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In This Issue


I Scream, You Scream, We ALL Scream for
Ice Cream

Who doesn't like a scoop of their favorite flavor of  ice cream on a warm summer day? Try these fun and tasty  ice cream activities to do with children.


Make ice cream!

Even very young children can make their own ice cream scoop in a Ziploc bag. No other tools are needed! Fill one small sealable Ziploc bag with cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Add tsp of vanilla for added flavor. Seal it up, squeezing out the air. Double bag it in another Ziploc bag.



Next, fill a larger, gallon size Ziploc bag with about 4 cups of crushed or cubed ice and 6 tablespoons of salt. Kosher salt works well but any salt will do. Add the small bag (with the milk and sugar) and seal it shut.


Now, shake, shake, shake! Within 5 minutes, the milk should thicken up. Within 10 minutes you should have one scoop of ice cream! Wrap it in a thin towel while shaking to keep your hands from freezing and wipe off the salt when you remove your ice cream bag from the bag of ice.  


Graph or chart everyone's favorite flavors.

Draw scoops that look like different flavors of ice cream - mint chocolate chip, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, etc. Ask children to put a slash mark next to the scoop (flavor) that they like best. Or, ask children to name their favorite flavor and write it next to their name. Count the number of flavors. Count the number of children who like the same flavor.  


Make an ice cream shop in dramatic play area.

Use play dough as the ice cream. Add ice cream scoops, bowls, an apron and a cash register.  


Practice shapes and numbers by making ice cream cones: triangle cone, circle scoops.

Top the cone with scoops. Count how many "scoops" can you eat?  


Have an ice cream social  

with families.

Serve a few flavors of ice cream and toppings after hours one evening as a fun event. Invite parents to help children make their own special sundae.  


Books about Ice Cream:

Yummy Ice Cream by Emma Quay and Anna Walker

Ice Cream by Elisha Cooper

Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons

Ice Cream Cones for Sale by Elaine Greenstein

Should I Share My Ice Cream? By Mo Willems

Curious George and the Ice Cream Surprise by H. A. Rey


CLICK HERE to download the  full article with all the early learning foundation information 



Delaware Great Starts Sustainability Full Report Released!


In the spring, Delawareans from across the state participated in a series of focus groups or completed an online survey to share their ideas for priorities for the state's early learning system. Independent consultants conducted the focus groups and survey, and their full report has now been released.


A total of 152 individuals attended focus groups and 561 Delawareans responded to the survey. Participants and survey respondents included early learning professionals, parents, K-12 teachers and administrators, state government employees, early learning program technical assistance providers, community advocates, and business, philanthropy and faith leaders.


Participants prioritized and provided feedback on 11 strategies currently funded through a federal Early Learning Challenge grant, and were given opportunities to share feedback and offer additional priorities. While all 11 strategies were rated highly by focus group participants and survey respondents, and many comments spoke to the importance of maintaining an integrated and comprehensive set of early childhood services, the top four most highly rated priorities were:

  1. Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
  2. Technical Assistance, Training and Coaching for Early Learning Programs
  3. Financial Incentives to Help Early Learning Programs Maintain Higher Star Levels (Tiered reimbursement and other financial supports)
  4. Salary Supplements to Teachers, Directors, and Family Child Care Providers (CORE Awards)

Focus group participants and survey respondents provided many comments reflecting the value of the work that has been done as a result of the Early Learning Challenge funding, and the importance of continuing that support and success. One participant eloquently stated, "Invest now for success, or pay for failure later."

Read more about the focus group and survey design and results here.

Rand Corporation Releases Evaluation of Delaware Stars for Early Success:

Year 2 Report!


As part of the Early Learning Challenge grant, Delaware is required to evaluate its quality rating and improvement system (QRIS)-Delaware Stars for Early Success-and the RAND Corporation was selected as the evaluator to validate the Delaware Stars QRIS. The report, from the second year of the evaluation, addresses program participation and quality ratings, financial incentives, and technical assistance.  


Read the full report here

 The BUILD Initiative E-Book Releases Chapters Five and Six


Rising to the Challenge: Building Effective Systems for Young Children and Families shares the experiences of the states that received federal Early Learning Challenge funds.


