July 2013

In This Issue
Summer Reading Ideas to "BUG" Children!


READ: Fireflies by Julie Brinckloe.  


DO: Make your own firefly (or lightening bug) catcher.  

Punch holes in a plastic container with a lid. Put grass in the bottom of the container and in the evening, when the fireflies come out, chase the bugs and try to catch a few. Watch how their lights flicker on and off. Investigate on the internet what makes them light up. Count how many you catch or how many you see flying in the night sky.  


Early Learning Foundations for Infants and Toddlers:
Discoveries-Memory, Cause and Effect, Spatial Awareness; Physical Development and Health - Gross Motor;
Early Learning Foundations for Preschoolers: Approaches to Learning-Reasoning and Problem Solving; Mathematics-Number and Operations and Data Analysis: Science - Scientific Exploration and Scientific Inquiry; Physical Development and Health - Gross Motor:


READ: The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle.  

DO:  Make a Ladybug. (Its Delaware's State bug!)

Color a paper plate red. Cut out black circles. For a counting activity, ask your child to put on spots (the black circles) on the ladybug's back. Use another paper plate to color a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other. Describe the feelings the ladybug experiences in the story and ask your child to show you which face demonstrates that feeling. Make up other examples. 


Here's a great ladybug snack:  


A strawberry is the body. Chocolate chips make the spots. A blueberry is the head and small pieces of licorice are the legs. YUM!


Early Learning Foundations for Infants and Toddlers: Social Emotional-Self Regulation; Discoveries- Attention and Persistence, Spatial Awareness; Physical Development and Health - Fine Motor and Health Awareness and Practice;


Early Learning Foundations
for Preschoolers:
Social Emotional-Self Regulation; Mathematics-Number and Operations; Physical Development and Health - Fine Motor and Health Awareness and Practice


READ: Bugs, Bugs, Bugs.  

Bob Barner's beautiful and amusing book shows many different bugs and has a chart in the back that children can use to go on a bug hunt. They can look for different types and note them on a chart, comparing colors and size and learning their names.


Early Learning Foundations for Infants and Toddlers: Discoveries- Curiosity and Problem Solving; Attention and Persistence; Physical Development and Health - Gross Motor;
Early Learning Foundations for Preschoolers: Approaches to Learning-Initiative and Curiosity; Language and Literacy-Emergent Writing; Mathematics-Number and Operations , Patterns, and Data Analysis: Science - Scientific Exploration and Scientific Inquiry; Physical Development and Health - Gross Motor





DE Stars logo
Young Child Assessment Initiative Garners Great Response!    


The response to the Office of Early Learning's request for programs to participate in the Young Child (Birth to 5 yrs.) Child Assessment initiative has been overwhelming! Nearly 50 programs from Delaware Stars 3, 4 and 5 programs volunteered to participate in a child assessment pilot for children birth to age 5. During the months of July and August, more than 150 early learning professionals will be trained on the Teaching Strategies Gold child assessment instrument. Following the training, the participants will observe and assess children and using an online data system, view information about the children they assess, individually or as a group, and print out useful reports. Family conference forms and send-home resources are included as part of this exciting new initiative. Stars standards include options for assessment, its use to inform instruction and to engage families.  Pilot participants will work on these Stars standards.  The pilot experience will inform the full implementation of the assessment that will be open to all Stars 3, 4, and 5 programs beginning in 2014. 


Delaware Early Learning Survey Update 
The number of Kindergarten teachers trained for the Delaware Early Learner Survey (DE-ELS) has exceeded the expected target of 300 teachers!  Many districts also sent para-professionals, administrators, and other support staff bringing to 400 the number of school teachers and leaders with knowledge of the DE-ELS.  Delaware is committed to providing young children with quality early learning opportunities, both prior to kindergarten entry as well as during kindergarten itself.  As part of this commitment, the Delaware Early Learner Survey is being phased in. READ FULL ARTICLE

Office of Early Learning and the Division of Social Services, DHSS co-sponsor work session on new proposed Federal child care regulations


The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provides important financial and programmatic support to our ear ly childhood system here in Delaware.  On May 20, 2013, the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued new proposed regulations governing the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program.   


