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In This Issue



It's Raining, It's Pouring....


Spring has finally sprung and with it comes those ever-important April showers. Rain provides wonderful learning experiences even when you're on the inside looking out! Try these activities:


Approaches to Learning and Math Activities:

* Gather sets of clothing for different types of weather: snow boots, scarf, hat, mittens; raincoat, umbrella, rain boots; shorts, sandals, T-shirt. Ask children to sort them according to the weather. Talk about the importance of the clothing items for the weather type.


*Track the number of days that it rains or is sunny on a calendar. Count them. Talk about whether there have been more sunny or rainy days each week.


Early Learning Foundations: Language and Literacy: Receptive and Expressive Communication; Discoveries (Infants and Toddlers): Attention and Persistence; Curiosity and Problem Solving: Mathematics: Numbers and Operations, Patterns


Creative Activities:

* Make your own rain sticks. Gather paper towel or toilet paper rolls. Cover one end with fabric or heavy paper and tape around the fabric, securely sealing the end. Coil 3-4 pipe cleaners into snake shapes and drop into the tube. Pour a small amount of rice in the tube and cover up the other end with fabric or heavy paper, also securely taping around the tube to make sure no rice falls out.  Show children how to 

gently turn the tube back and forth to make the sound of rain. The pipe cleaners help the falling rice sound more like rain. Play soft music so they can use their rain sticks as accompaniment.

* Make rain pictures by asking children to color on paper with colored chalk. Show them how to gently sprinkle water onto their paper to mimic rain. Ask them to notice what happens to their picture. (Coffee filters work  

well too).  


* Sing a song or finger play about rain. Ask children to clap every time they hear the word "rain."


Early Learning Foundations: Discoveries (Infants and Toddlers): Attention and Persistence, Cause and Effect, Curiosity and Problem Solving; Creative Expression: Music, Movement and Dance, Visual Arts


Motor Activities:

* Puddle jump by making large construction paper "puddles" for each child. Ask children to jump on/off puddles with two feet, one foot. Tell them to hop around the puddle, walk around the puddle, jump over the puddle, etc.


* Use eye droppers to "splash" paint onto paper to make rain. Show children how to, first, dip the dropper into the paint to collect the paint and then how to drop the paint onto paper. OR...hang a large piece of paper onto a wall. Children can use eye droppers to drip paint at the top and watch it "rain" down the paper. Be sure to put rags underneath the paper to catch the extra paint.


Early Learning Foundations: Physical Development and Health: Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Health Awareness and Practice


Science Activities:

* Make your own rain (for older children). Boil a pot of water on the stove. Hold a flat tray of ice cubes above the hot water to create a steam cloud. Talk about what happens as the steam comes in contact with the colder air and condensation and water droplets begin to form.  


Early Learning Foundations: Approaches to Learning: Initiative and Curiosity; Language and Literacy: Expressive and Receptive Communication; Discoveries (Infant and Toddler): Attention and Persistence, Curiosity and Problem Solving, Cause and Effect; Science: Scientific Exploration, Scientific Inquiry, Scientific Knowledge-Earth and Sky


Books about rain:

Puddles by Jonathan London

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema

Come On, Rain! By Karen Hesse

Rain by Robert Kalan and Donald Crews

Down Comes the Rain by Franklyn Branley

Splish Splash by Josepha Sherman

Little Cloud by Eric Carle

Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin and John Archambault


Songs about Rain

Rain on the rooftops,

Rain on the trees.

Rain on the green grass,

But not on me!


Fun In the Rain

(to the tune of "Three Blind Mice")

Rain, rain, rain

Rain, rain, rain

Dribble, dribble, splash!

Dribble, dribble, splash!

Grab your boots, your coat, and hat,

Jump in a puddle and go kersplat!

Stomp about and become a drowned rat,

Rain, rain, rain

Rain, rain, rain.


Children Kids Diversity Education Happiness Cheerful Concept

the number of public Great Starts Investing stakeholder focus groups held across the state in late March and early April, more than 150 individuals participated in a focus group.
Congratulations to Head Start, celebrating its 50th birthday this year!  
60 percent of Delaware Stars programs serving young children birth to five are now in the top quality tiers! Delaware Stars is growing!
(488 programs, of which 292 are Star level 3, 4 or 5)  



Seventy five beautiful flowers made a bright, striking visual display marking the Week of the Young Child, demonstrating the investment made in early learning for young children in Claymont, Delaware.



The number of Great Starts Investing survey responses received online; a clear indication of the high level of interest in and support for quality early learning in Delaware.  

(Survey findings will be shared in the May E-news)



The number of 'friends' on the Great Starts Delaware Facebook page! Not yet a 'friend?" Join up so you don't miss out on all the action!  



