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In This Issue

 Computers, cameras,apps... 
oh my!

Add these things together and we are talking about a new term, digital literacy. Just as we learn about new technology in our adult lives, so too should we expose children to these tools. Even very young children can view a video or pictures on a tablet or iPad or learn to use the computer. When adults use these tools with them in limited dosages, they help children build skills in many ways. Here are some ideas that can be used with any or all of these technological devices. sure to check out this great website for families and teachers by the Fred Rogers Center.  


Camera fun

Use a camera or the camera on your phone or tablet and ask each child to take a photo of a favorite object or area in the classroom or at home. Print it out or hook up the camera to the computer or TV and tell a story about the picture. Help children be creative by starting off the story with statements like, "once upon a time, there was a boy in the block corner and he...." Or " a long time ago a girl who always read..." Infant and Toddler Early Learning Foundations: Social Emotional-Self Concept; Language and Literacy-Receptive and Expressive Language; Discoveries-Play, Curiosity and Problem Solving. Preschool Early Learning Foundations: Social Emotional-Self Concept; Approaches to Learning-Initiative and Curiosity; Language and Literacy-Expressive Language; Creative Expression-Dramatic Play


Phones & Tablets as Learning Tools 

Set up groupings of objects that represent numbers, colors, or shapes...3 books, 5 pencils, all red things, etc. Ask the children to photograph them. Print them out and use as posters or learning games to teach concepts. If they're on a phone, iPad or tablet, use them like a book and scroll through each one, counting, naming the color or shape, talking about their characteristics, etc. . Infant and Toddler Early Learning Foundations: Language and Literacy-Expressive Language, Emergent Literacy and Writing; Discoveries-Sensory Awareness, Memory; Physical Development and Health-Fine Motor. Preschool Early Learning Foundations: Approaches to Learning-Reasoning and Problem Solving; Mathematics-Number and Operations, Geometry and Spatial Sense, Patterns; Approaches to Learning


Scavenger Hunt 

Make a written or picture list of items to look for on a scavenger hunt. Let the children take turns using the camera to photograph those items when you find them on a walk or a room search. After the fun, infants and toddlers can help scroll through the screens as everyone looks at each picture and talks about them. Infant and Toddler Early Learning Foundations: Language and Literacy-Expressive Language, Emergent Literacy; Discoveries-Attention and Persistence, Memory; Physical Development and Health-Fine Motor. Preschool Early Learning Foundations: Language and Literacy-Expressive and Receptive Language; Science-Scientific Exploration; My Family, My Community, My World-Places and Spaces, Geography.


Learn more about digital media by reading NAEYC's position statement.  











5 New Communities Join Delaware Readiness Teams Initiative! 

Five new communities have joined the Delaware Readiness Teams initiative! DEL TEAMS are working towards strengthening partnerships with families, early childhood and K-12 educators, health care, human services, and civic leaders to make school readiness and the needs of young children a priority in communities across the state.  


The new DEL TEAMS are Claymont Readiness Team, Laurel Readiness Team, Lower Sussex Readiness Team, Northeast/Gov Printz Readiness Team (Wilmington) and the Western Wilmington Readiness Team and are added to our statewide complement of 14 teams including Brandywine Readiness Partnership, Cape Henlopen Community Team, Center City Wilmington Delaware Readiness Team, Georgetown Readiness Team, Glasgow Readiness Team, Hanover Dream Team (Wilmington), Helping Us Build Community and People (HUBCAP) Lake Forest Readiness Team, Milford Readiness Team, Mt. Pleasant Community Partnership, North Dover Readiness Team, Seaford Readiness Team, Smyrna Clayton Eaglets Readiness Team, South Dover Readiness Team, and Woodbridge Readiness Team. Click Here to view MAP.


Spreading the Word


Great Start Delaware Logo 

 As reported in an earlier Delaware Childhood E-News, several tools, including a website,, a Facebook page and a Twitter account, have been created to provide resources and tips for families with young children.  


Our most recent focus has been to promote these resources with a contest that invites the public to visit the website, like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. A simple sign-up enters participants in a weekly random drawing for a family fun pack-winning anything from gift cards to movies, bowling, activity centers or museums-with multiple winners in each county. In just the first 5 weeks, more than 150 people have entered and more than 40 family fun packs have been awarded! In addition to providing the nearly 400 Delaware Stars programs with posters and flyers for their children's families promoting the contest, it has been promoted through libraries and communities throughout the state, as well online and print advertisements with dramatic results. In one month traffic to the website more than doubled!  


