Resampled color
In This Issue
Cooking up some learning!

Time in the kitchen with young children offers them opportunities to practice many skills. Even older infants and young toddlers can "help" while you're cooking as they bang out a song with a pot and a wooden spoon, stack plastic containers, or empty out that bottom drawer where you keep linens or plastic ware just for their play.

Older toddlers and preschoolers can take part in actual cooking activities from start to finish, from selecting a recipe to tasting the finished product! School age children can become more involved as their skills mature. 

Here's a step-by-step "recipe" of what can be learned from baking cookies. Notice how just one cooking experience touches each domain within the Early Learning Foundations!

1. Review the recipe together to identify the ingredients that are needed, talking about quantities and investigating whether they are in your pantry or will need to be purchased. If a trip to the grocery store is needed, allow the children to help make the list. (My Family, My Community, My World: Working Together-Government and Communities; Language and Literacy: Emergent Reading). 

2. Count the number of eggs, cups of flour, sugar, etc. as they are mixed into the batter. Talk about which ingredient is put into the bowl first, second, etc. Look at the changes that occur as the butter, milk and flour are each poured. Talk about the colors, textures and other characteristics of the ingredients...eggs have a shell and have a yolk and white; milk comes from cows, etc. (Language and Literacy: Expressive Communication; Mathematics: Measurement.

3. Allow the children to pour the milk or water into the bowl. Give them a turn to stir and mix. After they have washed their hands one more time, show them how to roll the dough into balls and put onto the cookie sheets or spoon it onto the sheet. Count to see how many cookies they can expect. (Mathematics: Number and Operations; Physical Development and Health: Fine Motor Skills)

4. Together, the set the timer. Talk about how much time is needed. Ask them to listen for the timer's bell. As the cookies are baking, ask children to notice the aroma. Turn on the oven light so they can watch how the dough spreads, then hardens to form the cookie. (Approaches to Learning: Initiative and Curiosity; Science: Sensory Awareness).

What a confidence booster as the cookies come out of the oven, cool and are tasted! Children build a sense of accomplishment and are so proud of their finished product! Invite them to write or draw a picture-story of the process. (Social Emotional: Self Concept; Creative: Visual).

Children's Books about cooking:

Applesauce by Shirley Kurtz Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan Pancakes for Breakfast by Tomie dePaola Cock-A-Doodle-Doo by Janet Stevens Guacamole: A Bilingual Cooking Poem by Jorge Argueta

Adult Books about cooking with children:

The Toddler Cookbook by Annabel Karmel Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Molly Katzen Sesame Street: B is for Baking - 50 Yummy Dishes to Make Together by Sesame Workshop

New Resources Available to Help Families with Timely Kindergarten Registration


Two new tabs have been added to the Office of Early Learning's family-focused help guide families through the kindergarten registration process and make them aware of the importance of registering children for kindergarten before the school year begins. The effort is designed to lessen the annual struggle schools face when large groups of students, who did not register before the school year started, enter kindergarten creating classes that are too large to manage. In response, schools must quickly find and hire additional teachers and divide the class making it disruptive and not very conducive to giving children a great start.


Get Ready for Kindergarten offers families a step-by-step guide to help them prepare for kindergarten, including a downloadable check list of documents needed to enroll in kindergarten, a list of Delaware school districts and charter schools and activities and tips families can use at home to ensure children are ready for kindergarten.


Delaware Readiness Teams provides insight about the grassroots efforts of the Delaware Readiness Teams to build strong connections between communities, schools, early learning programs and families to ensure children are ready to learn. Teams throughout the state are involved in providing information and support to help families understand the importance of early enrollment in kindergarten. In addition, the tab includes a map to locate the state's 20 Readiness Teams, contact information and an invitation to get involved.


We hope you will share this great new resource with families with children who will enter Kindergarten next year!

