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July 2014
In This Issue

Technology & Young Learners: The Right Mix

Many of us wonder about technology and our young children. Just what is the "right dosage" of TV or computer/hand held devices time for our toddlers and preschoolers? How do we help children learn about those important tools? Will they interfere with children's creative thinking or play skills? How can you appropriately involve young children?  




* Use technology as an active and engaging tool when appropriate to provide infants and toddlers with access to images of their families and friends, animals and objects in the environment, and a wide range of diverse images of people and things they might not otherwise


* Make digital audio or video files to document toddlers' progress.


* Provide opportunities for children to begin to explore and feel comfortable using "traditional" mouse and keyboard computers to use Websites or look up answers with a search engine.


* Capture photos of block buildings or artwork that children have created; videotape dramatic play to replay for children.


* Record children's stories about their drawings or their play; make digital audio or video files to document their progress.


* Provide access to photographs and experiences children may not otherwise encounter (a visit to the crayon factory, for example, or images of people and places not represented in their environment).


RESOURCES TO EXPLORE   (NAEYC's Position Statement Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8.   Fred Rogers Center Early Learning Environment™ (Ele), a web-based support system in early literacy and digital media literacy for teachers, home-based child care providers, and families of children from birth.


Common Sense Media, a not-for-profit organization, that offers advice on age-appropriate movies, books, apps, TV shows, video games, websites, and music from a library of more than 20,000 reviews by age, entertainment type, learning rating, genre.


Yogi Play:   a parent-developed app-organizing system to help adults analyze how to use and choose high quality and fun learning apps for children.


How to Make a Family Media Use Plan: provides a list of things to consider when making a plan about how to use various forms of media with children.





 Registration Now Open for  

New Online, Free Professional Development 


The most recent addition to the many new resources available to Delaware's early childhood professionals is, which offers free professional development modules that are self-paced and can be completed on the individual's own schedule. Childhood professionals who complete the modules will receive credit for both licensing and Delaware Stars. Currently the site offers four modules with plans to expand the offerings. 

  • Delacare/CACFP Regulations for Nutrition
  • Active Bodies Build Active Minds

  • CACFP-Child and Adult Care Food Program

  • Preventing Obesity and Promoting Wellness in Early Childhood Settings

A partnership with Nemours, Department of Education, Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Learning and the Office of Early Learning created this latest free online product. The project was also funded in part by the Early Learning Challenge grant.  Delaware Office of Early Learning program manager Evelyn Keating says, "It is exciting to offer online, quality assured professional development options that fit the needs of busy professionals that are optimized for computers, tablet and smart phones."


Go to and click on "Training Calendar," then click on "Online Training" to register.


CLICK HERE for more info and full descriptions of the four training modules.
   New High School Early Childhood Curriculum,
New Alignments


Delaware's high school early childhood teachers joined together this summer to update their early childhood curriculum. Armed with a goal of aligning the curriculum with the CDA (Child Development Associate) credential, seven teachers from both the comprehensive and vo-tech high schools met for three days to develop big ideas, essential questions, and enduring understandings, along with content units and activities for their high school students. The curriculum across the high schools will be similar in content and, along with being aligned to CDA, will mirror adult education's TECE coursework that is also being updated by a committee of early childhood representatives.
RAND Evaluation of Delaware Stars: Provider Recruitment Continues Through Summer 2014 for
Family Child Care Homes, Large Family Child Care Homes, and Early Learning Centers
  The Office of Early Learning has sponsored an evaluation of Delaware Stars, the state's quality rating and improvement system for early care and education programs. The RAND Corporation, a non-profit research organization, is conducting the study.  See the next article for the Year One Report.

As of June 2014, RAND has reached approximately one-third of its goal to recruit 300 child care programs to participate in the study. Thank you to the 120 programs who have agreed to participate so far! RAND may still contact programs this summer that were not contacted initially. Participation of programs in Delaware Stars and programs not currently enrolled in Delaware Stars is very important for the study's success.
The main goals of the evaluation are to improve early learning quality in Delaware and to examine the influence of quality early learning on children's development. Participation in the study is voluntary. Only RAND research staff will have access to information collected during this evaluation. No information about individual programs, classrooms, or children will be included in any study reports.

Programs choosing to participate will receive a $100 gift card as a thank you for participation.

