News

February 17, 2020

Message from Me Expands Its Services Nationwide

Made possible by PNC Grow Up Great, Message from Me is expanding its reach nationwide to serve parents, caregivers, and early care and education professionals in more than 50 PNC networks.

About

Although children are developing critical language and literacy skills in their early learning environments, they sometimes struggle to communicate what they learned to the adults and caregivers around them. That’s why Trying Together and Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab collaborated to develop Message from Me, a digital tool designed in alignment with the NAEYC and Fred Rogers Center Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children Birth through Age 8.

Program Director Katie Gullone defines Message from Me as a child-led digital tool designed to strengthen relationships and provide children opportunities to share their thoughts and feelings with the adults most important to them. Implemented in early learning programs and classrooms, the digital tool provides caregivers with a series of pictures and audio messages of their child’s daily learning experiences. Delivered through email or text, these messages build connections between home and early learning environments by providing children with a platform to share their voice, feelings, and perspective on the world around them.

Why It Matters

Caring, responsive adult-child relationships play a critical role in the healthy development of young children, and these types of relationships are exactly what Message from Me helps to foster.

“When children are exposed to high-quality early learning environments, they gain access to credentialed professionals who support their development through child-led, developmentally-appropriate activities and learning experiences. Message from Me was developed to ease the transition between school and home. By receiving photos and audio messages of their child’s early learning experiences, parents and caregivers gain a frame of reference they can build from when interacting with their early learner.” – Cara Ciminillo, Executive Director, Trying Together

Thanks to PNC Grow Up Great for their continued sponsorship of Message from Me. With their generous support, countless children, families, and early care and education professionals throughout the country will now gain an opportunity to further nurture their adult-child relationships through the latest expansion of Message from Me.

Impact

To date, Message from Me has been implemented in early learning centers and school districts in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Utah, Michigan, and Atlanta Public Schools. Through its nationwide expansion, Message from Me looks forward to engaging more children and families as early childhood professionals begin implementing Message from Me in their classrooms.

More Information

Educators interested in using Message from Me receive hands-on professional development that supports teaching practices when using digital technologies with children. Trying Together exclusively provides the professional development for Message from Me.

For more information, visit the Message from Me website and sign up to receive their newsletter.

News

February 13, 2020

EQT Children’s Theater Festival Performance Lineup Now Available

On February 13, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced that the EQT Children’s Theater Festival will feature six performances in May, all designed for families and caregivers with young children. Continue reading below to view the full list of performances.

Available Performances

EQT Children’s Theater Festival performances are being hosted from May 14 through May 17, 2020. Please visit the individual event pages for more information on locations, available dates, and performance content. To view the full list of featured performances and events, click here.

Origami Tales

Using origami, music and audience participation, storyteller Kuniko Yamamoto provides a magical entry into Japanese culture. In her show, Origami Tales, mythological character masks and puppets, amazing flowers, and a dragon – all made from origami – set the stage while Kuniko shares heartfelt stories from ancient Japan. Expect boundless imagination out of simple paper folding and an uplifting world of storytelling.

This show is recommended for children ages 4+. Visit the event page to learn more.

White

Welcome to the world of White. Full of birdsong and birdhouses, it gleams, dazzles, and shines in the night. Two friends look after the birdhouses and make sure the eggs stay safe. The world is bright, ordered, and white. But high up in the trees, all is not white. Color appears. First red… then yellow… then blue… White is a playful, highly visual show for very young children and is a perfect first-time theatre experience.

This show is recommended for children ages 2-4. Visit the event page to learn more.

Nest

A stunning sensory performance for babies, parents, and caretakers. Unfolding in a custom-built performance tent, Nest takes audiences on a journey through the seasons. It uses playful poetry supported by an original score, movement, puppetry, tactile play, and complete engagement of the senses to awaken every baby’s curiosity and remind grownups of the wonder of being in the world for the first time. Gentle, surprising, and magical, Nest leaves audience members “enchanted” and with “a sense of wonder and excitement.”

This show is recommended for babies ages 0-14 months. Visit the event page to learn more.