New Infant Incentive Awards for

Delaware Stars Programs 


DE Stars logo Ninety Delaware Stars top tier early learning programs applied for and received financial incentives based on the number of infants in their care in October, 2014. Award letters were sent from the OEL on Dec 22, 2014 with financial awards to follow in recognition of the higher cost of providing quality early learning programs for infants. A total amount of $150,000 was awarded by OEL to Stars top tier providers in this first round. Funds will be available for two additional rounds in March 2015 and October 2015. Watch for more information about the March 2015 application opportunity in coming weeks.


Curriculum Incentive Awards Update  

Over 100 Delaware Stars providers have purchased curricula for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with about $100,000 in financial support from the Early Learning Challenge Grant. Star 3, 4, and 5 programs were approved to select from the Approved Curriculum List for Delaware Stars, submit their receipts and receive reimbursement from $600 to $4000, depending on the number of classrooms in their programs. Professional development for the most widely-selected curricula will be coming in the spring.   

Participation in Stars Continues to Grow 


An key strategy for increasing access to quality early learning through the Early Learning Challenge is growing the number of programs in Delaware Stars. Fifty-nine percent of all Stars programs are in the top quality tiers, rated as a Star 3, 4 or 5 program.  By voluntarily joining Delaware Stars, programs demonstrate commitment to continuous quality improvement and receive supports. As of December, 2014, 75 percent of centers and 20 percent of family-based early learning programs statewide participate in Delaware Stars, offering families a wide range of options for quality early learning programs.

Tiered Reimbursement Financial Incentive Payments to Early Learning Providers  

Moving to Monthly Schedule

In response to requests from Delaware's providers of early learning programs that accept children with the Purchase of Care state subsidy in their programs, Delaware is moving to monthly Purchase of Care payments! Please stay tuned - there will be more information on this exciting system improvement, including the timing of the monthly payments, in the February E-News!

Get the Playbook on Becoming an  

Early Learning Community! 


A new resource for supporters of quality early learning is available! The White House recently released the "Playbook for Becoming an Early Learning Community," which outlines strategies for local leaders to strengthen and expand early learning in their neighborhoods. Check it out!

Family Outreach at the New Castle Farmer's Market 


The days of outside fairs and festivals may be over for a while, but the Early Learning Family Outreach Team continues to engage families at the New Castle Farmer's Market.  Each month members of the Outreach Team will on site with great information and resources for families, as well as fun items for families and kids. The team helps guide families to where they can locate Star programs, get bi-monthly tips on early learning at home, get ready for kindergarten, learn about brain development and more.
Tina Thomas of Little Comforts


Brenda Richards of All My Children  
Carlos Dipres and Paola Nna

2015 Meeting Dates  Announced


2015 meeting dates for the Council (all are welcomed to attend!) are February 10, 9 am - 11 am, March 31,
9 am - 11 am, May 6, 9 am - 10:30 am, September 22, 9 am - 11 am, and December 8, 9 am - 11 am. Please see the detailed
2015 meeting schedule. 

Of special note, the meeting on March 31 will feature a sustainability focus group so that members and  
guests can provide direct input on their views on which Early Learning Challenge grant initiatives should be continued in the anticipated 6-month no cost extension (January - June 2016) and in the period beginning July 1, 2016 and after, when there will be no federal funding for the Early Learning Challenge grant.   


Save the Date!  May 6, 2015 is Early Learning Advocacy Day in Delaware!

You CAN make a difference in early learning! Early Learning: We Need, We Care, Our Future! That is the rallying cry for this year's Early Learning Advocacy Day on May 6, 2015, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, at Legislative Hall in Dover. This year's Advocacy Day is sponsored by the Delaware Early Childhood Council with the support of many public and private sector partners. 


If you are an early learning provider, parent, business or community leader or quality early learning advocate, the Council urges you to participate in the day by wearing yellow, showing your support for quality early learning and meeting with state legislators. Let's see if we can break the last year's record attendance of approximately 250 people!  Not sure this is for you? 

Here are 4 reasons to participate in Advocacy Day:
1.       Quality early learning can reduce the achievement gap
2.       Quality early learning programs increase quality of life and future success
3.       Quality early childhood learning benefits children of all income levels
4.       Quality early childhood learning is a great investment with a 7 - 16 percent return on investment.

