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In This Issue


Life's a picnic!


International Picnic Day is on June 18 this year. What a fun time to celebrate a unique holiday! A little research tells us that the word picnic comes from the French and picnicking became especially popular after the French Revolution and during the Victorian Era as a way for men and women to socialize together outdoors.


Join the celebration on June 18 or any time this summer by creating your own picnic or doing fun picnic-type activities with children.


Host a teddy bear picnic.
Invite children to bring their teddy bears to school. Read the story Teddy Bear's Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy. Sing (or play) the Teddy Bear's Picnic Song. (There are many versions on Youtube). Have a picnic snack-put a large blanket or sheet in the circle area where children and bears can sit together to eat.

Early Learning Foundations: Social Emotional: Attachments, Social Relationships and Cooperation; Discoveries/Approaches to Learning: Initiative and Curiosity; Language and Literacy: Emergent Reading; Discoveries: Play; Creative Expression: Music, Dramatic Play.


Make ants on a log.

Cut a celery log in half. Spread with peanut butter. Sprinkle with raisins. Read Picnic! A Day in the Park by Joan Arnold or A Picnic by Roxanne Lanczak Williams. Talk about the way ants often "invade" picnics.

Early Learning Foundations: Language and Literacy: Receptive and Expressive Language, Emergent Reading; Physical Development and Health: Fine Motor Development, Health Awareness and Nutrition.


Plan for an outdoor picnic. Together, with the children, make a list of the things you need. Select the food as well as the other items like paper goods, condiments, etc. Have the children help you prepare the sandwiches or lemonade and count out the napkins and cups. Remember the blanket(s). Talk about a good location near your center or home. Pack up and go!


Early Learning Foundations: Social Emotional: Discoveries/Approaches to Learning: Engagement and Persistence; Discoveries: Play; Mathematics: Numbers and Operations; Science: Scientific Knowledge-Environment; My Family, My Community, My World: Places and Spaces-Geography.


Talk about the things people do at a picnic beside eat, such as play ball games or relay races. Hold some races for the children. Ask them to run, hop, jump, walk backward, etc. back and forth to a finish line. Serve popsicles as a special treat or prize.


Early Learning Foundations: Language and Literacy: Receptive and Expressive Language; Physical Development and Health: Gross Motor Development, Health Awareness and Nutrition.


More books about picnics:

We're Going on a Picnic by  

Pat Hutchins

Teddy Bears' Picnic by  

Jimmy Kennedy

Picnic by John Burningham

Picnic! by Emily Arnold McCully


BUILD Initiative Releases First Two Chapters on New E-Book: Rising to the Challenge: Building Effective Systems for Young Children and Families


The initial implementations of the efforts of recipients of the Early Learning Challenge (ELC) Grant are captured in the BUILD Initiative's new E-book,


Chapter 1, State Systems Building Through Governance

explores the governance work reported by fourteen state leaders. This information is meant to help early childhood leaders and advocates understand the Challenge's impact on governance for early learning, both within state governments and between state government and other participants.


Chapter 2, Local Systems Building Through Coalitions

examines eight states (including Delaware) that engaged local leaders and partners, through a coalition strategy, to expand their system planning to achieve mutual outcomes for young children and their families. For each of the states surveyed the ELC has played key roles in creating, expanding and/or supporting this local focus and scope of work to the ELC state goals.


The BUILD Initiative works with early childhood leaders within states and nationally to better prepare young children to thrive and succeed. It supports state leaders from both the private and public sectors as they work to set policy, offer services and advocate for children from birth to age five.

Specifically, the BUILD Initiative helps state leaders develop an early childhood system-programs, services and policies tailored to the needs of the state's unique young child population. This work focuses on connecting programs and services that may have functioned in isolation, been redundant, lacked resources to meet critical needs and/or operated at cross-purposes.



New Resources for Early Learning Providers


Be on the look-out for a package in the next several weeks from the Office of Early Learning. In it you'll find flyers to distribute to your staff with information about great resources, including monthly practice tips, links to articles and more.

Looking for the results of the Great Starts Delaware Investing Survey and focus groups?   Check out the June E-News!

Advocacy Day 2015:  

Early Childhood Advocates Gather in Dover



Early childhood advocates from all walks of life gathered in Dover on May 6 for a variety of events focused on ensuring that all children in Delaware have access to resources for a great start in life.


The day included advocacy training for parents, providers and students and a rally on the East side steps of Legislative Hall where participants heard about the importance of quality early learning from speakers from the Delaware Early Childhood Council, the Commission on Early Education and the Economy (CEEE), an early learning provider and a kindergarten teacher, a Delaware Readiness Team member and a Head Start parent.


