: ecac@ccf.ny.gov.


Stephanie Woodard

Project Manager 

NYS Early Childhood Advisory Council