July 2020 edition
An inside look at Pennsylvania's early childhood education system.
Early Education in Pennsylvania
$53 Million in Additional Support for Pennsylvania Child Care Providers
On July 6, 2020, Governor Wolf announced $53 million in additional support for Pennsylvania child care providers that have suffered during COVID-19.

“This funding will help child care providers bridge the gap until their clientele returns,” Gov. Wolf said. “It will also help them with any increased costs that have been incurred due to the pandemic – things like cleaning and sanitization, which will help keep the 386,000 children who attend our licensed child care facilities safe, as well as the workers who do so much to care for them.”

In June, the Wolf Administration distributed $51 million in CARES Act Child Care Development Funds to eligible child care providers. The $53 million announced today is also from CARES Act funding and will be distributed this month. Another $116 million from Act 24 will be distributed in the coming months, bringing the total sum of financial support to $220 million.

By the end of July 2020, all child care provider who have a provisional or full Certificate of Compliance* and intend to operate in program year 2020-21 can anticipate receiving a second CARES Act payment. Payments for July 2020, round 2 payments will be based on the chart. *Payment will not be issued to providers who are currently in a Refuse to Renew or Revocation status for their child care Certificate of Compliance.

The funding is distributed through the Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), which licenses child care providers in the state and is working with Penn State Harrisburg’s Institute of State and Regional Affairs on an impact study to understand challenges for child care providers reopening and resuming operations during COVID-19. For additional details, please see the press release.
Preliminary Guidance Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has released Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools. PDE encourages Pre-K to 12 schools to start planning now for the 2020-21 school year. As a stakeholder and often a place where children receive before and after school care, understanding these locally developed plans is important. Districts may also be looking for community stakeholders to join the planning.

This preliminary guidance is available to aid in planning for a return to in-person instruction, delivery of services, and resumption of extracurricular activities – including those provided within schools by external organizations. This guidance serves as a starting point for school leaders to consider in their preparations for the upcoming year, and applies to school districts, charter schools, regional charter schools, cyber charter schools, career and technical centers, and intermediate units.

This guidance will continue to evolve as further research, data, and resources become available. Additional guidance is forthcoming and will outline steps for school openings while addressing safe operations, teaching and learning, and student wellness —with attention to equity throughout. For more information, please visit the PDE website.
OCDEL Releases Opening a Child Care Facility in Pennsylvania Toolkit
The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning has released the Opening a Child Care Facility in Pennsylvania toolkit. This toolkit can provide information to those considering opening a child care facility, from start to certified completion. Use this toolkit to discover information about what makes a child care a high-quality early learning experience and a valuable resource in a community.

The toolkit provides details on the step-by-step process of requirements and regulations, how to obtain a child care Certification, facility and staff requirements, and more.

Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' website to download a copy of Opening a Child Care Facility in Pennsylvania toolkit.
OCDEL Survey to Collect Data of Impacts on Child Care Community
The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has released a Provider Survey to gain understanding on the success and challenges child care operators are experiencing as they operate during the pandemic. The 2019 novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has had significant impacts on the child care provider community beginning in March 2020. The monthly Provider Survey will collect information regarding staffing and enrollment and will be released in July, August and September to compare and analyze changes.

The survey is voluntary. OCDEL encourages every child care operator’s participation in the brief survey. To get the survey links for the July, August and September survey, sign up for the Certification enews from OCDEL . Subscribers will be notified via the Certification enews as the surveys are released.

OCDEL thanks child care operators for taking time to provide OCDEL with such critical information, and for those supporting the profession by sharing the survey with their stakeholders .
Pennsylvania Child Care Facilities and COVID-19
As of July 7, 2020, the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) reports 45 child care facilities have experienced confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 since March 2020, with 83 individuals have been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 related to child care facilities. Forty-nine (of those 83) were staff, operator or related to the owner of child care facilities and 33 (of those 83) were children, parents or guardians.

