Resampled color

June 2014
In This Issue

Learning with rhymes

One, Two... Buckle my shoe.

Three, Four... Shut the door!

Five, Six...Pick up sticks.

Seven, Eight...Lay them Straight.

Nine, Ten...A big, fat hen!


Most of us know this familiar rhyme for young children and have recited it with our infants and toddlers as we bounce them on our knee. Have you thought about ways this verse can be used in learning for children of all ages?


FOR BABIES:          

* The sing-song sounds of the verse and the words help children understand how language works

*Nursery rhymes create a relationship-based and fun ritual between adults and children


Early Learning Foundations:

Social Emotional: Attachments and Social Relationships; Language and Literacy: Receptive Language and Emergent Literacy


FOR TODDLERS:         

* Look at children's shoes and talk about buckles, laces, Velcro, etc and the way shoes fasten

* Count other things with the same amount. One, two. "We have one nose and two eyes." "Here's three buttons and four legs on the chair."

* Act out the rhyme; pretend to shut the door or stretch arms out wide to make a big hen.


Early Learning Foundations:

Discoveries: Attention and Persistence, Cause and Effect and Play; Language and Literacy: Receptive Language, Expressive Language, and Emergent Literacy



* Change the endings of each phrase: for example, 1,2 ....the cows moo; 3,4...the birds soar, etc.

* Make a book, with each page showing a number pair and a corresponding picture.

* Make number-matching cards; one card with the written numeral, the matching card with the corresponding number of dots. Or make matching cards that fit the rhyme: one card with 1-2; the other half with a shoe.

* Use the phrases for exploration. Compare shoes; take a tour around the building to look at different types of doors; ask children to lay sticks flat, end to end, and measure the length.


Early Learning Foundations:

Approaches to Learning: Initiative and Curiosity and Reasoning and Problem Solving; Language and Literacy: Receptive and Expressive Language and Emergent Reading and Writing; Mathematics: Number and Operations; Science: Scientific Exploration;

Creative Expression: Music



 Office of Early Learning's Early Learning Challenge Monitoring Yields Valuable Information on Program Progress;  

Remaining Challenges 


The Office of Early Learning, together with Jennifer Ranji, Cabinet Secretary of the Delaware Children's Department, participated in monitoring conducted by the grant project officers from U.S. Department of Education and Health and Human Services early in June.   The monitoring is designed to inform the Departments' oversight and management of the Early Learning Challenge and inform technical assistance offered to grantees.   


The feedback received during the audit was very positive.  As reflected in the recently released Early Learning Challenge Two-Year Progress Report, Delaware is meeting its targets and implementing effectively, thanks to strong partnerships developed with community partners across the state.      



Early Learning Challenge and Office of Early Learning Leadership Update

The Delaware Office of Early Learning executive director, Harriet Dichter, whose leadership and vision led the first state in its many and varied accomplishments since the inception of the office has moved on to undertake new challenges.  For details on these accomplishments, click here to download the OEL 2012-13 Progress Report (found on the About Us page of the Great Starts Delaware website -


The state will seek a new executive director, but in the interim and until a new director is hired, Jennifer Ranji, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families is serving as the interim director for the grant while program manager, Evelyn Keating, and deputy director, Nancy Widdoes, are sharing the work and responsibilities of the director position. Together with its many partners across the state, the Office of Early Learning continues its work to meet the goals of the Early Learning Challenge grant.

 Partners Align to Support Delaware Stars   


A working group of dedicated partners meet regularly to strategise and plan how they can best support the Delaware Stars program and the nearly 450 early learning programs that now participate in Stars across the state. In May, family outreach specialists presented a roundtable discussion on the work underway to develop family advocates and community outreach to promote the importance of quality early learning for young children, and help families understand how they can use Delaware Stars as a guide to finding quality early childhood programs.  

Pictured R to L:  Davona Williams, Rebecca Perry, Jennifer Fromme and Jennifer Stoner lead the discussion on the importance of early learning. 

