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

Child Care Consultants, the parent organization of the Mid-State Regional Key, invites you to a fun night to support high quality early childhood education.  Attached please find the list of over 60 silent auction items totaling more than $7,000. They include tickets to Disney, NASCAR, and museums; DIAMOND earrings, several wine tasting tours, gift cards to restaurants and attractions, golf outings, artwork and more!  See list of items here!

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

STARS Updates from the Mid-State RK

See below to find the CCC-MSRK RFP for 17-18 for PD and TA services.  It is due by 5pm on April 14, 2017.  Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. 

CCC.MSRK RFP for Individual Contractor for PD & TA Services 17-18

CCC.MSRK RFP for PD & TA Services 17-18

MSRK Attachment A-PD.TA Work Plan FY18

CCC.MSRK Attachment B Staffing Plan FY18

CCC.MSRK Attachment C-Proposed Budget FY18

If you have any questions, please contact Lorrie Hall at

OCDEL News & Updates

New Address for the Central Region Office  
Central Region OCDEL
P. O. Box 2675
Forum Place, 6th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17105
Please contact your Regional Office with any questions.  

Reminder: Complete the New Health & Safety Training Requirements by September 2017
Free online training is available now for 9 of 10 required topics. One new requirement of the federal Child Care Development Block Grant is for all child care directors and staff to complete training on 10 health and safety topics by September 30, 2017. Please see OCDEL's Announcement for more information.

In order to meet the new requirements:
  • Take a free, six-hour "Health & Safety Basics: Requirements for Certification" course online through Better Kid Care or in person through the Regional Key, or provide transcript of courses already taken that meet the requirements.
  • Must take face-to-face Pediatric First Aid and CPR training.
Child care certification representatives are checking professional development records for these topics as part of inspections and new providers must complete pre-service training on the 10 topics before submitting an application.

Visit the PA Key website  or contact your Regional Certification Office for more details.  

Head Start Updates 
Action Required: Pennsylvania Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program Request for Applications Announced

Letters of Intent due April 21, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), is releasing a competitive Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) Request for Application (RFA). This RFA process is a full competitive rebid for HSSAP funding, and will include the Governor's proposed $10M in expansion funds. OCDEL encourages all eligible Head Start providers to apply. Current HSSAP grantees MUST re-apply as part of this full competitive rebid process. Failure to reapply for funding will result in the re-appropriation of funds to those who have applied and been selected to receive funds.

HSSAP provides children with the opportunity to experience a high quality pre-kindergarten program. The program standards will ensure a high return on the investment in the preparation of young children for school and will help to close the achievement gap. Early education through Head Start can open the doors of opportunity for every child to do well in school, in the workforce, and in life. Applicants may submit funding proposals aligned with the program models outlined in the Head Start Performance Standards 1302 Part B.

PDE is issuing this Request for Applications now in order to support providers in preparing to serve children and to assist in being ready for enrollment by September. We recognize that providers need to conduct outreach to families; recruit, hire and train staff; and do all of the planning necessary to successfully implement the program pending approval of proposed funding.

This competitive opportunity will select eligible grantees for a five-year grant period beginning this year. The following entities are eligible to apply in the competitive process for FY 2017-18:

  • Head Start grantees
  • Early Head Start grantees
Please visit the PA Key website for additional details, including Program Requirements, Letters of Intent, Pre-Application webinar, and important requirements for application. 

Health & Safety News - Anne Dodds

Child Care Practitioners are prepared to function in the role of a Child Care Health Advocate (CCHA). The course provides 15 health and safety modules and involves participants in learning experiences that can be used at their facility. It will also provide 3 college credits. 
Family Provider News

ECELS is sharing a mini-grant opportunity  – see below for details.