To visit RAND's Delaware Stars Evaluation website to find out more about the study:
RAND Releases Year One Report of Delaware Stars:

In 2013, the Delaware Office of Early Learning contracted with the RAND Corporation to conduct an independent review of the Delaware Stars Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) as a required component of Delaware's federal Early Learning Challenge grant.  The purpose of the RAND research is to support Delaware in its efforts to design and implement an effective, robust system for improving, measuring and reporting on the quality of early learning and care programs in home and center settings. The multi-year study will contribute to the continuous quality improvement of Delaware Stars and the identification of priorities for advancing quality early learning in Delaware.
As a first step, RAND has released an initial pre-evaluation report with components designed to inform and support the larger evaluation. 

Key findings include:
  • Strong participation.  Enrollment in Delaware Stars enrollment is growing. In particular, Delaware Stars has achieved high rates of participation among licensed Early Care and Education Centers with 72% participating as of January 2014.
  • Extensive reach.  As of January 2014, Delaware Stars programs served 67% of children in our state's licensed early care and education programs and an even higher share of children with high needs (e.g., those with low family income).  In fact, 73% of children with the public subsidy called 'Purchase of Care' were enrolled in Delaware Stars programs.
  • Advancing quality.
      As a result of the array of technical and financial supports, Delaware Stars programs are making progress toward higher quality ratings.
  • Commitment to improve.
    Delaware Stars has strong engagement from all stakeholders, and participants are committed to evidence-based, data-driven decision making for improving the effectiveness of Delaware Stars.
The study findings support the ongoing attention of Delaware Stars in these key areas:        
  • Continued recruitment of Family Child Care providers.
      Continuing the significant efforts underway to recruit small and large FCCs into Delaware Stars is important, and will ensure a balanced representation of providers in Delaware Stars.
  • Support for further quality improvement.
    Continued use of new and expanded supports offered in the form of specialized technical assistance to benefit Delaware Stars home- and center-based programs to help programs progress in advancing quality.
  • Targeted improvements for higher-rated providers
    . The use of targeted technical assistance and other recently adopted enhancements to the Stars program will help ensure that Star 4 and Star 5 programs are meeting standards in critical such as the use of developmental screening and curriculum-based assessment tools and the use of a comprehensive curriculum.
  • Improving administrative data systems
    . The administrative data systems for Delaware Stars are not available in a form that is readily useable for program monitoring and other analytic purposes.  The report recommends accessing national resources to help build a better data system through which providers and families can access data about their programs via a web portal.
  The PDF of the report summary and full report are available for free from RAND's website at:
Family Engagement Initiative

The Office of Early Learning is inviting families with children in the birth to 5 year age range to participate by sending in
a photo engaged in an early learning activity at home.  Families can find plenty of ideas for activities by clicking the
Early Learning at Home tab at  

Those who send photos in by July 31 will have a chance at winning tickets to the Wilmington Blue Rocks game on August 5.  Our Family Outreach Team will have an information station to promote quality early learning and provide information to families on finding quality ealry learning programs for their young children.

Our thanks to the Blue Rocks organization for partnering in this effort to increase awareness about quality early learning! Just below is the announcement that appears on the Great Starts Delaware Facebook page.

Family Outreach All Around the First State! 

The Family Outreach Team for the Office of Early Learning has been all over the First State this summer connecting with families, sharing the message about early learning and the available resources for families in the first state.  The Family Outreach Team's appearances in June and July included the African American Festival in Dover, the Rockwood Ice Cream Festival in Wilmington, Delaware City Days and Kids' Day at the Delaware State Fair.

As you can tell by the team's great photos, there are lots of opportunities for fun and great information about early learning! 



 Vision 2015 Seeks Participants for Community Conversations toward

Renewed Vision for Delaware Public Schools 


Since January, hundreds of Delawareans -- under the leadership of the Vision Coalition of Delaware -- have been developing "A Vision for Education in Delaware in 2025" (ED25). ED25 is a bold plan to keep building on the recent education successes of the state. The Vision Coalition Leadership Team, which also lead the implementation and development of the Vision 2015 plan, is inviting Delawareans to further develop this draft plan. Throughout this summer and early fall, the Coalition is engaging Delawareans to share their ideas and input to develop this plan.