The Office of Early Learning and the Division of Social Services held an open work session on July 9 to discuss these regulations and provide input as the state formulates its comments and recommendations on the new proposed regulations.


 FULL ARTICLE...           




U.S. Senate Labor-Health & Human Services Mark-up Shows Significant Investment in  

Early Childhood


On July 9, as part of the 2014 appropriations process, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies marked up a bill with significant investments in early childhood programs.


Introducing the new DAEYC Staff

The Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children (DAEYC) has hired new staff and will be administering the Challenge-funded CORE (Compensation, Retention and Education) awards program which provides individual monetary awards to early childhood education professionals who further their education. Pictured left to right are: James Kane, DAEYC Administrator;  Ann-Janine Ward, Career Advisor; Kim Pridemore, Board President; Paula Holloway, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Coordinator; Syreeta Clarke, CORE Coordinator; John Fisher-Klein, Board Past President.  


ABC: Helping Very Young Children
Overcome Adversity 

Early childhood mental health intervention is now available for children birth to age 2 years and their families. Developed by Mary Dozier, Ph.D. at the University of Delaware where she directs the Infant Caregiver Project, the services are being offered by the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services.  




Marlette Lofland operates "Mrs. Marlette's Colorful World   Daycare," a Star 4 family child care program in Bridgeville. When her first child was born prematurely, she felt the need to stay home with her instead of returning to her work in a child care program. She says, "I am dedicated to what I love to do best, taking care of children." This dedication, along with her interest in continuous quality improvement, led her to join the Delaware Stars program which is funded by the state and operated by the Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood.


Stars-DE EEC combo Marlette shares, "When Delaware Stars first started I was in a pilot program. It isn't easy but I want my program to be known as a quality child care program where I can get the children ready for school. I have seen the changes through the years in Delaware Stars and think it is a wonderful program." Early in 2013, she joined a Delaware Stars Plus group where she meets regularly with other family child care program providers from the same geographic area. In addition, they meet weekly with their  Stars Technical Assistant* who helps providers  access additional professional development and resources. Through participation in Delaware Stars and Marlette's commitment to quality child care, the program has changed for the better over time.


Marlette's goal is to provide the best educational opportunities for the children she serves. Delaware Stars has helped her to streamline her materials and create interest areas where the children to play, improving her program's learning environment. She has begun to engage the children with other resources, such as the library, to better prepare them for Kindergarten and is utilizing a comprehensive curriculum. One parent says, "We love what Delaware Stars has done for our program and our provider."



 *Technical Assistants in the Delaware Stars program provide regular and ongoing support to programs as they seek to increase and maintain the highest level of quality in their programs  The Delaware Stars programs is offered through the University of Delaware's Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood.


Erin Ricker

For one Delaware native, it's the smiles on her students' faces that keep her coming back year after year. Erin Ricker, a Kindergarten teacher in the Woodbridge School District, is one of the many early educators making a difference in the state of Delaware.  



Through her dedication to student achievement and a passion for helping young students succeed, Ricker has helped lead the early education charge in Delaware. However, Kindergarten wasn't always Ricker's passion.


"I was originally hired for a 2nd grade position," Ricker said. "Three days before school started, they switched me to Kindergarten, which was scary, but I immediately fell in love."


  One way that Ricker has been able to track the tremendous growth her students made last year was through the newly implemented Delaware Early Learner Survey. Delaware's Office of Early Learning launched the Early Learner Survey as a way to measure where students are when they come into Kindergarten. This data helps teachers shape their curriculum, pacing of material and differentiation of instruction. Ricker was one of about 100 Kindergarten teachers in the state to implement the Early Learner Survey in its flagship year.  


Overall, Ricker is extremely excited to be a part of the early education push in Delaware, and her great work in the classroom is proving that.  