Davona Williams led the discussion.  Presenters included Jennifer Stoner, a

Wilmington Head Start parent; Rebecca Perry, a family outreach  

consultant for the Office of Early Learning and Jennifer Fromme of Help Me Grow 211.   


The success and popularity of Delaware Stars is due, in no small part to a strong network of partner agencies committed to early learning and to serving children and families in Delaware.  Member partners include Easter Seals, the Office of Child Care Licensing, the Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children and the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services of the Delaware Children's Department, the Child and Adult Food Program, Division of Public Health and Department of Education Home Visiting, Children and Families First (Infrastructure Fund administration), the Division of Social Services Purchase of Care program administrator, McCormick's Early Learning Leadership Initiative coordinator, and T.E.A.C.H.  

CDC Launches Great New Resource for Parents of Toddlers and Preschoolers   

Being the parent of a toddler or preschooler can be fun and rewarding.  It can also be a little daunting because there are so many stages that children go through, it is hard to keep up!   



Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers

is a free, online resource developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Designed for parents of 2-4 year-olds, Essentials for Parenting addresses common parenting challenges, like tantrums and whining using articles, fun and engaging videos, frequently asked questions and downloadable resources like chore charts and daily schedules.   


Positive parenting skills and techniques can reduce parenting stress and provide parents with ways to encourage good behavior and reduce misbehavior using proven strategies like positive communication, structure and rules, clear directions, and consistent discipline and consequences.  Build the foundation of a positive parent-child relationship with Essentials for Parenting so you can be a more confident parent and enjoy helping your child grow.


  NCC Head Start Program in Top 10% in Federal Review 


The New Castle County Head Start program earned top marks in a recent federal review, scoring in the top 10 percent of all such programs receiving federal grants across the country.  Congratulations to all whose hard work and dedication to young learners earned this distinction.

 DE Readiness Teams Launch Monthly Newsletter; Featured on Window on Wilmington   


Kudos to Daphne Evans, lead facilitator for the Delaware Readiness Teams, on the first issue of the DE Readiness Teams Monthly Newsletter.  Chock-full of relevant, timely information for the teams statewide, the newsletter will be a terrific tool for keeping the teams informed and connected.


CLICK HERE to download a copy of the first issue. 



The Delaware Readiness Teams were also featured in a terrific segment of WITN22's Windows on Wilmington on June 25.  The segment features lead facilitator Daphne Evans and Office of Early Learning's Brandi Miller in a lively and informative conversation with host Shannan Harris.


Here is the link:  


For more Readiness Team News, scroll down to Spotlight on Local Success to check out what the Cape Henlopen Readiness Team is doing! 

Public Comment Invited on DELACARE Regulation Revisions 


The Delaware Children's Department's Office of Child Care Licensing invites comment on the DELACARE Regulation Revisions.  The draft proposed revised Early Care and Education and School-Age Center Regulations has been submitted to the Register for June publication, with written comment period open until July 17, 2014.


A series of public meetings will be held in which the public is invited to attend and make comments about the proposed revised regulations.  These public meetings will be held:

  • New Castle County - Tuesday June 24, 2014, 6:00 - 7:45 pm at the Paul J. Sweeney Public Safety Building (also known as the NCC Public Safety Building), 3601 N. DuPont Highway, New Castle, De 19720
  • Sussex County - Wednesday, July 9, 2014.  6:00 - 7:45 pm, Thurman Adams State Service Center (also known as the Georgetown State Service Center), 546 South Bedford Street, Georgetown De 19947
  • Kent County - Wednesday, July 16, 6:00- 7:45 pm , Del DOT Administration Building, Farmington Room, 800 Bay Road, Dover De, 19903.

