Resampled color
In This Issue

Fun with
Squirrels & Acorns 

Fall is a perfect time of year to talk about squirrels and their ongoing search for acorns as we frequently see them scurrying around outside.
Take a walk to investigate further.
Call children's attention to their appearance, using new vocabulary words such as rodent, frisky, scamper, or bushy (tail). Give older children paper and pencil (on clipboards) and direct them to watch a squirrel, then draw their observations. Give toddlers a paper and crayon and show them how to do a crayon rubbing of the tree trunk where the squirrels are scampering. Back inside, children can finish their work with crayons or paint.
Extend the squirrel observation by showing this great video of a squirrel eating an acorn on youtube:
Sing and act out this song: 
Grey Squirrel, Grey Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
Grey Squirrel Grey Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
Wrinkle up your little nose
Put it down between your toes
Grey Squirrel, Grey Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
Estimating with acorns. 
Lay out a row of acorns. Ask children to "estimate" how many acorns they think are in the row. Then count to find out the actual number. Next, ask them to take a handful. Find out how many they can hold in their hands. Who can hold the most? Why?
Scurrying Squirrels 
Play some music. Have children pretend to be squirrels gathering nuts. When the music stops, the "squirrels" scurry "home" (a designated place in the classroom) to stow their acorns.
Acorn Art 
Paint with acorns. Line the lid of shoe box with manila paper. Put a dab of 2-3 colors of tempera paint on the paper. Lay on a few acorns. Show children how to gently roll the acorns back and forth to make a design.

Reading Fun: 
Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert
Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin
The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri
One More Acorn by Don Freeman
The Acorn and the Oak Tree by Lori Froeb

CLICK HERE for article with early learning foundations
The Departments of Education (ED) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Release Policy Statement on Inclusion in Early Childhood Programs
Earlier this month, Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs was released and states that all young children with disabilities should have access to inclusive high-quality early childhood programs, where they are provided with individualized and appropriate support in meeting high expectations. The policy statement was written with the input of early learning professionals, families and other early learning stakeholders.

View the full policy statement, an executive summary, and recommendations and resources for states, local providers and families here.

Effective systems building addresses the needs of each and every child; great progress!

ASQ Developmental Screening News

Developmental Screening is an Essential Standard for all Star 4 and 5 programs. A recorded webinar, ASQ Online Setup and Screening Management, is available. The webinar demonstrates how to set up your program online, create a family access webpage, run reports, add alerts and follow-up tasks. The online program chooses the correct age questionnaire and automatically scores the screening for you. You must have completed the Ages and Stages training through Easter Seals prior to watching this webinar.

Once you have watched the webinar, please contact Jamie Walko at to complete the ASQ Program information form for her to register your program on the Brookes website. You will then be ready for data entry. At this time 62 Stars sites are registered online. We are looking forward to providing access to families so they may complete the screening online.

It is the expectation that all Stars programs using the ASQ: 3 and ASQ: SE begin using this online tool by January 2016.

Please contact Jamie Walko at or 302-593-6383 with any questions.

New Blog Post on Data-Driven Systems from Child Trends Following the Release of Chapter Seven of Rising to the Challenge
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.
In August, the BUILD Initiative shared Stacking the Blocks: A Look at Integrated Data Strategies by Elizabeth Jordan and Carlise King. One of the authors, Elizabeth Jordan, wrote a Child Trends blog post recently titled "How to Develop Data-Driven Systems to Support Young Children" that explains why and how states are developing data-driven systems to support young children.


ORE Awards Educational Attainment 2015
Deadline is Friday, October 2
CLICK HERE for the 2015 Application

For information about the 2015 CORE Awards, CLICK HERE.

