Mid-State Regional Key
A Leader In Community Services

Welcome to the Mid-State Regional Key STARS Newsletter!!
Check out our MSRK Contact List & Facebook Page !!
Merit & ERA Reminders - Elizabeth Marcello

   For ERAs:
  • On the Word Document Request, you can write “See Workbook” in the staff chart in lieu of typing the same information that you put in the ERA Workbook.
  • Please type your name and date into the signature line of the ERA Workbook (Excel), but you do not need to hand-sign this document. You do still need to hand-sign the Request (Word Document).

For both ERAs and Merits:
The date on the Request that you sign MUST be the date that we receive the final grant draft from you. Therefore, please do not sign this page until your quality coach gives you the go-ahead to do so, after they have checked what you have submitted. This will save you from having to sign and date this page potentially multiple times. 
Remember last year when lots of things were “static” leading up to the STARS RE-VISIONING that took place in July? - Sally Melder  

After reviewing the new standards and exploring the new system of blocks and points, do you wish that a fairy would swoop down over your program, wave the little STAR wand, and grant you a higher STAR level?

The Quality Coaches (formerly known as your STARS Specialist) in the Mid- State Regional Key are waiting for your call for support! This FREE benefit is available to STARS programs! 
Coaches are partners with providers, allowing the provider to ‘be in control’ of what quality improvements, technical assistance, skills and practices will distinguish their program philosophy and child outcomes. Coaches may be needed once or in a series of sessions depending on the wishes of the provider and when the goal is achieved. They have ability to connect your program with other free resources and customized supports. Coaches walk with you in the journey, relating to you and your program by listening and asking questions, and observing and reflecting.  They want you to imagine and then strive for the unique, quality program you have envisioned for children in your care to become a reality! 
Consultants, on the other hand, advise clients, can be costly, may include some material fees, and include contracts of what they will do. The consultant is ‘in control’ of what changes/improvements will get programs to the next STAR level. 
Think of coaching/consulting like the Aesops fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. The tortoise (coach) is deliberative, methodical, and determined to reach the goal in good time. The hare (consultant) is focused, over-confident yet undisciplined, rushing to get done.
Give your Quality Coach (alias-STARS Specialist) a call or email them today to begin your next move!   
Lung Cancer Awareness Month – submitted by Anne Dodds Health and Safety Specialist

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month! Did you know that lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the US and that exposure to radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer? Exposure to secondhand smoke or other chemicals like radon and arsenic may increase the risk of lung cancer according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC).  
Reduce your risk of lung cancer by taking these measures recommended by the CDC in your home or childcare. Children are especially vulnerable from chronic radon exposure because they have many years of life ahead of them within which to develop symptoms of lung cancer, which often has a long latency period. Therefore more specific measures should be taken. Never smoke, including e-cigarettes and/or “vaping”, in the home, on child care premises, in your car or near children. Check out our Air Quality Fact Sheet to learn more! 
STEM Calendar - Kim Alloway

November can be a fun but busy time as we get ready for the holiday season. Don’t forget to check in with families and learn about how they celebrate. Different cultural traditions can be a great learning experience for the center, staff and families. Different doesn’t mean wrong, and we can enrich and expand our own lives by learning about and embracing other cultures and their traditions. Support your staff by making a copy of this page of the Infant Toddler STEM calendar !
Mix It Up! - Rhea Simmons

In school age programs, finding group games that are appropriate for everyone in mixed age groups can be challenging. But with intentional planning, you can come up with games that provide enough challenge for older children without being too frustrating for younger ones. To help with activity planning, STARS has a resource library that is open to all STARS program providers.
For a catalog of resources available for loan, contact your SACC specialist .
 Here is a game from Adapted Games and Activities: From Tag to Team Building that can be modified to be developmentally appropriate for a mixed age group, and is perfect for Thanksgiving.

