Resampled color

September 2014
In This Issue
Can you guess what it is?  


Apples are in season and when cut in half, you can see a star! Tell children the story, ending with a demonstration of cutting an apple in half. The story can be found at: 



The wording is a bit outdated, but the message is valuable. Vary the wording for a great learning activity.


Additional problem solving and exploration activities with apples:

* Will apples sink or float?

*How many seeds are inside an apple?

*Compare the heights and circumferences of different apples. Which one is tallest? Which one is fattest? Which one has the longest stem?

*Do a taste test. Who likes the red apples best? Who likes green? What about yellow? Can you taste a difference between two different types of red apples?   How would you describe them? Graph which ones are children's favorites.

*Make applesauce.


Finger play:

Way up high in the apple tree

Two red apples smiled at me.

 I shook that tree as hard as I could...

Down came the apples,

MMMM, they were good!


Books about apples:

The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons

How Do Apples Grow? by Betsy Maestro

An Apple Tree Through the Year by Claudia Schnieper, OthmarBaumli

Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson, Deborah Kogan Ray




Alert! October 1 Deadline Approaching for Curriculum Incentive Fund Applications!


There's still time for Delaware Stars programs to apply for funds to assist your purchase of a comprehensive curriculum! Stars 3, 4, and 5 programs have until October 1 to apply for funds to assist their purchase of infant, toddler and/or preschool curricula that is aligned with the Early Learning Foundations. Priority will be given to those Stars 4 and 5 programs that are working to meet Star Standard LC 1, use of a comprehensive curriculum. Star 3 programs are encouraged to apply; funds will be awarded as available. For more information about the application process and grant awards




Delaware Readiness Team  

Initiative Evaluation Starting 


The Office of Early Learning has partnered with REL Mid-Atlantic at ICF International ( to conduct a formative evaluation of the Delaware Readiness Teams Initiative. The goal of the evaluation is to collect data as the initiative unfolds, to assess progress on a continuous basis and to ensure that the technical assistance provided-- and even the initiative itself--may be refined, enhanced, or modified as necessary. This formative evaluation creates a continuous dialogue about opportunities for improvement, in both structure and process. 

REL Mid-Atlantic is scheduling fall interviews and focus groups with Del Team leads, members, and facilitators. Another round of interviews and focus groups will be conducted in spring 2015. The REL will hold two briefings with the OEL once the data are analyzed, and also provide progress reports during the bimonthly meetings of the Del Team Advisory Committee.

CLICK HERE to download questions to be answered by the study.


 New Federal Grant Competition to Increase Access to Preschool


The new federal grant competition to expand preschool was announced in September.  As an Early Learning Challenge state, Delaware qualifies to apply for the expansion grant. The goal of grants is to support states in building, developing and expanding voluntary, high-quality preschool programs in high-need communities for children from low- and moderate-income families.  The new grant program will be jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services. Grant applications are due in mid-October, 2014, a fast turn around time to application!  Here, the Department of Education and the Office of Early Learning are leading the grant application development process.

There is a webinar, scheduled for Thursday, October 2 @ 6:00 pm to learn more about the grant's requirements and to provide feedback on the model in development that will underpin the state's application.  Stay tuned for information on how to join the webinar!  

To see the full grant announcement,  


70 Percent of Americans Favor Federal Funds for Preschool Expansion


A new Gallup poll shows that 7 in 10 Americans say they favor using federal money to make sure high-quality preschool programs are available for every child in the country. President Barack Obama has asked Congress to fund universal access to high-quality preschool  programs for all 4-year-olds in his FY 2015 budget request. Many governors and mayors are also calling for an expansion of early education.  Research shows the short- and long-term benefits of attending high-quality preschool, which may be one reason for Americans' widespread support for the proposal. 



NEW competitive round of
Eligible applicants (CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE) are invited to attend information seminars to learn more about these new competitive opportunities!

Promise Zone Initiative stakeholder webinars will be aired on September 29th and October 1st.  There will be three webinars geared to various audiences: (1) urban, (2) rural, and (3) tribal.  Each webinar will provide a general overview and a tailored presentation based on the audience.  To participate, please see the details outlined below.  Also, the webcasts will be archived on the Promise Zone web site.   

RSVPs for all three webinars are mandatory and accepted as space allows.  Webinar links will be sent on Friday, September 26 to those who RSVP'd.


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 the importance of quality early learning  for young children and the available resources for families in the first state.  The Family Outreach Team's appearances in August and September included the Growing Healthy Families Health Fair in Dover, the Olde-Tyme Peach Festival in Middletown and at Newark Community Days. In August alone, OEL and its partners reached over 4,000 parents or family members with young children to increase awareness of the importance of quality early learning and the use of Delaware Stars for find great early childhood programs!