Contact Information:
Syreeta Clarke, CORE Coordinator
(302) 764-1500 ext. 105

October POC Meetings Revolve Around Child Care Portal Rollout
The November release of the updated Purchase of Care (POC) and Provider Self Service (PSS) systems is quickly approaching. Many project milestones have been achieved since the previous newsletter article in May. Both POC and PSS were developed based on system designs. Teams for both systems have completed their internal testing. In May, Child Care Providers received a preview of PSS screens at the semi-annual POC Provider meetings. The October meetings are voluntary; no training hour credit will be given.  
What is User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and when does it begin?
During the UAT phase, staff that works for the State will complete testing of the POC and PSS programs to make sure the updated systems are ready for your use. The UAT phase is currently underway and will continue over the next few months.
What is 'Go-live' and when can users access POC and PSS?
System Go-live is a term that is used to indicate the date the new systems are available for use. Go-live activities for POC and PSS are expected to begin in early November; more details will be available closer launch time.  
When are the next POC Provider meetings?
The Division of Social Services (DSS) have scheduled the second and final set of 2015 POC Provider meetings to share important information about the DSS Child Care Modernization project, including a review of the PSS system and what users need to know to prepare for Go-live of PSS.  The meetings are as follows:

Kent County                          October 12, 2015 (Monday)
                                                6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
                                                DelDOT Admin. Bldg.-Farmington Room
                                                800 S. Bay Road
                                                Dover, DE 19903           
Sussex County                      October 14, 2015 (Wednesday)
                                                6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
                                                Adams State Service Center
                                                Public Health Conference Room
                                                Please use back door at Public Health Entrance            
                                                546 S Bedford Street
                                                Georgetown, DE 19947                                                        
New Castle County              October19, 2015 (Monday)
                                                6:00 pm to 8:00 pm
                                                New Castle County Police Department
                                                Dept. of Public Safety Community Conference Room            
                                                3601 N. DuPont Highway
                                                Wilmington, DE 19720           

October Dates for Delaware Stars Town Hall Meetings 
Please join us for one of the Stars town hall meetings in October where we will:
  • Discuss progress made this year (July 2014 - June 2015)
  • Share plans for the coming year (based on your input so far)
  • Listen to your initial thoughts about upcoming plans
  • Establish an on-going system for feedback
Your voice matters! We hope you will participate in one of the meetings. Please REGISTER by email at or by phone to Chris Ferrell at 302-831-7354, no later than 24 hours before each meeting.

CLICK HERE for a printable schedule 

New Study on Promoting Healthy Eating, Breastfeeding and Physical Activity Best Practices in State QRIS Implementation

Nemours National Office of Policy & Prevention is leading an informative
QRIS Study funded by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, to learn more about state strategies to promote healthy eating, breastfeeding and physical activity in QRIS implementation. As childhood obesity continues to be a national epidemic, it's important to share state prevention strategies being woven into QRIS. In the coming weeks, state QRIS directors will receive a brief electronic survey to complete about their state's strategies beyond standards. Your participation is encouraged to help grow the information base on innovative strategies states are using to support early care and education and providers' progress toward best practices to prevent childhood obesity. Survey responses will be used to produce aggregated report information as well as identify eight to ten states for in-depth case study analysis. For additional information on the QRIS Study please email

The Hottest Baby E-lert Resources of the Year 

Take note of the most viewed resources recently shared. Keep them handy for pre-service or in-service training!

2015 KIDS COUNT in Delaware Fact Book
Now Available 

This 20th anniversary issue highlights the policy decisions that have impacted the challenging issues facing children today. 


