December 22, 2022

ELRCs to Pay Registration Fees for CCW Children

Effective January 1, 2023, Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs) will begin paying a registration fee to Department of Human Services (DHS) certified child care providers for all Child Care Works (CCW) newly enrolled children.

Learn More

The registration fee will automatically be added to the provider invoice for the service period in which the enrollment was effective, regardless of whether the provider charges a registration fee. The fees for each newly enrolled CCW child are:

  • Child Care Centers (CC) – $75

  • Group Child Care Homes (GCCHs) – $50

  • Family Child Care Homes (FCCHs) – $50

In order to comply with equal access and the CCDGB, at 42 U.S.C. section 9858c(c)(2)(G), and regulation 45 C.F.R. sections 98.45(l)(3)(ii), effective January 1, 2023, providers cannot charge CCW families registration fees or the difference between what the ELRC pays for a registration fee and what the provider charges private pay families for a registration fee. Charging CCW families a registration fee could result in termination of the provider agreement.

For details, read the full announcement from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).


December 15, 2022

The Early Childhood Credential Project Needs Your Voice

The Early Childhood Credential Project Team is interested in understanding the ways in which early childhood providers access educational opportunities. This survey is intended to discover how providers access opportunities or, if this is a challenge, what may work better for their busy lives.


The survey will be sent to all licensed child care facilities (center, group, and family child care) across Pennsylvania via email. The survey is voluntary and can be completed by a program director or lead teacher. Participants will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a $250 Amazon Gift Card.

The survey is available online. The deadline to complete the survey is January 10, 2023.


December 12, 2022

Free Training Available: Strengthening Business Practices for Child Care Programs

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the PA Key are offering Strengthening Business Practices for Child Care Programs beginning January 2023.


The training content and activities are designed to strengthen child care providers’ foundational knowledge of sound fiscal management and business operations.

The series contains four modules for center-based programs:

  • Budgets, Projections, and Planning

  • Financial Reports and Internal Controls

  • Marketing Your Program

  • Recruiting and Retaining Staff

There are two versions of this series: one for center-based providers and one for family child care (based) providers. Sessions will begin as early as January and as late as June. See this flyer for session dates and registration details.

Trainings are available at no-cost to participants. PQAS and ACT 48 available. Attendance of full series is required for credit.


Deadline Extended: Apply for the 2023 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards

First Up is seeking applications for the 2023 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards.

UPDATE: The application deadline has been extended to Friday, January 6, 2023. 

About the 2023 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards

The 2023 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards honor exceptional child care professionals. In 1987, Kay and Fred Lokoff formed the TLLCCF to honor the memory of their daughter Terri, a passionate child care teacher who knew the incredible value of Early Childhood Education and was committed to making a difference by giving children a strong start in their lives.

Child care teachers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on U.S. Military bases and installations around the world are invited to apply for the awards. Fifty awards are presented each year. Complete eligibility details are available on the First Up website.

Every award recipient receives:

  • a $1,000 cash prize,

  • a trip to Philadelphia for the award ceremony (COVID permitting), and

  • a chance to win the Helene Marks Award with the additional honor of being named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.

The 2023 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards Celebration will be held April 29, 2023.


To apply, complete the online application. For those who would like to print and mail their completed application, a downloadable PDF version is available.

More Information

For further questions, please email


December 7, 2022

Free Science Center Programs for Northside Families and Early Childhood Classrooms

The Carnegie Science Center is offering free programs for Northside families and early childhood classrooms.


Classroom Program

Incoming Landing!
Saturday, 12/10/22 | 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
For ages 3–5

Space agencies around the world have been working to land spacecraft on other planets since the 1950s. What equipment and tools do you think a spacecraft needs to land safely? Find out by building, playing, and experimenting together! Activities include building and testing parachute landers and rover construction.

Family Program

Blue Planet vs. Red Planet
Saturday, 12/17/22 | 9 – 11 a.m.
For ages 3–5

Northside families can visit at any time to learn about the differences between Earth and Mars. Why can humans live easily on Earth but not on Mars? Is there weather on Mars? Is Earth colder than Mars? Activities include sensory terrain buckets, exploring vehicle movement on Earth vs. Mars, and making a model of Earth and Mars.

Register in advance for these experiences by calling Carnegie Science Center at 412.237.3400 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Event attendees will also receive a Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Membership while supplies last.


Applications Open for 2023 Pennsylvania Equity in ECE Champion Awards

Applications are now open for the Office of Child Development and Early Learning’s (OCDEL) 2023 Pennsylvania Equity in Early Childhood Education Champion Awards.

