Resampled color

April 2014
In This Issue

Bean Sprouts

After a very long winter, it's wonderful to see plants popping up and seeds sprouting. Children will delight in watching plants begin to grown and flowers bloom as well.  


  1.  Give each child a Ziploc bag and a paper towel. Dampen the paper towel, fold it and place it inside the Ziploc bag. (1-2 cotton balls work as well). The towel should be wet enough to provide moisture for the bean but not dripping wet. 2.  Give the children 1-2 bean seeds to lay on top of the damp paper towel. Seal the bag. 3.  Tape the bags to a window or on a sunny wall or hang along a clothesline where they will get the needed warmth to germinate. Keep paper towels moistened. 4.  Watch what happens! The seeds should begin to sprout or germinate in about 3-5 days. 5.  Transplant the sprouted seeds into soil after about 1 or 2 weeks.



Measure the change in the sprouts from day to day. Ask the children to do "observational drawings" of the changes that are occurring. Write a story about the bean sprouts. Taste bean sprouts that have been purchased from the grocery store (there are many varieties).



Anne Rockwell: One Bean
Eric Carle: The Tiny Seed
Ruth Krauss: The Carrot Seed Susan Blackaby: Plant Packages: A Book About Seeds
Gail Gibbons: From Seed to Plant



Infants and Toddlers- Language and Literacy: Emergent Reading and Writing; Discoveries: Cause and Effect;  

Preschoolers- Approaches to Learning: Reasoning and Problem Solving; Language and Literacy Emergent Reading and Writing; Mathematics: Measurement and Data Analysis; Science;




Enhancements Meetings Update 

The 2014 Stars Enhancements roll-out is being enthusiastically received.  To date, the 25 meetings held state-wide for Stars providers and staff have been well attended.  In addition to the presenters, 15 "ambassadors" have shared their own experiences in Stars.  The questions raised by participants are helpful to the organizers efforts to continually improve the quality of presentations going forward. 


Developed with input from Stars stakeholders, the enhancements are in three key areas: Financial Incentives, Standards & Supports and Program Quality Verification & Assessment.  A second round of meetings is currently being planned for May, including offering some sessions in Spanish.  


More information about the 2014 Stars Enhancements, including an overview, Powerpoint and FAQs, can be found on the Delaware Stars WEBSITE. 


 New Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive Program Encourages Healthy Development 


To help children and families easily access important developmental services, communities must work together to offer screenings in both medical and community settings that ensure that families, physicians, and community-based providers--including those that operate child care and early education programs--communicate results and coordinate necessary follow-up services.  Delaware is off to a good start promoting the use of standardized tools (PEDS for health a providers and Ages and Stages for early childhood programs) across the state through the Challenge.
Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! is a recently launched coordinated federal effort to encourage healthy child development, universal developmental and behavioral screening for children, and support for the families and providers who care for them.

Secretary Sebelius Announces Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! Initiative
Former Secretary Sebelius Announces Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! Initiative

Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! will help families and providers:

  • Celebrate milestones. Every family looks forward to seeing a child's first smile, first step, and first words. Regular screenings help raise awareness of a child's development, making it easier to expect and celebrate developmental milestones.
  • Promote universal screening. Just like hearing and vision screenings assure that children can hear and see clearly, developmental and behavioral screenings track a child's progress in areas such as language, social, or motor development.
  • Identify possible delays and concerns early. With regular screenings, families, teachers, and other professionals can assure that young children get the services and supports they need, as early as possible to help them thrive alongside their peers.
  • Enhance developmental supports. Combining the love and knowledge families have of their children with tools, guidance, and tips recommended by experts can make the most of the developmental support children receive.
CLICK HERE for more information and helpful tools and guides.


  April is the Month of the Military Child  


This awareness month was established to underscore the important role children play in the Armed Forces community. There are approximately 2 million military children, ranging in ages from newborn to 18 years old; 1.3 million military children are school-aged. Care of military children sustains our fighting force, and strengthens the health, security, and safety of our nation's families and communities.

The Military 1 Source website offers this FACT SHEET.

NCTSN (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network) offers a link with a number of resources for educators, family
members and professionals about ways to support military families. CLICK HERE.

 In addition, this  Zero to Three LINK offers a number of outstanding resources to assist military families with young children. 

