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.
OCDEL News & Updates

Public Comments Requested on OCDEL Draft Announcements

Comment deadline April 28, 2017
The PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) recently released two draft announcements aimed at increasing inclusion, and reducing suspension and expulsion in early learning settings.
Reduction of Expulsion and Suspension in Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania reflects OCDEL's response to the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) released policy statement recommending that states develop policies and practices to significantly limit the practice of expulsion and suspension of young children due to challenging behaviors in all early childhood programs.

Inclusion of All Children in Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania reflects OCDEL's response to the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) released policy statement recommending that states develop policies and practices to increase the inclusion of infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities in high-quality early childhood programs.

The deadline to submit comments is April 28, 2017. Read the policy statements and how to submit comments on the PA Key website

Pre-K Counts Updates

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Request for Applications Announced

Pennsylvania's fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 proposed budget makes historic investments in education to prepare our children for the jobs of tomorrow, including an additional $75 million more for early childhood education. With new investments in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts ($65 million) and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program ($10 million), the state will be able to increase the number of children served in high-quality pre-kindergarten by 36 percent. The proposal in the FY 2017-18 Executive Budget represents the further steps toward achieving the goal of universal access to high quality pre-kindergarten programs. Please note that funding is contingent upon approval by the Pennsylvania legislature.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is seeking applicants for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts was enacted into law by Act 45 of 2007 (and amended in 2008 and 2010) amending the Public School Code of 1949 (24 P.S. §§ 15- 1511-D-15-1516-D). Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts provides children with the opportunity to experience a high quality pre-kindergarten program. The program standards 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 Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts can open the doors of opportunity for every child to do well in school, in the workforce, and in life.   

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 one-year grant period beginning in FY 2017-18. Please note, a full competition for funding will occur in FY 2018-19. 

 Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts applicants MUST complete a REQUIRED Letter of Intent using the template posted at the PA Key website

Deadline for submitting a Letter of Intent is by 3 pm on May 5, 2017.

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

Family Provider News

Better Kid Care provides professional development opportunities designed specifically for family child care professionals.  Here are the newest updated modules. 
Health & Safety News - Anne Dodds

School Vaccination Information

The Department of Health is changing school immunization regulations beginning August 2017. The regulations are intended to ensure that children attending school in the commonwealth are adequately protected against potential outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases.  

The Pennsylvania Get Smart Program invites all children (up to 12 years old) to help build the national campaign to say "NO!" to germs and "YES!" to being healthy!  This involves ideas like washing your hands (to wash germs away), getting vaccines or "shots" (to help prevent illness), and using medicines called antibiotics appropriately (to fight bacterial infections).
Infant & Toddler News   

Zero to Three Information

Here is some more great information from Zero to Three. Take a moment to check them out. -

This video is from Hulu’s hit series about East Los High and a young mothers struggle with two year old tantrums. 

Zero to Three also has a super article on the importance of routines. Here is an excerpt:

Routines help babies and toddlers learn self-control.

Consistent routines, activities that happen at about the same time and in about the same way each day, provide comfort and a sense of safety to young children. Whether it is time to play, time for a snack, a nap, or a loved one to return, knowing what will happen next gives babies and toddlers security and emotional stability. It helps them learn to trust that caring adults will provide what they need. When children feel this sense of trust and safety, they are free to do their “work,” which is to play, explore, and learn.

Go here for the complete article.
SACC News -Rhea Simmons

Afterschool Advocacy Day

Please see the information for Afterschool Advocacy Day on May 10th. This event counts as a professional growth activity at STAR 3 and STAR 4. 

Hand Washing -It’s Not Just for Preschool

Imagine this scenario: A child finishes using the bathroom and moves to the sink. There with the hand washing instructions in full view, she squirts an ice cream cone sized pile of foaming soap in her hand, which she promptly rinses off. Then she turns off the faucet and dispenses four paper towels to dry her partially wet (and still dirty) hands. Sound familiar?

In our preschool programs, staff are often diligent about ensuring that their preschoolers learn and practice proper handwashing technique. They may actually guide the children’s hands through the entire process, sing “Happy Birthday” twice to get to 20 seconds of wash time. But when children reach school age, we assume the children have learned this skill and so they are left to their own devices.

As the scenario above suggests, school agers still need supervision and guidance when it comes to hand washing.  Below are some activities and links to lessons that can be used to create a unit about the spread of germs and help reinforce proper handwashing techniques:
Check the SACC Pinterest Page for ideas on making germ models, growing mold and other ideas!
Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting!  Email Stephanie to RSVP

Director's Roundtable
  • 4/5/17 at Panera Bread in Harrisburg at 9:30 - with Corrie
  • 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 

Supervision 4/26/17 at 4:30 at Perkins, 96 Dorsett Heights, Mansfield with Anne & Erica

Other Community Meetings 

ECE Coalition Meeting 4/12/17 at 1:00 at BLaST IU 17, 33 Springbrook Dr. Canton. RSVP: Desiree Rockwell

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

Grant Reminders 

Grant Closures  – If you have received your grant funds, please keep in mind that you must CLOSE your grant by the date listed on the letter you received with your check. 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

GREAT idea for a small group or class project! Yum, edible books!! See the Instructions  for more information.
Newsletters and Community Events 

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

WOYC Events

  • Adams Family Event April 29th at Lincoln Elementary School in Gettysburg from 10-1 for a Family Event. See Flyer 
  • Dauphin - Playdate in the Park April 29th from 1-4 at Possibility Place at George Park. See Flyer 
  • York - Teacher Celebration Event April 28th at the Outdoor Country Club of York from 6-9. Register Here. 

QRIS National Newsletters - Updated Resources Available!
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