The opportunities to engage on this plan include community conversations, targeted presentations, and online conversations at, which is serving as a virtual community conversation, Facebook, and Twitter. For those who participate on, there are several "rewards," which have been donated by Delaware organizations and individuals like the Delaware Children's Museum and U.S. Senator Thomas Carper.

The next community conversations will be in Dover and Harrington on August 13. An updated draft will be shared at the annual Vision 2015 conference on October 29 (registration opens in late August). The final plan will be released in early 2015.



Spending Thirty Minutes of Quality Time with a Child Each Day Can Be Life Changing 


The Delaware Divisionmother-son-hug.jpg of Public Health (DPH) has launched a new website providing a variety of fun activities that support a child's mental and physical development. Called QT 30, the website is located at and features an activity guide for parents, including hundreds of 30-minute quality time activities for kids from birth to 8 years old. The website and activity guides are linked, in part, to the Early Learning Foundations for School Success developed by the Delaware Department of Education.

QT 30 stands for spending 30 minutes of quality time every day with the children in your life. The program is based on extensive research that demonstrates that happy, healthy and productive lives start early. How children do in school, and how they behave and achieve in life takes shape in the earliest years. A child's first 1,000 days are a period of exceptional physical, emotional, and cognitive growth.  Undivided attention between adult and child, through breastfeeding, reading together, play, and other activities has enormous positive benefits for this growth. QT 30 provides a framework of age-appropriate play and creative activities to engage a child and increase their potential.

Delaware Oral Health Summit Sparks 2020 Initiative  


June 6, 2014 was an exciting day for a diverse group of more than 50 key stakeholders who came together for the Delaware Oral Health 2014 Summit. This event initiated the next phase in Delaware's quest for optimal oral health throughout the lifespan in Delaware, the Delaware Oral Health 2020 Initiative. Participants engaged in collaborative discussion on the state of oral health in Delaware and began to identify key priorities, challenges and opportunities for achieving a truly integrated healthcare system that includes oral health prevention, education and appropriate professional treatment. There were four interactive breakout sessions which concluded the summit, focusing on intersecting topic areas: access to care for adults, access to care for children, community engagement, and, finally, funding and policy issues.


Tooth decay is still the most common chronic childhood disease in the U.S. and, ironically, nearly 100% preventable. Delaware's children have made gains over the past decade, but much remains to be done. Participants who tackled the subject of access to care for children identified a number of barriers to care, among them: limited numbers of pediatric dentists and dentists who treat before age one; language and cultural barriers, transportation issues, and lack of integration between dental providers and the medical community. Lack of insurance or limited reimbursement, educational/institutional barriers and the uneven distribution of providers were among the most prevalent and pressing problems. Even among children whose care is covered by Medicaid, many still don't receive care for unrelated reasons such as parental attitudes and access challenges (transportation, lack of paid leave from work, language/culture barriers).


CLICK HERE to see TOP PRIORITIES and ACTION STEPS from the Summit.  




This is an exciting time for Delaware Stars. Based on the feedback and input from our stakeholders, including many stars programs, and study findings, Stars Enhancements 2014 will roll out continuous quality improvements that will begin to come online in 2014 and apply to both centers and families serving, toddler and preschool age children.

The enhancements are in three key areas:  


Quality improvement grants and tiered reimbursement are already provided, but beginning in July 2014 those financial incentives will be more targeted to improve tiered reimbursements and make the grant awards more equitable. In addition,  new financial incentives will be implemented for infant enrollment for Star 4 & 5 programs.


Enhanced Standards & Supports begin with the addition of professional development opportunities. In addition, the Institute is creating new curriculum and assessment teams and new credentials for curriculum and assessment are being developed. Finally, the formative child assessment moves from pilot to full implementation. Enhanced Standards & Supports will be phased in over time and come with extensive support, which makes them doable and achievable.


Enhance Quality Verification & Assessment make the system more responsive, less confusing and decreases conflicts. Most important, these enhancements allow us to have a sound focus on intentional teaching and school readiness.

These continuous quality improvements ensure that the Delaware Stars program is child-centered to provide the best quality outcomes for Delaware children, and helps build long-term sustainability.

The enhancements will provide more resources and supports that will sustain quality for Delaware Stars programs, early childhood program staff and, most important, young children and their families.