Capacity Grant Application Deadline November 17.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services has awarded a contract to Children & Families First to provide quality improvement technical assistance strategies and grant resources to licensed child care programs to increase the supply of child care in areas where it is limited. The Capacity Grant awards are intended to provide resources that will enhance the quality of care in programs, and build the supply of child care that are in limited supply in one or all of the following areas:
  • Children who need care during non-traditional hours (defined as care needed a minimum of one hour prior to 7:00 a.m., until a minimum of one hour after 6:00 p.m., and/or care needed on weekends);
  • Children who are English language learners;
  • Children with special needs (defined as children with IEPs and/or IFSPs); and
  • Infants and toddlers (defined as birth up to 36 months).
The project will seek to expand or enhance care that is safe, healthy, and appropriate, with an emphasis on serving low-income children in high-needs areas. High-needs areas are identified as follows: Wilmington river area, Center City Wilmington, Western Wilmington, Southern Kent County, Southern Dover, Georgetown area, Northern, Western and Eastern Sussex County. Grant awards will include, but are not limited to purchasing educational materials,  funding to support quality assured professional development, to purchase classroom furnishings or acquire services that will improve efficiency in operations. Funding is not intended to be used to pay for construction or renovations.

CLICK HERE for the Capacity Grant Application. The next 2015 Capacity Grant Application Deadline Date is November 17, 2015. The deadline for the 2016 Capacity Grant Application is January 12, 2016. Please check the website periodically for future application deadlines.

Food: it's a necessity for survival, yet something many of us take for granted. But babies and toddlers can't take it for granted, because nourishing food is a fundamental building block of healthy development.  When young children don't get good nutrition, they don't learn as fast or as well and are more likely to become sick. All of this makes access to healthy food a vitally important factor as Congress takes up child nutrition legislation that can affect young children and their futures.

Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) is shining a light on the issue with The Access to Healthy Food for Young Children Act of 2015 (S. 1833),  a bill that would give more children in child care and afterschool programs access to healthy meals and snacks through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The bill would help increase reimbursements for programs, so they could afford healthier food and provide additional meals for children who spend long hours in child care.

CACFP currently helps boost the nutrition of 3.8 million children in child care centers and family child care homes in every state, but so far the bill has only eight co-sponsors. The Senate may take up comprehensive child nutrition legislation this week. Senator Casey needs a show of support from his colleagues to make sure his bill is included.

Here's what you can do: Act today and call, email, Tweet, or Facebook Senators Carper and Coons to ask them to cosponsor Senator Casey's CACFP bill.  It's time for Congress to ensure that young children in child care receive a nutritious diet and learn good eating habits through nutrition education. Because when babies succeed, we create stronger families, productive communities, and a healthy workforce and economy.  CLICK HERE for full details on how to get involved! 
DE Stars logo
Rising Stars Shining Bright! 
Congratulations to the programs moving up in August!

CONGRATULATIONS to these brand new Star 5 programs  
A Leap of Faith Child Development Center II,
Beach Babies Childcare Rehoboth, Brilliant Little Minds Learning Center,
Delaware Early Childhood Center. Emma Kane, Manna Academy, Crystal Wiesner
And it is a pleasure to announce that these programs have earned Star 4 rating:
Beginner's Choice Day Care Center I, Bush (Charles W.) School, Hilltop Lutheran Day Care Center,
LJ's Playpen Academy, Mary E. Herring Daycare Center & Preschool, Eugenia Mumford,
Open Arms Academy, St. Paul's Lutheran School, Inc

Introducing the newest Star Level 3 programs:  
Dawn Conly, Unikka Johson, Linda Lawrence, Learning All Hours Education,
Community & Youth Center, LLC, Little Sprouts Learning Academy and School Age Program,
Sharon Temple Child Care Learning Center, Sister Sister Care, Angelia Williams
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!
Cyber Walk-Through of Professional Development Section of Harvard Family Research Project Website

Discover tools to engage practitioners in problem solving and reflective practice in their partnerships with families.

Cyber Walk-Through:  
Professional Development in Family Engagement   
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
1:00-1:20 p.m. (EST)    

 In this cyber walk-through, we will highlight a variety of professional development resources to promote family engagement. We will also explore tools that can be used to assess learner progress.
Connect with other professional development specialists, faculty, coaches, administrators, and educators interested in professional development in family engagement.

Register now: space is limited!

After registering, you will receive an email confirmation.