You can participate in all or part of the day.  Registration will open March 15.  Please check future editions of the E-News for updates on Advocacy Day.  Learn more.......    



The Delaware Readiness Teams and Prevent Child Abuse Delaware collaborated on January 7 and 8 in Northern and Southern Delaware by inviting  Readiness Team members including parent leaders, along with other community leaders and agencies to a training on the national Community Café Model for parent engagement. This tool will hopefully increase small and large group conversations within communities on a grassroots level and assist in building family strengthening protective factors, which have been successful in supporting families and children.  Over 50 people were trained..

Through this partnership there may be additional monies that can be utilized in the future associated with implementing cafes within Delaware Readiness Team communities.

For more information on the Community Café model go to




Daeyc DAEYC is pleased to announce that in 2015 it will sponsor a number of information sessions on CORE (Compensation, Retention and Education) awards in collaboration with Delaware First.  The info sessions will provide an opportunity for Early Childhood Professionals working in Delaware Stars programs to learn about the CORE awards, qualifications and the career lattice. Detailed information can be found on the flier (DOWNLOAD HERE). Please share the information with any of your contacts who may be interested.


Heart 2 Heart Hugs Campaign Now Thru February 9 


The Hearts 2 Heart Hugs campaign, which collects gifts, including warm clothing items, for children in foster care and homeless children in Delaware is accepting donations through February 9

CLICK HERE for more on how you can donate items or register to be a drop off site!


Family Fun Nights! 


A Family Fun Night is being hosted by the Coalition on January 23rd, beginning at 7:00 pm The theme is "A Winter Wonderland" and the event will be held at the Western Sussex  Boys & Girls Club on Virginia Avenue in Seaford. 

Free activities include an open pool with fun floats, winter-themed crafts, snowball throw & other family games. In addition, there will be a special showing of Disney's Frozen!  If interested, just call the Coalition at 302-262-9459 for information or to ask how you can get involved.

Healthy Family Dollar Dinners
Come out and enjoy a healthy affordable family dinner twice a month on Wednesdays at the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club in Seaford. Dinner starts at 6 pm on the following nights:

February 11 & 25      March 11 & 25     April 8 & 22     May 13 & 27     June 10 & 24

 Pre-registration is required by Friday at noon for the following Wednesday by calling 302-262-9459.
Sponsored by Sussex Success Program, a United Way Initiative in partnership with the Sussex County Community.



New Call-in Number and Participant Code for 2015 Monthly Managed Medicare Organization Calls


Delaware Family Voices announces there is  a new Call In Number 1-800-220-9875 and Participant Code 40369724 # for the monthly Managed Medicare Organization (MCO) calls in 2015. The monthly MCO call gives families a non-adversarial forum through which they can address concerns about the Medicaid Managed Care they have for their children with special health care needs.

The families have an opportunity to share their concerns and ask questions. Through this method, many families have a better understanding of how the systems work. The providers and policymakers are able to hear how current rules and regulations impact families.
  • Families may also call to discuss issues related to Medicaid services for children with mental health/behavioral or emotional needs and accessing those services.
  • The calls can also cover issues regarding anyone who has the Diamond State Health Plan Plus (adults). This program took effect in April 2012. United Health and Highmark are the same MCO's for children and adults
Delaware Family Voices is a parent-run nonprofit organization that facilitates these monthly calls.


Delaware Stars Director Annette Searfoss and University of Delaware's Profesor Roberta Golinkoff were quoted in a recent News Journal article,
 10 Ways to Connect with your Young Kids: by Betsey Price.
Rising Stars Shining Bright! 
Congratulations to the programs moving up in December!

