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June 2024 Edition

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Early Childhood Education in Pennsylvania

OCDEL Names Luisa Olivo-Wolf as Director of the Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) has named Luisa Olivo-Wolf as Director, Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development.

Through Pennsylvania's quality rating improvement system, Keystone STARS, the Bureau of Policy and Professional Development develops and implements standards for early learning programs and professionals to improve the quality of early learning for our young children; provides financial supports and technical assistance for programs and professionals. The Bureau is also responsible for establishing and maintaining the rules, regulations and procedures for the subsidized child care program, Child Care Works. Both programs are managed at the regional level through grantees known as the Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRC's). 

Luisa Olivo-Wolf is an accomplished executive leader in early childhood education and the nonprofit sector. With a Master’s Degree in Community Leadership from Alvernia University, a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Millersville University, and a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Temple University, Luisa combines academic and practical knowledge in her leadership approach.


Previous, Luisa served as the Assistant Chief Program Officer at Community Progress Council, where she oversaw Early Childhood Programs including PA Pre-K Counts, Early Head Start, and Head Start, ensuring quality services for children and families, fostering holistic professional development, and community engagement.


With a robust professional background, Luisa has held key positions including Director of Strategic Initiatives, Family and Community Engagement Manager and Family Advocate at Community Progress Council, as well as Director roles at the College Hill Children's Center and Hildebrandt Learning Centers at Masonic Village and Gap. She also served as the Community School Director of Washington Elementary School coordinating on-site health, academic and social service programs for children and families.  


Resources to Support Social Emotional Development and Challenging Behaviors

New resources are available from the Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA). Bits About Behavior Principles is a collection of brief online interactions in intended to support knowledge and application of basic behavioral principles. In each topic, find definitions of common behavioral terms and/or processes and opportunities to practice applying these principles.

Reducing Expulsion and Suspension​ has resources for Preventing Suspension & Expulsion In Pennsylvania Early Childhood Programs, An Early Childhood Program Leader’s Guide; Behavioral Help For Early Childhood Programs In Pennsylvania To Prevent Suspension & Expulsion; and Policy Statement And Guidance On Promoting Inclusion & Reducing Expulsion And Suspension.  

Time Remains to Submit Application for Children's Trust Fund

With the deadline of June 18, 2024, fast approaching, there is still time to submit an application in response to the Request for Applications for the Children's Trust Fund (CTF) grant.

The purpose of the Children’s Trust Fund grants, which operate under the administration of the CTF Board and the Department of Human Services, is to promote primary and secondary child abuse and neglect prevention programs in community-based settings in order to prevent abuse and neglect of children in the Commonwealth. Any organization located and operating in Pennsylvania that provides direct services and meets the criteria in this Request for Applications is eligible to apply for a CTF grant. Application deadline is June 18, 2024.

Learn more and how to apply.

Share with Families the Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip Resource

On Monday, June 24, 2024, the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) kicks off the third annual 8-week virtual Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip. Throughout the summer families, teachers, and early childhood education partners are invited to follow along and discover activities and resources to support early learning and literacy.


Through the virtual road trip, get information about Pennsylvania libraries and State Parks with fun resources, activities to do with a child, and book recommendations to support early literacy and language. All activities align with the PA Early Learning Standards and can be done anywhere. This year's theme represents elements from the 2024 Pennsylvania One Book selection, Slug in Love by Rachel Bright. Look through the Travel Journal to find friends from the from the book who tag along on the Road Trip!


The resources for 2024 include:

  • Summer Literacy and Learning Road Trip Map: Use the map (available in English or Spanish) to follow along with the Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip. Print the map and children can follow along on the Road Trip.
  • My Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip Travel Journal: My Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip Travel Journal (available in English or Spanish) is a great way to help children explore books and fun activities. Each week, discover something new with a child, then help them complete their Travel Journal. With a child, identify three favorite books they read and favorite things they've done during the week. Each week, learn about a different library, get book recommendations, and find fun activities to do at a Pennsylvania State Park.

Pennsylvania Represented at International Early Childhood Inclusion Institute

Pennsylvania was recently represented at the May 2024 International Early Childhood Inclusion Institute in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Presenters shared strategies and evidence-based practices implemented to support Pennsylvania’s children in Early childhood programs and their families.