The estimated number of families who have gotten information about quality early learning using!

   CLASP and NWLC Present Webinar on
Block Grant Reauthorization


On April 15, CLASP and National Women's Law Center (NWLC) presented a webinar, "Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization." Many in the early learning community have expressed interest in this reauthorization, which significantly expands work to be done by states and does not come with (as did past reauthorizations) additional funding to help states complete the work required.   


Please find below links to the video recording, presentation slides, and the  implementation guide that CLASP and NWLC recently published. 


Webinar Recording - 


Presentation Slides -

Implementing the CCDBG Reauthorization: A Guide for States - 


   Take Time. Talk!


A new toolkit aimed at reducing the 30 million word gap that exists between young children in affluent versus non-affluent family environments.


The Los Angeles Universal Preschool (LAUP), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance early education program quality and capacity by supporting the development of the whole child, growing a qualified and diverse workforce, and strengthening family engagement has just created and published Take Time. Talk! as a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America commitment. Its pledge is to help strengthen the vocabulary skills of all young children in our country by providing parents and caretakers with powerful tools to help their children build exceptional language skills.

Research shows that children of the lowest-income families hear 30 million fewer words than the children of the most affluent families by the time they are three years old.  Established by President Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, CGI America focuses on finding solutions that promote economic recovery in the United States. The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes leaders to turn ideas into action. The CGI Commitments to Action represent bold new ways that CGI members address global challenges implemented through new methods of partnership and designed to maximize impact.

When parents and caregivers read, sing and talk with their children using open-ended questions that encourage them to think creatively and critically, they are giving them the foundational language and thinking skills they need to succeed in school and life. Take Time. Talk! will help parents expose their children to more positive, engaging language--a practice that will benefit them for a lifetime. Check out these new tools!  The short toolkit is available for download in both English and Spanish languages at: 



Advocacy Day 2015:  

Early Learning: We Need, We Care, Our Future!


Early childhood education awareness will be the focus during Advocacy Day on Wednesday, May 5, 2015! The full-day event will begin with an exciting 1.5 hour professional development training by Dr. Devona Williams on the importance of Early Childhood Advocacy followed by small group breakout sessions to provide attendees with the chance to delve deeper into advocating for and promoting quality early learning. Following a catered box lunch for attendees, the activities continue with a rally on the steps of Legislative Hall in Dover. Speakers will include parents, early learning professionals as well as business and community leaders.


At the conclusion of the rally, participants will visit the floor of the House of Representatives at 2:00 p.m., at which time community leaders will have the opportunity to speak directly to the House Members to share their experiences relating to the importance of early learning. Local preschool students will also be there to share their singing talents. Small groups will then have a wonderful opportunity to speak one-on-one with local decision-makers about the value and significance of quality early learning for young children, their families and the state. At 4:00 p.m., the State Senate will recognize advocates and supporters of quality early learning on the floor of the Senate.


The Delaware Early Childhood Council and DAEYC, sponsors of Advocacy Day, are also starting a new trend! Between 1:15 and 2:00 on May 6, light up social media! Early Learning advocates and supporters are asked to Tweet or post on Facebook about their views regarding the importance of quality early childhood education with the hashtag #EarlyLearningDE. Let's start a trend!


The sponsors encourage all who support quality early learning in the state to please consider clearing their schedules to attend all or some of Advocacy Day. Quality early learning is crucial to our entire community and needs your support!


Making a Difference Conference 2015

Educators, administrators and advocates gathered at Delaware Technical Community College in Dover, Delaware on April 17 and 18 for the 2015 Making a Difference conference. Conference attendees heard

Susan Perry-Manning  

from keynote speakers Ta'Mora Jackson and Dr. Jean Feldman and participated in a variety of workshop sessions, including Spanish language workshops. The sessions covered a variety of topics ranging from Language and Literacy for Infants and Toddlers, to Creating Peaceful Classrooms; from Best Practices in Dual Language Learning to Seeing Science Everywhere; and from How to Receive Funding for Capital and Technology to Engaged Families Make the Difference.


This year's event was the fourth annual Making a Difference conference, coordinated by Delaware Head Start Association and the Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children, with support from the Delaware Department of Education. Thank you to the conference sponsors, Becker's School Supplies, PNC Grow Up Great, Lakeshore®, hoy en Delaware and Nemours.


Career Advising Guide for Early Childhood and School-Age Professionals

A new edition of The Delaware Career Advising Guide for Early Childhood and School-Age Professionals has just been released, a work product of a collaboration between DAEYC, the Delaware Department of Education and the Office of Early Learning.  