A series of community meetings have taken place throughout the state to provide detailed information about Stars Enhancements 2014 for Delaware Stars program participants.

The new 2014 revised standards and new verification manuals are completed and are posted to the Delaware Stars website. See the middle of the page on this link, labeled 2014:

Highmark helps St. Michael's School Community Live Healthier Lives



Thanks to a BluePrints for the Community grant from Highmark Delaware, St. Michael's is rolling out a school-wide, comprehensive
Healthy Living program.  Emphasis on nutrition and physical activity
has always been a part of the St. Michael's philosophy. With this grant, the school takes things to the next level by coordinating all aspects of its mind-body-spirit approach to a child's well-being.

They have hired a team of health professionals that includes a nurse practitioner, nutritionist, yoga teacher, physical education teacher, and behavior specialist. The team is working with students and their families as well as staff and faculty to integrate the Healthy Living Program components into the school's curriculum year-round.

Rising Stars Shining Bright!
June also saw quite a few programs moving up in quality

CONGRATULATIONS to these brand new Star 5s:

Brandywine ECAP, DECC ECAP - Lewes School, Angela Flannagan, Hockessin Athletic Club, Parents and Children Together at Tech, St. Helena's Early Learning Center, The Little School at Kids Cottage.


And it is a pleasure to announce that these programs have earned Star 4 status:  Beach Babies Child Care, Beach Babies Child Care Rehoboth, Christina Early Education Center, Roberta Crump, DECC ECAP - East Dover, Newark Christian Child Care, Red Clay PreK Program - Mote, West Center City Early Learning Center, Inc., Western YMCA Meadowood School, Neareen Weston.

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!


The Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood Launches Professional Development Website and Registry  


The DIEEC is proud to announce the launch of its new professional development website and registry! Please visit and check out the new website and registry features.

The new website has many new additions and special functions including an updated registry system, an easier way to view and select workshops, additions and changes to useful resources, as well as highlighting new and improved ways to access high quality workshops to meet your needs. We have listened to suggestions from the field and making improvements in response.

Users will need to update the username and password.  This change is for security reasons, to protect individual's privacy. An email account is required in order to use the registry. If you do not already have an email account, please look into creating an account so that you can update your profile. Many browsers offer free email.  The individual's professional development profile and transcript contain personal information, a record of professional development experience.
Learn more about logging in and using the new website and registry HERE!

DIEEC is excited to launch this new website and hope it will be very beneficial in helping the workforce with planning professional development and accessing high-quality professional development to meet the needs of Delaware's the early childhood workforce!
From Family Voices Delaware: 

Health and Medicaid Managed Care: A Great Resource 


Do you have an issue or question regarding child mental and behavioral health services? This is an opportunity for families to call and ask questions related to children's mental health and behavioral needs. Please join us and representatives from the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services, Disability Law, Medicaid, Delaware Physicians Care Inc., United Healthcare and other agencies. 

This is a non-adversarial way of information -sharing and problem-solving. Family Voices Delaware, a parent-run organization, facilitates these calls.  When a family member calls to ask a question or discuss an issue there are people on the call to listen and problem solve. CLICK HERE to learn more.

The calls are held bimonthly on the second Tuesday when the phone line is available from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. To participate, dial (Toll Free): 1-800-391-2548, then enter participant code: 53192759#


From Delaware Department of Children, Youth and their Families:

Office of Child Care Licensing Ranks High with Respect to Oversight   


Child Care Aware of America (formerly National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies) in their 2013 annual report (We Can Do Better: 2013 Update) reviews 11 program requirements and four oversight benchmarks for child care centers in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense.  Delaware ranked 8th in the nation! Child Care Aware of America found that Delaware child care regulations and oversight fully or substantially met 10 of the 15 criteria. Only in one area did Delaware not at least partially meet the standard (programs to licensing staff ratio does not exceed 50:1; Delaware's standard in Code is 150:1).  In their 2012 report on family child care (Leaving Children to Chance 2012 Update), Delaware ranked 4th in the nation, including the District of Columbia and the Department of Defense.  Of the 15 standards reviewed that are pertinent to family child care, Delaware fully or substantially met 9 of the 15 criteria.  Again the only area in which Delaware did not at least partially meet the standard was the case load for licensing specialists exceeded the recommended 50:1.

