The latest news, trends and research for Delaware's early learning community!

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Welcome to our new mobile-friendly E-News with the latest news, tips, trends and research for Delaware's early learning!
October 2015
Governor Markell Highlights Early Learning in Weekly Message

In his recent weekly message, filmed at the Christina Early Education Center, Governor Markell highlighted the state's progress in ensuring access to quality early childhood education for all
Delaware's Commitment to Quality Early Learning
Delaware's Commitment to Quality Early Learning
Delaware students.

"This past week, we celebrated the Christina Early Education Center for becoming the state's 100th 5-star program," said Governor Markell. "Better still, more than 58 percent of the state's most vulnerable children are enrolled in highly-rated Stars programs, up from just 5 percent in 2011. By recommitting to sustaining and building on our early childhood initiatives, we'll keep Delaware moving forward."

P-K-1 STRONGER TOGETHER CONFERENCE at Dover Downs on December 5
The first annual P-K-1st STRONGER TOGETHER CONFERENCE offers pre-k 4-year old, kindergarten, and 1st grade teachers, support staff and administrators an opportunity to gather as a professional team, learn from each other and celebrate their collective work. 

The event features a choice of workshops on a variety of topics, as well as opportunities to network with colleagues and share innovations and ideas.  Author Dan Gartrell, Ed.D. is the keynote presenter.  Professionals will gain skills, tools, and resources in developmentally-appropriate practice. Building a mutual understanding of expectations and goals across the four- to seven-year-old developmental continuum will help ensure smooth age-level transitions for Delaware's earliest learners.

Conference registration will open in early November.  For more information, email Caitlin Gleason, conference coordinator at
Delaware and 19 Other Learning Challenge Grant Winners Making Key Gains, Says Department of Education

The 20 states that split $1 billion in federal grant money to support early-learning programs are seeing more providers rated as high quality, and more children enrolled in those programs, according to a U.S. Department of Education assessment released this month.

The progress update on the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grants is based on 2014 data submitted by each state that won a grant. Those states are: California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin. The Education Department awarded the grants in three waves, between 2012 and 2014.

The Education Department is rolling out the news on the Early Learning Challenge as it fights to keep alive another federal initiative, the  Preschool Development Grants. In contrast to the broader aims of the Early Learning Challenge Grants, the preschool development grants are specifically for states to develop or expand programs for 4-year-olds.
The White House Rural Initiative Highlights the National Center of Excellence on Early Childhood Mental Health

Last week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), in partnership with the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced the launch of the National Center of Excellence for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation. The White House highlighted the launch with a blog by Roberto Rodríguez, Deputy Assistant to the President for Education and Doug O'Brien, Senior Policy Advisor for Rural Affairs with the White House Domestic Policy Council. The Center for Excellence will be funded at about $6 million over the next four years to build strong state and tribal systems of early childhood mental health consultation and meet the social-emotional and behavioral health needs of young children and their families.

The Education Development Center, Inc., in Waltham, Massachusetts will receive $6 million over the course of the next four years to manage the Center of Excellence. The Center of Excellence advances infant and early childhood mental health intervention that promotes the social, emotional, and behavioral health and development of young children.  It has been shown to improve young children's social skills, reduce challenging behaviors, enrich adult-child relationships, improve classroom quality, and reduce teacher stress and turnover. 

Read the full blog  HERE and related blogs HERE and  HERE.
Early Learning Language and Literacy Series Launched  

Preschool Development Grants (PDG TA) announced their free new 14-module series on
Early Language and Literacy. Designed to support the emerging language development of children, birth to five, national literacy experts offer presentations on the four instructional priorities: oral language, phonological awareness, vocabulary and alphabet knowledge and print awareness, as well as other topics. View the facilitator guide, module presentations and accompanying resources

For more information, contact: Sue Mitchell: or Kathy Thornburg:

Infant Incentive Application available from November 1 through November 16 for Star Level 4 and 5
Each Star 4 & 5 program serving infants can apply for these funds through the Delaware Stars database between November 1 and November 16, 2015. Applications will not be available prior to November 1 or after November 16. Beginning on November 1, applications will be located on the Grants Page, as a drop down menu choice of "Infant Incentive Program".

Click HERE for more information
Children & Families First - Next Capacity Grant Deadline is November 17
The last Capacity Grant Application Deadline of 2015 is November 17, 2015.