The draft was created from preliminary internal work as well as input from the Provider Advisory Board and an initial draft was posted on the OCCL website, providers informed, and invited to comment until December 1, 2013.  The draft was revised and a series of task force meetings of providers and stakeholders were held to further revise the document.  Those who are familiar with the current DELACARE Regulations will notice many changes to the proposed regulations including:    

  • Regulations reorganized; wording simplified; redundant regulations eliminated; definitions expanded  
  • Informational regulations removed; to be placed in a separate Guidance Manual  
  • Number of center regulations reduced from over 1100 to about 425  
  • Staff qualifications--acceptable education requirements broadened and experience lessened  
  • Specific instances when a qualified intern can be alone with children added  
  • "Supervised experience" added to reduce the amount of experience required for most positions  
  • New position of early childhood aide and school-age aide added (replaces unqualified intern)
    Charts created for simplicity and clarity of information; examples include:
    • Staff Qualifications
    • Hand Washing
    • First Aid Kits

Many charts have been added to the new document so make the information easy for providers to access.  However, several of these charts were deleted from the publication in the Register of Regulations and the information placed in a paragraph listing by the Register's office.  The Register of Regulations Administrative Code formatting guidelines state that a chart or table cannot be used when the information contained in the table is simply a listing of information.  (Examples of areas where charts were eliminated are Regulations 19.0 Child Files and 20.0 Personnel Files.)   


If the public would like that information (and additional information as well) again placed in a chart format to be more user-friendly, please let our office know through your comments by emailing us at

We need to know if you would find that formatting helpful to you; it may be possible to include those charts when the document is printed for use by providers.

The proposed regulations can be reviewed at: 

 5 Star Children First Preschool Featured in Hockessin Community News 


Hockessin's Children First Preschool, a Delaware Stars 5 Star program, received a nice write-up in the May 30 edition of the  Hockessin Community News.


Children First Preschool is celebrating its 20th anniversary of providing quality early learning to children in the Hockessin area.  The article, by reporter Wm. Shawn Weigel, is accompanied by "A Day in the Life" gallery of photos.  

Early Head Start Turns 20! 


Twenty years ago, President Clinton formally established Early Head Start (EHS) as a program to serve pregnant women, infants and toddlers by signing the Head Start reauthorization. This greatly expanded Head Start by adding critical services for the most vulnerable children in our nation in their earliest years of development.


Early Head Start is a child development and family support program. Like all Head Start programs, EHS provides comprehensive, continuous services including child development, health, nutrition, and mental health, very young children with disabilities, and family engagement and education. 

The first 68 programs were funded in 1995 and 17 of these programs became part of a rigorous research study. For the next several years, additional EHS programs were added in every region, serving approximately 55,000 infants and toddlers. Through the recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, nearly 50,000 EHS slots were added.  The EHS Research Evaluation showed that EHS benefits children and families.  But the most compelling evidence of these benefits come from the stories of Head Start alumni like Kimberly Johnson and parents like Maranda Shepard.  CLICK HERE to check out their stories. 


We know more today about the critical brain development that occurs during the first five years of life.  

(Click the link for a fascinating  INFOGRAPHIC by Harvard University's Center for the Developing Child.) By reaching more infants and toddlers with high-quality early experiences and family support, we have the ability to impact how well babies learn and grow throughout their lifetime.


Soon the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships program will be launched with $500 million appropriated by Congress.  FOR MORE INFORMATION 


   Text4baby: A Great Source of Information and Advice for New Dads and Dads-to-Be


This month the White House is partnering with text4baby to target expecting fathers. The soon-to-be fathers will receive a free text message encouraging them to engage with their children early. 
For lots of great information for Dads-to-Be, click:'s Matter


In support of Father's Day and this important White House initiative, text4baby is offering $30 Amazon gift cards to everyone who registers three dads between now and July 3.   



 St. Michael's School - 5 Star Pride Inside and Out 


St. Michael's School Director Helen Riley shared these photos of recent additions to the school's signage.  She also shared a wonderful story about a 3-year-old boy who, when asked to talk softly when walking past a classroom where children were resting quietly, asked his teacher "Is that one a 5 Star classroom?"  She responded, '"Yes, it is! All of our classrooms here at St. Michael's are 5 Star classrooms.  Why do you ask?"  The little boy told her proudly "Well, my Mom told me I go to a 5 Star school."

Rising Stars Shining Bright!