The pinwheel serves as the national symbol for child abuse prevention. A pinwheel represents the whimsical notion of childhood, and reminds us that every child deserves the chance at having a healthy and happy childhood, free of abuse and neglect.  


This April, during Child Abuse Prevention Month, PCAD is calling on all schools and organizations in Delaware to plant pinwheel gardens in honor of all children in their communities. Your pinwheel garden can be planted any time during the month, it can be large or will be your creative masterpiece!  


Help us spread the message about the power of prevention through this visual recognition of pinwheels in the community. Please contact Lynn Haggerty Wong, Director of Advancement via email at or phone at 302.425.7490 for more information about how to get pinwheels for your April garden! 


A pinwheel needs wind to move. With our actions to prevent child abuse, we can be that wind. 


Relocations and deployments aren't always easy for military children. But those experiences help make our military children strong, independent and adaptable. They also make them amazing and worthy of celebration.

In April, get a firsthand view of life as a military child from the Military OneSource Tumblr page, and visit Military OneSource every day in April for no-cost giveaways  and a fact sheet that celebrate military children. 


   New Monthly Bulletin--Education Matters


The Center of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. DOE has created a new series called "Education Matters," a monthly bulletin in which they share information that will contribute to creating a culture of education excellence with parents, students educators and faith based and community representatives.   


The first bulletin, "Children's Brain Development," can be accessed at their website under the resources tab: This is a great one-page flyer that can be printed and shared with families of young children.  



   OPRE Sponsors Webinars on Natinal Survey of Early Care and Education


The Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) at the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), in the Department of Health and Human Services) is sponsoring two webinars (one May 8 and one May 18)  to orient researchers to the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) and its ongoing release of data files and documentation. The NSECE data are the first nationally-representative data in more than 20 years to describe the supply of and demand for early care and education in the U.S., and cover many topics on which national data have never before been available.


 More information about the NSECE data can be found at:   

To learn more about the webinars and how to register CLICK HERE.


National Child Mental Health Awareness day is Thursday, May 7, 2015.  The Division's staff and partner families will, once again, conduct family outreach at selected Rita's Water Ice locations throughout the state to share information about the importance of promoting children's mental, social and emotional health.  The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is hosting the Awareness Day national event in collaboration with the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychiatric Foundation, the Clinton Health Matters Initiative, Clinton Foundation, and The Jed Foundation. The national event will highlight the needs of children, youth, and young adults with mental or substance use disorders and their families, while demonstrating how these needs can be best met through integrated care. The event will feature cutting-edge community strategies for integrating behavioral health care with primary health care, education and child welfare.



May Purchase of Care Provider Meetings 


The Division of Social Services (DSS) invites early learning care providers to attend the first of two scheduled 2015 Purchase of Care (POC) Provider meetings. The meetings are voluntary; no training hour credit will be given.


The May meeting will revolve around discussion about the DSS Child Care computer rewrite project. We will be showing screen shots of what the new Provider Self-Service (PSS) Portal will look like, as well as the enhanced features that will be available to all POC providers in the near future.    


Sussex County                      May 12, 2015 (Tuesday)

                                                6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

                                                Stockley Center

                                                All Star Gym

                                                26351 Patriots Way

                                                Georgetown, DE 19947


Kent County                          May 20, 2015 (Wed.)

                                                6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

                                                DelDOT Admin. Bldg.-Farmington Room

                                                800 S. Bay Road

                                                Dover, DE 19903


New Castle County              May 27, 2015 (Wed.)

                                                6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

                                                New Castle County Police Department -

                                                Dept. of Public Safety Community Conference Room            
                                                3601 N. DuPont Highway
                                                New Castle, DE 19720



DE Stars logo
Rising Stars Shining Bright! 
Congratulations to the programs moving up in March!

CONGRATULATIONS to this brand new Star 5 programs  

Boys & Girls Club @ Brick Mill Elementary 


And it is a pleasure to announce that these programs have earned Star 4 rating: 
Babes on the Square Too

TOTS Program 

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!

Delaware Marks 2015 Week of the Young Child


Delaware Readiness Teams, Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children (DAEYC) and Delaware Stars were busier than usual last week with a full schedule of activities to mark 2015 Week of the Young Child™ throughout the state. Sixteen activities spread out over the week ranged from hands on symbolic events, to events honoring families, to activities to distribute needed, age-appropriate materials to families and professionals. In addition, DAEYC used the occasion to highlight Delaware Star providers each day with a profile posted on the DAEYC website and Facebook page.


