Welcome to the Mid-State Regional Key STARS Newsletter!! 
STARS Updates from the Mid-State RK
New Keystone STARS standards

Here at Mid-State Regional Key, we are anxiously awaiting the release of the New Keystone STARS standards to come in early June.  Following the OCDEL webinars, we will be conducting county wide face-to-face meetings, work groups and conference calls to add clarifications and answer questions as we know them.  

We want to thank those of you who added your input either by being part of the Think Tank, by participating on the work groups or by emailing OCDEL your ideas and input.  This new system will add more flexibility and give you more options as you move on your journey to Quality.  Stay tuned! 

OCDEL News & Updates  
Keystone STARS Revisioning Launch webinars

For more than a year, OCDEL has worked with the Keystone STARS Think Tank and stakeholders to revise the Keystone STARS system to support quality improvement in early care and education programs while reducing administrative burden. 

In anticipation of the July 1 launch, OCDEL is hosting three Keystone STARS public webinars. Please click the link below to register.

During these webinars, attendees will preview the new Performance Standards, new coaching and financial supports, and the process for moving up the Keystone STARS ladder. 

If you cannot attend, recordings and materials will be posted on the PA Keys website.  

Family Provider News - Carrie Kitchen

Child Care Weather Watch 

With the weather getting warmer when is it appropriate to take the kids outside? Attached is the Child Care Weather Watch showing when children should go outside in hot and cold weather, as well as the PA Position statement on expectations.

Health & Safety News - Anne Dodds
New American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Recommendation on Juice

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised policy on juice recommends children less than 1 year of age should not have fruit juice.  The rationale for this policy is that fruit juice offers no nutritional benefit to children less than 1 year of age.    In addition, the evidence is clear that over-consumption of juice can lead to weight gain and tooth decay.

The new policy statement recommendations include:

  • For children older than 1 year of age, 100-percent fresh or reconstituted fruit juice can be a healthy
  • part of a well-balanced diet. Even then, the amount of juice consumed should be limited based on the child’s age.
  • For toddlers, age 1-3 years of age, Intake of juice should be limited to no morethan 4 ounces daily  For children 4-6 years of age, fruit juice should not exceed  6 ounces daily; and for children  7-18 years of age, juice intake should be limited to 8 ounces or 1 cup of the recommended 2 to 2 ½ cups of fruit servings per day.
  • Toddlers should not be given juice from bottles or easily transportable “sippy cups” that allow them to consume juice easily throughout the day. The excessive exposure of the teeth to carbohydrates can lead to tooth decay. Toddlers should not be given juice at bedtime.
  • Children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits and be taught about the benefits of the fruit as compared with juice. Juice lacks dietary fiber and may contribute to excessive weight gain.
  • Human milk or infant formula is sufficient for infants; low-fat/nonfat milk and water are sufficient for older children.
  • Unpasteurized juice products should be strongly discouraged for children of all ages.
  • Children who take specific forms of medication should not be given grapefruit juice, which can interfere with the medication’s effectiveness.
  • Fruit juice,  including apple juice,  is not appropriate in the treatment of dehydration
  • or management of diarrhea.

The AAP’s website for families has many tips and tools about juice and healthy food choices.  The website is in English and Spanish.  For more information go to AAP's Healthy Children Website

Infant & Toddler News - Kim Alloway    
Making Large Group Time Successful with Toddlers and Twos

I love when providers and teachers can get together with others in the field to share, network and provide support and resources to each other. Within the state of PA, we are lucky to have at least one Infant/Toddler Specialist in each region. We also benefit from sharing, networking and supporting each other in our work (although we often have to get creative about how we meet due to our geographic regions!)

We recently had a discussion about the questions we often get about circle and large group time. Masha Levin from the Northeast region shared this handout with the rest of us. Please take a moment to print out the Attachment – “Making Large Group Time Successful with Toddlers and Twos”. Share it with you toddler and two teachers!

SACC News -Rhea Simmons
Setting Up a School Age Library

Many school age programs include helping children develop academically in their overall goals and so dedicate a significant portion of their care space to a library. Often however, this space turns out to be the most underused in the center.  By asking the following questions, programs can begin to make changes that make the library a more popular and engaging place to be.

Is it welcoming?  Are the books in good repair? Is the space tidy? Is it quiet? Try adding a cozy nook (perhaps netting suspended from the ceiling) that invites readers to sit and stay awhile. Be sure books are stored neatly on the shelves or in bins to make browsing easier. The library itself should be as far away as possible from noisier areas of the room. 

Is it comfortable?  Does the space have soft furnishing and rugs? Is it as far away as possible from noisy areas? Be sure that your library has a sofa for multiple seating, large pillows or bean bag chairs to sit on. If possible add lamps to the area to create a softer ambiance than harsh overhead lighting.