WOW! May saw a record number of early learning programs achieving Star 5 status!  CONGRATULATIONS to these brand new Star 5s:
Aldersgate Preschool; Concordia Preschool; DTTC Child Development Center, Georgetown; East Side Charter School; Expanding Our Kids World Inc.; Grow and Learn Child Care Center and Learning Center; NCC Head Start, Inc. Bear Center; NCC Head Start, Inc. Lambson; NCC Head Start, Inc. Marshallton; NCC Head Start, Inc. Rose Hill.

And it is a pleasure to announce that these programs have earned Star 4 status: Joanne Abbott; Academy Of Early Learning; All My Children Elsmere, Inc.; All My Children, Inc.; Boys & Girls Club @ Smyrna Clayton; Andrew Degler; Di's Daycare Center 2; First Steps Preschool; Angela Flannagan; Kool Kids Learning Center;  Lynne Portlock

We also congratulate the Delaware Stars programs that have attained new status as 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!

Cape Henlopen's Delaware Readiness Team Takes to the Streets



Funded by the Early Learning Challenge Grant in partnership with private foundations and corporations, Delaware Readiness Teams are a state-wide, community-centered initiative to build strong, reciprocal linkages between early learning and K-12 schools to support young children's (birth through age 8) readiness for school and for life.


While completing their community profile, the Cape Henlopen Readiness Team recognized the need to build a stronger home/school connection between families in the community and their neighborhood early learning centers and elementary schools. A parent on the team shared a fond memory of how excited he and the other children in his community were when the bookmobile came to the neighborhood. The team quickly saw how relevant the idea was to meeting the needs of today's families, realizing that a bookmobile would not only provide books for neighborhood children, but serve as a means of distributing information and resources to families.


The Cape Henlopen Community Readiness Team took its idea to the local school district, which immediately agreed to partner with the team. A district-owned van was repurposed and, thanks to PNC, Nemours, and United Way, the Cape Henlopen Community Readiness Team received an initial $20,000 to stock the bookmobile with 3,000 books for infants and children through the fifth grade, as well as Spanish language books and art supplies for this summer and next year as well.


In addition to the funding supporting the initial development of the project, additional donations from the Lewes-Rehoboth Rotary Club, Wal-Mart and the Cape Henlopen Education Fund will help to sustain and enhance the project beyond the initial two-year start-up period.


Beginning July 8, the Cape Community Bookmobile plans to visit Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Milton weekly throughout the summer and hopes to impact the communities by:

  • Increasing the awareness of literacy development for children birth to age 8
  • Tracking the number of families who visit the bookmobile, with a target of 20 families per week and a weekly family return rate of 25%
  • Increasing kindergarten registration by 10% in all four elementary schools in the Cape Henlopen School District by distributing and tracking packets stamped with the Cape Henlopen Community Readiness Team logo and comparing it with the 2013 registration rate
  • Providing a resource table that will increase families' awareness of the many services in the community  

Great teamwork will mean a great summer of reading and connecting for families in Lewes, Rehoboth Beach and Milton over the next couple of months.

Negative Effects of Toxic Stress on Children


Policy Brief from The Future of Children describes the negative effects of toxic stress on children.  Early Stress Gets under the Skin: Promising Initiatives to Help Children Facing Chronic Adversity, a recent companion brief to  Helping Parents, Helping Children: Two-Generation Mechanisms highlights how poverty, abuse and neglect, homelessness, and other conditions make children vulnerable to damage caused by toxic stress. The researchers provide evidence on how chronic stress can alter young children's brains and biological systems, such as the immune response systems, and the negative impacts of these changes on a child's physical and mental health and well-being. In order to combat the effects of chronic stress, policymakers can support evidence-based programs, including high-quality home visiting, child care, preschool, and health care programs, which provide families with support and guidance during difficult times and can improve outcomes for children and families.  

Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education

The California Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children (DEC) has released the 2014 edition of the DEC Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education. 


The document is intended to provide guidance to practitioners and families about the most effective ways to improve learning outcomes and promote the development of young children, birth to 5 years old, who have or are at-risk for developmental delays or disabilities. READ MORE HERE.  