A mini-grant opportunity is available to child care providers to support community engagement activities aimed at addressing childhood obesity.  The Pennsylvania Race to the Top Family Meals Workshops Grant Opportunity is being offered by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) to early childhood programs participating in Keystone STARS. Fourteen grants ($2,500.00 each) will be awarded to 14 child care programs participating at STAR level 2, 3 or 4, including family child care providers, who complete a grant application and are selected to participate. See  complete details in the Family Meals Application  posted on the PA Keys website. Applications are due March 24th, 2017. Contact Amy or Tracy with any questions.

Infant & Toddler News  

Watch how parents and caregivers can support the development of communication skills from birth to 3 years. From Magic of Everyday Moments — Series 3. 

From your baby’s first cry, she is learning all about language, communication, and connecting with you.

Babies have conversations through cries, facial expressions and body movements. This video will help parents deepen their understanding of how babies and toddlers communicate their needs and feelings. Strategies for how to support the development of communication skills beginning at birth are also provided.

SACC News -Rhea Simmons


In the last article, the difference between snacks and treats was defined, and we learned that grain based desserts such as gram and animal crackers, cookies and cakes will no longer be creditable in the  CACFP program. Even snacks originally thought of as healthy, such as granola and cereal bars have been found to contain high levels of sugar and fat and so are disallowed.

So what is an after school program with a limited budget to serve? Below are some ideas for substituting high sugar and fat grain based desserts for more whole grain choices.

·         Cereal and milk- use cereals made with whole grains like Cheerios, Total, etc. and without added sugar.

·         Whole wheat soft tortilla quarters or whole wheat pretzels with toppings/dippers like Neufchatel cheese (light cream cheese) and/or  shredded cheese. (The children can make or help make salsa, guacamole, or hummus as toppings.)

·         Waffle cones made with whole wheat pancake flour (bring your waffle iron) and 1 ingredient banana ice cream.

·         Waffle iron whole wheat quesadillas and cheese.

Most of the snacks listed above require prep, so let the kids in on the act! Not only will it support your program, but the kids are more likely to try foods they had a hand in making. And they will be eating healthier too.  Recipes like the one ingredient banana ice cream, and more can be found on the SACC MSRK Pinterest page. 

SACC Conference

Registration Deadline is Friday, March 24th!

This is the last week to register for the Spring Into Summer Conference at the Sheraton Hershey on April 1. Please send your registration to Lorrie Hall; registration is not available directly through the Keys website. 

Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting!

Director's Roundtable

  • 4/5/17 at Panera Bread in Harrisburg at 9:30 - with Carrie
  • 4/13/17 at Giant Community Room in Camp Hill at 12:30 - with Christina 

SACC Summer Activities 4/19/17 at 12:30 at Lancaster Farm & Show Bldg - with Jenn, Alyssa, & Rhea 

Handbook and Policies 4/19/17 at 1:30 at Panera Bread, Carlisle Road York with Carol & Carrie 

ECE Coalition Meeting 4/12/17 at 1:00 at BLaST Intermediate Unit 17, 33 Springbrook Drive, Canton

Lycoming County Commissioners Meeting 4/20/17 at 10:00 at 330 Pine St. in Williamsport  

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

The 2017 PA One Book; Every Young Child has finally arrived!  This year's selection, Daniel Finds a Poem, written and illustrated by Micha Archer, is a story about a boy who goes on an adventure through a park trying to find answers to his question, “What is poetry?”

Do you want a chance to win a copy of this year’s PA One Book?

To help promote reading early and often to children in homes and early learning programs throughout Pennsylvania, one winner will be selected at random EVERY DAY from March 19 to April 30, 2017 to receive a copy of Daniel Finds a Poem

Click here for a chance to win a copy of Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer.

Newsletters and Community Resources 

PennAEYC Voice Awards 4/7/17 in Hershey 6-9 pm 

WOYC Events

  • Adams - Save the date for April 29th in Gettysburg, from 10-1 for a Family Event. See Flyer
  • York - Teacher Celebration Event April 28th at the Outdoor Country Club of York from 6-9. Register Here. 

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