Congratulations to the Office of Child Care Licensing on the regulations and oversight that keep the children of Delaware safe when in out-of-home care.
From Child Care Aware:
Family Advocacy Summit 2014 
Educate, Engage, Equip and Empower  


Child Care Aware® of America invites you to apply to be a Family Advocate during our upcoming Summit on child care in Arlington, VA on September 29 & 30, 2014. The summit will primarily take place at our offices located at 1515 N Courthouse Rd, Arlington, VA, 11th floor and on Capitol Hill. Family leaders are the key voice for the campaign to strengthen the quality of child care, and to ensure that all families may access affordable, safe care that promotes the healthy development of children. For years, Child Care Aware® of America has sponsored parents and family members to come to Washington, D.C. and share their personal experiences of why quality child care is so important to working families. The voices of working families have been a critical part of changing America's child care policies. We have already seen significant change in the right direction as evidenced by the proposed rule on Child Care Development fund introduced by the Office of Child Care (OCC), and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) passed in the Senate in March.

The Fall Advocacy Summit will consist of educational workshops, engaging and interactive advocacy trainings, and coordinated visits to federal and congressional offices. Participants will be equipped with advocacy skills and given opportunities to learn from policy leaders about the current child care landscape. We will develop goals for our next policy agenda and learn how to empower communities to stand up for quality child care.  

If you are interested in participating, fill out the application, which can be found here:
Applications are due by Thursday August 14, 2014.


   DAEYC Receives Kellogg Grant


Daeyc The Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children (DAEYC) has received a 32-month, $675,000 grant to help workers find quality childcare for their children.

The grant from the W.K.Kellogg Foundation will pay for early childhood care and education consultants to help parents a two work sites find quality early learning programs for their children as well as a project coordinator to work with the employers and consultants.  The coordinator will measure how much the companies save in employee retention, fewer missed work days and increased productivity.  DAEYC officials said last winter's repeated school cancellations showed how businesses can suffer when workers have trouble finding reliable and quality early learning programs for their children.


Route 40 Readiness Team Holds Chat and Chew 


The Route 40 Delaware Readiness Team held their first "Chat and Chew" Wednesday, July 9, 2014 from 7:00-8:00 Leasure Elementary.   


The Route 40 Readiness Team is a state-funded Readiness Team 

that operates under the Office of Early Learning.  Members from the Christina School District include Deirdra Aikens, Norm Kennedy, and Whitney Williams.  The goal of the team is to promote Kindergarten Readiness and work with local early learning

providers (preschools) and families.   


The Chat and Chew was a night where the two building principals conversed with local early learning providers to form working relationships, discover new ways to help each other, and to promote the Route 40 Readiness Team.  The Chat and Chew is one of several action plans that are currently being implemented.  Other projects include a Kindergarten Readiness Kit distributed to all incoming Kindergarten students as they register (the kit includes activities, a journal, a book, and nutrition information) and a 4-Day Kindergarten Camp (prior to the first day of school) to help the new students transition well.    


The team meets bi-weekly at Marshall Elementary.  For more information about the team please contact Norm Kennedy at    


Stars Shining Bright:  EastSide Charter and Project V.I.L.L.A.G.E. are the  

First Public Schools to Achieve Star 5 Status  


Congratulations to EastSide Charter School in Wilmington and Project V.I.L.L.A.G.E. part of the Indian River School District in Selbyville, the first two public school early learning programs in Delaware to achieve a Delaware Star 5 rating. Project V.I.L.L.A.G.E. earned its rating last January, while Eastside Charter was in the list of new Star 5s in May.  Both programs serve children from low-income families.

The journey to becoming a Delaware Star 5 early learning program at EastSide Charter was propelled by the school's desire to better prepare its students. Although EastSide Charter has achieved tremendous academic improvement in recent years, many of its students entered the school several grades behind. After examining various ways to eliminate that gap, EastSide Charter determined focusing on early childhood education was the area in which itDE Stars logo could have the most impact on its students and surrounding community.