September Counts: Plan for Attendance Awareness Month
New research recently released shows that poor attendance in the first month of school can predict chronic absence later in the year. This information underscores the importance of marking Attendance Awareness Month in September. Be sure to post your plans on the Attendance Action Map and share what you are doing to raise awareness about chronic absences. Attendance Works and United Way Worldwide are hosting a webinar on September 30, 2014, on The Power of Positive Connections: Reducing Chronic Absence Through PEOPLE.
If you are planning to join in, consider participating with colleagues. Set up a meeting space-live or virtual-where you can talk about the webinar afterward and ways that you can move these ideas in your community. Prepare by using these SAMPLE DISCUSSION questions.


The Division of Social Services (DSS) invites you to a 2014 New Castle County Purchase of Care (POC) Provider Meeting on October 1 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.
New Castle County Police Dept.
Dept. of Public Safety, Community Conference Room    
3601 N. DuPont Highway, Wilmington, DE 19720
The meetings are voluntary; no training hour credit will be given.  Meetings for Sussex and Kent providers were held on September 17 and 24, respectively.

The meeting will revolve around discussion about the DSS Child Care Management Information System (CCMIS) computer rewrite project. We would like feedback from you about your POC paperwork and portal experience.  Thank you in advance for your input; a light dinner will be served.  For questions or to  register, contact Yvonne Miles at or by phone at 302-255-9922.

The 2015 Making a Difference Conference will be held April 17 & 18, 2015 in Dover.
Proposals for presentations and workshops at the conference are being sought. Click Here  ((goes to PDF page you create from the attachment) -for more information about the upcoming conference and to get the proposal application. Proposals are due by October 6, 2015. Proposals should be in the these areas:  Infant/Toddler. Administrators. Pre-School/Pre-K, Family Child Care, School Age Care, and Family Engagement.

 New in 2015, proposals for Spanish language workshops are sought.  Since the goal of the Making A Difference Conference is to address the diverse training needs of the early childhood community, presentations in a wide variety of topics are welcomed, such as: curriculum (creative arts, literacy and STEM), health/fitness, social/emotional, transitions, diversity, dual language learners, inclusion and environment. For more information on topics of interest, please visit


Logo New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, adapted an essay from a book he wrote with his wife Sheryl WuDunn, A Path Appears, for his opinion column in a mid-September Sunday edition of the New York Times titled "The Way to Beat Poverty." The essay focuses on research about the importance of the intrauterine environment and the earliest years of brain development and the effectiveness of Nurse-Family Partnership as an intervention during these critical periods.

 "Fortunately, a scholar named David Olds has shown that there are ways to snap this poverty cycle...." The column continues to tell the story of David Olds, the story of a nurse's work with a mom, and discusses the outcomes. He later writes...."here we have an anti-poverty program that is cheap, 
Pictured are members of the Child and Families First Nurse-Family Partnership team who met with Governor Jack Markell, Lt. Governor Matt Denn, and the Director of the Division of Public Health, Dr. Karyl Rattay in early September to talk about the Nurse-Family Partnership  program.
is backed by rigorous evidence and pays for itself several times over in reduced costs later on. Yet it has funds to serve only 2 percent to 3 percent of needy families. That's infuriating."


 To read the full essay, CLICK HERE






The Wilmington Early Childcare and Education Council (WECEC) Professional Development Resource Center serves parents, early childhood educators 
and community partners with a wide array of services, including quality training, access to a lending library of teaching tools and toys, support groups, lamination and copying, TECE scholarships and career advisement and professional development guidance.

The center is located in the Bancroft Elementary School, 700 North Lombard Street, Room 301, Wilmington, Delaware, 19801


For more information, contact Victoria Mells-Clymer, Program Coordinator at 302- 304-5017 or email



Early Learning Builds Our Future.

With the September sun brightly shining, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and members of Congress joining preschool children in hard hats on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, you couldn't have asked for a better morning to celebrate early learning. Helen Blank, Director of Child Care and Early Learning penned a blog post on September 17th. In it she described the meeting of leaders from Congress and the Administration with the children who are our future leaders and representatives from NWLC and MomsRising to emphasize the importance of supporting expanded early learning opportunities.

Curriculum Fairs are being held across the state for early learning providers who wish to review the materials related to the several curriculum options for Stars programs.  Nearly 90 early learning program staff participated in one of the four fairs held across the state in September.  Both early educators and children enjoyed the opportunity to do a hands-on review and the opportunity to ask questions of staff on hand to provide support and additional information.

Rising Stars Shining Bright!
Congratulations to the programs who moved up in August!  

