May 2018 edition
An inside look at Pennsylvania's early education system.
What's New for May
This edition of the PA Early Ed News brings exciting news about the upcoming Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRC)! Starting July 1, 2018, Pennsylvania families, early learning providers and communities will have access to an enhanced resource and referral system for communities seeking early learning services and supports. The ELRCs will provide a single point-of contact for families, early learning service providers, and communities to gain information and access services that support high-quality child care and early learning programs. Read below for more info. 

Have you provided your feedback on the draft Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan, a funding portion of Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) ? There are still  two remaining public hearings in which you can learn more about what is the State Plan, why it is important, and provide testimony. Families throughout Pennsylvania rely on CCDF funds, as it is a primary federal funding source for monitoring regulated child care programs, child care subsidy through Child Care Works, and child care quality improvement through Keystone STARS. Can't make the public hearings? No worries--the article below has info on how to submit your comments.

A new infographic from the PA Department of Human Services provides a snapshot of what is home visiting, who benefits, and how they benefit from home visiting. This easy to read infographic is great to share on websites, in newsletters, on your social media, or even print and post where families can see it. Pennsylvania's home visiting programs--Nurse-Family Partnership, Parents as Teachers, Healthy Families America, and Early Head Start--serve thousands of families each year.

Are you ready to celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11? PA's Promise for Children is helping families share the impact teachers have in the lives of children. Check out below how you can share your story and get it highlighted during May 7-11.
Early Education in Pennsylvania
Wolf Administration Announces Selection for New Regional Centers to Support Child Care Services
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ (DHS) Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) recently announced the selection of regional Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs), created to improve the quality of and access to early learning services in the state and help families identify the best child care options that meets the needs of the child(ren) while offering connections to additional services, such as a child care subsidy.
Developed as a result of stakeholder feedback, ELRCs consolidate the current work of Child Care Information Service Agencies and the Regional Keys to create an enhanced resource and referral system for communities seeking early learning services and supports.

Beginning July 1, 2018, ELRCs will provide a single point-of contact for families, early learning service providers, and communities to gain information and access services that support high-quality child care and early learning programs. ELRCs will administer over $680 million in child care subsidy and supports. This state and federal investment in Pennsylvania’s working families enables parents to maintain employment while creating opportunities for the commonwealth’s children to develop and learn to their fullest potential. 
Through the ELRC, child care professionals can obtain support in building quality outcomes for children by working with quality coaches to achieve Keystone STAR 3 and 4 status, building connections with community partners, and supporting children and families in accessing additional services, such as PA Pre-K Counts, Head Start, home-visiting, and Early Intervention. 

All ELRCs will have a primary location in their designated region and most will have satellite offices. ELRCs will also partner with community organizations to meet families’ needs where they naturally congregate. For more information, including the list of ELRCs and counties served, please visit the  PA Key website.
Your Feedback is Needed On The CCDF State Plan
There is still time to provide your feedback on the draft Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan, a funding portion of Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) ! OCDEL has been hard at work developing the CCDF State Plan for Federal Fiscal Years 2019-2021. The Child Care and Development Fund is one of the primary federal funding sources for monitoring regulated child care programs, child care subsidy through Child Care Works, and child care quality improvement through Keystone STARS.
Two public hearings remain. These hearings provide an opportunity to learn more about what is the State Plan and why it is important, as well as to provide testimony regarding what is in the State Plan. All testimony should be prepared in writing and submitted at the end of each public hearing. This helps OCDEL keep a clear and accurate record of the testimony, comments, and questions.

The remaining public hearings are:

  • May 8, 2018 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at 801 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. All are welcome to attend; however, this is a secure building. Please be prepared to show ID upon entrance. If you choose to provide testimony, please RSVP no later than noon, Friday May 4, 2018. Please RSVP to, and use the subject line: RSVP: Philadelphia Public Hearing
  • May 9, 2018 from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM at 475 East Waterfront Drive, Homestead, PA 15120. There is a limit of 50 seats in this session. If you choose to provide testimony, please RSVP no later close of business, Monday May 7, 2018. Please RSVP to, and use the subject line: RSVP: Pittsburgh Public Hearing

If you cannot attend one of the public hearings, you can provide comments in writing. To view the State Plan go to the PA Department of Human Services website and scroll down to access CCDF State Plan. Comments are due by May 26, 2018. Use template for comments provided on the website. Send to or mail to: Office of Child Development and Early Learning, 333 Market Street, 6th Floor, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17126.
Extended Deadline and Updated Application for OCDEL Conference Fund Request
Extended deadline: May 31
On behalf of OCDEL, the PA Key will accept applications for funds to support large-scale professional development events and conferences at the state and regional level for fiscal year 2018-19. The deadline for applications has been extended to May 31, 2018 by 4 PM. 
Events must be focused on improving the skill, knowledge, and network of the early childhood education community. Applications will be accepted from non-profit and for-profit entities, as well as institutions of primary and higher education.