Audrey Carey, district supervisor of elementary instruction, agrees that providing quality early childhood education is the best option to help 3- and 4-year-old children in low-income families and early language learners, which was the impetus for Project V.I.L.L.A.G.E., which stands for Verbal Intensive Literacy and Learning Activities for Growth and Education, which was started 14 years ago. "We felt it was important to grow through Stars to reflect on the work of our program and gain greater knowledge of the research in early childhood learning to continue to offer the best program possible."

Both programs described the process to a Star 5 rating as beneficial and rewarding. Eastside Charter explained that through working with the Stars staff it developed a strong understanding of how to maximize its impact while promoting quality. Working with Star T.A.s and visiting other Star 5 programs enhanced EastSide Charter's understanding of what was needed to reach the goal of becoming a Star 5 program. Project V.I.L.L.A.G.E. said reflecting on its program and aligning it with evidence-based research made the process rewarding for the students and staff.

This fall, EastSide Charter will expand its early learning program with the opening the EastSide Early Learning Academy, which will offer three classes serving 66 students. Although the announcement of the Star 5 rating took place after the school year ended, making it a challenge to tell families, EastSide Charter shared the news through its spring newsletter and will proudly display a new banner when school opens in August.

Project V.I.L.L.A.G.E. notified the families and community through the Indian River School District Board of Education, as well as its Parent Policy Council meetings.

Through the hard work of these two programs, many under-served young children will have opportunities they might not have access to otherwise, and will have a great start!


Look Before Locking Your Car  


The summer months can be incredibly dangerous for children in cars. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2013, 44 children died of heatstroke across the United States. These deaths can be prevented, and in many cases, a simple communication plan between parents and child care/Head Start providers could save a child's life.

In an arrival confirmation plan, parents notify providers when their children will be late or absent, and providers contact parents if a child does not arrive as expected. This kind of basic plan creates a safety net to help make sure that no child gets left in a car.

Heatstroke is the number one killer of children, outside of car crashes. That's why the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has joined with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to attempt to reduce these deaths by reminding parents and caregivers about the dangers of heatstroke and leaving children in hot cars.
Parents and providers can take Ray Ray's Pledge to communicate about planned and unexpected absences here. )

Join the Social Media Conversation about Heat Stroke Prevention on July 31

PROBLEM: As we approach rising summer temperatures, the danger for kids left in hot vehicles
increases exponentially: at least 13 children have already died this year from vehicular heatstroke.
Heatstroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and under. Nearly
every 10 days, a child dies from being left in a hot vehicle. More than half (52%) of kids who died from
vehicular heatstroke were "forgotten" by their caregiver. This is a 100-percent preventable tragedy.

ACTION: NHTSA, Safe Kids, and the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) are asking you to help us raise awareness about the dangers of kids and cars through a concerted day-long social media conversation. NHTSA, Safe Kids, and ACF are reaching out to our State and safety partners to tweet and post on Facebook every 30 minutes from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.



Resources from the Delaware Oral Health Summit


The complete Delaware Oral Health 2014 Summit Report and State Oral Health Plan goals and objectives are now available. All Summit presentations and related materials will soon be available on the Bureau of Oral Health and Dental Services website.

Additionally, the Bureau has expanded the resources that are available to help your organization prevent dental disease. Order yours today and help spread the word!

No cost, bilingual education materials: Now reaching populations across the lifespan, these cards provide simple and empowering messages about prenatal, infant, child, teen, adult and senior oral health.

Double-sided in English and Spanish, they can be ordered in any quantity and are free for all outreach purposes. 
Order by phone or email: (302) 744-4554 /

All orders include a sample Delaware Dental Resource Guide. Organized by geographic area with an easy-to-use referral list, this guide makes it easy to connect dentists with those in need of dental care.

Brush Up on Oral Health 
The National Center on Health (NCH) is pleased to announce the June 2014 issue of Brush Up on Oral Health. This issue talks about why community water fluoridation is important. It offers tips for Head Start staff to help parents choose fluoridated tap (faucet) water for their family. It also gives ideas for creating a tap-water-friendly home for children.

The Power of Play


When you see a baby wiggle to reach a rattle, a toddler stacking blocks, or a preschooler pretending to fly a rocket ship, you are watching children "in the zone"-engaged, exploring, and discovering. The first three years offer rich opportunities for learning that unfolds through play with adults, siblings, and peers.  