A "Kids Caucus Briefing on Early Childhood Learning" was held in the House Majority Hearing Room in Legislative Hall, organized by The Delaware Early Childhood Council and the Delaware Kids Caucus. The agenda included remarks by members of the caucus and Gary Stockbridge, Delmarva Power president and member of the CEEE and a briefing from Susan Perry-Manning, executive director of the Delaware Office of Early Learning, followed by a Q & A session. In addition, Jennifer Ranji, cabinet secretary, Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families, presented retired Delaware legislator, the Honorable Jane Maroney with a Special Early Childhood Champion Lifetime Achievement Award.


Afternoon activities were also held in the House and Senate Chambers.  The Honorable S. Quinton (Quinn) Johnson read a joint resolution on the House floor.  Paul Harrell, CEE co-chair and parent Melina Coates addressed the house.  Later in the afternoon The Honorable Patricia Blevins (D) read a joint resolution in the Senate Chambers


Free Online Course Website for Early Educators

These online courses offer great professional development courses to help early educators meet requirements for licensure.

In the first eight months of the website's launch, there have been 615 unique users with a completion rate of 80-86 percent.  Successful course completions include: Active Bodies, Active MInds - 182, Delacare/CACFP - 211, Preventing Childhood Obesity - 123, Infant Behavior - 23 for a total of 470 completions. 



 About the Child Care Modernization Project

The State of Delaware is committed to providing quality Child Care services for eligible families and children with high needs. Delaware's approach to improving Child Care and Early Learning services and systems has received funding from the Early Learning Challenge grant, awarded in 2012.

The Child Care Modernization Project is making improvements to technology for both the Provider Self Service (PSS) and Purchase of Care (POC) systems: updates will go-live on November 6, 2015.

Here are some exciting upgrades and how they will benefit you:

New mobility for Providers

The modernized Provider Self Service (PSS) system will replace the current Provider Portal and provide mobile-friendly access. Providers will be able to use smartphones and tablets to access the latest Child Care Authorization information for their Sites, and update their information on the go.

Enhanced Information.

Providers will now be able to access and view enhanced authorization information that will be updated hourly.

Self-Service for Providers.

Providers will now be able to view payment statements online. Providers will also be able to manage their overview information, such as rates and holidays, within the Provider Self Service application.  

Interested in learning more?

Stay tuned for further communications about the project within the Office of Early Learning newsletters. In the future, you will be able to find additional project updates posted to the announcements page on the current Provider Portal.

Childhood Injury Prevention Conference on June 24

Unintentional injuries continue to be the number one cause of hospitalizations for children in Delaware.  Safe Kids Delaware, a leader in child safety for over twenty years, will host the 14th Annual"Preventing Injury in the 21st
Century" Childhood Injury Prevention Conference at the Duncan Center in Dover, Delaware on   
Wednesday, June 24, 2015. 

This conference will offer a variety of presentations covering topics such as pool and water safety, safe sleep practices, car seat safety, child abuse recognition, internet bullying, and more.


Registration for the conference is now open.  Please visit for more information and to register. Participants who are early educators will earn 5-6 hours of training that to go toward meeting state liscensing  requirements.


Fathers Leading Families, Celebrating 50 Head Start Years!

Father of the Year - John Shelton 
On Saturday, May 2, 2015 Head Start and ECAP programs in Delaware gathered in Harrington at the Delaware Early Childhood Center to celebrate "Fathers Leading Families, Celebrating 50 Head Start Years!" Over 225 children and their families along with volunteers, vendors and staff from throughout Delaware came together to honor the positive impact of Fathers in the lives of their children and families. Many activities for attendees were available, including a Walk-a-Thon, outdoor Zumba, a Disc Jockey, lunch and the opportunity for networking and meeting new friends! The Food Bank of Delaware was a generous partner by donating food for families to take home. Other partners included Pepsi, Herr's, Lake Forest School District, DIEEC, Delaware Dental Coalition, Delaware State University and Child Development Watch.


Head Start/ECAP programs nominated fathers from their programs for the Parent of the Year award. Honorees were: Daniel Michael Money (New Directions Early Head Start), Juan Ortiz (New Castle County Head Start), William Cross (Delaware Early Childhood Center), Jeffrey Stevenson (Wilmington Head Start), Deonte Burton (Hilltop Neighborhood House), Rahel Torres (Latin American Community Center), John Shelton (Telamon Head Start Programs) and Jamal Walston (Christina Cultural Arts Center). The 2015 Parent of the Year awarded was presented to John Shelton from Telamon Head Start Programs.