Turkey Hunt
Standards: 10.4 2A 10.4 2.B
Area - Gym or Open area, inside or out
Equipment - Football flags, bandannas, or strips of fabric
To Play - Choose one student or several to be the turkeys. These students put bandannas in their waistbands and/or back pockets. To make it suitable for mixed ages, younger children get more “feathers”.
All other children are the hunters.
Give the turkey(s) a head start.
On the signal hunters chase the turkeys and attempt to pull the tail feathers (one per grab). A turkey is out when he has lost all of his tail feathers.
The last turkey with at least one feather wins!
Variation 1 - To keep the game going, once a turkey is out, he/she becomes a hunter.
Variation 2 - Separate groups into teams of turkeys and hunters. Set a time limit- 2 to 10 minutes. The hunters get the feathers as described above, but they put them in a basket in the center of the play space. Turkeys can get a feather back by getting to the basket. At the end of the time, the team with the most feathers wins.
2018 PA One Book Announced

There's a new PA One Book Every Young Child book selection. My Cousin Momo by Zach OHora has been selected for 2018. Fans of the PA One Book Every Young Child campaign may recall a book by author Zach OHora has been selected in the past. In 2012, Stop Snoring Bernard! was selected as the PA One Book.
For those who want to order copies of the PA One Book, do so soon, as quantities are limited and sell out fast. Use the order form to order the books . Be sure to like the PA One Book page on Facebook and follow on Instagram @paonebook for up-to-date information on all things happening with PA One Book.     
New CACFP Training Opportunities 
USDA's Team Nutrition is hosting a new webinar series, Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Halftime: Thirty on Thursdays . The webinar series will feature a variety of topics related to the updated CACFP meal patterns. Webinars will be held on the third Thursday of each month and are great for state agencies, sponsoring organizations, CACFP providers and program operators, and others who work with CACFP. An English webinar will be held from 2:00-2:30 pm ET and a Spanish webinar will be held from 3:00-3:30 pm ET. Please visit the CACFP Halftime Webinar page for more info. All webinars will be recorded and made available at a later date on the USDA Team Nutrition website .
Are you currently enrolled in CDA Coursework & need help paying the CDA application fee?

T.E.A.C.H. has CDA Assessment Scholarships to help you pay the application fee to the Council for Professional Recognition. You will also receive a $200 stipend once you earn your CDA Credential! Funding is available for this fiscal year – so apply today! For more information, contact Nikki Burchett, T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Counselor at (717) 724-9513 or nikki.burchett@pacca.org .  

Opportunities Exchange is hosting a webinar on December 5 at 1:00 ET. This webinar is designed to outline the Shared Services Alliance startup process, direct you to specific tools on the OppEx website that can help, and discuss three recent examples of Alliance startups, including lessons learned. Register here .
Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting!        Email to RSVP

STARS Informational session & Panel Discussion
Discussions around STARS clarifications, resources available, grants & tiered reimbursement overview, and a Q&A with community partners (possible partners include Certification, Quality Assessors, Pre-K Counts, TA, ECMH, Mentoring, PD, & other community organizations).

  • November 14 from 1-3 at Lebanon YMCA - with Corrie
  • November 15 from 12:30-2:30 Online - with Jen
  • November 16 from 9:30-11:30 at United Way of York - with Carrie
  • November 16 from 1-3 at CAECTI - with Alyssa & Corrie 

Grant Workgroups
If possible, bring either printed copies of the application(s) you are eligible for or your laptop so you have a visual. RSVP by November 13th.

  • November 15 from 12:30-2:30 at the Bennett Family Center in State College - with Elizabeth
  • November 17 from 12:30-2:30 at the Lock Haven YMCA - with Elizabeth
Other Community Meetings & Events 

Family Engagement Conference     

This is a one-day, free Conference that is focused on family engagement strategies and innovative practices. It is informed by parents and professionals, for parents and professionals. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in engaging workshops, café conversations, networking and access resources.

The conference will be held at two different locations: November 14 in Harrisburg and November 15 in Scranton and is open to all prenatal through 3rd Grade (P-3) stakeholders including: Family and Community Leaders, Administrators and Educators, Early Intervention staff, Home Visitors and Family Support professionals. 

Share this information with the families in your program and encourage them to attend. Scholarships are available to support family participation (reimbursement for mileage, lodging, and childcare).

This initiative is in part by Pennsylvania's Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge grant. For more information on other initiatives funded by this grant, visit the  
Professional Development Updates    
Register on the  PD Registry 

Check out our Training Flyers below! All flyers may be printed and shared by clicking on them.

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    info@childcareconsultants.org