Welcome to the Mid-State Regional Key STARS Newsletter!! 
OCDEL News & Updates

Looking for an event?

Did you know there's a Calendar of Events on the PA Keys website--and it's filling fast!

Do you know of an event that isn't on the list? Send it to Mary at (For individual professional development courses, please log into the PA Key registry.)

STARS Re-Visioning Updates 

Reminder -  Register for the Keystone STARS Revisioning Update Webinar, January 19, 2017

For the past year, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, regional partners and early learning programs have been working together to explore how it is possible to create a Keystone STARS system focusing on evidence-based measures of quality and supports that effectively promote quality improvement without unnecessary administrative burdens.

Please join OCDEL leadership for a status update on the Keystone STARS revisioning process to discuss:

  • The Keystone STARS Core Principles;
  • The logic model that will provide a roadmap to successfully build the supply of diverse, quality programs; maintain a qualified workforce; empower program leadership; and create a responsive, strengths-based technical assistance / coaching system;
  • The Keystone STARS newly designed hybrid model;
  • Updates on the work of the Indicators, Professional Development, and Communications workgroups; and
  • Answers to some frequently-asked questions.

The webinar will take place at 12:30 PM on Thursday, January 19, 2017 and will be repeated at 5:30 PM. Participants only need to attend one webinar.  For more information and to register, visit the STARS Re-visioning page on the PA Keys website

STARS Updates from the Mid-State RK

Goal Planning Meetings

If you have already renewed, already submitted your grant and are looking at what lies ahead, consider setting up a Planning Meeting with your specialist. Typically done six months prior to your expiration, we are now scheduling Planning Visits for all sites expiring in July and August 2017. Let’s talk about your goals and how we can best help you between now and your next renewal period.

Approved Pediatric First Aid &CPR

The Mid-State Regional Key, along with other regional Keys, provides reduced cost Pediatric First Aid and CPR training for child care providers participating in STARS. When registering through the PD Registry you can be assured that the training is from an approved instructor and meets STARS requirements. It can be challenging however to provide this training in every location requested due to restricted class sizes and the availability of instructors. It is important to know that Pediatric First Aid and CPR do not need to be delivered by the regional key to be approved. Many community organizations including fire departments, ambulance companies, hospitals, and others, also offer this training. As long as it is one of the approved curriculums, it will be approved for STARS. The Pediatric First Aid and CPR course must be conducted by one of the following OCDEL approved organizations and must include both Pediatric first aid and CPR:
 American Academy of Pediatrics; Pediatric First Aid for Caregivers and Teachers (PedFACTS)
 American Heart Association (AHA) – Heartsaver Pediatric First Aid CPR AED
 American Safety and Health Institute
 Medic First Aid
 American Red Cross
 National Safety Council
We will continue to schedule this class as often, and in as many locations, as possible, but you may need to look for other options in your community to get it exactly when you want it. It is also important to plan several months in advance of cards expiring.

Health & Safety News - Anne Dodds 

Child Care Health Advocate College Course
Register now for the entirely online, Child Care Health Advocate Course. This 3 (college) credit - hour course from Northampton Community College (NCC) can help your program implement the practices from the Health and Safety Basics- Requirements for Certification course.  The spring term runs  January 17 – May 15, 2017 .  The course includes live interactive online sessions. Nurse instructors teach the course online. Dr. Susan Aronson is (volunteer) guest faculty. Nearly 200 students have taken the course and shared that they have improved the quality of their programs with the assignments that involve implementation in their programs.

Register early to participate in the upcoming term.  See the attached flyer for registration details. Pennsylvania students can use Rising STARS Tuition Assistance  ( )  for reimbursement. The Mid-State Regional Key will be sponsoring a section of the course for the spring term.   

ECELS is providing a free copy of the new American Academy of Pediatrics resource,   Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools, 4th Ed. for every student that enrolls in the CCHA
Family Provider News

New Better Kid Care On Demand Lesson
Family Child Care: Maximizing Block Play in the Home Setting
Blocks are the most versatile play material in the family child care home. This module provides practical guidelines and strategies for the home provider to support block play across stages of development. View demonstrations and evaluate resources for make-your-own blocks, and discover ways to communicate with families about the importance of block play. (K2.14 C2, CDA2) 2 hours 

Infant & Toddler News - Kim Alloway 

Take a moment to check out the Facebook page “INFANT TODDLER” and join the page. The intent is to post positive things and ideas that I see when working with Providers in the field. If I am not working with your site through TA, and you or your teachers have a great idea you would like to share – please send me a picture(s) and description. (I will not post pictures of the faces of children, so just be careful.)

SACC News - Rhea Simmons 

Music Notes
Incorporate Vivaldi’s Four Seasons into your activities through  movement or art. Ask the children to tell how it makes them feel. Explain that Vivaldi was trying to express the seasons through music. Play each concerto separately and see if they can guess which season he was trying to convey. Do they feel he captured them correctly? Do they recognize any of the music? After playing the original, find different versions on youtube such as jazz or heavy metal.    

Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting!

STAR 1 for Spanish Speaking Providers - 1/14/17 at Luthercare Lebanon at 10 - with Jen D. - tentative 

Shared Service Training - 1/18/17 at Greater Susquehanna Valley United Way at 11:00 - with Michaelle 

Director Roundtable & Mentoring - 1/18/17 at Panera Bread on Atherton in State College at 9:00 - with Elizabeth & Carol

Director Roundtable & Mentoring - 1/18/17 at Penn College at 1:00 - with Erica G. & Carol

Grant Closure - 1/25/16 at Panera Bread on Carlisle Rd in York at 2:00 - with Carrie

Art for Infants & Toddlers - designed for Directors to learn what types of art activities should be happening in your Infant/Toddler classrooms. PD Hours will be provided.

  • 1/19/17 at Carlisle United Way at 12:30 – Christina
  • 1/24/17 at Lebanon YMCA at 1 - Corrie        
  • 1/26/17 at Lancaster Penn State at 12:30 – Alyssa     
  • 2/8/17 at Christ Lutheran, Dallastown at 1:30 - Carrie

Lycoming Provider Meeting - 1/19/17 at River Valley YMCA in Williamsport at 11. RSVP to Angela Mamrak at 

Professional Development Updates - register on the PD Registry at the PA Keys website

Core Series Training

  • CKC 1/19/17 in Lancaster
  • STARS Orientation in Harrisburg on 1/19/17 -            Part 1 from 9-12 and Part II from 12:30-3:30.
  • ERS Foundations in Lititz on 2/20/17 from 10-12
  • ECERS-3 in Lititz on 2/20/17 from 1-4 

Other Training Organizations & Online Training 

New On Demand modules for the new year!
Here are the latest modules available from Better Kid Care. A brief description is accompanied by a link to our web page that includes an informational flyer you can use to share the information with others. Click here to sign in to On Demand!                                            

For early care professionals:
Expand Learning with Mixed-Age Groups
Mixed-age groupings expand learning opportunities for children of differing developmental skills and stages. Adults in mixed-age child care programs can learn more about the children in their care, and can support learning in intentional ways, through observation of multi-age interactions. Explore advantages, challenges, and unique concerns of working with mixed-age groups. (K2.1 C1, CDA1) 2 hours
For school-age professionals:
PYD Mastery: Program Planning and Development
This mastery module is for current program directors or managers, and those who desire to advance into an administrative role in out-of-school time programs serving 5-18 year olds. This module illustrates the range of responsibilities of program managers, including use of sound business practices; hiring and managing personnel; establishing positive relationships with families and communities; providing high quality programming; and ensuring efficient use of resources. (K6.9 C2) 2 hours 

Grant Reminders
The deadline to submit your MERA grant request is 10 days after your STARS Renewal or Move up date. If you have already renewed your STAR level for 2016-17, please submit your grant request  electronically  to your specialist ASAP. If you have not yet renewed and plan on requesting a grant, please contact your specialist to renew now!

Grant Closures – If you have received your grant funds, please keep in mind that you must CLOSE your grant within 90 days of the date on the check that you received. There are several Grant closure meetings scheduled (see above).  If you would like to set up an individual Grant Closure meeting, please contact your specialist to do so.  This should be done no later than 3 weeks prior to your deadline date (in case you need to get more receipts/documentation).

Resources from our other ECE Partners

It's okay to have fun at work! - Wellspan Health 

The average preschooler laughs or smiles 400 times a day.  By the time we reach age 35, that drops to 15 times a day. 
Laughter releases endorphins, a chemical ten times more powerful than the pain-relieving drug morphine.  Laughter also boosts immunity and relieves stress.  
It has been found that people who have fun at work are more creative, more productive, better decision makers, have fewer absent days, have enhanced employee satisfaction and get along better with co-workers.   
Looking to have more fun at work?  Here are a few tips to get you started.      

  • Encourage employees to share tips, jokes or riddles with each other
  • Allow employees to decorate their work space
  • Build a Wall of Fame
  • Create a humor bulletin board
  • Celebrate employees' birthdays and work anniversaries
  • Hold a pizza social

Friday, January 27th, is National Fun at Work Day - a great day to start a happiness challenge to last all year!

Research Study - New Dates 

The Penn State College of Medicine is working with Research Matters on a project designed to learn more about the effectiveness  of the iLook Out for Child Abuse (iLookOut) online learning module.  
Click here for more information and to participate.  

If you have any questions, please contact Nicole Verdiglione ( or 717.531.0003 Ex. 283765. We thank you for helping us improve the iLook Out for Child Abuse online learning module.  We look forward to hear your feedback.

Newsletters and Community Resources 
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