Welcome to the Mid-State Regional Key STARS Newsletter!! If there are others that you know that would benefit from this information, please forward this email to them to sign up. 
OCDEL News & Updates
Resource on School Connections

Check out this SCHOOL CONNECTIONS resource.  

This resource will help you:
  • state the case for strong school connections
  • provide reflective questions to help build school connections
  • provide access to research based national tools
STARS Re-Visioning Updates 

Workgroups and Public Webinars 

Last month, OCDEL held orientation webinars for the three workgroups that will drive the re-visioning process for Keystone STARS. Over 600 stakeholders participated in the webinars. The STARS Re-visoning Logic Model and more information about the individual workgroups and their activities are available on the PA Keys Website. Click on the workgroups below.
►  Quality Indicators/Program Alignment Workgroup
►  Communications/STARS Ambassadors Workgroup
►  PD/Coaching/Cross-Systems Partnerships Workgroup

OCDEL is also inviting all stakeholders to participate on one of two public webinars on January 19, 2017 for an update on the Keystone STARS Re-visioning work. Sign-up via the links below:

    STARS Updates from the Mid-State RK

    LET’S TALK QUALITY! PROGRAM QUALITY ASSESSMENT IN PA                                            

    ERS assessors' blog going live in mid-January! The PA Key announces the launch of an all new blog, scheduled to go live in mid-January. Assessors will discuss how the Environment Rating Scales support developmentally appropriate practices, answer questions from the field, and share reflections on program quality assessment through posts, pictures, and first hand experiences. Guest bloggers will be featured as they share their work and insights related to early childhood education. The blog link will be available closer to the launch. Stay tuned!

    Health & Safety News - Anne Dodds 

    Health Capsule: Support Positive Behavior in Young Children

    Good health includes social, emotional, and behavioral wellness. Use approaches to support positive behavior in young children. This will encourage wellness for all children in your care. Teach children appropriate ways to manage their own behavior. The goal is to teach and guide children, not to punish. Strategies include using clear rules and supportive language. Offering alternatives to undesirable behavior and natural consequences are excellent options.

    Common challenging behaviors in child care can include biting, defiance, and tantrums. Some behaviors persist and raise concerns. The child may not respond to appropriate positive interventions. Persistent difficult behaviors may include excess anger, aggression, and social withdrawal. What steps should be taken?

    1. Discuss the issues with parents…early!
    2. Contact ECELS if you have questions about a child’s behavior 800/243-2357 or
    3. Document observations; use the ECELS Behavioral Data Collection Sheet.
    4. Include the child’s health care provider. Primary care providers should evaluate all children with persistent behavior problems. Encourage the parents to bring the Behavioral Data Collection Sheet.
    5. Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants (ECMHCs) are available through the PA Keys.
    6. Avoid expulsion. Expulsion can prevent children from receiving the help they need.
    7. Create a policy. Model Child Care Health Policies, 5th edition contains the Special Care Plan for a Child with Behavioral Concerns (pp. 140-141). This is a fill in the blank policy for positive behavior management.

    Implement ways to support positive behavior in your work with children. Online resources include:

    Review best practice standards from Caring for Our Children, 3rd edition:

    • Early Childhood Mental Health Consultants
    • Discipline Measures
    • Handling Physical Aggression, Biting, and Hitting
    • Preventing Expulsions, Suspensions, and Other Limitations in Service
    • Written Discipline Policies
    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
    Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting!

    Director Roundtable - 12/20/16 at Park City in Lancaster at 12 - with Jenn

    Director Discussion - 1/11/17 at Panera Bread on Carlisle Rd. in York at 2:00 - with Carrie

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

    Director Roundtable - 1/19/17 at Carlisle United Way at 12:30 - with Christina 

    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. 1/24/17 at Lebanon YMCA at 1 - with Corrie               1/26/17 at Lancaster Penn State Coop at 12:30 - with Jenn 

    RSVP to Stephanie at 

    LICC/Lycoming Provider Meeting - 1/19/17 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

    • ECERS-3 in Elizabethtown on January 5th 
    • STARS Orientation in Harrisburg on 1/19 - Part 1 from 9-12 and Part II from 12:30-3:30.
    • CKC 1/19/17 in Lancaster

    Other Training Organizations & Online Training 

    New On Demand Modules at Better Kid Care   Understanding Poverty: Strategies for Family Engagement Early Intervention: Support Infants and Toddlers

    Head Start teacher time webcasts
    Click Here to watch and discover teaching tips and related materials. This professional development series is designed for Head Start and Early Head Start staff, teachers, and those who care for and teach young children in center-based and family child care settings.

    Infant & Toddler News - Kim Alloway

    Baby Talk Newsletter                                                  

    The December edition is now available. Topics include Face Time, Safe Sleep, videos, and more.  

    Updated Infant Safe-Sleep Guidelines
    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released updated recommendations for a safe infant sleeping environment, published in the October issue of Pediatrics. AAP encourages a safe-sleep environment that can reduce the risk of all sleep-related infant deaths. The updated recommendations also include the role of child care providers in endorsing and modeling the SIDS risk-reduction recommendations.

    SACC News - Rhea Simmons 

    SACC Resource Library  
    Tip sheets, planning templates and a list of books available for loan from the SACC resource library can be obtained from the Mid State Regional Key. Contact  Rhea Simmons

    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.

    News from our other ECE Partners

    Shared Sources:  At Your Desk Learning

    The "Online University" provides a wide range of courses available 24/7 from the convenience of your own computer. Among the interactive training programs you'll find Microsoft office applications both core knowledge and expert levels, Introduction to Public Relations and Marketing and even Hand Washing training. Take them once or as many times as you'd like. It's all inclusive.

    FAFSA Changes for 2017-2018
    The US Department of Education, Office of Federal Aid has announced changes to the 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Click here for more information on those changes. PACCA encourages all T.E.A.C.H. Applicants and Recipients to apply for federal financial aid – you could be eligible to receive grant dollars that do not have to be paid back!

    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