CONGRATULATIONS to these brand new Star Level 5s:
Little Einstein's Preschool, Pediatric Health Choice at The Children's Secret Garden


And it is a pleasure to announce that these programs have earned Star Level 4 status:  Beginnings and Beyond, Inc., Christine Brown, Little Friends Learning Academy, LLC, Marilyn Hernandez, Onedia A. Purnell, Our Children's Learning Center, LLC, Seeds of Jesus Daycare, LLC, The Learning Center at Calvary, The Learning Center, TLC Inc. 
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!
Congratulations to Eastside Charter School which opened its Early Learning Academy
on September 23!   

CLICK HERE to see the article from, including a video of Governor Jack Markell's remarks at the opening.
DOE Logo
A new partnership between the state and World Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) Early Years will support young dual language learners enrolled in early care and education programs across the state.  Training will be provided using a train-the-trainer approach and will focus on how to identify children who are dual language learners (children who are learning English and one or more languages) and how to support the childrens' language development.  The seven-month long training begins in fall, 2014, and is designed to create a cadre of early educators who can train other early educators. This approach will help Delaware achieve its goals of improving educational outcomes for children who are dual language learners, and increase success for children transitioning from early learning to the K-12 education system.  For more information about the training, please contact Terry Richard ( or Verna




The Creating a Common Vision Summit held on September 17, in Dover drew nearly 100 participants, all focused on creating a Delaware Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health. Delaware remains the only state in our nation without a chapter. The keynote presenter, Dina Austin of the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, spoke compellingly about the value of family supports and the power of family advocacy for their own children and in support of a comprehensive system for children's mental health. More information about forming a chapter can be found on the website of the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (  



Delaware Family Voices is offering federation of families information sessions and advocacy training: New Castle County - September 26, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.  

222 Philadelphia Pike, Suite 11, Wilmington, Delaware,  


Kent and Sussex Counties - Wednesday October 8 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.  

Georgetown State Service Center, 546 S. Bedford Street, in Georgetown, Delaware.   


Registration is required and a light dinner will be provided.  


TO REGISTER:  call Wanda Ford (302-669-3034 or email  

CLICK HERE to download more social-emotional supports for young children and their families across our state. 




Building on nine years of success in developing and researching innovative programs and tools to prevent reading failure in young, at-risk children, Nemours BrightStart! launched, on September 15. The new website offers free, interactive tools designed for parents of children ages birth through five to learn about and explore with their children.  


The centerpiece is the Preschool Reading Screener for 3- to 5-year olds, to give parents an accurate snapshot of their child's pre-reading skills. Based on the results, a customized action plan will guide parents in prioritizing selected activities and recommended books. 



Join PIC for Its 31st Birthday on October 22!
Please help us celebrate more than three decades of supporting parents of children with disabilities in Delaware at our 2nd Annual Birthday Party on Oct. 22 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  This FREE event is being held at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, a fantastic place for families to share the fun of learning!
Terri Thorpe: Large Family Child Care Provider and
Milford Community Readiness Team Lead


Terri Thorpe, the owner of two large family child care services, Love a Valuable One Now and

Pictured (l to r):  Team Lead Terri Thorpe and
Readiness Team Facilitator Diane Frentzel 

Love a Valuable One Now II, in Milford, Delaware, first became involved with a Delaware Readiness Team as a way to be more active in supporting children and their families in her community. Now the Team Lead for the Milford Community Readiness Team, Terri credits her position with helping her step out of her comfort zone to become a stronger leader.


As the Team Lead for the Milford Community Readiness Team,  

Terri helps the team work for the specific goals the team has identified that will have a maximum impact to support children and their families in the Milford community. To accomplish those goals, the team is focused on guiding families with the tools to help their children. Specifically, the team is working to identify all the programs and resources and family-friendly programs available to children and families in Milford to enable them to provide a comprehensive list to families. The team is also concentrating on building relationships with family child care centers to provide them with information about participating in the Delaware Stars program, as well as link them together to share information and resources and to elementary schools to bolster school readiness and support transitions to elementary schools.


Being part of the Milford Community Readiness Team has also provided Terri with better insight about the Delaware Stars program. Before becoming involved her centers did not participate in the Stars program. In fact, she heard many negative things about Stars. Through her work with the Readiness Team Terri said she learned and understood the needs and wants of the Stars programs and how the program can help her accomplish the vision she has for her centers. Both of Terri's centers have since become Stars centers. She applauds the TA (technical assistant) working with her centers and the support from Stars to train my teachers, providing a better education for her students.