About the Awards

The Pennsylvania Equity in Early Childhood Education Champion Awards bring awareness to and highlight the equity work being done within Pennsylvania’s early childhood education and afterschool settings, by child care, evidence-based home visiting and early intervention professionals, and organizations which support Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Education programs and individuals, as it aligns with the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Equity and Inclusion Toolkit, and with the position statement of the National Association for the Education for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education Position Statement.


Submissions can be an application (apply on your own or a program/organization’s behalf), or nomination (submit another individual or program/organization) to be acknowledged for their work around equity.

Self-applications are accepted. Applications should be submitted electronically by 5 p.m. on February 1, 2023, and can be submitted in English or Spanish.

Eligibility information and application details are available on the PA Keys website. For questions or concerns, email Mary Hall at


December 6, 2022

Toolkit: Families and Schools Partnering for Children’s Literacy Success

The National Department of Education’s National Center on Improving Literacy has produced a toolkit of resources titled, Families and Schools Partnering for Children’s Literacy Success.

About the Toolkit

The new toolkit helps families and schools work together to support children’s literacy success in and out of school by offering tips for starting or enhancing discussions about literacy instruction and intervention, ways to increase understanding of evidence-based literacy practices, and strategies for addressing concerns about children’s literacy development.

The toolkit includes an online tutorial, research briefs, infographics, tools, resources, and facilitator’s guides. Access it online.


Survey: How Do You Play?

The Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative is seeking input from the public to gain a better understanding of how caregivers, educators, child care professionals, and kids in Pittsburgh currently play, what play resources they need, and their current knowledge and understanding of play equity.

About the Play Survey

The Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative advocates for equitable play opportunities for all people. The Collaborative is encouraging people throughout Pittsburgh to participate in its Play Survey to continue its work of elevating the impact and benefits of play.

Those who participate in the Play Survey will be eligible to win one of ten $25 Visa gift cards. The survey should take 10-15 minutes to complete and closes February 1, 2023. Take the survey.

For more questions about the survey, or to learn more about Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative, contact Adam James Zahren at or visit


December 5, 2022

Requirements for Programs Using OCDEL-Approved Alternate Pathways to Keystone STARS Designation

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) released an announcement outlining the requirements for programs using an OCDEL-approved alternate pathway to Keystone STARS designation, effective on December 1, 2022.


Programs who hold accreditation through an OCDEL-approved alternate pathway accrediting body can apply for a Keystone STARS designation. The announcement shares details relating to:

  • The Professional Development (PD) Registry System: initial steps for programs using an OCDEL-approved alternate pathway

  • The PD Registry Designation System: applying for and renewing a Keystone STARS designation using an OCDEL-approved alternate pathway

  • Functionality of the PD Registry designation system for alternate pathway programs

For additional details, please see the full Announcement ELRC 22-08 Requirements for Programs Using an OCDEL-Approved Alternate Pathway to a Keystone STARS Designation in the Professional Development (PD) Registry.


December 2, 2022

OCDEL-Approved Curricula and Developmental Assessment Tools in Keystone STARS

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) released Announcement ELRC 22-07, which provides information on the OCDEL-approved curricula and developmental assessments for use by STAR 3 and 4 programs.


Effective December 1, 2022, only current OCDEL-approved curricula and developmental assessment tools will be accepted in meeting EC 3.4.1 and EC 3.4.2 for STAR 3 and 4 designations.

The list of OCDEL-approved curricula for use by programs can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s website. The list of OCDEL approved developmental assessment tools can be found on the Early Learning Outcomes Reporting page.

OCDEL is implementing an annual process during which time, a Bureau of Early Learning Policy and Professional Development staff will contact all currently approved vendors to inquire about any updates or revisions that were made to their curricula and/or assessments tools over the last year. This process will occur during the months of January and February when OCDEL will also place a call for any additional vendors to apply to have their curricula and/or developmental assessments tools approved for use.

Keystone STAR 3 and STAR 4 providers who wish to continue to meet EC 3.4.1 and EC 3.4.2 will need to confirm that the curriculum and developmental assessment tool they are using are OCDEL-approved. Such providers will also need to ensure that the curricula and/or developmental assessments tool they are using will not be sunset at the beginning of the following fiscal year. Providers should make this review a regular part of their annual Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) activities and CQI plan update.

For details, please see Announcement ELRC 22-07 OCDEL-Approved Curricula and Developmental Assessment Tools in Keystone STARS.