The contest ends November 1, so spread the word and direct people to visit to register to win.


Great Starts DE Website Features New Page for Families:


Click here to check out the Early Learning At Home page! Designed just for families with young children, the page offers lots of resources, information and no cost or low cost activities for families with infant, toddlers and preschoolers to promote early learning at home. 

National Forums Highlight  

Delaware's Early Learning Efforts   


Click to view segment.
Harriet Dichter chats with WITN's Shannon Harris about Delaware's efforts toward ensuring quality early learning.

Early learning in Delaware has been in the news this fall with recent local and national appearances by Governor Jack Markell and Office of Early Learning executive director and nationally recognized early learning expert, Harriet Dichter.  As invited guests on Conversation on Comprehensive Education Reform, held in the nation's capital and sponsored by the New American Foundation, they shared Delaware's progress in early learning.  The Governor and Ms. Dichter were also two of the featured policymakers and thought-leaders earlier this month in New York at NBC Education Nation, an annual conference initiative to engage the country in a solutions-focused conversation about the state of education in America.  As a panelist at the lunchtime session for all attendees, Ms. Dichter shared Delaware's early learning challenge and the steps taken to date to reach the goals. The two-day event was streamed live on, as well as several other online outlets and resulted in articles both the New York Times and Washington Post on their respective contributions at the conference.
Harriet Dichter was also featured recently on local TV station, WITN, Channel 22, where she talked with Window on Wilmington's Shannon Harris about Delaware's efforts to ensure quality early learning for every young learner in Delaware. WITN, Channel 22 is a government television station which is presented and managed by Wilmington City Council to provide City residents with a consistent connection to the activities and services of their government and to their neighbors and community.

Delaware Stars Infant and Toddler Specialty Technical Assistants: Providing Insight for Our Youngest Learners  


DE Stars logo  

Emerging science of early brain development, combined with years of observations and clinical research have taught us that the fastest rate of brain development across the human life span is from birth to three. Rapid cognitive, linguistic, emotional, social and motor development occurs during those first three years. Every experience of an infant-everything an infant sees, feels, tastes, smells and hears-creates a neural connection in the child's brain. In fact, it's estimated that by the age of three, a child's brain has formed 1000 trillion connections between neurons.


From infancy to age three, parents, providers and educators are critical factors in providing quality early experiences for young children. Each time a caregiver plays with and sings, speaks, reads or tells a story to a child and nurtures her or him with healthy food, love and affection, the child's brain grows. And that can make a big difference in a child's growth, development and future potential.


The new Delaware Stars Infant and Toddler Specialty Technical Assistants (TAs) provide consulting services and coaching to Delaware Stars programs to focus on those first three years.  MORE... 


First Smile Delaware, an Oral Health Initiative  



Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease in the U.S. Forty-seven percent (47%) of third grade children have experienced tooth decay in their primary or permanent teeth . However, it is nearly 100% preventable. This is why the Division of Public Health (DPH) has developed "First Smile Delaware," a campaign to improve the oral and overall health of our state's children.


Join the movement to stop tooth decay and improve the health of Delaware's children. DPH has developed patient education material to help educate about the importance of protecting good oral health habits at home.


Dental disease can negatively impact wellbeing and quality of life. Making this issue a priority represents one of the greatest opportunities to improve the health of our citizens. Please contact Barbara L. Antlitz @


This is a battle that can be won - follow the link below to get started.

University of Delaware's Roberta Golinkoff on Infant Language Acquisition



One of the country's foremost researchers and experts on infants and language, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, holds the H. Rodney Sharp Chair in the School of Education at the University of Delaware and is also a member of the Departments of Psychology and Linguistics. Since 1974 she has directed the Infant Language Project, whose goal it is to understand how children tackle the amazing feat of learning language.  



In an earlier blog post this year, she and her colleague, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, posed the question:

Are Babies Like Eggplants?

You may think your little baby is laying around like a lump, fixated on the comer where the ceiling meets the wall or captivated by the whirring sound of the lawnmower outside. You would be mistaken! Sure, babies are looking and listening closely to what's taking place around them; after all, everything is new. But behind that deceptively vacant facade there is lots going on.