Congratulations to La Red Heath Center which is opening a Milford medical clinic, funded through a generous federal grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The La Red Health Centers offer multilingual health consultations in Georgetown, Seaford and the Sussex Technical 
School District.  

La Red works to integrate mental health and primary healthcare and has been a very strong partner and a key part of the Early Learning Challenge family outreach, increasing awareness of the importance of quality early learning for young children and how to use Delaware Stars as a way to find the right early learning program for their child and family. 

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

CONGRATULATIONS to these brand new Star 5 programs  

Avenue Preschool, Covenent Preschool and Childcare, Early Childhood Educational Arts Academy, Erika Vidal, Boys & Girls Club @ Darley Road.  


And it is a pleasure to announce that these programs have earned Star 4 rating: 
Foulk Preschool (Carpenter Station Road), Deborah Litteral, YMCA/ Brandywine Branch School's Out @ Hanby Elementary, YMCA/ Brandywine Branch School's Out @ Lancashire Elementary, YMCA/ Brandywine Branch School's Out @ Forwood Elementary.

Welcome new Star 3's:  Sharra Brown, Tonda Maddrey, YMCA/ Brandywine Branch School's Out @ Lombardy Elementary, YMCA School's Out @ Harlan Elementary

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!

Eleventh Annual Children's Mental Health Awareness Day is a Tasty Treat


Thanks to participating Rita's and a large team of volunteers, thousands of people "got the scoop" on mental health, as well as a free tasty scoop of Rita's in Delaware's three counties on May 7 as part of Delaware's Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. Displays were on site at 10 Rita's Water Ice locations where volunteers distributed literature about behavior health services in the state, talked to visitors about available programs and provided an opportunity for people to sign up to have someone contact them for more specific and detailed information. Thanks to the generosity of participating Rita's visitors also received a coupon for a delicious serving of water ice or custard putting a smile on many faces!


For more information about resources and services please visit or call 800-722-7710.

Video Supports Early Inclusion

Team Lydia Rose: Supporting Inclusion Every Day In Every Way
Team Lydia Rose: Supporting Inclusion
Every Day In Every Way
The Desired Results Access Project recently published a new video on supporting inclusion beginning as early as possible and illustrates a range of topics including inclusion, collaboration and teamwork between general and special educators, family-centered early intervention in natural environments, coaching, embedded instruction, family leadership and more. It has important messages for families who are, or will be, receiving early intervention services, for current and future early intervention practitioners and for early childhood educators.


Web Conference Recording: Policy Matters: Building a Family Engagement System  

On April 24, Harvard Family Research Project organized a web conference at which educators, philanthropists, and policymakers from around the country discussed strategies that leaders can use to embed family engagement into early childhood and elementary education systems. You can listen to the web conference recording to learn about different ideas that emerged during the conversation. Among the strategies discussed were tips for making sure that family engagement is integrated into the work of all members of the learning community, thoughts on how to keep family engagement work sustainable, and advice for how to use frameworks to navigate complex systems.


New Developmental Videos

ZERO TO THREE has released a new set of materials called
The Magic of Everyday Moments. Four new videos have been added to the series:

* Development From Birth to 12 Months Old: Forming a Trusting Bond to Nurture Learning

*Development From 12 to 24 Months Old: Strong, Positive Connections and Interactions Fuel Learning

*Development From 24 to 36 Months Old: New Skills Develop Through Play, Routines, and Relationships

*School Readiness: Foundations in Language, Literacy, Thinking, and Social-Emotional Skills
Four Things Kindergarten Teachers Want Parents to Know

Kindergarten teachers are passionate about partnering with the families of their students. When families and teachers work together, kids win!

Updated Summary of Kindergarten Entry Assessments in the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge States

Check out this updated resource from ELC TA to learn more about Kindergarten Entry Assessments (KEA) in the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) States. Under their RTT-ELC grants, 20 states are revising existing or implementing new kindergarten entry assessment tools. This summary provides an overview of the assessment instruments currently in use or being developed. It details which states are collaborating on KEA development, provides information on the time frames for developing and conducting the assessments, and provides links to KEA homepages across the states.  



If you have any questions regarding this resource, please contact  


Interventions to help infants and toddlers rebound from experiences of trauma are most successful when they include a parent component. Read this brief to learn more about the impact of trauma on infants and toddlers, and the intervention strategies that could protect them from the adverse consequences of traumatic experiences.


The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council Release Landmark Report on Transforming the Early Childhood Workforce


The new report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation, assesses the current landscape of early education professionals' skills and strategies, outlines what best practices and brain science suggests it should be, and plans how to bridge the gap. In doing so, it reinforces the work of the early childhood policy and advocacy community.

Read more HERE and read the New America Foundation's response to it HERE

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