Welcome to the Mid-State Regional Key STARS Newsletter!! 

Child Care Consultants' upcoming Denim & Diamonds fundraiser will be held on April 6th at LSC Design in York. Register Here.
OCDEL News & Updates

Early Learning Resource Centers

Comments due: March 3, 2017
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Service's Office of Administration, the Bureau of Financial Operations has issued a Request for Information ("RFI") on behalf of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning ("OCDEL"). The RFI solicits input regarding the proposed scope of work for the creation and management of regional Early Learning Resource Centers ("ELRCs").  ELRCs will combine the work of the Child Care Information Services and the Regional Keys to better support continued capacity building for children and families' ability to access affordable, high-quality child care and other early care and education opportunities for their children. Stakeholders, families and current OCDEL business partners are encouraged to visit  for more information regarding the RFI.  It is listed under "Solicitations - RFI PA Early Learning Resource Centers."

Governor releases proposed budget for 2017-18, including increases for early childhood education 

On Tuesday, February 7, Governor Wolf released his proposed budget for 2017-18. Watch his budget address and download budget documents from the Governor's website.   

"I'm offering a budget proposal that represents a responsible solution to our deficit challenge - and a different approach from the way things have been done in Harrisburg for almost a generation. At the same time, my budget protects the investments we've made in education, in senior services, in fighting the scourge of opioids, and in growing Pennsylvania's economy."

The proposed budget would provide:

  • $9 million increased investment to serve approximately 1,700 additional families in evidence-based home visiting;
  • $10 million increased investment in Child Care Works to serve approximately 1,800 additional children from the Child Care Works waiting list;
  • maintained investment in Keystone STARS to serve approximately 1,000 additional children;
  • $65 million increased investment in Pre-K Counts to serve at least 7,400 additional children;
  • $10 million increased investment in Head Start Supplemental to serve at least 1,030 additional children; and
  • $11 million increased investment in Preschool Early Intervention to serve approximately 1,100 additional children.  

Please download the budget chart for more information.

STARS Re-Visioning Updates 

Proposed Supports for Keystone STARS programs  

As part of Keystone STARS Revisioning, OCDEL and stakeholders involved in the process want to make sure that limited resources are being used as effectively as possible to provide quality early learning opportunities especially to at-risk children. 

As a result, OCDEL is proposing the following adjustments to financial supports:

  • Maintain funding for teacher higher education scholarships (T.E.A.C.H. and Rising STARS Tuition Assistance) and Education and Retention Awards;
  • Maintain STAR 2 tiered reimbursement and merit awards;
  • Increase tiered reimbursements for STAR 3 and 4 programs by 23 percent by shifting resources from merit awards. By shifting these resources to tiered reimbursement, providers will have more flexibility with no grant paperwork (saving time and money). With the 12-month redetermination of children receiving Child Care Works, providers will also experience more stability and less paperwork serving these children. Regional Keys can also direct more resources to supporting quality improvement; and the commonwealth can provide more equitable supports for at-risk children.

The reimbursement gap to cover the cost of quality early learning widens at the higher STAR 3 and 4 levels. Restrictions on merit awards can make it challenging to offset those costs, especially retaining qualified staff. 

The current merit award structure has not resulted in a significant higher percentage of children receiving Child Care Works enrolling in Keystone STAR 3 and 4 facilities. In fact, there is such an inequitable distribution of resources for at-risk children that programs serving the minimum percentage of at-risk children receive more than ten times the amount per at-risk child than programs serving 90-100 percent enrolled children with IEPs or receiving Child Care Works subsidy. 

More information will be provided during the Revisioning process. Visit the PA Key website for updates. 

To have your voice heard during the budget process, please connect with organizations representing your field such as Early Learning PA or Pre-K for PA.

STARS Updates from the Mid-State RK

PA One Book Training Day

When registering for the One Book PD event, you will need to go to the date (March 23rd) and click on the 2 trainings separately and register. It is not posted as the One Book event. The titles of the trainings are:

“More than ABC's: Engaging Children in Early Language and Literacy Experiences”

“Developing Extension Activities From Children’s Literature”

Click here for all the details!

Celebrate Reading in March

You may know that March 2, 2017, is Read Across America Day, but did you know that it is also Read Captions Across America Day? This event is designed to emphasize the importance of captioned media (e.g., broadcast, internet, DVD, CD-ROM) as a reading tool for all children, not just those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

During the entire month of March, celebrate “Read Aloud Month” with Read Aloud 15 Minutes, a non-profit organization that recognizes the benefits of reading aloud to children and encourages families and caregivers to read aloud every day for at least 15 minutes. At  there are tons of great resources that you will want to share with others in order to inspire reading every day. There are items available to download in the Partner Toolkit including:

If you’re looking for new books to share with or explore with children of various ages, check out the book selections webpage that is also available.  Please use these resources and share them with others to help promote reading aloud every day!

Health & Safety News - Ann Dodds

Upcoming Pediatric First Aid/CPR Courses
  • Saturday 3/4:  Daupin Co Ext. 8:30am-2pm               
  • Friday 3/17: Giant Camp Hill 8:30-2pm
  • Saturday 4/1: Adams Co. 8:30am-2pm                        
  • Friday 4/7: UW York 8:30-2pm                                                  
Resources to Promote Dental Health Month - ECELS

February is a great time to focus on dental health. Make plans now to improve the oral health of children in your care in February and throughout the year.  Tooth decay is a serious, but preventable infectious disease! Prevention requires daily oral hygiene and dental care.  Untreated tooth decay can make it difficult for young children to eat, speak, play, learn and be successful in school.  Children from low - income and minority families are particularly at risk for problems related to tooth decay.