CONGRATULATIONS to these brand new Star Level 5s:

Bear Early Education Center

       Tender Loving Kare Childcare & Learning Center I


These Star 5 Programs Successfully Re-Verified:  

Tender Loving Kare Childcare & Learning Center II

         Tender Loving Kare Childcare & Learning Center III


And it is a pleasure to announce that these programs have earned Star Level 4 status: 
Downing's Loving & Learning Center, Early Years Program-Richardson Park Learning Center

Great New Beginnings of St. Andrew's, Happy Kids Academy, Happy Place Day Care, LLC

Loving Care Nursery School, Meadowood Program-Red Clay Consolidated School District 

Morris Early Childhood Center-Milford School District, Raising Hope Child Care Center 

Smyrna Early Childhood-Smyrna School District, The Wonder Years Kids Club, Inc. 

Moving up to Star Level 3 last month: 

Sheila Mast 


As Delaware families look to the Stars when searching for early childhood programs, they find quality early learning programs such as the Stars programs that have moved up in quality rating!
Mike Wilson Takes Early Learning Door-to-Door


Never question the positive impact one person can make.


In 2013 Mike Wilson founded the Pre-Kindergarten Reading Encouragement Project (PREP), a nonprofit organization that provides literacy materials to four-year-old at-risk children in Wilmington, Delaware, through the local preschools.


In November, 2014, Mike was the recipient of the Delaware Early Childhood Council's Goal Three Award: Build Connections Between Early Learning and K-12 Schools.  


A month later he hit the streets to distribute free books and other literacy materials to every home with children five years of age or younger in Wilmington's Eastside neighborhood as part of the Eastside Literacy Initiative, a collaborative project he coordinated between the police department's Book'Em Cops and Kids Literacy Initiative and PREP Delaware, to provide books and other literacy materials to every home with children five years of age or younger.


In addition to books, Mike, joined by Wilmington Mayor, Dennis P. Williams, City Council member Hanifa Shabazz, Wilmington Police Sergeant Gary Tabor and members of the Wilmington Police

Mike Wilson (far right) with Police Sargeant Gary Tabor, Mayor Dennis P. Williams and City Council member Hanifa Shabazz, distributing  books and literacy materials to Wilmington families with young children.
Department's Community Policing Unit and members of the Center City Wilmington Delaware Readiness Team, Mike distribute paper, alphabet flash cards, number activity book, crayons, colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, 12" rulers and art journals to young at-risk children in the neighborhood.



Other community partners supported the Eastside Literacy Initiative by also donating resources such as complimentary admission to a Peanut Butter & Jams Family Concert at the World Café Live at the Queen, a listing of early childhood providers that have Delaware Stars certification near Wilmington's Eastside neighborhood and an invitation to attend the Wilmington Early Childhood Readiness Team meeting.  

Other community organizations supporting the Wilmington Eastside Literacy Initiative include the Christina Cultural Arts Center, Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Delaware Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health Services, Delaware Office of Early Learning, One Village Alliance, Wilmington Early Care and Education Council, and World Cafe Live at the Queen.


To find out more about the great work Mike is doing to help our kids get a great start or the nonprofit organization he founded, Pre-Kindergarten Reading Encouragement Project (PREP), or visit

How Brains are Built: The Core Story of Brain Development

The Alberta Family Wellness Initiative has announced the launch of a new animated video which presents the core story of brain development in an accessible and visually engaging format for public audiences. The video was developed with considerable input from project partners at the Harvard Center on the Developing Child and the FrameWorks Institute. Using metaphors developed by FrameWorks and tested with audiences both in the US and in Canada, "How Brains are Built" infuses core story concepts with energy, accessibility, and high- fidelity to the science.                                                                  



Bridging Health Care and Early Education System Transformations to Achieve Kindergarten Readiness in Oregon  


The BUILD Initiative recently aired a webinar about how Oregon's early learning and health care work. Oregon is known nationally in health policy circles for its health care system transformation and by early care and education policy makers for its early education system reforms, but innovations in these two areas often do not intersect. This webinar focuses on Oregon's alignment of its two innovative system transformation efforts to highlight lessons for state policy makers working to achieve a common goal of kindergarten readiness. 


The webinar will include a focus on why and how Oregon is aligning these two systems, next steps, remaining challenges and lessons learned. A second, related webinar will be scheduled to hone in more closely on local level implemenation and how a focus on racial equity is being integrated into this work.