The 2016 Capacity Grant Application Deadline Date: January 12, 2016. Please check the website periodically for future application deadlines.
Click here for Capacity Grant Application
DE Stars logo
Rising Stars Shining Bright

Congratulations to the programs moving up in September!

CONGRATULATIONS to these brand new Star 5 programs  
Boys & Girls Club @ Olive B. Loss Elementary School
Christina Early Education Center
And it is a pleasure to announce that these programs have earned Star 4 rating:
Allyson Casado 
Carmen Daniels 
Marcia Wright-Dorsey

Introducing the newest Star Level 3 programs:  
Rhonda Chambers
Sheila's Dreams Child Care LLC

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!

PRACTICE TIPS  - Click HERE to download October Tips
Child Well-Being - World Family Map - U.S. Spending on Families is Low 
The 2015 World Family Map, released this week, reveals that the proportion of U.S. children living in relative poverty is higher than that of most high-income countries, yet the United 
States spends only a small portion of its GDP (0.7 percent) on benefits for families-a percentage that is one-half or even one-fourth the size of many other middle- and high-income countries. The World Family Map monitors the global health of families by tracking 16 indicators in 49 countries, representing all regions of the world. This year's report includes an essay examining how parents divide labor-force participation, housework, and child care.  View the full publication here.

Dual Language - Quality Early Education Provides Positive Effect for Latino Children
Research shows quality early childhood education has significant positive impacts on the education, employment, and health outcomes later in life. A new report highlights these findings within the Latino community and again demonstrates that there is tremendous economic power in the public investment in early childhood education.

The report shows that public pre-K programs and subsidized center-based child care for low-income Latino children has positive effects on their kindergarten readiness and their academic achievement and their ability to learn through third grade.

Hispanic children currently make up roughly one in four of all children in the United States, and by 2050 are projected to make up one in three - similar to the number of non-Hispanic, white children. How this growing segment of the population fares as the rise through the educational system is an important indicator of our future workforce.

Dual Language Learners - Latino Family Engagement Resources 
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Harvard Family Research Project highlights research, teaching tools and program practices from many Hispanic/Latino educators and their colleagues. These resources provide a deeper insight into family engagement that promotes pathways to college for Latino youth. This LINK offers a sample of their contributions.  

Child Poverty - Still struggling after Great Recession 
Growing up poor can have long-term effects on physical and emotional development and achievement in academics and the workforce. Two recent U.S. Census Bureau reports highlight child poverty, allowing Child Trends to examine trends over the course of the Great Recession. The official poverty rate for children has not rebounded to its pre-recession levels despite the economic recovery underway-in 2014, it was 21.1 percent.

Child Poverty - Poverty's Effect on Infants and Toddlers
What effect does poverty have on the developing brains of babies and toddlers? ZERO TO THREE's NEW INFOGRAPHIC shows how young children in poverty, beginning at birth, begin to develop gaps in their growth and development when compared with their peers. Nearly half of America's babies live in or near poverty--this is a clear warning sign for America's global competitiveness. Investing in support for parents in nurturing children and positive early learning opportunities can help.  

Early Learning - Why What You Learned in Preschool Is Crucial at Work
This recent New York Times article argues that the only jobs showing consistent wage growth in recent years are those requiring both cognitive and social skills. ARTICLE

Early Learning - Why Kids Need to Spend Time in Nature 
Danielle Cohen's ELECTRONIC ARTICLE and companion RESOURCE LIST  offer a terrific blend of scientific evidence and practical examples.    
Special Education - Recommended Practices for Special Education  
The ECTA Center has launched a campaign to bring widespread awareness about the Division of Early Childhood's newly revised Recommended Practices in early intervention and early childhood special education. The latest ECTA resources to support implementation of the RPs include Performance Checklists for Practitioners as well as  Practice Guides for Practitioners  and Practice Guides for Families.


Early Learning - Two-year-old vocabulary predicts Kindergarten success. 
Several studies have confirmed that students who enter kindergarten with advanced academic and behavioral skills typically experience greater opportunities as they grow older. For example, children who enter kindergarten with strong early reading and math skills are more likely to attend college, own homes, and have 401(k) savings. They are also more likely to be married and live in higher income neighborhoods once they reach adulthood.   
Early Learning Workforce - The Impact of Coaching Conversations on Early Childhood Teaching 
A study reported in Research Connections analyzes the contributions of the coach and coachee in teacher-coach conversations related to early childhood teaching. The study considers implications of findings for future work in research and practice. 
Delaware Office of Early Learning | | 820 N. French St., 5th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801