Is it engaging?  Are the books at the right reading levels for the learners? Are they interesting? Pleasure reading is easy reading- learners should be able to quickly read 95% of the words. Also the books should be real literature; resist the temptation to add school type leveled readers in your program library. Be sure to have chapter books available, but there are also many beautifully illustrated books that are appropriate for older learners. Your library should have at least a 50-50 mix of nonfiction and fiction material, and include graphic novels, comic books and magazines.

Above all when possible, involve your learners in designing the space and deciding what materials to include. Involve them in helping to decide how the space should look, and get their opinion on what kinds of books and other materials should be included in the space. Your SACC TA can recommend additional resources on room arrangement that you can borrow from the Mid State Key SACC library. 

Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting! 
SACC Summer Activities

  • 5/31/17 at 12:00 in Northumberland County, at Milton YMCA SACC, 32 Broad Street, Milton with Rhea & Michaelle

Grant Closure Work Group 6/7/17, 12:30-2:30, Panera Bread, Jonestown Road with Corrie

DHS Representative Sharyn Lukens Work Group 6/8/17, 12:30-2:30, Giant Community Room (small room) , Camp Hill with Christina

ERS Work Group 6/21/17, 10:00-11:30 at Panera Bread, Carlisle Road, York with Amy Hoffman and Carrie

Other Community Meetings 

ECE Coalition Meeting 6/14/17, 1:00-3:00 at BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, 33 Springbrook Drive, Canton.  RSVP Desiree Rockwell

Lycoming County Early Learning Team 6/15/17, 11:00-1:00 at James V. Brown Library,  19 E. 4th Street, Williamsport, RSVP Angela Mamrak

Get inspired in the “Sunshine City” this summer!

National Early Childhood Summer Institute
June 26–29, 2017   
The Vinoy Renaissance, St. Petersburg, FL

Join us in Florida this June to learn about the latest research and emerging trends in whole child development. Through interactive activities and highly engaging keynotes, you'll learn how to build a powerful, early childhood program that helps ensure every child reaches their full potential. Get inspired by nationally renowned speakers including Juanita Copley, Vince Costanza, Stephen N. Elliott, Linda Espinosa, Walter Gilliam, Judy Jablon, Sam Meisels, Aisha Ray, and Ruby Takanishi.

In addition to this exciting learning experience, you'll have the opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the country while enjoying the “Sunshine City” of St. Petersburg. Don't miss this chance to gather fresh ideas for your program and go home refreshed!   Register Here

Professional Development Updates  
Register on the  PD Registry  
Training Highlights  

Last Minute PD Events!!

  • May 31, ITERS, 6:15-8:15, Lancaster Recreation Commission, 525 Fairview Avenue, Lancaster
  • June 6, E3, 6:15-9:15, Lancaster Recreation Commission, 525 Fairview Avenue, Lancaster
  • June 13, ITERS, 6:30-8:30, CAECTI, 2001 N. Front Street, Building #1, Harrisburg
  • June 27, E3, 6:00-9:00, York Day Nursery, 450 E. Philadelphia Street, York

 *E3 PD is “A Strengths Based Approach to Best Practice Using the ECERS, Third Edition”

Sign up for the above courses in the PD Registry on the website.

New On Demand Modules- Better Kid Care:

Each link above includes an informational flyer for you and also to share the information with others.

Training Lists  

Online Training 

Grant Reminders & Updates
Grant Closures  – If you have received your grant funds, please keep in mind that you must CLOSE your grant by the date listed on your grant agreement, or by June 30th, whichever comes first. Again this year, you are not required to send in receipts with your closing paperwork. However, you MUST KEEP your receipts on file for your records. We conduct on-site monitoring visits for 25% of our grants. If your grant is selected, your receipts will be reviewed to confirm that you purchased and spent what you attested to in your closing paperwork. If you are unable to document your purchases, you will be required to return your award funds and will risk suspension of your STAR level. 
Resources from our other ECE Partners

Let’s Talk Quality! Program Quality Assessment in PA Blog

Are you looking for information for all things related to quality practices in early childhood and school age programming, whether it is in a Head Start or Pre-K Counts classroom, family child care or group home? A new blog, Let’s Talk Quality! Program Quality Assessment in PA is what you want! The blog includes information related to Environment Rating Scale® (ERS®) assessment, but is not limited to only ERS topics. Discover more!

2017 Pennsylvania Early Childhood Education Summit        Registration Opens June 1, 2017

Since 2008, the Pennsylvania Child Care Association, the Pennsylvania Head Start Association and the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development & Early Learning have cosponsored the Early Childhood Education Summit. The Summit provides an opportunity for 1,400 professionals and parents across the early learning and school-age spectrum -- child care, Head Start, Early Intervention, Pre-K, Home Visiting, and others -- an opportunity to dialogue and learn while building a stronger early learning community. Visit the Summit website at for more information on exhibiting, presenting, and registering for the Summit.

October 16-18, 2017 | Location: Penn Stater Conference Center, State College, PA

Newsletters and Community Events  
Thank you for all you do for children, families, and your community by being part of the STARS program!


Mid-State Regional Key/Child Care Consultants

(717) 854-2273 or (800) 864-4925