Chapter 5: P-3 Reform in Vision and in Practice

This chapter chronicles some of the innovations and promising practices that state leaders from states awarded ELC funding have pursued in an effort to link early childhood and early elementary school learning. Organized into three main sections, the chapter begins with a brief discussion of the methodology used to collect insights from ELC states Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, followed by the results and concludes with a discussion of key considerations for policymakers as they strive to provide developmentally-informed, high-quality early education from the early childhood years through elementary school. Delaware's Readiness Teams and its work on the Kindergarten Entry Assessments are featured in this chapter.  


Read chapter 5 here   


Chapter 6: Improving Systems of Learning Through the Use of Child Standards and Assessments

This chapter focuses on standards and assessment in the birth to age five early childhood system and kindergarten entry assessment within the K-12 system. The chapter describes how ELC states are promoting the use of early learning and development standards, formative assessments and kindergarten entry assessments through their ELC-funded work, with a focus on ways that the ELC has uniquely contributed to the states' efforts, as well as how the ELC has built on work that was on-going prior to the ELC grant. 


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 performance Standards Proposed for Head Start


The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled its vision for the future of Head Start last week when it released new proposed performance standards. As the HHS press release notes, it is the first comprehensive revision of the standards since it was first published in 1975. The White House blog renewed its call for an additional $1.5 billion investment in the program to expand the time children spend in the program. Groups including New America and Bellwether began to analyze the changes, and numerous press outlets covered the event. Read more HERE and HERE.  

Education Secretary Arne Duncan Outlines High-Quality Education Rights for Families


Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced recently a set of rights that would help parents demand high-quality education for their children. Speaking at the 2015 National Parent Teacher Association Convention and Expo in North Carolina, Duncan said every parent must be able to demand a set of educational rights from their childrens' schools.


He said the three rights, which cover preschool to college, "must belong to every family in America-and I hope you'll demand that your leaders in elected or appointed offices deliver on them."


The three educational rights include high standards in a well-resourced school, free quality preschool, and affordable quality college.


"They come together as a set of rights that students must have at three pivotal stages of their life to prepare them for success in college and careers and as engaged, productive citizens," said Duncan during his speech. READ MORE HERE


Senate Committee Approves Bill Cutting Education Spending by $1.7 Billion in FY 2016


The House and Senate Committees on Appropriations' Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies subcommittees marked up the FY2016 appropriations bills. The House bill included level funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and an increase of $192 million for Head Start, which includes a $150 million increase for Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, however it eliminates the Preschool Development Grants and the School Improvement Grants. The Senate bill includes increases for both CCDBG and Head Start, but also eliminates the Preschool Development Grants.  




Communication Strategies: Reaching Out About the Importance of Early Childhood, KEA and QRIS   

ELC TA and representatives from Georgia and New Jersey presented Communication Strategies: Reaching Out About the Importance of Early Childhood, KEA and QRIS at the NAEYC Professional Development Institute on June 9 in New Orleans. The goals of the session were to present an overview of a communication planning model, examine communication strategies that have worked in other communities and States (such as Georgia and New Jersey), give participants working time to identify audiences and best-suited messengers, and provide participants with resources and tools to help further their planning efforts.

Ready to Launch Early Educator Central

In July, the Administration for Children and Families will officially release a new effort jointly administered by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) through the Office of Child Care and Office of Head Start. The Early Educator Central project promotes infant-toddler educators gaining degrees and credentials using existing federally funded resources. The multi-faceted site supports not only infant-toddler educators, but the entire infant-toddler workforce with federally funded resources for administrators, trainers and coaches, professional development system leaders, and more.


The site provides an index of coursework to support infant-toddler educators, who include center and home-based/family child care teachers. Coursework offered is at little or no cost, and will be continuously added and updated to the site. The site also links to infant-toddler development course content that higher education institutions can use within their Associate's program.

Early Educator Central provides resources for others with key career roles in early learning, including administrators of early childhood programs; trainers and coaches; higher education professionals and coursework developers; and professional development (PD) systems leaders.