For information about COVID-19 data for Pennsylvanians, please visit the PA Department of Health website. For recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDD) for keeping children and staff safe in child care facilities, visit the PA Key website.
The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) announces Pennsylvania's Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) has been accepted by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

As a Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program awardee, Pennsylvania is required to report annually on the CQI activities for Pennsylvania's MIECHV program based on the implementation of past CQI plans. This annual update helps awardees assess current and past CQI efforts, document progress, and use lessons learned from implementation to inform CQI activities moving forward. Accepted CQI plans show that HRSA recognizes the awardees have made a long-term commitment in integrating CQI practices within their home visiting programs to maximize the impact of the program within the community served.

HRSA accepting the CQI Plan means OCDEL is developing and implementing plans for continuous quality improvement (CQI) and is meeting certain statutory requirements related to demonstrating improvement in at least four of six benchmark areas and implementing data exchange standards for improved interoperability.

The six benchmarks are:
  1. Improvements in maternal, newborn, and child health;
  2. Prevention of child injuries, child abuse, neglect, or maltreatment and reductions of emergency room visits;
  3. Improvements in school readiness and child academic achievement;
  4. Reductions in crime or domestic violence;
  5. Improvements in family economic self-sufficiency; and
  6. Improvements in the coordination and referrals for other community resources and supports.

Click here for general information on HRSA MIECHV CQI Information. For general information about home visiting, contact ra-pwpahomevisiting@pa.gov. For questions regarding CQI in PA’s home visiting programs, contact Christina Janosky at cjanosky@pa.gov.
Pennsylvania Meets U.S. Dept of Education's Highest Recognition of Part C and Part B of IDEA
The Office of Child Development and Early Learning’s Bureau of Early Intervention Services and Family Supports has announced the U.S. Department of Education's determination that Pennsylvania meets the requirements and purposes of Part C and Part B of the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA). Pennsylvania’s Infant Toddler Early Intervention program is under Part C of IDEA. Part B covers special education services preschool – grade 12 which includes performance measures for Pennsylvania’s Preschool Early Intervention program. This is the Department’s highest recognition regarding the performance of each state’s Part C and Part B programs for year 2018-19.
Pennsylvania’s Infant Toddler Early Intervention program under Part C of IDEA is one of only a handful of states that has met requirements for 12 of the last 14 years that the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has been using this determination process. Pennsylvania’s special education program under Part B of IDEA is the only state of the seven largest states to meet requirements for 13 of the last 14 years. This ongoing recognition speaks to the overall quality of Pennsylvania’s Early Intervention and Special Education programs. 
Professionalizing the Early Childhood Education Workforce
In March 2020, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) released a unifying framework intended to guide early childhood education (ECE) professionals towards shared vision for the professional standards and qualifications that will guide the profession moving forward. This bold vision includes shared competencies, skills and knowledge for all ECE professionals, across settings and funding streams through degrees. Pennsylvania’s Professional Development Organization (PDOs) are set to help accomplish this vision for Pennsylvania’s ECE workforce, so ECE professionals are engaged in meaningful, accessible and equitable degree programs, ensuring the ECE profession is well prepared to meet the needs of young children. 
PDOs are working with Institutes of Higher Education (IHE) to streamline supports that ensure degree attainment remains a goal for Pennsylvania ECE professionals. If you are an ECE professional, interested in furthering your professional qualifications, reach out to your PDO to learn about options. PDOs are planning now for late summer and fall semesters for CDAs, AAs and BAs. 

If you work in Philadelphia or Southeast Pennsylvania, contact:
If you work in Central, Northeast, Northwest, and Southwest Pennsylvania:

If you are not working due to COVID-19, reach out to the PDO that serves the region where you live.

To ensure resources and efforts are equitable, PDOs eligibility requirements reflect the needs of families in each region, so only your PDO can help connect you to the most appropriate opportunity. Reach out now if you are considering furthering your career pathway or aligning your credentials to the Unifying Framework for the Early Childhood Education Profession !
Fingerprinting Locations Opening
Early Childhood Education professionals in need of fingerprinting can view the location map on the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services website.