Dan + Claudia Zanes

Grammy Award winner Dan Zanes and Haitian-American jazz vocalist Claudia Eliaza perform folk and blues classics from their popular new songbook entitled “Dan Zanes’ House Party!: A Family Roots Music Treasury.” The audience is invited to dance and sing along in a party atmosphere with music that is homespun, joyful, sophisticated, and artful. All performances are created to be comfortable for audience members with a wide range of needs.

This show is recommended for all ages. Visit the event page to learn more.

Doodle POP!

The mischievous Doodle POP! duo invites you into the delightful doodling world! Join as they experience an exciting adventure in an ocean world they imagine and create while on stage. What will happen to them in this beautiful but scary watery world, and will they try to return a turtle doodle to the sea safely? With live sound effects, stunning animation, and an abundance of theatrical imagination, this is a touching and exciting screen show recommended for anyone ages 3+.

A sensory-friendly performance will also be available. Visit the event page to learn more.

Emil and the Detectives

Never underestimate the determination of a child! Young Emil catches a train to visit family in the big city. Something valuable is stolen, but the thief soon discovers Emil was not such an easy target. A group of quick-thinking and resourceful children rallies around. Can a bunch of kids work together to uncover and outsmart the true criminal? In Slingsby’s signature intimate theatrical style, Emil and the Detectives is told by two skilled actors immersed in smoke and mirrors, miniature worlds, and a cinematic score.

This show is recommended for children ages 8+. Visit the event page to learn more.

Ticket Prices

Performance tickets start at $12 but receive a discount if you buy tickets for multiple shows during your online checkout. See below for price details.

    • 1 show
      $12 per ticket (individual)  |  $10 per ticket (groups of 10+)
    • 2 shows
      $10 per ticket (individual)  |  $5 per ticket (groups of 10+)
    • 3 shows
      $9 per ticket (individual)  |  $5 per ticket (groups of 10+)
    • 4 shows
      $8 per ticket (individual)  |  $5 per ticket (groups of 10+)

Click here to view all available performances.

More Information

For more information and to buy tickets, visit The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust website!

*Information provided by The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

News

February 7, 2020

2020-21 Pennsylvania Budget Proposal Response

On February 5, during his 2020-2021 budget proposal address, Governor Tom Wolf dared us to imagine a Pennsylvania where no one is denied the chance to work because they can’t find child care. A Pennsylvania where high-quality child care is accessible and affordable. A Pennsylvania where child care rates are stabilized and child care providers are incentivized. Trying Together belives in that dream, but the budget proposal itself offers no new state investments to make these dreams a reality.

About

While the 2020-21 budget proposal offered increased state investments in early childhood programs like pre-k and home-visiting, it’s missing state investments for something that affects the lives of every parent and caregiver in Pennsylvania: child care. Early Learning PA highlights this issue in their recent press release, stating, “Given that 70 percent of Pennsylvania children under the age of five have all adults in their household in the labor force, high-quality child care is an essential workforce support.” However, due to high prices and limited child care slots, many families across the Commonwealth are not able to afford or access high-quality child care programs.

Early Learning PA continues on, stating, “Although the Governor’s budget proposal utilizes $15.3 million in federal funding toward child care subsidy base rates, this proposal will have no impact in addressing the list of children waiting to gain access to subsidized care or improve the quality of that care.” This, in turn, affects each caregiver’s ability to enter, re-enter, or remain in the workforce and the long-term academic, career, and health outcomes of young children. In Pennsylvania, 73 percent of eligible children under the age of five are not receiving high-quality child care services.

Interestingly, the lack of state investment is also a lack of response to the Governor’s own Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center report, just released last week identifying barriers to employment and providing recommendations for action by the governor, Pennsylvania General Assembly, and private sector. In the report, increasing access to affordable high-quality child care was a top priority for all three.

Take Action

The lack of state investments in child care isn’t only something worth talking about, it’s also an issue that worthy of advocacy. Join us as an advocate by sending a message urging the General Assembly to demonstrate their commitment to Pennsylvania’s youngest children, their families, and our economy by increasing state funding for high-quality child care! Our senators and representatives will need to hear from us through budget negotiations, and our message starts now.

Join us if you believe that all children in Pennsylvania deserve to start strong!