Consider teaching  children about oral health and sharing  information with families. Teaching children about oral health applies to the  PA Early Learning Standards Key Learning Area: Health, Wellness and Physical Development – Learning About My Body.  Use the attached flyers from the American Academy of Pediatrics to share oral health messages with families. The flyers are available in English and Spanish.

Learn more about oral health by using  ECELS  professional development options, available at The review fee is $15

1.Listen to and complete the ECELS Oral Health Webinar 

2.Complete the ECELS Oral Health Basics Self-Learning Module 

3.Complete the ECELS Oral Health Self-Learning  Module 

Prenatal Dental Flyer: English & Spanish

Early Childhood Dental Flyer: English & Spanish 

2017 Recommended Immunization Schedules Now Available

Child care providers are encouraged to share these new recommended immunization schedules with families.

For children from birth through 6 years old. 

For children from 7 through 18 years old.  

Family Provider News

Better Kid Care Resources

Those who care for children in their homes provide an important service to parents and to the community. Here's a PDF resource with lots of basics you need on hand. 

Family Child Care: A Unique Role In Supporting Family Engagement - New Module available
Strong family engagement is critical, not supplemental, in promoting children’s healthy development, learning, and wellness. Learn how to build positive partnerships with families, work through challenges to family engagement, and improve the quality of care for children and families in your family child care program. 

Infant & Toddler News - Kim Alloway 

 Thanks to all of the directors who attended the Specialists workgroup meetings on Developmentally Appropriate Art for Infants and Toddlers. In the February issue of Baby Talk there is a YouTube link to creating even more art tools that are great for our youngest children. Take a moment to check it out!

Check out Kim's article, What Does Play Look Like.

SACC News 

Looking for a Place for Summer Field Trips?

Check out this flyer for deals from Suburban Bowlerama in York. 

Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting!

Grant Closure - join us to review the Receipt Splitting Chart, learn how to keep your receipts organized, and to find out what you need to do to CLOSE your grant! 

  • 2/28/17 at Perkins in Mansfield from 9-10:30 - with Erica G. & Jenn
  • 2/28/17 at Child Development and Family Council in State College from 1-2:30 - with Elizabeth & Jenn
  • 3/9/17 at Lebanon YMCA from 1-3 - with Corrie 
  • 3/22/17 at Panera on Carlisle Rd. in York from 1:30-3 - with Carrie

Prepping for Summer Camp with Rhea Simmons - 3/8/17 at Panera on Carlisle Rd in York at 10 - with Carrie

Director's Roundtable

  • 3/16/17 at Panera on Fruitville Pik in Lancaster from 12:30-2:30 - with Jenn W
  • 3/16/17 at Carlisle United Way from 12:30-2:30 - with Christina 

Lycoming Early Learning Team Meeting 3/16/17 at 11

Art for Infants & Toddlers with Kim Alloway - designed for Directors to learn what types of art activities should be happening in your Infant/Toddler classrooms. PD Hours will be provided. 3/22/17 at 10 at Lewistown Children's Center - with Michaelle 

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

Training Lists & Updated Events 

Core Series Training

  • CKC & CQI March 25th at Lancaster Coop Extension

Other Training Organizations & Online Training 

Training Highlights

Registration has now opened for the 2017 Bridging the Gap Seminar.  This year's event will be held on Wednesday, March 29 at the Adams County Emergency Call Center.  The day will be filled with excellent presenters, networking opportunities, a plethora of door prizes and free breakfast and lunch.  Please click here register...

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

Children's Champions: The Profession Shows Its Power by.. ...Calling Congress
On Tuesday, February 28, as part of NAEYC's annual Public Policy Forum , hundreds of early childhood educators from across the country will be meeting with Senators and Representatives - theirs and yours - to talk about the importance of investing in high-quality early childhood education that benefits children, families and our economy. You might not be on Capitol Hill that day - but your voice can still be heard!
Show the power of this profession by calling your elected officials this Tuesday, February 28, echoing and elevating the messages they'll be hearing throughout the day. Here's what you can say:
My name is ________________ and I'm a constituent of Senator / Representative ________________.
I am an ________________ (early childhood educator / child care center director / researcher / etc.), calling from ________________ (the place where you live / vote).
Some of my colleagues are meeting with you and some of your colleagues today to talk about the importance of high-quality early childhood education.
Decades of research show that early investment produces positive outcomes for our children, families and the economic future of our country.
I want to make sure you hear that your constituents support increased investments in child care and early learning. Specifically, we are asking Senator / Representative ________________:
To support the foundations of quality child care by substantially increasing funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which was reauthorized in 2014 with strong bipartisan support; and To help more lower-and middle-income families afford child care by making smart reforms that strengthen the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
Thank you for taking my call, and for the hard work you do. Have a great day!
Need a boost to make that first call? Check out how to call your reps (when you have social anxiety) and learn why calling can be even better than emailing
...Sharing Opinions and Expertise
As many of you now know, NAEYC has launched the Power to the Profession initiative to establish a shared framework of career pathways, knowledge and competencies, qualifications, standards, and compensation that unifies the entire early childhood education profession for ages birth to age 8 and across all settings. In January, more than 60 early childhood education leaders gathered to formally commence the initiative. These leaders represent nearly two million professionals in the early childhood education field - and it's our job to put your voices front and center!
We need you to inform the process and shape the early childhood education profession by providing your input and feedback (the deadline for completing the survey is March 13). And if you haven't already, sign up here to receive regular updates from NAEYC on Power to the Profession.
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