Build header

Top 5 News
Reports show that Pennsylvania's high quality early education programs are working for young children.
Study recommends turning off the television to limit hours of unintended exposure for young children.
Early learning professionals are the key to keeping children in their care safe during summer water activities.
Several communities host Kindergarten preparedness activities.
Healthy & Green mini-grant helps early learning professionals provide environmental health for children.
Early Childhood Education in PA.jpg
Reports show that Pennsylvania's high quality early education programs are working for young childrenreport
Children's progress update released for three Pennsylvania early education programs
Download fact sheets for
Children's progress updates for children participating in Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, Keystone STAR 3 and 4 programs Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts in 2012-13 show children are progressing throughout the program year and are coming to school ready to learn.
  • Each program is showing a significant increase in the percentage of four-year olds with proficient language, math, science and social skills from the beginning to end of the program year.
    • Head Start Supplemental, providing comprehensive early education and family support services to high-risk three and four year olds: The percentage of four-year olds with proficient academic and social skills more than tripled to 76 percent after participating in Head Start Supplemental Assistance programs in 2012-13. In fact, there was a six-fold increase in the percentage of children with proficient mathematical thinking skills.1
    • Keystone STARS 3 and 4 programs, providing high quality early education in child care centers, group and family child care homes for children from birth through school-age: The percentage of four-year olds with proficient academic and social skills doubled to 81 percent after participating in Keystone STARS 3 and 4 programs in 2012-13.2
    • PA Pre-K Counts, providing high quality pre-k kindergarten to at-risk three and four year olds: The percentage of four-year olds with proficient academic and social skills tripled to 82 percent after participating in PA Pre-K Counts programs in 2012-13.3

Observing and assessing children's progress is a key component to a quality early childhood education program and included in the quality expectations of these three programs. Teachers share individual child progress with their families and use the information to refine teaching techniques and learning activities to best meet the needs of their students.


In addition to child observation, each of these programs implements research-based quality standards such as effective teachers, curriculum aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, and family engagement.

For more information on OCDEL's programs, visit  or

1 Based on program reports on indicators relevant to Pennsylvania's Early Learning Standards for 1,202 children using an OCDEL-approved authentic assessment tool.
2 Based on program reports on indicators relevant to Pennsylvania's Early Learning Standards for 4,280 children using an OCDEL-approved authentic assessment tool. 
3 Based on program reports on indicators relevant to Pennsylvania's Early Learning Standards for 5,148 children using an OCDEL-approved authentic assessment tool.
Early Learning Professionals: Keeping children safe during water activitiessafe

Early learning professionals are the key to keeping children in their care safe during summer water activities. The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) would like to reinforce the importance of proper supervision when children are participating in water activities, including activities that involve swimming and wading pools.
Supervision regulations are in place to prevent tragedies from occurring. Please read and review the regulations for water activity and supervision with all staff who work in a child care facility.  



Build leaderships skills and relationships with local school and early childhood officials at the Pennsylvania Early Childhood Executive Leadership Institute


Applications are being accepted for the PA Early Childhood Executive Leadership Institute for those in Fayette, Washington, Greene, Westmoreland, Allegheny, and Beaver counties. This Institute is designed to increase the capability of leaders in early childhood education programs and schools to understand and connect the many systems focused on the growth, development, and education of children from birth through grade three. Participants will be engaged in critical practices that education leaders need to know and be able to do in order to provide guidance and direction on continued instructional improvement. Applicants are encouraged to apply as teams with school and early education leaders in their local communities.


Highlights during the Institute will include: 

  • Day 1: Introduction to Early Childhood development and education
  • Day 2: Program Design
  • Day 3: Multi-generational involvement and engagement
  • Day 4: Supporting teachers and teacher efficacy
  • Day 5: Alignment, coherence, and coordination. 


The Institute is free of charge, five days in length and typically scheduled in two 2-day sessions with a final 1-day session.  Sessions are taking place across the state between (date range for all classes). Sessions are taking place in Pittsburgh on July 16-17, October 8-9, and January 28, with 60 Act 48 PIL Hours available. This year's Institute includes new & updated materials, and the addition of the Danielson Teacher Effectiveness tool.


There is not a deadline to apply; however, available positions may fill fast. To apply, please see the flyer and complete the application, then contact Dean Casello, Region 7 Site Coordinator, at 412-394-5752 or    
Healthy environments, healthy kids through the PA Healthy & Green Mini-Grant  grant
Applications due August 1

August 1, 2013 is the deadline for the PA Health & Green mini-grant applications. The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the PA Key are offering Pennsylvania's licensed early learning programs who participate in Keystone STARS an opportunity to apply for up to $5,000 in funding to support environmental health and environment and ecology education improvements in their programs.
This mini-grant program is a wonderful way for PA early learning programs to purchase equipment, supplies, maintenance, professional maintenance services, and a selection of educational materials that will make their facilities and programs environmentally healthier. 
Interested applicants should register and attend the required professional development session available in each region throughout July.

For information on submitting an application, please visit the PA Key website where you can find the Request for Proposal, Application Worksheet, Application helpful tips, and even an Application webinar recording.   
Trends and Reports.jpg  


Television's impact on young childrenimpacts

A recent study, Background Television in the Homes of US Children, by researchers from the University of Amsterdam, the University of North Carolina and the University of Iowa suggests that family members and caregivers should turn off the television if no one is actually watching to limit hours of unintended exposure for young children. 