Home Visiting Funding Extended


This month, the Senate followed the House lead in passing the "Protecting Access to Medicare Act," which provided a short-term patch to prevent a reduction in Medicare payments to physicians (this legislation is referred to as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) bill - and more informally as the "doc fix" bill). Included were several provisions important for low-income families, such as continuation of "Express Lane Eligibility," a provision that makes it easier for states to enroll children in public health insurance, and an extension of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program at current funding levels, an important win for vulnerable children and families across the country.  FULL ARTICLE HERE. 

 Early Educators Benefit from T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood Delaware in 2013


According to its recently released 2013 Annual Report, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Delaware helped over 253 early education professionals in the state increase their education in FY2013.  

Administered by the Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children, the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Project awards educational scholarships to early education professionals in an effort to address the key issues of under-education, poor compensation and high turnover within the early education workforce. All T.E.A.C.H . Early Childhood® scholarships link increasing edu­cational levels with increased compensation and retention. Scholarship recipients and their sponsoring early care and education programs share in the cost.

Highlights of the Class of 2013 include:
  • Nine recipients graduated with associate degrees.
  • Four recipients graduated with bachelor's degrees.
  • Six recipients earned their administrator credential.
  • One recipient earned a CDA (Child Development Associate) credential.


CLICK HERE for information flyer

 Third Annual Making a Difference Conference is Informative and FUN!


The University of Delaware's Clayton Hall was buzzing with high energy and packed with enthusiastic early childhood professionals at the Third Annual Making a Difference Conference on April 11 and 12.  Sponsored by Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children DAEYC and the Delaware Head Start Association in collaboration with the Delaware Department of Education, Early Development and Learning Resources, Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood and the Office of Early Learning, the two-day conference featured keynotes Lisa Murphy, The Ooey Gooey Lady, and child development and parenting expert Gigi Schweikert.  In addition, conference participants could choose among dozens of sessions over the two days which ranged from informative and practical to inspiring and creative.  Add to that the opportunity to catch up with old friends and network with new colleagues and you can understand why the feedback was so positive.  One thing is clear, everyone is already looking forward to Making a Difference 2015!

Lisa Murphy speaks to a packed house.

One of the many high energy sessions.


Quality Early Education:

Raising the Developmental Bar


As a 2014 Leadership Delaware Fellow I have the unique privilege of personally meeting and learning
2014 Leadership Delaware Fellow Casey S. Melson
from the brightest and most impactful leaders throughout the state.  A goal of Leadership Delaware (LDI) is to bridge influential members of our community with up-and-coming leaders.  Our sessions cover the economy, the environment, immigration, business leadership and education to name a few.  Most notably our last two-day session focused solely on education in Delaware. While so much is underway to improve the development of young minds in our state, we have a long way to go. 


Harriet Dichter, the Executive Director of the Delaware Office of Early Learning is visionary when it comes to sustainable programs focused on developing the minds of our youngest citizens.  Did you know that 90% of brain development occurs before the age of five?  It is so important that all children in Delaware receive quality care as early in life as possible!  


Additionally, we need to make quality care available to families at all income levels.  25,000 children (40 percent) in Delaware are from low income families.  The Delaware Office of Early Learning is advancing the affordability of quality care through Purchase of Care and the Delaware Stars program.  To further exemplify the need, currently 3-year old children from low income homes have a 500 word vocabulary while comparable 3-year old children of parents who work full-time have an 1,100 word vocabulary. 


Studies have found that by age four, children in middle and upper class families hear 15 million more words than children in working-class families, and 30 million more words than children in families on welfare. This disparity in hearing words from parents and caregivers translates directly into a disparity in learning words. And that puts our children born with the fewest advantages even further behind.


Contributed by  Casey Melson, Global Human Resources Generalist, Corporation Service Company,  

Member, Delaware Commission on Early Education and the Economy  

Rising Stars Shining Bright!

Congratulations to La Fiesta Day Care, the latest early learning program to achieve 5 Star program status! Star Level 5 is the highest level of achievement for programs in Delaware Stars.  


Programs achieving Star Level 4 are:  Ezion Fair Community Academy, Ministry of Caring Guardian Angel Child Care, Melody Moran, Jennifer T. Parker, Samaida Sprogell, The Little Caboose Childcare and Learning Center, Toddler's Tech, Inc., Young Expressions

We also congratulate the Delaware Stars programs that have attained new status as a Star 3 programs during the past month!  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 the complete list of who is moving up!  