Georgia's Talk With Me Baby Website Promotes Young Children's   

Language Development 


Talk With Me Baby (TWMB) aims to transform parents and caregivers into conversational partners who provide early language exposure to babies in order to nourish critical brain development.   TWMB also recently launched a new website with information on the impact of language development and tips on ways parents and caregivers can engage their young children through singing, talking, reading and playing.

Talk, Read, Sing: Seven Ways to Build Early Math Literacy

Research tells us that exposing children to math early improves their success in school. Talking to young children about numbers helps their brains develop, and may improve their confidence with math later. Here are some ideas to help educators and families spark a child's math interest through talking, reading and singing!


Building A Child's Vocabulary

This short article from Reading Rockets offers four easy ways to support vocabulary development and is available in English and Spanish.


Are Babies Born With Some Math Skills?

If a 6-month-old can distinguish between 20 dots and 10 dots, she's more likely to be good at math in preschool.  

Researchers have long wondered if math skills are innate, whether they are the result of studying and good teachers or a combination of the two? Find out more in the following article.


Raising a Reader Program Examined 


To succeed in future grades, reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade is critical. But 80 percent of children from low-income families aren't reading at grade level at that point. Child Trends recently released a report examining Raising A Reader, a national program that helps families develop sustainable reading practices with their young children. Child Trends found that Raising A Reader has established a strong emerging evidence base of the effectiveness of its program model. 




Using Assessments to Improve Transitions  
to Kindergarten

The transition from preschool or other early learning settings into kindergarten marks an important event in the lives of more than 3.5 million children and their families each year. On November 19th, CEELO and the REL Northwest webinar explored one component of successful transitions: kindergarten entry assessments (KEAs). State departments of education presenters highlighted practical strategies they are using to assess a child's school readiness and adjust instruction to help bridge any gaps. A recording is available HERE and slides are HERE.


How Language and Immigrant Background Influence Pre-K Participation and   

Kindergarten Readiness 


The number of dual language learners in the United States is growing rapidly.  There's strong evidence that identifying and supporting these students early in their educational process can make a big  

difference for them in the long run.    


Yet, according to a recent  webinar by the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) and the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) on Young Immigrants and Dual Language Learners: Participation in Pre-K & Gaps at Kindergarten Entry, few states require early language screening in early education programs.   


Implementing Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support: The Evidence-Base of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children, Nov 2014   


Check out this summary of the first randomized study on implementing Pyramid Model practices within public school classrooms for children ages 3-5 years. While the results are preliminary and more research is needed, these promising results provide important support for the Pyramid Model practices.


Road Map to Statewide Implementation of the Pyramid Model


This document is a guide--a "Road Map"-- for implementing widespread use of the Pyramid Model for Promoting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children 


Brush Up On Oral Health: Healthy Bedtime Habits 


Brushing children's teeth is an important part of the routine that helps keep children healthy. This issue of Brush Up on Oral Health describes a program developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics to structure children's bedtime routines. It includes recommendations that early learning staff can share with parents for choosing children's books on oral health. 

You can subscribe and view all issues on the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center

February 2015 is National Children's
Dental Health Month.


To learn more , check out this LINK:   


To download two free "Do It Yourself" Posters (available in English and Spanish, in 8.5"x11" or 11"x17") visit





New Fact Sheet Available  

Quality Improvement: The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) released a new fact sheet, "QRIS and Inclusion: Do State QRIS Standards Support the Learning Needs of All Children?" which analyzes how states have integrated children with special needs into their QRIS efforts.


New Research
Research on Quality Early Learning

An expansive list of notable researchers issued a consensus letter to policymakers, confirming their agreement that research shows that high-quality early childhood education produces better education, health, economic, and social outcomes for children, families, and the nation as a whole. Among the signatories is Kyle Snow, NAEYC's Senior Scholar and Director, Center for Applied Research. The ECE Consensus Letter for Researchers is available  HERE This may be a useful advocacy tool for you.


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