August 28, 2018

City Extending Southside Cooling Center

Due to the excessive heat Citiparks is extending the hours of the South Side Healthy Active Living Center Tuesday, August 28, 2018 through Wednesday, August 29, 2018.

The center at 12th and Bingham streets will be open today and tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closing time is normally 4 p.m.

Rains are forecasted in Pittsburgh late Wednesday night, which are expected to lead to lower temperatures.

Read the full press release via the Office of the Mayor.


Heinz Endowments Highlights Homewood Early Learning Hub in Latest Issue of Magazine

The Heinz Endowments recently released it’s first 2018 issue of “h magazine”. This issue, titled “Community Chronicles: An Exploration of Three Pittsburgh Neighborhoods Begins with Homewood”, travels to and explores the neighborhoods of Homewood, Hazelwood, and the Hill District – places where the Heinz Endowments and other philanthropies partner with residents and local organization to impact and expand opportunities.

Under the section “Strengthening Family Ties”, Trying Together’s Early Learning Hub is highlighted as a resource for families. It includes a feature on programs like Buzzword PGH, and the many ways the Hub personally effects families, caregivers, and ECE professionals by creating a strong community.


August 23, 2018

Public Art Chosen for Wightman Park

Via the Office of the Mayor:

PITTSBURGH, PA (August 23, 2018) The Public Art + Civic Design Division (PA+CD), on behalf of the Department of Public Works, is pleased to announce the selected artist collective, OOA Designs LLC, who will be working on the public art component of the upcoming Wightman Park Improvement Project.

OOA Designs is composed of three local Pittsburgh artists: Oreen Cohen, Olivia Kissel, and Alison Zapata. The collective creates both aesthetic and functional steel structures that embrace color, form, and nature.

Planning improvements for Wightman Park began in 2014 with the development of a Master Plan. The implementation of the Master Plan began in early 2018 with a series of community meetings to gather information and determine public expectations. The information gathered in these meetings, as well as a community survey, helped to inform a new design for the park. Pashek+MTR was hired by The Department of Public Works as the consultant for the project and presented a design to the community that includes a multi-purpose field, half basketball court, playground, walking path, picnic shelter, restroom and stormwater management features.

This park is and will be used by people of all ages and abilities with a focus on inclusivity.

On May 15, 2018, the Office of Management and Budget released a Request for Proposals to solicit artists, artist collectives, and designers to propose concepts for Public Art interventions at the park. A City Committee evaluated the projects under a scoring system that took into consideration the overall concept of the project with regard to creativity, innovation, aesthetics, and material presence. In addition, applicant’s qualifications, experience, and references, as well as cost proposal were taken into consideration.

For the park, OOA Designs proposed works of art that incorporate themes of nature using organic forms and designs inspired by insects, leaf cell structures, fungi, and waterfalls. The collective will be working with the Department of Public Works, Public Art and Civic Design Division, and Pashek+MTR to hold public meetings and workshops to gather public input and investment in the project. A public meeting will be held to present the final design of the Public Art to be integrated within the project.

In this project, as with many others, the Public Art and Civic Design Division is working in collaboration with other departments in the City of Pittsburgh, with the hope of not only nurturing the talent of artists but also of adding to the aesthetic look and feel of the city.

Read the full press release onlinelearn more about the Wightman Park Improvement Project. 


August 20, 2018

CDA Renewal Available at WCCC This Fall

In partnership with the PA Key, Westmoreland County Community College is offering a series of courses that will fulfill the educational training requirements for the infant/toddler, preschool, or renewal CDA credentials. The additional work experience, portfolio, and professional requirements required by the CDA Council must be completed independently by the candidates. Based on the CDA pursued, students may choose from the following courses, which will be offered at the Youngwood campus beginning in October 2018:

  • ECE 190-CDA – Child Health, Safety & Nutrition – October 3, 2018 —May 1, 2019 (every other
  • ECE 191-CDA – Observation & Assessment – January 15 —April 30, 2019

Choose one:

  • ECE 179-CDA – Infant & Toddler Development – April 15—July 29, 2019
  • ECE 180-CDA – Child Growth & Development – April 4—July 25, 2019

Each course is 3 college credits and can be applied towards an Associate degree at Westmoreland. The initial certifications require 3 courses, while renewal requires 1 course. Tuition is $210 per course and $100 for textbook. Rising STARS Tuition Assistance and the TEACH Scholarship are both accepted at Westmoreland and can be used towards the cost of the courses. Questions should be directed to Dr. Brandi Weekley at 724.925.6715 or Vicki Hricik at 724.925.4013.