Matt Haley's Passion Delivers Hope   

for Children in Delaware and Beyond


Matt Haley's accomplishments are impressive. He's an accomplished chef, an astute business person

and a dedicated philanthropist, with a focus on education.


He and his business partner, Scott Kammerer, own several restaurants in Delaware beach resort towns:

Mark Haley

Lupo di Mare, Matt's Fish Camp, Bluecoast Seafood Grill, Northeast Seafood Kitchen, Catch 54 and Papa Grande's. In 2009, the restaurants' umbrella company, SoDel Concepts, was named to the Inc. list of the fastest-growing food and beverage companies in the nation. He's also launched Plate Catering, Highwater Management, a food service management company, Haley/ Kammerer Consulting, a food service consulting firm, and operates concessions at several area sports complexes. An avid traveler, he's has also invested in the Tuscan vineyard Conti di San Bonifacio. Most recently he was named 2014 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year.  


Matt is passionate about the hospitality industry, but he's even more passionate about his volunteer work here, at home, and in global community, helping people from Rehoboth Beach to Nepal to Nicaragua.


Haley knows what an amazing difference it can make when someone reaches out to help a person in need. As a young child Haley experienced a violent and unsettled domestic childhood. He was a troubled teen who

abused drugs and alcohol that eventually ended up incarcerated on several drug related felonies. In rehabilitation he honed his culinary skills, which became his salvation.


Locally he's a member of the Delaware Business Roundtable Committee on Education's Commission on Early Education and the Economy. He's also working with Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee to bring agriculture and nutrition to Delaware's cities through urban gardens, markets and education programs.


In 2011, Haley founded The Global Delaware Fund to provide goods and services to at-risk children and children in challenging circumstances-both locally and internationally. In just three years, Global Delaware Fund has raised more than $250,000 in charitable donations. The fund helped build a school for 80 children in Nepal, including the construction of a hydroelectric plant to power it.


Last fall he bought a bus to help transport children in Sussex County, where public transportation is a problem, to activities, such as Boys & Girls Club excursions. He also plans to use the bus as a traveling kitchen to teach kids about food and cooking.


He has been involved with Boys & Girls Clubs and the Food Bank. He has chaired massive food fundraisers for Meals on Wheels. He has volunteered for Children and Families First and Chicks for Charities. The list of organizations and activities goes on.

Two Briefs from ASPE Address Achievement Gap and Impacts of Public Early Care and Education Programs


The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released two research briefs about young children and the impacts of early education programs.


The first summarizes what is known about children's achievement and development gaps by family income, socioeconomic status, and other factors.  Over the past few decades, gaps in achievement between children living in the poorest households and their peers living in the highest-income households have widened.


The most consistent evidence for addressing children's school readiness skills and narrowing the achievement gap supports high-quality early care and education programs.


In a related brief, ASPE presents a summary of what is known about the short- and long-term impacts of large, high-quality public early care and education programs in the United States on children's development prior to kindergarten entry. The report includes key features of programs lead to the best outcomes, as well as how to sustain program benefits as children grow older.


"The Early Achievement and Development Gap"

 "Impacts of Public Early Care and Education"

Website Provides Access to Measures of Child Wellbeing and Equity in the U.S.

The Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy (ICYFP) at Brandeis University's Heller School for Social Policy and Management has launched, an online data and analysis tool that provides insights into wellbeing and equity among the ever-more diverse children in the United States. is an interactive tool that allows users to create customized profiles, rankings and maps that make data on child wellbeing across racial and ethnic groups visual and digestible. It has a neighborhood-level child opportunity index, the first of its kind, developed in partnership with the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University. In addition to the index and hundreds of standard measures broken down by race and ethnicity, this site also generates unique, equity-focused data on known structural factors that drive existing disparities among varying racial and ethnic groups. It allows users to zoom in from a national perspective to ever-smaller levels of geography, examining individual metropolitan areas, school districts, and in some cases even neighborhoods. Such focused views can highlight inequities among children of varying racial and ethnic groups.