Applications may be submitted as one of three event levels as defined:

  • Summit – events serving more than 1,000 people in a face-to-face setting or virtually. A maximum of $10,000 may be requested.
  • Conference – events serving more than 250 to 1,000 people in a face-to-face setting or virtually. A maximum of $5,000 may be requested.
  • Mini Conference – events serving 20 to 250 people in a face-to-face setting or virtually. A maximum of $2,000 may be requested.

Read the announcement for additional details prior to submitting an application.
Early Childhood Home Visiting Infographic
A new infographic from the DHS provides highlights of the benefits of Early Childhood Home Visiting programs. In Pennsylvania, home visiting programs like Nurse-Family Partnerships, Parents as Teachers, Healthy Families America, and Early Head Start provide voluntary, family-focused services for pregnant & parenting families with new babies and young children. The infographic highlights the goals of home visiting, the impact of personalized visits, and what happens during and the benefits from home visits in a colorful, shareable format, ideal for printing or sharing on websites or social media. Need it in a different format? Contact Mary at marhal@pakeys.orgGet more info about Early Childhood Home Visiting programs for families with young children.
Celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11
Teachers play an important role in shaping the lives of Pennsylvania's youngest learners. They work with families, children and partners to ensure that each child has opportunities to learn and grow. Help celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11 by sharing the impact a teacher has made in the life of you or your child.

Are you a parent or family member whose child loves their teacher? Share with PA's Promise for Children:
  • Your child's favorite teacher's name and early learning program or school
  • Why he or she is your child's favorite teacher-why is this teacher special?
  • A picture of your child and their favorite teacher!

Email your story to Mary at Send your story by May 5 to be highlighted on PA's Promise for Children website and  Facebook page during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 7-11! Although Teacher's Appreciation Week runs May 7-11, stories will continue to be published on the PA's Promise for Children website as they're received.

Look for special messages on Facebook throughout the week!
National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day
Thursday, May 10, 2018 is National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. This annual event raises awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and its impact on healthy development.

Early childhood mental health is a child’s growing capacity to experience, regulate, and express emotions. For children from birth to 5 years of age, early childhood mental health is the same as social and emotional development.

Both the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) continue to support the cross-sector work being done in infant and early childhood mental health in Pennsylvania.

The Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) Consultation Program in Pennsylvania is a child-specific consultative model that addresses the social-emotional development of young children within their early care and education program.

So far, this year, the ECMH consultants have served:
  • 424 children have been or are being supported by ECMH
  • 3300+ children have been impacted by ECMH supporting their classrooms
  • 800+ teachers have been supported through ECMH
  • 314 facilities in 42 counties have been served

Additionally, the Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health (PA-AIMH), with funding support from the Pennsylvania Project LAUNCH Partnership and support from OCDEL, has begun implementing the Competency Guidelines for Endorsement in Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health®. The Endorsement, originally developed by the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH) is to identify best practice competencies across disciplines and practice settings, offering multiple career pathways for professional development in the infant, early childhood and family field. More information on these competencies can be found on

To help raise awareness, Pennsylvania Project LAUNCH is participating in an infant and early childhood mental health table for Pennsylvania’s Mental Health Awareness Fair on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at Strawberry Square at 320 Market St, Harrisburg, PA 17101 from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.
Resources on the go: EITA Mobile App
Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA) now has a mobile app. It contains short resources on various topics such as social emotional resources. The resources are intended to be easy to use tools for professional out in the field or classroom to access right when they need them. The tools are also available on the EITA Portal Download the app for free at the app store –just search for EITA Mobile.
Family Life Project Explores What It Means to Grow Up in Rural America
Since 2003, rural Pennsylvania parents and children from Blair, Cambria and Huntingdon Counties, and families from North Carolina have been providing valuable evidence about parenting, child care, schools and other factors that affect their lives. As a collaboration between The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Pennsylvania State University, scientists began following nearly 1,300 children at birth for the Family Life Project. These families have never been more important to understanding how children grow and learn in rural communities. With data from living rooms to schools, the project has focused on the impacts of parenting, poverty, early child care experiences, classroom quality, and other variables on a wide variety of child outcomes. 