News

February 4, 2020

2020 Census | Count All Kids to Reinforce Early Education

Did you know that in 2010, five percent of children under the age of five weren’t counted in the 2010 Census? That’s roughly one million young children, the highest of any age group. To ensure all young children have access to high-quality, affordable early learning experiences, we must #CountAllKids in the upcoming 2020 Census.

About

The United States Census informs funding decisions for critical services and infrastructure in our communities, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Toddlers (WIC); and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to name a few. However, in the 2010 U.S. Census, there was an undercount of 25,197 children in Pennsylvania, resulting in the loss of nearly $44 million in federal funding. That’s roughly $1,746 lost for every child who wasn’t counted. Undercounts like this negatively impact Pennsylvania’s children and families, as social service programs are unable to provide services to all eligible families due to limited funding.

Why It Matters

In their report “The Road to Success Includes High-Quality Pre-K,” Pre-K for PA states that “high-quality, publicly funded pre-k programs prepare students for kindergarten and beyond by supporting the development of the whole child.” When a child is 3- or 4-years-old, they’re developing critical skills like problem-solving, emotional self-regulation, collaboration, and more. These social-emotional skills are what the Harvard Education Magazine calls an “on-ramp” to later academic success. In fact, Pre-K for PA states that “studies of children who were enrolled in high-quality social-emotional learning programs have shown that ‘[enrolled children] score, on average, 11 percentage points higher on academic tests than children who do not receive such instruction.'”

However, due to limited funding, “in nearly two out of three state Senate districts, less than half of eligible preschoolers attend a high-quality pre-k program. In half of the state House districts, less than 40 percent of eligible 3- and 4-year-olds are currently attending one.” Limited access to such programs is negatively impacting the lives of young children, as “children from low-income families are a year or more behind their more advantaged peers.”

One partial solution to these issues is to ensure that all kids are counted in the upcoming 2020 Census. While an accurate count may not entirely eliminate issues of access, quality, and affordability, it will ensure that Pennsylvania receives federal dollars needed to provide health and social services to eligible families in the Commonwealth. Will you help us raise awareness about the need to #CountAllKids!

Click here to view Pre-K for PA’s full report.

Available Tools

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children

To help increase awareness about the 2020 Census, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children developed a toolkit that features factsheets, posters, social media images, and social media post templates. In addition to the toolkit, Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children highlighted a list of resources for advocates, stakeholders, businesses, elected officials, military members, parents, caregivers, families, and people with disabilities. To access the full list, visit the Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children website.

2020 Census: Be Counted

2020 Census: Be Counted provides information and resources to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County residents about the upcoming U.S. Census. The website highlights important dates, census submission options, an example of the questionnaire, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and more. For organizations, the website offers a toolkit, email newsletter, mini-grants, and more.

Request a Mail-In Ballot

Pennsylvania is now offering two options community members can choose from to submit their vote if they are unable to get to the polls on election day, including a mail-in ballot and absentee ballot. Registered voters can submit either ballot via mail or in person at their county election office. To request a mail-in ballot, please complete the online application by clicking here.

Both mail-in and absentee voters will receive a ballot in the mail to complete and return to their county election office by 8 p.m. on election day.

More Information

If you’re interested in learning more about the 2020 Census, read our “Count All Kids in the 2020 Census” news post. The post features additional resources and information about who counts, submitting your data, safety, confidentiality, and more.

*Information provided by Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, Pre-K for PA, and the United States Census Bureau

News

February 3, 2020

Recall Issued on More Than 165,000 Infant Incline Sleepers

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), along with four other companies, issued a recall on more than 165,000 infant incline sleepers due to a risk of suffocation.

About

According to the CPSC, the following companies have been impacted by the recall: Summer Infant, Graco, Delta Enterprises Corp., and Evenflo. The recall was issued due to reported infant fatalities after “the infants rolled from their back to their stomach or side, or under other circumstances” while using an infant incline sleeper. The CPSC urges consumers to immediately stop using the products listed below and to contact the companies to learn more about refund options.

Recalled Products

Recalled products include:

More Information

To learn more, read the full WTAE article.

*Information provided by WTAE