Researchers found that, on average, children in the U.S., age eight and under, were actually exposed to nearly four hours per day of television that was left on as background noise. For younger children and African-American children, that exposure was close to five and a half hours a day on average; the total was six hours for children from the poorest families.

Background television exposure has been linked to lower sustained attention during playtime, lower quality parent-child interactions, and reduced performance on cognitive tasks. By understanding how home media practices correlate with background exposure, it is possible to explore potential avenues for reducing children's exposure.

For additional information about the study, please visit the Pediatrics website. For information on how to encourage and support a child's early learning--without television--explore options in the Learning is Everywhere Calendar, no cost early learning activities for children birth through age five.



Casey Foundation releases 2013 Kids Count Data Book

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its 2013 Kids Count Data Book this week, showing Pennsylvania following national trends. Tracking 16 indicators of child well-being, the 2013 KIDS COUNT Data Book finds that children in the United States continue to make gains in the areas of education and health despite a growing poverty rate. This year's Data Book also offers expanded coverage of America's youngest children, adding to the ongoing national conversation on early childhood education.

Download the full report and state profiles at the Kids Count Data Center.



More Trends & Reports


How to Deal With the Incarceration of a Loved One: Tips and tools from Sesame Street to help families cope with the incarceration of a loved one. Includes a video library, information for providers and caregivers, and additional tools.
backpackBackpack Connection Series: The Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children (TACSEI) recently added several new items to its Backpack Connection Series, including How to Help Your Child Learn to Share; How to Help Your Child Manage Time and Understand Expectations; and How to Help Your Child Learn to Trade. The Backpack Connection Series provides a way for teachers and parents/caregivers to work together to help young children develop social emotional skills and reduce challenging behavior.
New literacy site prepares preschoolers and Kindergarteners with lifelong reading skills:, an internet-based company with a unique approach to early literacy, launched a website for preschool and kindergarten children to provide parents, educators and caregivers with carefully selected reading materials and activities designed to build strong literacy skills early. 
ReadSpeaker makes NICHCY website more accessible: The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) website has added a new feature to the website to allow users to listen to content and follow along with highlighted text. This not only helps low literacy users and those with dyslexia, but can be useful for any user who is accessing our website on a smartphone, where the text can be too small to read easily. Click the Listen button to activate the ReadSpeaker player, which will start reading the content of the page. The text is also highlighted while it is being read, reinforcing a better understanding of the text.
Lackawanna County Children's Library addresses literacy and lunch: Lackawanna County Children's Library is offering free lunch for kids Monday through Friday, from 12-1 pm, along with summer literacy programs that will keep kids educated and entertained.
Funding Opportunities.jpg
Toshiba America Foundation: Accepting applications for K-5 Science and Math Projects for K-5 teachers in public or private nonprofit schools in support of innovative, hands-on science or math education projects. Deadline October 1 

Build-A-Bear Workshop: Accepting grant requests for Literacy and Education. Grants for nonprofit literacy and education programs such as summer reading programs, early childhood education programs and literacy programs for children with special needs. Deadline October 31
June 26, 2013
Join Our Mailing List
In the Community


Representative Brian Ellis helps celebrate Week of the Young Child in Butler County


Social Emotional Curriculum Builds Strong Foundation for Preschoolers


Foulkeways Child Care Center achieves a STAR 3 rating ( 


Pittsburgh councilman Dowd resigning seat to head new children's nonprofit (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

Professional Events


June 26: Webinar: Using the Early Learning GPS with Families

June 26-27: IU9 Rural Leadership Conference IV, Bradford

July 15-17: Leading the Way in Engaging Families, St. David's

July 22-24: 2013 Infant Toddler Symposium: Home Visiting, Child Care, & Early Head Start Working Together, Slippery Rock

July 29-Aug. 1: National Autism Conference, State College

August 7: Webinar: Improving Vocabulary in the Age of Aligned Standards- Guidance for Early Childhood Educators

August 13-14: Act 45 Links to Learning, Out-of-School Time Leadership Course, Edinboro

September 22-23: National Business Leader Summit on Early Childhood Investment, Atlanta

September 25: Webinar: How to Support Teachers Use of Story Retelling to Build Comprehension and Oral Language in Early Learning Programs

October 2: Webinar: The ECE Director's Guide to Must-Have Literacy Practices in Early Education Classrooms

October 2-4: Facing the Challenge: Helping Teachers Work with Children with Challenging Behavior, Villanova

October 17-18: PA-AIMH 5th Annual Pennsylvania Infant Mental Health Conference, Philadelphia

Would you like your event to appear in Build?
Email the info to Mary Hall,
One Family's Story 


I do have to say I can't thank you and the staff enough for helping turn out to be such a wonderful young little boy.  He has so much confidence, his wheels are always spinning in his little head, and he wants to do, help, teach, and show people all the time.

Janel, Schuylkill County, about Keystone STARS 

Stay Connected



The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) promotes opportunities for all Pennsylvania children and families by building systems and providing supports that help ensure access to high quality child and family services.

Find more about Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania
The Early Childhood Education e-news is a project of the Pennsylvania Build Initiative and the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Public Welfare to inform early learning professionals, the early childhood community, policymakers, community leaders and the public on developments in early childhood education and care in Pennsylvania.

Please feel free to forward this email to friends, family, and colleagues.
You may access archived copies at Pennsylvania's Promise for Children.

Copyright � 2013. All Rights Reserved.