A recent scientific paper by Dr. Ruth Tincoff of Bucknell University tells us that babies know the names for some of their body parts at 6 months of age. Okay, maybe not "clavicle" or "liver," but "hands" and "feet"-- that's pretty impressive! But how could scientists possibly know this? Using a research method that your favorite bloggers use! Your baby's gaze allows you to figuratively peer inside their head and see what they're thinking.  FULL ARTICLE  


Community Baby Shower 

The Maternal Child Health Bureau and Delaware Division of Public Health are hosting a FREE COMMUNITY BABY SHOWER on Saturday, November 23 from 11:30 am to 2 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church Community Hall.  CLICK FOR  FULL DETAILS 


Delaware State Fire School offers Training for Young Children Fire Safety

Saturday, November 15 - 8:30 - 12:00 noon 
Delaware State Fire School, Dover, DE

A fascinating and entertaining look into the preschool child's perception of fire, the surprising frequency of children's misuse of fire, practical approaches to teach young children fire safety and introduction to the award winning play safe! be safe! kit.

For trainers, teachers, other direct care providers, program managers and program and life safety educators.
Click Here for Information/Registration Form

Job Opportunity:
Facilitator For Delaware Readiness Teams 

Join Delaware Readiness Teams as facilitator, to support teams in developing, completing community readiness profile, and implementing their plan to enhance outcomes for children birth-8 years using Delaware Readiness Equation:  Ready Families + Ready Early Care and Education + Ready Communities + Ready Schools = Ready Children. 

Looking for people to help teams benefit from diverse voices of community members in addressing challenging issues and looking for innovative solutions.   Bachelor's degree and related experience required. 

Contact Janet Cornwell at
302-398-8945 x 101 with questions. 
Apply at LFSD website
LFSD Website under Delaware Early Childhood Center.


Rising Stars
 Shining Bright

We congratulate the Delaware Stars programs that have attained new status as a Star 3, 4 or 5 program during the summer months.  As Delaware families look to the Stars when searching for early childhood programs for their children, they find quality early learning programs such as the Stars programs that have moved up in quality rating!   


 See who is moving up! 

Young Learners Inspire Teach For America Corps Members


Impacting students' lives as early as possible has been proven to help them make greater gains in school and throughout their lives. What they learn from birth to five-years-old is critical, and both Teach for America and the state of Delaware recognize that.


Shakira Perez 

Teach For America is a nonprofit organization that places highly qualified recent college graduates and professionals into low-income classrooms and commit to teach for two years. In general, TFA places corps members in K-12 classrooms. For myself, a 2012 TFA Delaware corps member, that's exactly what I thought, and, what I got. This is my second year teaching 4th grade at Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington, and I've loved it. 


Not only have I learned a lot about myself, but I've also learned so

Stephanie Salazar 

much about the Delaware education system and how much of an impact we can have on driving it in the right direction. However, because the birth to five age is so important in sending students down the right path from the beginning, TFA Delaware partnered with the state of Delaware to place corps members in preschools and early learning centers around the state.


Two corps members, Stephanie Salazar and Shakira Perez, are both 2013 corps members who teach at the Latin American Community Center, teaching one-year-olds and two-year-olds, respectively.



Article contributed by 
Heather Wentz, Teach for America/Delaware


Businesses and Governments Want Pre-K Investment

At first glance, it may be hard to understand why the business community is interested in early childhood education. However, attendees at ReadyNation's 2013 National Business Leader Summit on Early Childhood Investment in Atlanta explain their interest as building both the future workforce and the customer base the country needs. The Summit, a Commitment of the Clinton Global Initiative and sponsored by leading business voices and educational organizations, included participants from business, government, media, and research, including NIEER's Director Steve Barnett and the Harriet Dichter, Director of the Office of Early Learning.    


Click below to read Nobel Laureate and Professor James Heckman's  presentation "The Economic Case for Investing in Young Children." 




CEELO Co-Sponsors Regional Meeting on Comprehensive Assessment Systems

CEELO, in partnership with the Great Lakes and Midwest Regional Comprehensive Centers, held a two day meeting in Chicago on September 16-17, 2013. Resources from the meeting, Building State Education Agency Capacity to Implement and Sustain Comprehensive Early Childhood Assessment Systems, including power points, team planning tools can be found HERE. 


National Women's Law Center, Save the Children, MomsRising, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a report entitled "Expanding Early Education Initiatives with Funding from the Federal Tobacco Tax," which provides details on how a federal tobacco tax could fund a federal preschool initiative.