93 IdentoGO locations are open and 33 remain closed as of June 23, 2020. Individuals may call IDEMIA Customer Service using the toll-free number 844-321-2101 to confirm a location’s operating status prior to scheduling their appointment and traveling.
Non-Contact Infrared Thermometers
The Pennsylvania Key, on behalf of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), has acquired non-contact infrared thermometers to distribute to child care providers operating during the Stay at Home Order issued by Governor Wolf, beginning in March 2020 to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The non-contact infrared thermometers require two, AAA batteries to operate. Batteries are not included.

Child care programs can request a thermometer at no cost by sending an email to c19support@ksrc.biz. Please include the child care facility name; the Director/owner's name; facility mailing address, including city, state and ZIP Code; and daytime phone number.

To ensure as many programs as possible receive them, please do not request a thermometer if a program already has a non-contact thermometer and does not need one. Supplies are limited and will be filled in order of request.
Apply now to T.E.A.C.H. for the Fall Semester
The Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA) is currently accepting scholarship applications for the Fall 2020 semester. Even if your program is temporarily closed due to COVID-19, you and/or your staff can still submit an application to T.E.A.C.H. PACCA will issue Fall scholarship awards after July 1, 2020, when the new fiscal year begins. As always scholarship awards are dependent upon funding availability and eligibility criteria is subject to change without notice.

If you or your staff are planning to apply for a T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship, they should also complete the college admissions process and contact an ECE advisor now. Visit PACCA’s website for a list of partnering institutions. Then click on the college/university name to view a profile with ECE Advisor contact information. Or contact a T.E.A.C.H. Counselor at teachinfo@pacca.org to request the ECE Advisor contact information for your institution. This will help to ensure that you are admitted to your college/university and ready to register for courses if/when you receive a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship.

PACCA has announced that T.E.A.C.H. Scholarships will be available at Harcum College for the Fall 2020 semester!  Get more information on Harcum’s program visit, as well as contact information for their ECE Advisor.

For more information on T.E.A.C.H. and to download an application, visit the website. If you have questions about T.E.A.C.H. or next steps to enrolling in college, please contact a T.E.A.C.H. Counselor at (717) 657-9000 or teachinfo@pacca.org.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood ®  PENNSYLVANIA is administered by the Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA). T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood ® PENNSYLVANIA is a licensed program of Child Care Services Association.  
Pennsylvania Family Support and Home Visiting Conference Recordings
When the Pennsylvania Family Support and Home Visiting Conference couldn’t be held face-to-face in March 2020, it was decided to provide as many of the presentations as possible through online webinars. The resulting webinar series includes 11 of the most requested sessions at the original conference, like:
  • Using the Ages and Stages Questionnaires
  • Families in Recovery
  • Trauma and Addiction: A Tangled Relationship
  • Home Visiting and Intimate Partner Violence: Prevalence and Best Practices

All of the webinars were recorded and are available online .
WIDA Early Years Webinar Series
The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) is offering a free three-part recorded webinar series, WIDA Early Years Webinar Series, that covers resources and supports available to programs to help programs that serve dual language learners (DLLs). This series helps participants reflect on how they are currently supporting dual language learners and their families while generating ideas for action on which resources they will apply to their practice.

The three parts include:
  • Part 1 – PA and WIDA Early Years: Partnership Overview
  • Part 2 – Overview of WIDA Early Years Resources
  • Part 3 – WIDA Early Years Promising Practices Implementation Kit

Register for this prerecorded webinar by searching for WIDA Early Years Webinar Series in the training calendar on the PD Registry. Those with questions can contact Barry Wiestling at bwiestling@pa.gov.
Save the Date
Of Interest
Universal Face Coverings Order FAQ
The Pennsylvania Department of Health released the Universal Face Coverings Order FAQ which provides information related to most frequently asked questions, including information on:

  • Why the Order was issued
  • The type of mask to comply with the Order
  • When and where to wear a mask
  • Medical conditions and wearing a mask
  • Children and wearing a mask
  • Staff and children in child care facilities and school settings, and more.