Key findings have shown how important it is for parents and teachers to engage in complex and detailed interactions with their young children, how poverty brings challenges that affect parenting, and how fathers make important contributions to child development, as well as many other insights about children in rural areas. The project’s ongoing collection of information continues to give rise to more research in novel areas, such as a new study to look at the effects of poverty and adversity on children’s immune systems and their long-term health outcomes. Read more about the Family Life Project and the challenges rural families face
SAVE THE DATE for the 2018 ECE Summit! 
Make plans to join fellow early learning professionals at the 2018 Early Childhood Education Summit at the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference Center in State College, PA from October 15–17, 2018. Each year the Summit features keynote speakers, over 200 breakout sessions, important state and national updates, and lots of networking for families and early learning professionals from across the early learning and school-age care spectrum. This year’s theme is Shaping the Future: Early Childhood Educators at Work. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn and mingle at the largest early childhood conference in Pennsylvania. Bonus this year: Justin Timberlake will be in concert at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center on Monday night, October 15. Shuttles will be available from the Penn Stater to the Bryce Jordan Center! 

Presenters, watch for the Request for Proposals announcement, coming soon!
Save the Dates
Pennsylvania's PD Registry: Things To Know and Do
WIDA Online Modules in PD Registry
OCDEL has partnered with WIDA Early Years to provide access to five free online modules to help practitioners in the field support dual language learners in the classroom setting. These are now available for FREE through the PD Registry at or PQAS hours will be awarded for these trainings.  

Access the modules by navigating to the “Training Calendar” and searching within the “Keyword” area for the module that meets your interest. Please see below for the five modules that are available: 

  • WIDA - Dual Language Learners and their Families
  • WIDA - Early English Language Development Standards Framework
  • WIDA - Dual Language Learners with Disabilities
  • WIDA - Scaffolding Language Learning for Dual Language Learners
  • WIDA - Promising Practices for Dual Language Learners

If you have questions, please contact Barry at
Why Your Complete Profile Is Locked
If you have completed your profile on the PD Registry, you may notice that your account is “locked” after submitting your information. This does not prevent you from registering from trainings and you will only need to unlock your profile if you need to update or change your information. Contact the PD Registry team if you need your profile unlocked.
Add Employment to Your PD Registry Profile
Have you added your employment to your account in the PD Registry? This is different that updating your profile. For Directors, it is important so that designators (such as STARS) can access the professional development for your entire center(s). For Instructors and PDOs, it allows you to access the courses in your organization. Please update this information today if you have not already.
  1. Login to the PD Registry from
  2. Select the Employment tab from the homepage.
Certificates Are A Thing of the Past!
Certificates are no longer issued in the PD Registry after being marked as attending an event. DHS and Keystone STARS will see all events marked as verified in the Learning Record.

To access your Learning Record:
  1. Login to your PD Registry account at
  2. Go to the Reports Tab in the top navigation bar.
  3. Click My Professional Development Learning Record. This is the official document!
Better Kid Care Courses Upload Complete
The PD Registry team knows you have been patiently waiting for your Learning Record to reflect the Better Kid Care courses you've taken since the transition to the new system. We are happy to announce that these should now be showing in your Learning Record!

Moving forward, we will add Better Kid Care courses to your Learning Record once a month, but if you need proof that you’ve completed these courses before our monthly upload, please digitally save a copy of your Better Kid Care certificate to your computer or smart device, or print a physical one from their website.

If you are currently still missing a Better Kid Care course on your Learning Record, please reach out to one of our PD Registry.
How to Access Online Courses
So you’ve found an online course in the PD Registry that you’d like to take, but you’re not sure what to do next. The first step to accessing this course is to finish your registration and purchase it. Once you have finished this, click on your “My PD” tab. Once there, select the online course that you’re trying to begin and click on the blue box next to the course title to start.
Online ERS Courses Are Back!
Online ERS courses are finally up and running in the new system! Here are some directions on how to access these courses:

  1. Login to your PD Registry account on
  2. Select “Training Calendar” on the left menu.
  3. Type Keywords “ERS Online”.
  4. Check only “Online Self-Paged” and uncheck other boxes.
  5. Click “Search”.
  6. Scroll through the events until you find the ERS Online course you are looking for.
  7. Click “Register Online” and follow payment steps.
  8. Once you have registered, you may click on the “My PD” tab to get to the course.
  9. Click on the blue box next to the course title to begin the online course.
  10. Click “Launch” to begin.