Using Focused Child Observation with Infants and Toddlers 


This video podcast introduces viewers to using focused observation with infants and toddlers and gives them an opportunity to try out some of the techniques. A companion information sheet with discussion questions is available at the same website.

Early Experiences Build the Brain: Foundations of School Readiness   


Explore how the connections within the brain are created, organized, and evolve during the first few years of life. This newsletter describes how early experiences can shape brain architecture from birth and lay a foundation for children's learning.


New Resource Shows Developmentally Appropriate Activities for Children 0 to 4  


What does tummy time look like?  Can you really play basketball with a two-year-old? How do you make a magazine puzzle?

To help parents answer these and other questions, Thrive in 5 has created a new series of picture-based  child development handouts. The handouts depict developmentally-appropriate activities for children birth to 4 years old in the areas of communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social skills. These handouts offer families and community partners who work with families visual representations of free and easy activities that parents and caregivers can do with their children. 
 Preparing Principals to Support Early Childhood Teachers

Early childhood content isn't a required element of principal preparation or professional development in most states. The brief, Preparing Principals to Support Early Childhood Teachers, Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) recommends that principal preparation include a wide range of experiences, including classes on child development.







Age-Appropriate Child Books Resource for Parents 


Need help selecting books for your children to enjoy? Check the lists available on the Read Aloud America website:


For infants and toddlers: CLICK HERE 


For preschoolers: CLICK HERE


For prekindergarten and kindergarten children: CLICK HERE   


Turn Mealtime Into Learning Time


Effective preschool teachers engage with and extend children's learning throughout the entire day. Like other routines, mealtimes provide opportunities to focus on each individual child and use teachable moments to support learning.   


Mealtimes are ideal for modeling manners and for serving up some learning. This article in the July issue of Teaching Young Children has numerous tips and suggestions for teachers and parents. 




New Data Confirm Safety of Childhood Vaccinations


A new systematic analysis of tens of thousands of studies confirms, yet again, that childhood vaccinations are overwhelmingly safe for use. Click below to read more about how researchers conducted a new systematic review, which involved gathering together large amounts of data on the topic, selecting studies from it based on quality and other criteria, and then synthesizing an impartial overview.


Sleep Environment Risks for Younger and Older Infants


A report published by Pediatrics found that 69 percent of the 8,207 sleep-related infant deaths studied occurred when the infant was sharing a bed with an adult. The authors also noted that in 35 percent of all infant deaths, the infant was placed on its side or stomach.




The Importance of Emotional Bonding 


PBS's special feature  This Emotional Life explains why emotional bonding is so important for children's health and well-being. From the moment babies are born, they seek security and love from responsive parents and caregivers. In an ideal world, new parents would get all the time, support, and resources they need to think about parenting styles and skills and how to care for their new baby. In reality, life goes on and we must manage and learn as we go. The good news is that a lot of instincts come with parenting, and kids are extremely resilient. But understanding the basics about how babies form attachments can help significantly in this most important journey.



Back to School Resources on  
Child Traumatic Stress


Now that the school year has begun, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network has re­sources available for educators, administrators, school staff, parents, and students. Start the year off right, download these school resources today!


 READ MORE HERE          



Start Early to Build a Healthy Future: The Research Linking Early Learning and Health.


This paper is the Ounce of Prevention's contribution to an emerging dialogue about the connection between a person's health and what happens in the earliest years of his or her life. The paper is offered as just the latest evidence of the birth-to-five years' impact on an individual's ability to learn, grow and lead a long, healthy and productive life. What evidence now resoundingly suggests is that high-quality early education and home visiting programs not only support children's lifelong academic achievement and life success; these programs set them on a path toward good health as well.

The report is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Ounce's new website,, and we very much look forward to your own contribution to this important conversation.


The Impact of Segregation on Early Learning       



African American first-graders make smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools-and researchers don't think their backgrounds are causing the disparity. According to the Center for Civil Rights, although the United States is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, segregation is still on the rise. To better understand segregation's impact on student performance, scientists looked at nearly 4,000 first graders in public schools nationwide.





Segregation And Peers' Characteristics in the 2010-2011 Kindergarten Class 

A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K: 2011) to look at -the state of school segregation by race and income.   


The study reveals:

  • The vast majority of white children, including those who are poor, are in classrooms with children who are not poor--a stark contrast to most children of color, who go to school with many poor children.
  • Academic performance varies greatly, depending on the school's level of segregation across all races of children; the more heavily minority the school, the less prepared children are on average in the fall and the smaller their relative gains by spring. 
  • The data appears to support more sophisticated analyses' suggestions that income segregation underlies many apparent negative consequences of racial segregation.
Although this analysis is purely descriptive, the findings raise important questions and implications for both policy and research.


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