For more information, see the Universal Face Coverings Order FAQ.
Holding Space for the Early Childhood Community
The Pennsylvania Key Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Program invites Early Childhood Education (ECE) directors, teachers and families to register for an online discussion group for Early Childhood Education (ECE) professionals and families; Holding Space: A conversation about the experience of re-entering. The COVID-19 crisis has given us months of stress, change, and uncertainty. During this time, ECE professionals and families have come to depend on each other for support. Join the conversation, learn and share your experience with others who are in your position. Click below to register.

The ECE Summit Goes Virtual! Mark your calendars for Oct. 19-21, 2020
The Early Childhood Education Summit organizers take great pride in providing Pennsylvania's early childhood educators with high-quality professional development, along with unparalleled networking opportunities each fall. Due to the challenges and uncertainties of COVID-19, the 2020 ECE Summit will go virtual.

The ECE Summit will still offer certificates of attendance, PQAS hours, and Act 48 hours to participants, as well as opportunities to network and visit with vendors. All participants will need is a computer and a stable internet connection. The opening day Keynote speaker will be preschool teacher, blogger, artist and author Teacher Tom

The call for proposals is open now, with attendee registration expected to open by August 1, 2020. Visit the Summit's website for additional information.
Health and Safety Template
Pennsylvania's Department of Education's (PDE) Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools preliminary guidance recent distribution of a Health and Safety Plan template is now available for use in crafting and documenting a local educational agency ( LEA) reopening plan. This guidance serves as a starting point for school leaders to consider in their preparations for the upcoming year, and applies to school districts, charter schools, regional charter schools, cyber charter schools, career and technical centers, and intermediate units.
Research and Reports
Special Report: Access to High-Quality Early Education and Racial Equity 
Universal high-quality preschool is estimated to close the reading skills gap between Black and White children entering kindergarten by 98 percent and the math skills gap by 45 percent, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research’s Access to High-Quality Early Education and Racial Equity special report recently released.

While high-quality early childhood education (ECE) “can reduce inequality, the nation is hamstrung by limited public funding to increase access to ECE and by the differentially low quality of pre-K provided to Black children,” write Dr. Steven Barnett and Dr. Allison Friedman-Krauss, the report’s authors. Noting “the budget problems states currently face,” the report recognizes “providing all Black children access to high-quality preschool will not be a small task.”

But it also warns policymakers what would happen if preschool access and quality are allowed to slide backwards: Racial inequalities will worsen as surely as strengthening public ECE programs will reduce them.
State of Babies Yearbook: 2020
ZERO TO THREE recently released State of Babies Yearbook: 2020, a report and advocacy tool on how the nation’s babies are faring.

“By nearly every measure across all states, children living in poverty and children of color face the biggest obstacles, such as low birthweight, unstable housing, and limited access to quality early learning experiences,” according to ZERO TO THREE. “The report further highlights major disparities that begin before birth, especially for Black children, driven by systemic racism and social injustices.”

Pennsylvania scores in the Improving Outcomes (O) tier for Positive Early Learning Experiences. The state’s ranking in this domain reflects indicators on which it is performing better than the national average, such as the higher percentages of parents who read to their babies daily and babies who receive IDEA Part C services. Pennsylvania is doing worse than the national average on indicators such as the lower percentage of babies who received developmental screening. Infant care costs as a percentage of the state’s median income for single and married parents also contribute to the ranking. The state does not offer child care subsidy assistance to families with incomes above 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. See Pennsylvania specific information.
2020 Kid's Count Data Book
Now available is the 2020 KID’S COUNT® DATA BOOK , a state-by-state report on child well-being published annually by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. 

The 2020 Data Book ranks Pennsylvania 20 th in the nation for overall child well-being. The report is a comprehensive national reviews of child well-being and uses 16 indicators across four domains to rank each state: economic well-being, education, family and community, and health. The data utilized in the 2020 report was captured in 2018, so the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is not reflected.