Language Acquisition in Infants:  


SLATE, an online magazine, recent published an article discussing the importance in language acquisition for infants. The article describes Dr. Dana Suskind's work with the Thirty Million Words Project, Too Small to Fail, and Project Aspire. CLICK FOR ARTICLE 


Report on Child Care Policies


Recently, CLASP released a report, Better for Babies: A Study of State Infant and Toddler Child Care Policies, that presents data from a recent state survey of child care subsidy, licensing, and quality enhancement policies. It provides a national picture of infant-toddler child care.


Research Briefs on Food Security:   

Children's HealthWatch has recently released two research briefs exploring the importance of access to an adequate, healthy diet during early childhood. Too Hungry to Learn describes how food insecurity can damage children's health and brain development, having long-term harmful effects, while Feeding Our Human Capital shows how food insecurity in early childhood makes it harder to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workforce. Read more here.  



Two Articles on Early Learning & Technology

The New York Times recently published an article examining the role of math game applications in early learning. The paper also chronicled how Sesame Street is exploring an online component to the well-known television series. Read more here.
The Atlantic recently examined the use of iPads in preschool classrooms and the reaction of one parent to the new trend. Read more here.


Research Briefs on Food Security:   

Children's HealthWatch has recently released two research briefs exploring the importance of access to an adequate, healthy diet during early childhood. Too Hungry to Learn describes how food insecurity can damage children's health and brain development, having long-term harmful effects, while Feeding Our Human Capital shows how food insecurity in early childhood makes it harder to gain the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workforce. Read more here.  



Everyday Experiences are Opportunities for Math

Children develop math concepts and skills very early in life. From the moment they are born, babies begin to form ideas about math through everyday experiences and, most important, through interactions with trusted adults. Language-how we talk with infants and toddlers about math ideas like more, empty, and full-matters. -


Workforce Development:   

A University of Virginia report entitled "Teachers' Emotional Consistency Matters for Preschool Children" concludes that consistency in providing emotional support in early childhood classrooms is related to better academic and social outcomes for children. Consistency was a better predictor of children's outcomes than several levels of emotional support, and emotional consistent classrooms may provide an atmosphere that is more conducive to learning because children know more of what to expect, can feel more secure, and can attend to learning tasks with fewer disruptions.  


Read more here.   


Everyday Experiences are Opportunities for Math

Children develop math concepts and skills very early in life. From the moment they are born, babies begin to form ideas about math through everyday experiences and, most important, through interactions with trusted adults. Language-how we talk with infants and toddlers about math ideas like more, empty, and full-matters. -


Bullying Prevention begins in Early Childhood

The Child Trends 5 October Issue of offers insight and advice to parents and educators on planting the seeds of bullying prevention early.


 Read more here.   



New Brief from The Foundation for Child Development (FCD)

 PreK-3rd: Challenging Common Myths About Young Dual Language Learners: An Update to the Seminal 2008 Report by Linda Espinosa.

The brief discusses commonly held beliefs about the development and learning of young children who are learning English as their second language and provides recommendations to guide
policies and practices for these young children.


Research on Effective Early Education for Dual Language Learners

The summer 2013 issue of The American Educator, published by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT),featured this article, Dual Language Learners: Effective Instruction in Early Childhood

Authors Claude Goldenberg, Judy Hicks, and Ira Lit, suggest that preschool teachers can best educate young children learning their home language and English by using children's primary language where possible, adopting effective practices for building English language skills, and involving families in supporting children's learning.

Webinar:  Infants, Toddlers, and the CLASS Measure: Developmentally Appropriate Practices on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 1 pm ET


Learn about the new infant CLASS measure, its organizational structure, and the similarities and differences between the infant and toddler tool. Teachstone will explore these differences using video observations with an eye on developmentally appropriate practices for children in each age group. Participants will also see a sneak preview of the professional development resources designed to improve interactions in infant and toddler settings. Register here.



A new report by ZERO TO THREE and Child Trends entitled Changing the Course for Infants and Toddlers: A Survey of State Child Welfare Policies and Initiatives presents findings from a 2013 survey of state child welfare agencies about the policies and practices that guide their work in addressing the needs of infants and toddlers who have been maltreated.

The Center for the study of Child Care Employment recently published a study that examines the issue of child care center staff turnover. Entitled Turnover Begets Turnover: An Examination of Job and Occupational Instability Among Child Care Center Staff, the paper also suggests ways to reduce staff turnover.
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