Learn more about how these play skills emerge and what you can do to support play in infants and toddlers in Zero To Three's booklet The Power of Play, available in English and Spanish.

Let's Play! is a free app from Zero-to-Three with fun activities, organized by age and routine, for family members and providers to use to support a young child's early learning. It is easy to search for play-based activities for children from birth to 5 years old, snap a photo of a child playing, and share activities with other.

The Let's Play app is available from iTunes or the Google Play Store 

Doctor's Orders: Read to Babies!

The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a formal recommendation that parents read to their children, starting at birth


Children whose parents read to them get a head start on language skills and literacy. But many children miss out on that experience, with one-third of children starting kindergarten without the language skills they need to learn to read.

The American Academy of Pediatrics calls for pediatricians to talk with all parents about reading to their children starting in infancy, and to give books to "high-risk, low-income young children" at office visits.
Bridging The Word Gap


The Obama Administration is committed to making sure that children have the supports and tools they need to thrive and invites individuals to help raise awareness to bridge the word gap so that every child has the earliest possible start to a bright future.

To read more about the Administration's work on the word gap, click here.   (LINK:

Interested in joining this effort or sharing the great work you're already doing?  email to   
Essential Contributions of Fathers

Fathers who spend more time taking care of their newborn child undergo changes in brain activity that makes them more apt to fret about their baby's safety, a new study shows.

In particular, fathers who are the primary caregiver experience an increase in activity in their amygdala and other emotional-processing systems, causing them to experience parental emotions similar to those typically experienced by mothers, the researchers noted.
Understanding Children's Mental Wellness

Child Trends has published a report that summarizes current knowledge on children's mental health and provides a comprehensive framework for understanding mental wellness. The report discusses mental wellness from early childhood to early adulthood, showing how what happens at early stages of development influences later stages. It highlights the evidence for interventions that can improve mental health wellness at multiple levels. To learn more, see the full report: Are the Children Well? A Model and Recommendations for Promoting the Mental Wellness of the Nation's Young People



Preschoolers Outsmart College Students in Figuring Out Gadgets
It turns out children can learn causal relationships quickly and make far-reaching causal inferences from what they observe. In a May 2014 article in the journal Cognition entitled When Children Are Better (Or At Least More Open-Minded) Learners Than Adults: Developmental Differences in Learning The Forms of Causal Relationships, the authors highlight findings from asking two different groups (4 and 5 year old boys and girls; college students) to solve the same problem.
A write-up and a recorded story of key findings from this study are available at
Two Great, Affordable Webinars Airing on Thursday, July 24

ZERO TO THREE is offering two great webinar rebroadcasts from the 2013 National Training Institute (NTI)for the very affordable price of $10 per session:

Brain Development and Approaches to Learning - 1:00-2:30pm
This multimedia broadcast will explore how the foundations of learning, including attention, memory, curiosity, information-gathering, and problem-solving are established in the first years of life.

Sandra Petersen, MA, Early Head Start National Resource Center ZERO TO THREE
Amy Dapsauski, MA, Early Head Start National Resource Center ZERO TO THREE
Linda Gillespie, MS, Early Head Start National Resource Center ZERO TO THREE

Including Birth to Three in the New Vision of Successful Early Learning - 3:00-4:30 pm
Often the discussion of school readiness centers on prekindergarten. This broadcast introduces ways to create seamless connections across the birth to 3rd grade continuum in a way that authentically honors the uniqueness of infant/toddler age period.

Peter Mangione, PhD, Center for Child and Family Studies, WestEd, Sausalito, CA
John Gasko, PhD, Texas Department of Education, Houston
Holly Schriebe, PhD, Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Agency, I/T Network, Columbus, OH

Here is the link to register for either or both sessions -
Books and Reading Make a Difference  

Growing up in a home with lots of books and being read to as a toddler have a bigger impact on the performance of a child starting school than their temperament or socio-economic background, new research shows. Researchers found the quality of a child's learning environment when they were toddlers was the most significant indicator of their ability to manage themselves at school.


Cognitive Development and Housing Affordability

John Hopkins University researchers have released a new study that finds a link between a child's cognitive development and housing affordability. Looking at families with incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level, the study found that when families spent more than 50% or less than 20% of their income of housing, their children's children's cognitive abilities suffered.  



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