You can also access this and all other event recordings at
Using Data to Understand How Program Quality Effects Preschool Readiness


A REL Northeast & Islands
study explored how early childhood education programs are collecting and using data, how they would like to use data, how they could use the data that they have and the challenges they face in these efforts. Research Connections reported on a study examining validity of the ECERS-R for understanding program quality in relation to children's school readiness.    
How TV Can Make Children Better Readers

A recent study considered the impact of reading on child language outcomes. The NPR REPORT on the study includes book suggestions for young readers.

Tap, Click, Read
is a
book addressing the issue of raising readers in a high-tech society. The book website includes more information about the authors and their recommendations. 
A Goldmine of Data

Discovering gold in the NIEER State of Preschool Yearbook: Jim Squires writes
about the hidden treasures in the data.

According to Squires, the most informative section of the Yearbook is, perhaps, the most underutilized. 
Appendix A contains more than 60 pages of topical state information organized for at-a-glance review and comparison, supplemented by 27 pages of detailed state program notes, a veritable goldmine.

Elevating Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) Communications

Visit the National Resource Library and State Resource Library on the QRIS National Learning Network website to become familiar with the new topical categories and enhanced usability!

Do you have new QRIS resources to share? Please suggest additions via our

Clients' Recommendations for Improving the Child Care Subsidy Program

This Forbes article references a recent study by the Urban Institute.  "Who Minds the Kids When Mom is Working the Shift" examines child care challenges for low-income parents who work off-hours.
Resources Developed by States and Selected Cities to Support Financing Preschool

A recent study in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management reports on the effects of U.S. child-care subsidies on the cognitive and behavioral development of children in low-income female-headed families, using data from the Kindergarten cohort of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. They find that children receiving subsidized child care in the year before kindergarten score lower on tests of cognitive ability and reveal more behavior problems throughout kindergarten, but that that these negative effects largely disappear by the time children finish first grade.

Building Strong Readers

A new report from New America, Building Strong Readers in Minnesota: PreK-3rd Grade Policies That Support Children's Literacy Development, examines "state policies and local initiatives in Minnesota that aim to improve literacy outcomes for all students by shaping their learning trajectories from a young age." 

Website Focuses on Careers & Tools for Infant/Toddler Educators
Early Educator Central: Pathways to Credentials and Degrees for Infant-Toddler Educators is a website that focuses on the careers of infant-toddler (I/T) educators and on tools to advance their education and to improve competencies. Key features of Early Educator Central include: High-quality course work to support I/T educators and others; Tools for leaders to build all aspects of the I/T career pathway; Supports for those teaching in higher education; and Outreach tools, available at Spread the Word, including digital banners, social media messages, Powerpoint, infographic and talking points.  

Measuring relationships between families and providers

The Family and Provider/Teacher Relationship Quality project offers tools for measuring the quality of relationships between families and the providers/teachers who care for their small children; these relationships are key in promoting positive outcomes. See three recently-released briefs describing more about the measures and how to use them.



The Words Children Hear: Picture Books and the Statistics for Language Learning 
Young children learn language from the speech they hear. Previous work suggests that greater statistical diversity of words and of linguistic contexts is associated with better language outcomes. One potential source of lexical diversity is the text of picture books that caregivers read aloud to children. In this study, researchers Jessica L. Montag, Michael N. Jones, and Linda B. Smith looked at the language content of 100 popular picture books. In comparing the language in books to the language used by parents talking to their children, the researchers found that the picture books contained more "unique word types." The text of picture books may be an important source of vocabulary for young children, and these findings suggest a mechanism that underlies the language benefits associated with reading to children. 

Impact of Early Entry into Child Care on Children's Aggression 
A recent study in Psychological Science looks at the impact of early entry into child care on children's aggression, finding that age of entry may predict aggression at age two, but prediction 'faded to negligible levels' between ages two and four.
Delaware Office of Early Learning | | | 820 North French Street, 5th Floor
Wilmington, DE 19801