The International Early Childhood Inclusion Institute is one of the premier educational opportunities for anyone involved in the care and education of young children with disabilities (birth to eight) in inclusive settings. For more than 23 years, the Institute has drawn people from across the nation and around the world to Chapel Hill to develop collaborative relationships and cross-agency systems that support early childhood inclusion; discover evidence-based practices, resources, and tools for promoting opportunities for inclusion; and meet, learn from, and problem-solve with peers.

The Early Childhood Family Lead for OCDEL’s Early Childhood Comprehensive Systems project, Sadia Batool was invited to present two sessions titled, The Straight Scoop: Inclusion Insights by Families for Families and Professionals and Growing Inclusion Family Leaders: Effective Practices. Toni Miguel, Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA) Consultant and two-family leaders, Danielle Hagenbuch and Tia Thompson co-presented the two sessions that highlighted Pennsylvania’s commitment to authentic family engagement and inclusion for all children in Early Childhood Programs reflected in practices developed in response to state and national policy and position statements.

Both family leaders received a full family scholarship through EITA’s Parents as Partners in Professional Development initiative. Toni Miguel also co-presented two sessions with speakers from other states focusing on building the capacity of early childhood educators high-quality inclusive learning and development opportunities for young children and expanding their family engagement toolbox. Also, in attendance were representatives from the Pennsylvania State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC), PEAL Center, Bureau of Early Intervention Services and Family Support along with local Early Intervention programs.

For more information or to connect with any of the presenters, contact Sadia Batool at

New Professional Co-Chair Appointed for the Pennsylvania State Interagency Coordinating Council

Dr. Kris Bowman has been appointed as the Professional Co-chair of the Pennsylvania State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC), a governor-appointed council that advises and assists the Departments of Health, Education, and Human Services to ensure a comprehensive delivery system of integrated Early Intervention programs and services is available to all eligible infants, toddlers, and young children and their families. She has served as a member of the SICC since 2018.

Dr. Bowman has spent her entire career working in Early Intervention and is dedicated to promoting quality, inclusive practices so all young children can have access to and participate in the educational and community opportunities that will serve them best. She co-founded the non-profit organization Ramsey Educational Development Institute (REDI) that annually serves hundreds of infants, toddlers, and their families, caregivers, and early childhood educators.

Dr. Bowman also works as an early childhood consultant and adjunct faculty at Cabrini University, expanding and designing courses which focus on infant-toddler development, inclusive Early Childhood Education, and Early Intervention. At the national level, she represents Pennsylvania as a member of The Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Early Childhood Family Committee. The Bureau of Early intervention Services and Family Supports and the SICC members welcome Dr. Bowman and look forward to working with her to meet the mission of the SICC.

ELRC 24-01: Updated Provider Agreements for Certified Child Care Providers

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development, has released the ELRC 24-01: Updated Provider Agreements for Certified Child Care Providers. This release announces that certified child care providers will have to complete and sign new provider agreements that will be effective August 1, 2024.

For full details, please see ELRC 24-01: Updated Provider Agreements for Certified Child Care Providers.

Save the Date

Of Interest

Happening Tomorrow: PA Farm to School Network Open House

The PA Farm to School Network is hosting a virtual open house for educators, farmers/growers, school food service directors, early care and education (ECE) providers, parents and community partners to participate in a storytelling workshop tomorrow, Thursday, June 6, 2024, from 3-4:30 PM EST. Participants will hear from speakers and fellow farm to school practitioners on how they utilize storytelling to share their successes, engage students and communities, secure funding, and advocate for farm to school policies. Learn more and register to attend the open house here

Still Time to Apply to the Farm to School Grant Program

Application deadline June 7, 2024

With the June 7 deadline, those interested still have time to apply to the Farm to School Grant program! Grants to improve access to healthy, local foods and increase agriculture educational opportunities for pre-kindergarten through 8th grade. Available to any school, program or center with a pre-kindergarten through 8th grade classroom may apply for up to $15,000 in funding. Deadline Friday, June 7, 2024.

