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 !!
Increasing Base Payment Rates for STAR 3 and STAR 4 Providers
As part of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning's (OCDEL) continuing efforts to support high quality child care, OCDEL will increase the subsidy base rates that are below the Maximum Child Care Allowance (MCCA) for STAR 3 and STAR 4 child care providers. Effective January, 1, 2018, all STAR 3 and STAR 4 child care providers who are being paid less than their published rates can receive a rate increase up to the Maximum Child Care Allowance (MCCA) if the published rate meets or exceeds the MCCA. The MCCA rates are established by OCDEL based on county, care level, provider type, and unit of care (part-time, full-time). In order to implement the base payment rate increase, eligible providers must submit their published rates to their Child Care Information Services (CCIS) agency. 
If you have any further questions, contact your CCIS provider specialist.
New Vendor for Digital Fingerprinting and What It Means for You

Note: This announcement reflects the correct phone number of 1-844-321-2101 to pre-register for fingerprinting. We apologize for any confusion. 

The Commonwealth's Department of General Services recently transitioned to a new vendor for digital fingerprinting. The new vendor, IDEMIA, is now accepting registrations and completing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) fingerprinting for Pennsylvania agencies.

You are required to pre-register before you go to your fingerprinting site. Once pre-registered, you may walk in during a location's posted hours of operation or you can schedule an appointment in advance. You do not have to schedule an appointment, however, scheduling an appointment may lead to lesser/no wait times.

STARS 101 & 102 (previously titled STARS Orientation)

Required at STAR level 2 and above for all staff, these trainings are now being scheduled and can be found on the PD Registry. You can search by STARS 101, STARS 102, or STARS 101 & 102. The courses can be taken as two 2-hour sessions or combined into one 4-hour session.
Baby it's Cold Outside...

At the risk of mentioning something that we all noticed by now………it is FREEZING outside and the weather experts assure us that it will be hanging around for at least another week.

The children and teachers are about ready to climb the walls because they can’t get outside. It’s time to think outside the box for gross motor play, or should I say “inside the box”?

Ask families and teachers to bring in boxes over the next few days, the bigger the better. Move all of the classroom furniture to the sides of the room and create a city or tunnel area for the children to play and move about in. Don’t worry about doing anything special to the boxes, (other than making sure there are no sharp edges or stray staples). Cut some holes for windows or doors and voila! Hours of fun for toddlers, and even for our older infants.

Boxes are also fun to throw soft balls or “sock balls” into. Find all of your single socks that no longer have a match and roll them up into balls.
Make sure to pass along these ideas to your teachers!
Practice Makes Perfect

For many people the New Year means resolutions. If you ask school agers their resolutions, many will say “to be good.” But do they know what that looks like in your program?

During the weeks leading up to the holidays, the excitement of the holidays and anticipation of the winter break often leads to relaxing the expectations for both children and adults. Also many programs have experienced increased or changing enrollment and/or staffing since the start of the school year. So revisiting, your program’s written and posted expectations, rules and procedures should be a part of your January plans.

However to be effective, rules have to be more than just recited or read. Dedicating time to practicing rules and procedures ensures everyone knows and understands what is expected of them. In addition to enhancing dramatic play opportunities in your program, role plays, discussions and acting out scenarios provide children with practice and a clear understanding of what it looks like to Be Good. The article Bringing Classroom Rules to Life provides more information on positive and fun approaches to teaching classroom rules and procedures. Additionally your SACC TA  has resources and information on School Age Classroom Expectations, Rules and Procedures.
It's time for Kindergarten Registration!

It may be hard to believe with the temperatures cold and snow on the ground that it's time to register children for Kindergarten. Many schools host Kindergarten registration this time of year! 

Early spring registration helps school be well prepared with teachers, classrooms, and school buses in the fall. It also provides an opportunity for a smooth transition for the incoming Kindergartners and their families. Schools can connect with families of incoming Kindergarten students and early learning programs to ensure everyone is well-prepared for the transition process. Schools, early learning programs and other community partners may host Kindergarten readiness events for families. 

The PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) provides several resources to help transitioning children.

Let PA's Promise for Children help reach families with important Kindergarten registration info! Send Kindergarten registration info to Mary at marhal@pakeys.org to get it added to the Kindergarten Registration page !
January is National Mentoring Month

Do you know a grandparent, a special teacher, a pastor, a friend or neighbor? Anyone can be a mentor! A mentor is someone who is willing to take another under his or her wing. 

Mentors can give advice and suggestions to help another cope or improve their skills. They can also show how they do something, and provide encouragement and support. 
Want to make germs disappear? Try this!

Put a small amount of hand lotion or petroleum jelly on hands. This
represents body oils.

Sprinkle with a little bit of cinnamon. This represents germs.

Resources Supporting Individualization

Young children have a broad range of skills, knowledge, backgrounds, and abilities. It is key to find effective ways to teach all children, especially those at risk for or diagnosed with disabilities. Through individualization, education staff offer learning opportunities to all children.
Learn how to make sure children with disabilities or suspected delays can take part in activities using the resources in this collection. Coaches, faculty, and trainers can also use these resources for professional development.
The materials are organized in eight topic areas, aligned with the  Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices : Assessment; Environment; Family; Instruction; Interaction; Teaming and Collaboration; Transition; and Leadership.
Join us for a STARS Networking Meeting!        Email to RSVP

STARS & Certification Workgroup  
January 12th at 9:30 at Blessed Beginnings in Williamsport

February 16th at 10 in State College - location TBD

STARS Support
January 31st at 9:30 at United Way of York
Other Community Meetings & Events

Tioga ECE Coalition Meeting
January 10th at 1 at  BLaST IU Canton

Lycoming Early Learning Team Meeting
January 18th at 11 at  East Lycoming School District

Clinton County LICC Meeting
January 24th at 9:30 at Infant Development Center
Professional Development Updates    
Register on the  PD Registry 

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