For more information, download this flyer. 

Call 1-800-262-2103 ext. 4204 to register.

An orientation and welcome session will be held on September 29, 2018 @ 9:30 a.m. for all CDA candidates and their directors on the Youngwood Campus. The welcome session will include an orientation to the process and a time to meet fellow cohort members. Refreshments will be served.


August 14, 2018

P.R.I.D.E.-Themed UnConference

Trying Together will launch the 2018 UnConference series at the end of September to explore how caregivers can be intentional about race and young children.

In partnership with The P.R.I.D.E. Program (part of the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development within the School of Education) and Frick Pittsburgh, join Trying Together for a day of professional development on Saturday, September 29, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at The Frick Art and Historical Center. Attendees will explore how we as early childhood educators, afterschool providers, and families, can create a positive environment to discuss race with young children. The day will also feature Dr. Erin N. Winkler, professor of African & African Diaspora Studies and Urban Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. This event is currently sold-out. Those interested may add their name to the waitlist.

In advance of the UnConference, The P.R.I.D.E. Program Speaker Series will welcome Dr. Erin N. Winkler on Thursday, September 27 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at The Frick Art and Historical Center to discuss how adults can be intentional in discussing race with young children. Child care services will be provided by Sweet Dreams Childcare during the event from 5 – 7 p.m. If interested, please indicate during registration. There are limited spots for child care and it is first come, first serve. There is no cost for this service (it is free).

Being Intentional About Race and Young Children UnConference logo


August 7, 2018

Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) Webinar

Join Trying Together for a webinar to learn how you can support developmentally appropriate and play-based learning experiences for young children.

Conversation will explore strategies for policymakers, educators, and families to support DAP and play in early childhood education.

Panelists will include:

  • Dr. Catherine Lobaugh – Assistant Executive Director for Early Childhood, Family, and Community Services, Allegheny Intermediate Unit
  • Dr. Scott Miller – Principal of Avonworth Primary Center
  • Ronna Currie – Woodland Hills School Board Member and Parent

Share this flyer with your networks. 

Date & Time:

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
12:30 – 1:30 p.m.


August 2, 2018

Nontraditional Child Care Needs Survey Open

Do you need child care during “nontraditional” hours (6 p.m. – 6 a.m.)?

Femisphere and Trying Together invite you to take a survey that will inform a plan for education and advocacy around this topic.

All participants will be registered to win a $50 gift card.

What you can do:

Share this flyer with your networks. 


August 1, 2018

New Keystone STARS Performance Standards Available

In 2017, The Keystone STARS Think Tank Team, in partnership with thousands of stakeholders, developed principles to guide the STARS revision process. During the 2017-18 program year, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) refined Keystone STARS to be more efficient for providers to participate and more effective at improving child outcomes.

The new Keystone STARS Performance Standards and Program Manual became available on July 1, 2018.

For more information on updates to the program, listen to the Keystone STARS July 2018 Update webinar. This brief presentation covers changes to the Keystone STARS Performance Standards and Indicators, Alternate Pathways to STARS Designation, and Program Quality Assessment. For more information on the Keystone STARS program visit the PA Key website.

For questions or comments, please contact OCDEL at

(Shared via PA Key)


Celebrate National School Success Month in September

In September, Pennsylvania will celebrate National School Success Month in recognition of Governor Tom Wolf’s strong commitment to high-quality early learning programs.

PA Promise for Children is looking for families who would like to share what their child has learned or likes to do that makes them a great student. Early care and education professionals and school district staff are being asked to share what makes them successful or their favorite part of their profession.

Photos including the subject’s name, county, success, and program/school may be sent to


Apply for The OCDEL Policy Fellowship

Do you want to be a future leader in Pennsylvania’s early learning system at the state and local levels, and ultimately, strengthen the quality of the system to better serve children, families, and providers?

Applications are being accepted through August 10 for the 2018-19 OCDEL Policy Fellowship open to all professionals working in early care and education.

The Fellowship will consist of:

  • monthly cohort meetings
  • individualized placement sites
  • an online learning community

For more information on the OCDEL Policy Fellowship, or to apply, please visit