Calling All Parents: Join the NCFPL Advisory Council

Looking to share your parenting wisdom and make a difference? Join the National Center for Family and Parent Leadership's Advisory Council! NCFPL needs parent/family leaders like you to help inform the work on all levels. This council is seeking to engage nationally with parents from across the United States.

Click here for a one page printable and to learn what will be expected from Parent/Family Leaders on this Advisory Council, the commitment, and why should Parent/Family Leaders consider applying, compensation/ payment, and how to apply. The NCFPL is recruiting 18 family leaders with children prenatal to age 8 from across the country and the recruitment is happening on a rolling basis, so no deadline.

Upcoming Pop Up Dental Clinics in 2024

The PA Coalition for Oral Health compiled a list of pop-up clinics happening across the state. Visit PA's Promise for Children for dates and locations throughout Pennsylvania and share with staff and families.

Our Language Matters

Did you know that you don’t have to use the word “homeless” in your interactions with families when you are conducting outreach, recruitment, and intake or providing supportive services? It is important to consider how the language used can make families feel. In some communities, the word homeless has a negative connotation and may create barriers for families to build trust with service providers.

In this short video, Khari Garvin, Director of the Office of Head Start, shares how family service professionals can initiate caring conversations about McKinney-Vento eligibility. He also provides practical examples of how small language changes can make a big difference. Rather than using the word “homeless” in interactions with families, consider instead using phrases like “in transition, McKinney-Vento eligible, or displaced, temporary living circumstances, unsafe living space” and many others. The tools featured in this resource are helpful for all staff to support a welcoming environment.

Research and Reports

Indoor Air Quality in Childcare Study 2024

A pilot project, published by Women for a Healthy Environment, investigated the efficiency of Medifyair Air Filter in reducing PM2.5 concentrations in eight child care centers in four Environmental Justice areas in Philadelphia. Analyzing data collected over a two-week period, the study revealed a decrease in PM 2.5 levels, demonstrating the effectiveness of the air filters. Concurrently, Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) improved. Variability among participants highlighted the need for tailored interventions regarding family and center-based facilities.

By child care staff understanding the flow and quality of air inside their centers from indoor air monitoring data, they can potentially adjust their behavior and schedules to reduce poor air quality impacts. The findings not only provide insights into improving indoor air quality for child care centers but also have broader implications to mitigate health disparities in diverse populations. Read the Executive Summary and Full Report.

Mixed-Delivery Prekindergarten

Most states operate their pre-K programs in mixed-delivery systems, meaning they include programs in local education agencies (LEAs) and non-LEA settings such as child care centers and Head Start agencies. Some states also include family child care (FCC) in these systems. How states design and fund mixed-delivery systems matters greatly. NIEER stands as a prominent research leader in exploring the dynamics of Pre-K mixed-delivery systems. Delve into the intricacies of these versatile models across the United States. 

Close to home: Family-centered spatial analysis of access to early care and education

Researchers have uncovered disparities in access to early care and education utilizing a spatial analysis approach. While some urban and wealthier communities, along with those with higher shares of East Asians or Whites, had favorable access, strategic placement of Head Start and public pre-K facilities, alongside private philanthropic efforts, led to improved access for some low-income communities. The study, Close to home: Family-centered spatial analysis of access to early care and education, recently published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, offers crucial insights into ECE access and its implications for equitable education opportunities. 


June Family-Friendly Newsletters Now Available

The June releases of family-friendly newsletters for families and providers of children, ages birth to Kindergarten are now available. The newsletters feature fun early learning activities that align with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, resources and information to help families as their child's first and most important teacher.

Take a look and share with families and friends, then subscribe to get the next release directly into your inbox.

June Calendar of Activities for Early Learning Professionals

All Pennsylvania certified child care programs must meet minimum health and safety requirements to operate. Kick off June’s National Safety Month with reviewing safety practices in your early learning program. Check out the June Calendar of Activities for Early Learning Professionals with activities and information to help prepare children and their families for school success.

Promoting Oral Health Literacy: A Resource Guide

Adopting health-literacy approaches benefits everyone, especially people with low literacy levels and people who speak English as a second language. Promoting Oral Health Literacy: A Resource Guide from the National Maternal & Child Oral Health Resource Center features materials on policy; professional education, tools, and training; program development; and public education. 