You can visit the site at 

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

CONGRATULATIONS to these brand new Star 5 programs  

Brandywine Valley Christian Preschool, Cornerstone Early Education and Youth Center, DEEC ECAP East Dover, DEEC ECAP Lake Forest East, Meadowood Program - Red Clay Consolidated School District, NCC Head Start, Inc. Absalom Jones, NCC Head Start, Inc. Claymont, NCC Head Start, Inc. Manor Park, Smyrna Early Childhood - Smyrna School District, Telamon Corp Annex -Head Start, Telamon Corp Annex- Smyrna Head Start, The Goddard School/Hockessin, Western YMCA Meadowood School, Wilmington Head Start, Inc. - Leslie Johnson Center, Wilmington Head Start, Inc. - West 3rd Street Center, Children's Laughter Early Learning Academy, Boys and Girls Club @ Linden Hill Elementary School, YMCA Brandywine Branch-School's Out @ Claymont


And it is a pleasure to announce that these programs have earned Star 4 rating: 

The Goddard School - Middletown, Western Family YMCA Giant Step/YDC, Tina Thomas

Western YMCA -Marbrook Elementary, Western YMCA School's Out: Forest Oak,

Western YMCA School's Out: Gallagher Site, Western YMCA School's Out: Heritage Site,

Western YMCA School's Out: Jeannie Smith Elementary School, Western YMCA School's Out: Maclary Site, Western YMCA School's Out: Wilson Site

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 Readiness Teams Host Early Learning Conference

A trio of Delaware Readiness Teams-First District Success, Center City Wilmington and Northeast Safe Strong Engaged Delaware-joined forces on Saturday, June 27, to organize and host an early learning conference: Empowered Parents=Ready Children at Stubbs Elementary School in Wilmington in collaboration with Wilmington Early Care and Education Council and Christina Cultural Arts Center.


With the children in attendance well taken care of in the child care section provided, participants eagerly begin the day with a discussion and training session on how to be an advocate for children. Over 40 parents attended interactive workshops like "Crying in the Dark-Emotional Wellness for Adults,"  "Navigating Services for Children with Special Needs," "Positive Parent & Teacher Relationships" and "Raising Emotionally Healthy Children."


Vendors rounded out day with information about organizations like Springfield College, Parents As Teachers and Wilmington Head Start. There was also information about free youth karate classes, hair stylists curling creating up do's and cooking/nutrition classes for parents. Door prizes were given to all who attended along with books to share with their children and two lucky winners who pre-registered received thrift store makeovers. The free event also offered an opportunity for families to share and network.


A Head Start Success Story

Thelma Jamison 

If you're involved in early childhood learning in Delaware you may know of Thelma Jamison. What you might not know is that Thelma was a student in the first Head Start fifty years ago. She credits Head Start with inspiring her love of learning, instilling in her the value of persevering through difficult times and finishing what she started. Today, after 20 years of working in early childhood education, Thelma runs a Star level 5 large family child care in Wilmington, is the founder and president of the North East Provider Support Group in Wilmington, is an instructor for Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood's professional development department and is a Delaware Stars Family Child Care ambassador.  


READ MORE about Thelma's experience as a Delaware Stars provider on page 11 of Provider Pursuits and about her accomplishments on page 15.



Advocating for Improving Access to Quality Preschool

Sec. Arne Duncan and Reps. Richard Hanna and Bobby Scott published an op-ed in The Hill about improving access to preschool and the current proposals that would support that including the president's budget request to increase the Preschool Development Grants and the Strong Start for America's Children Act that was recently reintroduced in Congress. Read more



What's Behind Preschool Expulsion?

ZERO TO THREE and the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) held a Congressional briefing, "What's Behind Preschool Expulsion?" with the support of Rep. Rosa DeLauro. Dr. Walter Gilliam spoke about his research on the topic in conjunction with policy and program specialists. Watch highlights:

Congressional Briefing:  What's Behind Preschool Expulsion?
Congressional Briefing: What's Behind Preschool Expulsion?

Babies Mental Health Matters

Matthew Melmed, the executive director of ZERO TO THREE, described the issue of baby mental health and infant social-emotional development in The Huffington Post.  