According to the Data Book, Pennsylvania now ranks:
  • 26th in the family and community domain. This domain examines the percentage of children living in high-poverty areas, percentage of children living in single-parent households and education levels among heads of households, as well as teen birth rates. While the number of children living in high-poverty areas improved slightly since last year, it is still Pennsylvania’s worst ranking across all indicators. If Pennsylvania had just 21,000 fewer children in high-poverty areas, it would improve the state’s rate by 10 percent.
  • 23rd in economic well-being. The economic well-being domain examines data related to child poverty, family employment, housing costs and whether older teens are not in school and not working. Since last year, the number of children living in poverty decreased slightly, but that indicator has seen an improvement of only 11 percent since 2010.
  • 19th in health. The health domain looks at the percentage of children who lack health insurance, child and teen death rates, the percentage of low-birth weight babies and, for the first time, obesity among teens. The rate of uninsured children remained the same since last year and has improved only by 20 percent since 2010. Today, only 42 percent of children in Pennsylvania have access to affordable, quality health care coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), according to the Department of Human Services (DHS). For Pennsylvania to be the top-ranked state in this domain, an additional 96,000 children would need health care coverage.
  • 7th in education. The education domain looks at early education opportunities for preschoolers in reading and math proficiency, and whether high school students graduate on time. Pennsylvania’s ranking for the number of 4th graders performing below the proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) assessments improved, jumping from 11th to 4th place – by far the state’s best ranking. However, 60 percent (or 3 in 5) 4th graders scored below proficient. In addition, the rate of 3- and 4- year-olds not attending school has worsened by 4 percent when compared to 2010. 
Resident Hispanic Fathers Report Frequent Involvement in the Lives of Their Children
Hispanic fathers who live with their children report participating in a number of positive parenting behaviors, according to new research from the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. Among the findings, 86 percent of resident Hispanic fathers report giving praise to their school-age child every day or several times per week. Read more.
Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined
A new working paper, Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined, the fifteenth in the series from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, informs policymakers, leaders of human services systems, intervention developers, and practitioners in reducing disparities in preventable diseases and premature deaths and lowering the high costs of health care for chronic illnesses that have their origins in early childhood adversity. The paper examines how developing biological systems in the body interact with each other and adapt to the contexts in which a child is developing—for better or for worse—with lifelong consequences for physical and mental health.
Drive-Up Immunizations: Just a Fad or Here to Stay?
During challenging times like these, what are families to do about keeping young children up-to-date on their immunizations? The July Featured Article on the PA Promise for Children website , written by Amy Requa, MSN, CRNP, Senior Health Manager for the Pennsylvania Key, shares how all children still need to have well checks. Families do not want to put their child’s health in jeopardy out of fear. Preventive care is key to children’s success in school. Also, keeping kids healthy and on track with their well-care visits and immunizations protects the health and wellbeing of all family members, such as grandparents, loved ones who may still be getting cancer-care, and brothers or sisters with asthma or disabilities.
WIDA Early Years Learning Language Every Day: Activities for Families
The WIDA Early Years Learning Language Every Day: Activities for Families is a resource for families that supports conversations with young children about their families and environments. Children learn language by listening to those around them and then using their language skills to respond. The activities in these booklets allow for conversations with children about their family, what they like to play, how they feel, what sounds they hear around them at home or in the community, and the weather. The booklets may be downloaded for printing and sharing. They are appropriate for children ages 2-7 years.

PSAYDN Summer Activity Guide
Planning afterschool summer activities that are fun and engaging is now an easy task! The new Summer Activity Guide from the Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN) offers 150 activities and challenges for youth ages 5-18. The activities and challenges are organized by age group (5-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-18), adaptable for in-person, virtual instruction or a hybrid of both, as well as take-home packets, and based in skill building and social emotional learning. Activity batches will be provided every two weeks along with supplemental materials throughout to support providers and families in preparation and implementation.
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