Health Literacy Toolkit for Early Childhood Programs

Health literacy is a needed strategy in early childhood programs. It improves the quality of communication, reduces health disparities, and advances health equity.

Use The Health Literacy Guiding Principles for Early Childhood Programs toolkit from the National Center on Health, Behavioral Health, and Safety to support the use of health literacy practices in early childhood programs. It lays a foundation for early childhood programs to further develop as health literate organizations. It is a resource for increasing knowledge and skills. This toolkit also gives best practices for organizational health literacy. It frames a vision for becoming a health literate early childhood organization. These principles highlight seven core concepts: capacity, content, equity, dissemination, feedback, practice, and evaluation.

8 Children's Books About Juneteenth

On June 19, we celebrate Juneteenth, but what exactly is Juneteenth?

Okay, imagine a big party where everyone celebrates because it’s like the birthday of freedom for some people. Juneteenth is a special day when we remember when all the people who were enslaved in the United States found out they were free. It’s like a big happy day to remember and celebrate when everyone got to be free together. Some people celebrate with music, dancing, yummy food, and lots of fun! It’s a day of joy and remembering how important freedom is for everyone. How will you celebrate?

Want ways to explain the importance of Juneteenth to young children? Try reading a book about it! PA’s Promise for Children has a few recommendations. Visit a local library to check out these books, or to find new favorites.

SUN Programs: USDA's Summer Nutrition Programs for Kids

Families now have more ways to get their kids the nutrition they need when school is out during the summer through SUN Programs: USDA's Summer Nutrition Program for Kids. Visit the new website to learn about SUN Meals, SUN Meals To-Go and SUN Bucks. Also available in Spanish.

Toolkit Helps Early Care and Educators Keep Children's Vaccinations Up-to-Date

Early care and education (ECE) providers and other childcare professionals are pivotal in supporting routine vaccinations and protecting children, families, and communities against vaccine-preventable diseases. A new toolkit for ECE providers is part of a series of toolkits being developed for CDC's broader Let's RISE (Routi​ne Immunizations on Schedule for Everyone​) playbook. This actionable toolkit has been curated to support ECE providers across various settings, including center-based childcare, family childcare, Head Start, or other early learning, early intervention, and preschool/pre-kindergarten programs delivered in schools, homes, or other settings. The toolkit contains evidence-based strategies, tools, and resources that can be used to communicate with families in helping protect children against vaccine-preventable diseases.​​

Sensory Gardening with Kids Activity Kit

Kids gardening logo

The 8-page kit from Kids Gardening compiles sensory garden design tips and plant suggestions along with an assortment of fun and engaging activities to try with young gardeners with or without a garden space. 

Supports for Children Experiencing Emotional Distress

Sesame Street has launched a new set of resources to support children experiencing emotional distress. The new bilingual (English and Spanish) resources include animated videos, Sesame Street Muppet videos, printables, a digital storybook, and more.

Assistive Technology for Children with Disabilities

The Center for Parent Information and Resources has a new page on assistive technology that provides parent-friendly information in English and Spanish. The page includes links to checklists and a printable publication that guides the user on how to consider assistive technology in the education process.

Webinar Recording on Family Style Meal Service

cacfp logo

The recording of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Trainers' Circle Webinar, Family Style Meal Service With Children in the CACFP is now available. Learn tips for preparing and supporting children, training staff, and meeting CACFP meal pattern requirements to successfully serve meals “family style.” The Nebraska Department of Education also shares how they developed and utilized tools to train child care providers on family style meal service. Visit Team Nutrition's Family Style Meal Service With Children in the CACFP webpage for more resources!

Resources from Camille Catlett

The May resources from Camille Catlett are now available. The May release of Baby Talk includes Thriving Early Environments Boost Brain and Cognitive Development in Children, Supporting the Communication of Infants and Toddlers, and more. The May release of Natural Resources contains information on Providing Early Childhood Special Education Services in Community-Based Settings: Learnings from Six Communities Across the Country; A New Vision for High-Quality Preschool Curriculum; and more.

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