SPECIAL EDITION! | August 2021
Special Edition:
Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs)
Find Your Professional Development Organization (PDO)
Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Education Professional Development Organizations (ECE PDOs) were created to ensure the early childhood workforce is well equipped to support the growth and development of today’s youngest children and their families. Many in the ECE workforce are eager to seek credentials despite balancing fulltime work with home responsibilities and earning less than their colleagues that are employed in other sectors. To begin addressing this inequity, the PDOs provide tuition and specialized supports specific to early educators working in childcare settings. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. When it comes to addressing inequities in the ECE credentialing system, the ECE PDOs are supporting IHE leaders in their efforts as well.

In FY 20-21 PHMC worked with IHE leaders to address inequities in the system by increasing the number of 2+2 Program Articulation agreements in their region. As an entity, PHMC supported IHEs in building consensus and documenting such agreements. This effort means early educators, know upfront what Bachelor programs will award Junior status after earning the AA. This saves the educator valuable time and effort, in turn increases persistence to the end of the program. 

Throughout the next year, PASSHE will be working with a group of IHE partners that are committed to offering early educators in childcare settings access to the skills, competencies, and knowledge they need to improve the quality of their classroom. To support this effort, PASSHE is funding a professional development opportunity for faculty to deepen their Family-Teacher Partnerships and Community Connections courses. Through this effort, early educators will better understand the historical and systemic issues that have perpetuated inequities in our system while ultimately advancing the professions ability to work effectively with diverse populations.

Together with Higher Education Leaders, the PDOs are addressing systemic inequities in ECE credentialing so when opportunities like this pop up through the PDOs so it is critical to connect with the ECE PDO that services your region.

To find out how to connect directly to your PDO, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.
Check Out Pennsylvania's New Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) Webpage
This new Higher Education page is designed for faculty and instructors that teach at any of Pennsylvania's Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) offering coursework toward an Early Childhood Degree. Resources, recorded webinars, and contact information is provided and will be updated regularly.

Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators (PA PSCECE)
Pennsylvania is adopting a new set of professional standards and competencies for Early Childhood Educators. This set of standards and competencies will replace the Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies (PA CKCs) and have been adopted from the national Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators. The PA PSCECE are the general knowledge and skills that educators need to know and be able to demonstrate. They are not the specific standards and competencies needed for specific professions and occupations within the early childhood field.

Adopted and developed with stakeholders, the PA PSCECE are designed to increase the reliability, portability, and relevance of ECE professional development (including higher education programs) nationwide. These standards will help to ensure Pennsylvania’s ECE professionals are prepared to support the growth and development of each and every child, birth through age 8, across the commonwealth. The standards will include seven areas. The first six areas are adopted directly from the national standards; the seventh standard in Health and Safety is Pennsylvania-specific. In addition, the standards will include resources that are Pennsylvania-specific and can be integrated into coursework and trainings. These PA PSCECE will guide Pennsylvania’s early learning professional development system, including both educator preparation and non-certification programs in ECE; ongoing professional growth and development activities; and credentials.

The six adopted National and Pennsylvania specific standards are:
  • Child Development and Learning in Context;
  • Family–Teacher Partnerships and Community Connections;
  • Child Observation, Documentation, and Assessment;
  • Developmentally, Culturally, and Linguistically Appropriate Teaching Practices;
  • Knowledge, Application, and Integration of Academic Content in the Early Childhood Curriculum;
  • Professionalism as an Early Childhood Educator;
  • Health and Safety, which includes Nutrition and Mental Health

Adoption of the National Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators was the first, most important step of this shift in workforce development. Priorities moving forward include continued communication regarding this shift/change to the broader Early Childhood Field. Over the next year, OCDEL will survey varying audience types to better understand professional development needs and develop tailored professional development, resources and supports to meet these needs. In addition, other components of the Early Childhood Education System will be aligned with the new Professional Standards including but not limited to the PD Registry and STARS standards.
An asynchronous course on the Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators (PA PSCECE) is currently in development and will help professionals understand the new standards and the next steps to implementation. Anticipated release of the Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators (PA PSCECE) and the introductory course is September 2021.

For more information, contact Maryanne Olley at [email protected].
2020 Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) OCDEL Initiatives
OCDEL reinforced its commitment to supporting Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) by contracting with Camille Catlett, a consultant, well known in the field of early childhood education for her ties and work with the University of North Carolina’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and many other colleges throughout the United States. The higher education-based projects were in research, national recommendations (e.g., Transforming the Workforce, Power to the Profession) and actively support the implementation of PA quality frameworks (e.g., PA’s Learning Standards for Early Childhood, PA’s Family Engagement Framework).

These three primary projects provided guidance, reflection, and evaluation of current practices within early childhood education degree programs. The syllabus rubric was created to support faculty in examining the extent to which their syllabi reflect explicit and intentional focus on standards, recommendations and practice indicators that align with state and national priorities and frameworks. Free Webinars for faculty and instructors were provided through Zoom and recorded. These webinars provided information and overview of the rubric for faculty interested in evaluating, aligning, and reconstructing their syllabi.  Extensive free resources are available that faculty and instructors can use to support enhancements to their courses and professional development offerings. Finally, in-depth technical assistance sessions were provided to faculty at one community college and one four-year instruction. These small group technical assistance sessions provided an opportunity for Camille to work more closely with the two institutions as they utilized the rubric and resources, to analyze, deconstruct and reconstruct their coursework syllabi.
Together, these projects are designed to help faculty, instructors, and program leaders to incorporate a more consistent emphasis on the values, practices, and experiences that early childhood educators need to support high quality early childhood learning and development in inclusive settings. All of the resources, including the rubric and the recorded webinars can be found on our new higher education webpage found on the Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) page on the Pennsylvania Key website.
Save the Date: Opportunities for State and National Professional Development
Higher Education Professional Organizations focused on ECE and Education
Interested in becoming a member of statewide professional organization that supports education programs in higher education?

The Pennsylvania Association of Colleges in Teacher Education
PAC-TE is a nonprofit professional association for all those in Pennsylvania who are engaged in the preparation and development of professional educators. PAC-TE provides strong advocacy for professional educator preparation within the Commonwealth. For more information, visit PAC-TE's website.

Pennsylvania Affiliate of ACCESS for 2-year institutions
The Associate Degree Early Childhood Teacher Educators – ACCESS to Shared Knowledge and Practice, commonly known as ACCESS
ACCESS is a national, non-profit 501(c) (3) membership association. Its purpose is to support and advocate for associate degree programs in the preparation of early childhood professionals who teach and care for young children from birth through age 8 across a variety of programs; and the instructors who teach in those programs. The organization is founded on the belief that learning is a lifelong process and that associate degree programs are an important link in early childhood professional preparation. For information about joining the PA Affiliate of ACCESS, please send an inquiry e-mail to Jean Allison ([email protected]) or Anu Sachdev ([email protected]).
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Find more information about Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania 
The Pennsylvania Key | 200 N. 3rd St. | Harrisburg, PA 17101