PTA Family Reading Experience, Powered by Kindle
The National PTA, together with Amazon Kindle, has created a set of activities available in English and Spanish that PTA programs can use to engage families in literacy activities with a focus on improving reading skills between kindergarten and fifth grade.

PTA programs can put on a series of events where families come and visit stations that highlight literacy domains, including phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary, using both physical books and e-books. Families are also provided with take-home activities so that they can continue to support their child's learning outside of school.

This free set of activities and tools can be found online HERE 

Creating and Sustaining High-Quality Learning Environments

Nonie Lesaux, Stephanie Jones, and their research team at Harvard University have released the fifth issue of Leading Early Educators

part of a series of one-page briefs written for leaders dedicated to promoting children's learning and development through high-quality early education.  



Brief 5, Connected Coaching for Rigorous and Regulated (R2) Learning Environments describes coaching as a key component of effective professional development that supports early educators to create and sustain high-quality learning environments.  Brief 7,  Implementing R2 Structures reviews

what it takes to create a rigorous, regulated learning environment.   



Early Childhood Literacy Summit - Nonie K. Lesaux keynote address.
Early Childhood Literacy Summit - Nonie K. Lesaux keynote address.

Selecting and Using Culturally Authentic Literature  


 This resource describes how to choose and use culturally responsive books and other literature with young children. It provides Early Head Start/Head Start staff, and other early care and education workers, with steps for evaluating stereotypes and biased messages and illustrations, and lists key elements to be mindful of when selecting books. The resource also includes a worksheet for programs to use when evaluating children's books. 


Improving Parent Engagement Opportunities for Refugee and Immigrant Families In Early Childhood Programs

This article by Christina Walker references a new report by the Migration Policy Institute, Immigrant Parents and Early Childhood Programs: Addressing Barriers of Literacy, Culture, and Systems Knowledge. Ms. Walker notes that the report highlights the critical need to address the challenges facing immigrant parents of young children, particularly those with low literacy or LEP. Local communities and programs can improve access to early learning opportunities through outreach and enrollment efforts targeted specifically to these families.  





Family Engagement

Helping Children Thrive While Parents Move Ahead:
A Forum on Two-Generation Education Policy Solutions to Reduce Poverty

Wednesday, July 9
11:30 a.m. - 1 pm EDT
Washington, D.C.

The event will be streamed live online.
For those who attend in person, a light lunch will be provided.


On July 9, join CLASP Foundation for Child Development (FCD), and USA Today's Marisol Bello for a lively exchange about successes and challenges in helping parents improve their education and career options while also strengthening their child's early development. The discussion will highlight new findings by Dr. Donald J. Hernandez, sociology professor at Hunter College, that demonstrate striking differences in how well children do depending on their mothers' educational attainment. 

Experts will discuss choices in workforce development, post-secondary education, and early childhood-and where they succeed (and fall short) in helping parents find pathways to work while supporting their children's healthy development.
The Effect of Preschool on Child Health 


USA Today reports on the health benefits realized from preschool education. The article cites new findings from the Carolina Abecedarian Project, a longitudinal study begun in 1972 which was designed to determine the extent to which intensive educational intervention begun in early infancy could prevent developmental retardation and academic failure in children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds .  The most recent follow-up found that participants enrolled in early learning had better health outcomes as adults than those who did not.


Home Visiting by Community Doulas Increase Healthy Feeding Practices

Pediatrics has published a University of Chicago study that examined the effects of doula home visiting intervention on infant feeding practices among young African American mothers. (Doulas are nonmedical women who assist expectant and new mothers.) The results of the study show that the use of doula home visiting programs can increase healthy infant feeding practices, and additional research on the long-term effects of these programs in currently being conducted is conjunction with the Ounce of Prevention Fund.

Read more





The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology has published a study that cites a link between a child's behavioral problems and teacher's mental health. The study also found that teacher depression predicted an overall lower-quality child care atmosphere, which in turn predicted teacher-reported externalizing and internalizing problems among the children. Read moreHERE  and HERE. 


A great resource for early educators that provides guidance about self-care can be found at:


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