Report on Early Childhood Teacher Evaluation

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes updated the findings of its previous policy report, "How are Early Childhood Teachers Faring in State Teacher Evaluation Systems?" by producing a scan of all 50 states. Read more


When Generations Connect,  Everyone Wins

Filmmaker Evan Briggs released a trailer for "Present Perfect," a documentary that highlights a unique program in West Seattle in which a preschool and nursing home are intertwined in the same building.   

Read more 


Present Perfect
Present Perfect

Safe, Healthy and Ready to Learn

New America published a new report, "The Power of a Good Idea: How the San Francisco School District is Building a PreK-3rd Grade Bridge," that presents lessons learned from the transformation to a P-12 continuum, including the help of philanthropic and community partners.  


Read more 


Perfect partners: Libraries and the nationwide pre-K movement

Perfect partners: Libraries and the nationwide pre-K movement While these library programs are often provided on a drop-in, come-and-go basis, a summer program at the New Brunswick (NJ) Free Public Library is taking another step toward a more structured format. Math and Science Story Time 
(MASST) uses stories, songs, and activities to engage preschoolers and their parents in math and science concepts drawn from the New Jersey Department of Education Preschool Teaching and Learning Standards.

Developed by Alissa Lange, an assistant research professor at the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, the program runs for eight weeks and features bi-lingual STEM themes, such as "Do You Know How Plants Grow?" and "Are You Taller Than a Tiger?"  


Lange is now working on linking MASST to local preschool classrooms-almost as an extension of the curriculum-since preschool teachers bring their classes into the library once a week anyway during the spring.



Report of 2015 Federal Spending on Children Released

First Focus released Children's Budget 2015 its annual analysis of federal spending across departments and agencies that impacts the lives of children. It finds that since 2011 investments in children have decreased 9% while overall federal spending dropped by 4%. Read more



Helping Parents in Low-Wage Jobs Access Affordable Child Care 


The National Women's Law Center created a new issue brief on state implementation considerations with regard to the recently reauthorized Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDGB). "Helping Parents in Low-Wage Jobs Access Affordable Child Care," looks at provisions that give states greater flexibility for meeting the needs of parents in jobs with unpredictable schedules.  




Skills for Success begin in Preschool

Laura Bornfreund of New America discusses the US Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement's new grant competition on developing "skills for success." READ ARTICLE HERE.


While the grant focuses on the middle years of school, New America addresses the importance of aligning preschool with the rest of the school system given that development of skills start at an early age.  



Benefits of Sesame Street Discussed


Researchers of the recently released study about the benefits of Sesame Street wrote an article in The New Republic addressing certain inaccurate media representations of the study, including that Sesame Street can replace preschool.  




The Brookings Institute blog provides another overview of the study. READ MORE. 


Early Writing Skill Development

The Early Childhood Education Journal published a study that examined the relationship between 31 Head Start classrooms' writing environments and children's early writing skill development. The researchers from Georgia State University and Purdue University posit there is a direct association between the environment and skill and yet find a low frequency of these writing interactions.   





Brain Scan Library to Aid Study of Development in Children

National pediatric researchers are creating a library of brain scans to study the development of a child's brain through the Cincinnati MR Imaging of Neurodevelopment (C-MIND) study.    



Stage-Based Framework for Implementing Early Childhood Programs and Systems

What are the four stages that can contribute to the effective implementation of evidence-based early childhood programs and practices? Explore the stage-based implementation framework in this brief to learn more about the four separate stages and the three core elements that exist across each of these stages.


This research brief (Research Brief OPRE 2015-48) is the first in a series which seeks to provide early childhood researchers, program developers, and funders with an introduction to implementation frameworks and promising practices in implementation science with the aim of facilitating their use in early care and education. This brief introduces key elements of effective implementation within an integrated, stage-based framework. This framework posits that 1) implementation happens in four discernible stages; and 2) three common "threads" or core elements exist across each of these stages.



Effects of Homelessness on Children's Health

New research from Children's Health Watch highlighted in a joint report with the Center for Housing Policy at the National Housing Conference - "Compounding Stress: The Timing and Duration Effects of Homelessness on Children's Health" - shows the younger and longer a child experiences homelessness, the greater the cumulative toll of negative health outcomes, which can have lifelong effects on the child, the family and the community.  



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Wilmington, DE 19801