The Week of the Young Child is an annual celebration sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the world's largest early childhood education association. First established in 1971, it was developed to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

The Delaware Readiness Team activities started on Monday, April 13 with activities in all three counties. The Cape Henlopen Community Readiness Team distributed bags filled with readiness materials for patients three to five years old, including crayons, books and a healthy snack, along with information about its 2015 summer bookmobile and other community resources to local pediatrician offices in Sussex County. The South Dover Readiness Team partnered with local radio stations in Kent County to provide an announcement on "getting children ready" with a literacy focus. And in New Castle County, the Claymont Community Readiness Team worked with the Music School of Delaware and the Claymont Library to present a program for in-home child care programs. Other events and activities throughout the week included the HUBCAP Readiness Team's donation of "Kid Kits" containing developmentally appropriate subject-specific bags and an idea card on ways to use the contents of the bag or other household items to engage children in learning that families can check out to Harrington Library; an event created by the NESSE Readiness Team that honored about 15 parents at Kingswood Community Center for their involvement in the FACET program (Families and Centers Empowered Together); Learning Walks, sponsored by the Center City Wilmington Readiness Team, a pioneering approach to professional development and relationship cultivation designed to build bridges between early learning teachers and elementary teachers, to share best practices and to move towards aligned objectives to further the common goal of helping children enter kindergarten ready; the Mt. Pleasant Partnership Delaware Readiness Team's "Children in Bloom" the "planting" of decorated foam flowers by children along the fence at Mt. Pleasant Elementary School; and story times and family nights in various locations throughout the state. These are just a sampling of the many activities.


Thank you to all who planned and participated in these activities celebrating our youngest learners, their families and the providers who serve them. 

Early Childhood Educators Hold the Key to Children's Communication Skills

 Too Small to Fail released a new Community Campaign Guide with lessons from their "Talking is Teaching: Talk, Read, Sing" campaigns in Tulsa and Oakland.


Find creative assets available for free download, relevant word gap references, training materials, tips for parents and more. This website is intended for a wide audience, and the "Talking is Teaching Community Campaign Guide" is live on


Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation


The Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NCR) released "Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: a Unifying Foundation" this month, one of the most important studies of the workforce in our nation's history.  Both the executive summary and the full report can be downloaded for free.



The report looks at Essential Features of Child Development, Principles to Support Quality Practice and provided A Blueprint for Action.


The report calls for a commitment to the pathways that will lead us to the systems and policies that we need. To quote the Committee "that it is not fast, easy or cheap." It will require a strategic progressive trajectory of change to transform the professional landscape, accompanied by significant commitment, mobilization of resources, and innovations in financing.

New Resource Addresses Common Challenges for Parents of Toddlers and Preschoolers

"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 toddlers and preschoolers, Essentials for Parenting addresses common parenting challenges, such as tantrums and whining.


The purpose of the resource is to provide as much information as possible on things parents can do to build a positive, healthy relationship using activities and videos 

that model what to do during real-life parenting challenges. Skills focus on encouraging good behavior and decreasing misbehavior using proven strategies like positive communication, structure and rules, clear directions and consistent discipline and consequences.   




Tooth decay remains the most common chronic childhood disease in America. Nearly two years ago, the Schuyler Center launched an initiative, "Keep NY Smiling," to improve dental health. This significant health issue does not get attention because the impact is often hidden by poverty and health disparities. See the newly released

final report, "The Power of Prevention:The Potential for a Generation of Cavity Free Kids."  


See more on Children's Oral Health HERE. The  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information on what parents and caregivers can do.  


Periodic Screenings Identify Potential Future Learning Challenges


Periodic screenings of infants, toddlers and preschoolers can help identify issues that can become learning challenges later on.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, many children have delays in language or other areas that can affect school readiness. However, fewer than half of children with developmental delays are identified before starting school, meaning significant delays might have occurred and treatment opportunities may have been missed.  READ MORE for information and resources about monitoring your child's development.   

Engage Families in Anywhere,
Anytime Learning

Children and their families can explore content-area topics in depth and to develop critical-thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills, out-of-school settings are becoming increasingly important to individual learning. These settings, which include libraries, museums, digital media, and after-school programs, are evolving into extended classrooms. In this context, it is no longer appropriate or fruitful for educators to focus family engagement solely on what happens in school; educators must re-imagine this concept within the many opportunities now available for anywhere, anytime learning. 



Resources for Supporting Effective Transitions 

The March 2015 newsletter from the Harvard Family Research Project offers resources to support the process of transition to school. They selected this focus because a smooth transition to school makes a difference for student outcomes, and also because it is a matter of equity. Research shows that children from homes with increased social and economic risk benefit the most from activities that support smooth transitions; yet these are the children least likely to receive them. Features in the newsletter offer both the evidence-base supporting the importance of the transition to school and profiles of programs that are working to support equitable and effective transitions for children and families. 

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