Questions? Email or call 1-800-284-6031.
The PD Registry team is available Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm.
Of Interest
Omnibus Wins for Young Children and Families
On March 23, 2018, the President signed into law a bipartisan Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus spending bill with historic increases to programs that are vital to infants, toddlers, and families. Here are the highlights of increases to programs included in the bill.

Early learning: 

  • $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). After years of stagnant funding, this investment is a crucial down payment on affordable, high-quality child care for America's working families.
  • Increase of $115 million for comprehensive services for pregnant women and young children and their families in poverty through Early Head Start. This money will be used to serve more infants and toddlers and adds training and technical assistance dollars to support quality.
  • $11.4 million increase for early intervention for children with developmental delays or disabilities through Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
  • $35 million increase for child care for parents in college through Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS).

Mental health supports: 

  • $5 million investment in the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Grant Program, providing, for the first time ever, funding that will help to change the course for children at risk for mental disorders.
  • $5 million investment to train professionals to screen for, assess, and treat maternal depression.
  • $10 million investment for the development of pediatric mental health care telehealth access programs, improving access to quality mental health services in underserved areas.
  • Support for substance-exposed infants: 
  • Increase of $60 million for Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) state grants to fund Infant Plans of Safe Care. These plans are required for babies identified as prenatally exposed to substances such as opioids or alcohol. The additional funding will enable states to better implement the processes to identify and refer infants, prepare plans and support families.
AAP Diversity and Inclusion Statement
In March 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its position statement on diversity and inclusion to communicate its commitment to "promoting nurturing, inclusive environments" and to "actively opposing intolerance, bigotry, bias, and discrimination." The AAP plans to continue using policy, advocacy, and education that supports inclusivity and cultural effectiveness for all children and families, as well as, foster a health care system and communities that honor diversity.
Get Healthy Philly ECE Survey
Get Healthy Philly recently sent out a survey by email to some Early Childhood Providers. If you received an email from Shannon Dryden, Healthy Early Childhood Coordinator, please take some time to complete the survey. Your feedback will help inform future local policies and support for Philadelphia providers to improve children’s health and wellness. You could even win a $20 gift card! All responses are anonymous. Please contact Shannon with questions at
Free Webinars on Early Speech, Language, and Hearing Development
May is Better Hearing and Speech Month In celebration, the Office of Head Start’s Early Childhood Hearing Outreach (ECHO) Initiative is joining the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to host a coffee break webinar series to celebrate this year’s theme “Communication for All.” Throughout the month of May, ASHA partners with national and local stakeholders to engage in a multifaceted public education campaign to raise awareness about the critical need to intervene early when young children are identified with communication disorders. 
The  Coffee Break Webinars will focus on raising awareness about the importance of frequent hearing screenings, language development, and family engagement.  The webinars will feature speakers that receive funding for various projects through grants and cooperative agreements from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the Administration for Children and Families.
Pre-registration is not required. Click on the links below to join.
Youth Literacy Grants from Dollar General
Application deadline May 17
Youth Literacy Grants provide funding to schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations to help students who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading. Grant funding is provided to assist in the following areas: Implementing new or expanding existing literacy programs; Purchasing new technology or equipment to support literacy initiatives; and Purchasing books, materials or software for literacy programs.
Latest on Social Media
Check out these recent highlights featured on social media.

