October 2020

Yay Babies 

PEC is dedicating September and October for its 'Yay Babies Campaign.'

'Yay Babies' celebrates our focus on young children who experience homelessness. Every year we concentrate our energies for a month or two to increase awareness of the needs of these children. Since early September, we have organized parent workshops, a 'listening session,' the Roundtable Discussion with Congressperson Dwight Evans, published summaries of how COVID is affecting the childcare system, and more.   

The late Dr. Staci Perlman, PEC's first Visiting Scholar, is credited with coining the phrase 'Yay Babies,' something she sang about after Pennsylvania changed its Early Intervention qualification guidelines to include young children who experience homelessness. It has been five years since Staci passed away, and we dedicate the Yay Babies Campaign to her memory. 
Congressperson Dwight Evans
September 18, 2020! Roundtable Discussion on Young Children Experiencing Homelessness and Early Learning

Partnering with Congressperson Dwight Evans, PEC brought together fifteen national, state, and local leaders to discuss efforts to connect young children experiencing homelessness to high quality early learning. 

Amazingly, more than 430 individuals watched live and 1,200 viewers have watched the video!   

Congressperson Evans started the discussion asking about what are people doing to support young children. By the end, he said "I heard you" and "I am listening to you." 

Leading experts offered their perspective. They included: 
  • Amanda Atkinson - Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC)
  • Omari Baye - ACTS of the Apostle Emergency Housing Program
  • Tracey Campanini - Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning
  • Dr. JJ Cutuli - Nemours Children's Health System
  • Tara Dechert - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Policy Lab
  • Kathy Desmond - People's Emergency Center (PEC)
  • Tracy Duarte - Pennsylvania Head Start Collaboration Office
  • Barbara Duffield - SchoolHouse Connection
  • Ineeze Gainey - Children's Playhouse and IAG Childcare Consulting
  • Deborah Hartranft - School District of Philadelphia
  • Beth Gonzales - Philadelphia Office of Homeless Services
  • Charlene Heeny and Trina Williams - Health Federation of Philadelphia
  • Sean Perkins - Philadelphia Office of Children and Families
  • Rashanda Perryman - Vanguard Strong Start for Kids
  • Roslyn Robinson - Woodstock Family Center
  • Elliot Weinbaum - William Penn Foundation
Together, they offered more than 20 recommendations which PEC will summarize for a soon-to-be released report. 

In the meantime, check out the video now posted on the Congressperson's website:

A pre-Covid CWGEC Meeting
Children's Work Group Now a 'Conference'

Over the last two years, the Children's Work Group Early Childhood 'Committee' enlisted national, state, and regional leadership to lead discussions on cutting edge policies and practices that benefit staff who work with young children experiencing homelessness. 

To capture the educational spirit of our discussions, we are changing the name of our monthly gathering from 'Committee' to 'Conference.'

Hope you like the change. 

Our October Conference will feature Edie Veeck and Dorothy Judd of KenCrest to discuss how they support families in shelter with the infant-toddler early intervention program. 

In addition, Colette Green, Senior Director of Programs for Maternity Care Coalitionwill present on MCC's new program "MOMobile Rapid Engagement Program." The program is a short-term outreach and linkage intervention for pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorders. 

The Conference will be on 
Friday, October 16
9:30 AM to 10:30 AM
SchoolHouse Connection's Barbara Duffield and Head Start's Dr. Deborah Bergeron lead national Listening Session.
BELL Has Been Busy! 

Meet & Greet Listening Party!

On September 23rd, BELL brought together 35 staff from housing and early childhood education programs to collaborate with each other during our first ever listening party! Together we watched Dr. Bergeron's (Director, Office of Head Start) vlog with Barbara Duffield (Executive Director, SchoolHouse Connection). These two leaders discussed creative ways for Head Start programs to connect with children experiencing homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic. Following the vlog listening party, our housing staff partners shared creative ways they have been keeping families engaged and motivated during these challenging times. Roslyn Robinson from Woodstock Family Center shared her "3 P's" - Be Present, Give Presents, Be Patient.

The event's breakout rooms proved quite successful, pairing staff from shelters with staff from high quality early learning programs. In one group, the director of a local high quality early learning program was able to recommend one of her family advocates to work at her partner's shelter, assisting parents with virtual schooling. It certainly proved to be another successful linking of the housing and ECE systems! To view the Meet and Greet, click here.

29 Attendees at Parent Workshop!

BELL recently hosted a parent workshop to discuss childcare and Covid-19. We focused on what parents need to know regarding physical and emotional safety standards of reopening childcare programs. Using the Kahoot! gaming platform, our participants learned through play about what high quality early learning programs should be doing to keep their children physically and emotionally safe during this pandemic. We had guest speakers from currently operating child care programs discuss changes they've made during the pandemic and how they still deliver a high quality education during these challenging times. It was an interactive and fun learning experience for all! To view this workshop, click here.

Get Ready for our Virtual Enrollment Party Series!

We want to make access to high quality early education easy for families and shelter staff during this pandemic. We are launching an enrollment party series, so parents can meet the staff of high quality early learning programs and enroll their children into virtual and in-person services from the comfort of their computer or phone.

Register now for our Virtual Enrollment Party with Health Federation Early Head Start!

October 21st from 1:00 to 2:30 via Zoom - Register here

Look for invitations coming soon for our enrollment parties with PEC's new Parents As Teachers program in October and November!
Parents at Stenton Family Manor received their child's activity kits
Foundations Support Young Children in Shelter 

Thanks to Reinvestment Fund, the Vanguard Strong Start for Kids and The William Penn Foundation, PEC worked with 15 emergency shelters to distribute to 385 children age-appropriate, customized, high-quality activity kits, bringing joy and excitement to children waiting out the pandemic.

Head Start Webinar: Enrolling Children and Young Families Experiencing Homelessness in Early Head Start 

October 28 @ 3 PM ET

Building strong working relationships with community partners is key to supporting children and families experiencing homelessness.
Early Head Start (EHS) programs can prioritize enrollment for pregnant and parenting young families by building partnerships with local Runaway and Homeless Youth Act funded Maternity Group Homes (MGHs). For EHS programs with a local MGH in the area, these partnerships increase critical supports to young families experiencing homelessness.

New BrainGains Available

Staff serving families who experience homelessness can use PEC's summary reports called "BrainGains" that highlight key research and findings that support young children who experience homelessness. 

One report summarizes "Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined," a working paper produced by the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

Another report summarizes "Young Children's Home Learning and Preschool Participation Experiences During the Pandemic," a study by Dr. Steven Barnett, Dr. Kwanghee Jung and Dr. Milagros Nores from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. 
BELL is a project of the People's Emergency Center and is supported by grants from the Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Program and the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey

The Vanguard Strong Start for Kids Programâ„¢ is dedicated to helping provide young children the opportunity to grow, thrive and learn in communities near each of Vanguard's major U.S. sites. The initiative is funded through a combination of Vanguard corporate gifts and Vanguard employee gifts from the company's annual giving campaign.