Strategies for Family Engagement

Principals and teachers report that they value relationships with families, yet they receive little training for engaging families. They also say that they feel underprepared to develop these partnerships. Partners in Education: A Dual Capacity-Building Framework for Family-School Partnerships, a collaboration between SEDL and the U.S. Department of Education, addresses these challenges. The publication, written by Harvard Graduate School of Education's Karen L. Mapp, senior lecturer and faculty director of the Education Policy and Management Master's Program, and Paul J. Kuttner, researcher and educator, presents a framework that focuses on helping both educators and family members develop the necessary skills, knowledge, confidence, and belief systems to develop and sustain home-school relationships.


Click link above to download. 




Family-Provider Partnerships: Examining Alignment of Early Care and Education Professional and Performance Standards, State Competencies, and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems Indicators in the Context of Research

Interest in the quality of provider-family relationships in early care and education (ECE) settings has sharpened the focus on defining and measuring elements of these relationships across settings for program improvement purposes. In this brief from OPRE, authors examine the alignment of research-based elements of family-provider partnerships with professional and performance standards from three national ECE organizations as well as selected professional competencies and Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) family partnership indicators from two states. The purpose is to inform the development of common definitions, expectations about what providers need to know and do, and measures that more closely capture quality in this domain across systems.



Modeling the Cost of Quality in Early Achievers Centers and Family Child Care


The purpose of this project is to assist the Washington State Department of Early Learning to develop a set of dynamic models for estimating the cost of operation of early learning programs at various levels of quality consistent with Early Achievers to inform the design of a set of financial incentives in support of the state's participation goals for programs and children.


Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grant Toolkit

The Office of Head Start and the Office of Child Care have released a new toolkit to support organizations in applying for an Early Head Start - Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grant. It offers a collection of resources, including an overview of Early Head Start and the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) and materials to support partnerships. The site also provides a description of the grant application process and will post updates, including information for potential grant reviewers as the grant process proceeds.



Webinars on Early Learning


The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) has produced a webinar series entitled "Thought Leaders in Early Childhood." The webinars range in topics from Facilitating Language Development in Young Children to Measuring Classroom Quality to Crossing boundaries and Building Bridges: Leadership Lessons for All of Us

For the list of all titles in the series and to listen to any of the webinars, CLICK HERE.

Child Assessment Brief

What child assessments are required of pre-K and Kindergarten providers? How are child assessment data used? The latest Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes brief answers these questions to provide early childhood specialists in state departments of education and other stakeholders with information to inform policy.  The brief is based primarily on secondary analysis of data collected in the State of Preschool Yearbook and presents a snapshot of responses to questions about child assessment.




Dual Language Learners and Social-Emotional Development: Understanding the Benefits for Young Children

Literacy skills are a foundation for academic success. There's evidence that children who are exposed to more than one language during early childhood, when language acquisition is taking place, have different developmental trajectories in this regard. This article in Child Trends makes the case that we need to learn more about the connection between dual language learning and social-emotional skills, such as being able to understand and get along with others, and being able to control one's own behavior.

Preschoolers' Persistance

Preschoolers work harder at ordinary tasks if they are rewarded with meaningful new knowledge, rather than if they receive stickers, according to a new study out of Northwestern University. The report, titled "Motivated by Meaning: Testing the Effect of Knowledge-Infused Rewards on Preschoolers' Persistence," was published in the March/April 2014 edition of the journal Child Development.



Major New Findings from the Abecedarian Project Show Health Benefits 30 Years Later

The Frank Porter Graham (FPG) Child Development Institute recently reported that children who received high-quality early care and education in the Abecedarian Project from birth until age 5 enjoyed better physical health in their mid-30s than peers who did not attend the childcare-based program. Significant measures also indicate that better health lies ahead for these individuals. The findings appear in the March 28, 2014 issue of Science and are the result of FPG's collaboration with Nobel laureate James J. Heckman.

Learn More:
FULL ARTICLE in Science magazine (requires subscription or fee for article)


Can Afternoon Naps Help Preschoolers Learn Better?

Historically, little attention has been paid to the impact naps have on a preschool child's ability to learn.  Now, research from the University of Massachusetts has documented that classroom naps can enhance memory and support learning. In a typical day, preschoolers pack information and social interactions into the short-term storage areas of their brains and a nap allows information to move from temporary storage to more permanent storage, from the hippocampus to the cortical areas of the brain.

Stay Connected

Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn   
Delaware Office of Early Learning | | | 820 North French Street, 5th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801

Copyright © 2013.All Rights Reserved.