  • Is your preschooler heading to kindergarten this fall? (PA Department of Education)
  • 8 MILLION women, infants and children get WIC benefits. YOU and your family could be eligible too! (PA Department of Health)
  • New research is offering a finer understanding of the language gap between children of different economic backgrounds. (PD Registry)
  • Sharon Enfield from the Southwest Regional Key had a blast sharing her love of early literacy with the children at Apollo 1 Head Start Center in Armstrong County (PA One Book: Every Young Child)


  • Our School Safety Task Force is working to develop real solutions, and we want to hear your suggestions. Submit your feedback (Governor Tom Wolf)
  • @SecretaryMiller visited @EOTC_works, where she chatted with 3 families about how home visiting has helped them. (PA Department of Human Services)
  • A New Public Hearing in Pittsburgh Added for CCDBG State Plan (NW Regional Key)
Research and Reports
Study Measures Children's Learning from Pre-K Programs
A variety of state-funded pre-K programs generally produce broad gains in participating children’s learning, as measured at kindergarten entry, according to a National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) study, State Prekindergarten Effects on Early Learning at Kindergarten Entry: An Analysis of Eight State Programs recently published in AERA Open. 

These positive findings come with some important cautions that—in the context of the broader research literature—suggest two key lessons for policy makers: First, state preK program effectiveness cannot simply be assumed but should be measured regularly. Second, states should not rely on assessment of narrow literacy skills alone as an indicator of
preK’s broader effectiveness.
The State of Preschool 2017
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) recently released The State of Preschool 2017 report, detailing state-by-state funding, enrollment and quality standards for public pre-K programs across the US. The report features trend data from 2002, when NIEER first began tracking state preschool programs, to 2017 and a special report on state pre-K policies--or the lack of--that support young dual language learners. 

Nationwide, state-funded preschool program enrollment exceeded 1.5 million children, 33 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds. State funding for preschool rose two percent to about $7.6 billion, an almost $155 million increase (adjusted for inflation), since 2015-2016. State funding per child was $5,008, a slight decline from 2015-16 adjusted for inflation. Three state funded preschool programs met all 10 new quality standards benchmarks. Ten programs met fewer than half, and seven states do not invest any state dollars into preschool. Get national data and individual state data-- including Pennsylvania.
Family Budget Calculator
The Economic Policy Institute recently updated its Family Budget Calculator, which helps measure the income a family needs to attain an adequate standard of living in every county and metro area in the country. It takes into account a number of expenses, including average housing, food and child care costs, for 10 different family types to help provide an accurate measure of economic security in the United States.
Social Media Made Easy
This toolkit from Afterschool Alliance provides ways to create effective social media outreach to inform and educate audiences about the work you do. Many of the tips and tools in this resource can easily be adapted in the early learning setting.
WIC Works Resource System
The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service newly designed WIC Works Resource System (WIC Works) website is now available. Updates to the site include a mobile-responsive design, appealing new color palette, and significantly improved search capabilities for the wide range of WIC-relevant adaptable tools, educational materials and resources that WIC Works offers. In addition, users can now their filter their search in several ways, such as by topic, by resource type (e.g., training, handouts, etc.), and by whom developed the resource (e.g., a particular WIC State agency, federal agency, etc.). 
All CONNECT Modules now available in English AND Spanish
Over 4.4 million times, people around the globe have accessed the FREE groundbreaking CONNECT modules from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute on inclusion, to educate about practices to solve dilemmas in early childhood settings. Access videos, activities and narratives to help the early learning profession through a process to learn about effectively serving children with disabilities.
Early Learning: Talk, Read, and Sing! 
The US Department of Education now has available tip sheets for families, caregivers and early learning educations. They include tip sheets on fostering health social and emotional development for families and early learning providers. There are also milestones documents, a summary of research and a poster about talking about feelings. All but the poster are also available in Spanish.
Learn the Signs. Act Early.
Check out the Early Care and Education primer from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that highlights the benefits of integrating FREE "Learn the Signs. Act Early." resources within early care and education settings. It also offers tips on using the materials in classrooms, to boost family engagement, as tools to discuss developmental concerns with parents, and ways to support providers’ professional development.
New Safety and Injury Prevention Curriculum for Early Care and Education Setting Available  
As part of the Healthy Futures: Improving Health Outcomes for Young Children initiative, the American Academy of Pediatrics has designed a new Safety and Injury Prevention Curriculum for Early Care and Education Settings. This curriculum provides child care providers with information on how to prevent injuries, recognize potential safety hazards, and understand how to create a safe environment in early care and education settings. This in-person training module is designed to be facilitated by a “trainer” to a group of child care providers. The curriculum includes slide presentations, video clips, activities quizzes and links to forms and resources. Each of the modules can be presented separately and range in length from 30 minutes to 1 hour. A compilation module is also provided that is 2 hours in length and includes highlights from each of the separate modules. 
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