                      Article contributed by

Heather Wentz, Teach for America/Delaware



New Resource for Families 


The National Center on Parent, Family and Community Engagement has recently released this new downloadable resource to support families:


Research to Practice Series: Family Connections to Peers and Community:  


Positive Parent Child Relationships



Summer Learning with Families


When school is dismissed for the summer, many children are thinking of long days of relaxation and fun. Parents, on the other hand, may be thinking of how to prevent summer "learning loss."  It is possible to merge the two plans: Parents can apply a summer routine to preserve and enhance the learning of the school year, and children can have summer vacation fun, too.
HHS Releases Guidance on Addressing Trauma and Improving the Social-Emotional Health among Children Known to Child Welfare


This letter addresses the importance of focusing on identifying and treating trauma among children and youth known to the child welfare system. The letter includes useful and actionable information for policymakers on the effects of trauma and cross-system strategies for addressing it to include important information about federal funding streams and flexibilities.  FULL ARTICLE 


Building School Principals' Capacity to Lead High-Quality Early Education


According to a new paper by the National Governors Association (NGA), effective school leadership and access to high-quality early education are two of the most important determinants of educational outcomes.  Leading for Early Success: Building School Principals' Capacity to Lead High-Quality Early Education (2013) makes the case for why governors should build elementary school principals' capacity to promote high-quality early education and outlines specific state policy strategies to accomplish this goal. It includes a case study highlighting how Illinois is including early learning content in the principal preparation process.


Leading Early Childhood Learning Communities Executive Summary 


Depression and Brain Activity in Pre-Schoolers 


This new research study from
Psych Central reports that a key brain structure that regulates emotions works differently in preschoolers with depression compared with their healthy peers.   



QRIS National Learning Network - New QRIS Resources 6-26-13)


The BUILD Initiative and the QRIS National Learning Network Hosted the 5th Webinar in  "Let's Talk" Series: Building Support for QRIS through Communications and Community Outreach took place on June 25th. Strategies, success and lessons learned from Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Washington were shared and a the new resource below by Kelly Swanson for the BUILD Initiative's QRIS National Learning Network, was released.   FULL ARTICLE 



New Observation Resource:

 Observation: The Heart of Individualizing Responsive Care (EHS TA Paper No. 15) is a new resource that offers information on observation as well as strategies to support and strengthen this important component of quality infant and toddler care. The colorful 21-page document highlights what observation is, why it is important, what to observe, how to observe and document, how to set up observation systems, and using observation information.


Shining Light on Dual Language Learners

As NIEER highlighted in a recent policy brief, one in 7 children entering kindergarten speaks a language other than English. How can parents, administrators, and teachers ensure that Dual Language Learners (DLLs) get the supports they need to get the most out of early childhood education? A recent ethnographic study of one Head Start classroom found that free play among Spanish- and English-speaking children provided opportunities to support language learning.


As noted by Conor Williams of the New America Foundation, these small-scale results were in line with a recent report from the Center for Early Care and Education Research-Dual Language Learners (CECER-DLL) which highlighted that allowing DLL students to continue using their native language at school, rather than immersing in an English-only environment, benefits social development skills. A new practice-oriented summary of researchfrom Claude Goldenberg, Judy Hicks, and Ira Lit provides a four page "must read" complement to the NIEER brief for those responsible for practice and policy.



The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released the 24th edition of its annually produced KIDS COUNT Data Book, which includes the latest data on child well-being for every state, the District of Columbia and the nation. The information contained in the publication is also available through the KIDS COUNT Data Center, which allows users to create custom tables based on selected indicators and data. Access individual state data here and the interactive data wheel here


The Journal of Early Childhood Research has published a paper in its June 2013 issue entitled "Understanding Influences of Play on Second Language Learning: A Microethnographic View in One Head Start Preschool Classroom."  


The paper reports the results of a study that used developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky's "concept of play as rule driven" to analyze how non-native English speakers develop skills in English through structured play with both native speakers and other dual-language learners.

Read the abstract here.


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