March 29, 2023

NAEYC Issues Call for Papers on Identity and Early Childhood Education

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recently issued a Call for Papers for the fall 2023 issue of their online journal, “Voices of Practitioners.”

Themed, “Reflecting on Our Own Identities in Early Childhood Education,” NAEYC seeks stories that explore how early childhood professionals’ reflections on their own identities (specifically social identities) impact their work with young children.

Paper proposals are due by Friday, April 7.

About Voices of Practitioners

“Voices of Practitioners: Teacher Research in Early Childhood Education” is an online, peer-reviewed journal in which teachers provide a critical perspective on their roles in children’s development and learning. Published by NAEYC, it disseminates early childhood teachers’ systematic study of an aspect of their own classroom practice.

Call for Papers

Social Identities and Early Childhood Education

The concept of identity is complex and shaped by individual characteristics; family dynamics; historical factors; and social, cultural, and political contexts. Social identity refers to the group categories that each society creates and defines. These categories include race, family structure, language, gender, religion, and economic class.

Reflecting on how these identities intersect and influence practice can help early childhood educators understand and challenge how systems of oppression and privilege operate in early childhood settings.

Considerations for Writing About Social Identity

NAEYC is interested in receiving submissions that explore a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:

  • how your social identities have informed your understanding of the children and families you work with
  • how your social identities have influenced your teaching practices and classroom dynamics
  • the role of self-reflection and professional development in understanding and addressing how your social identities impact your teaching

Submission Guidelines

Who can submit a paper proposal?

  • teachers and administrators at any stage in their career working with young children aged birth to 8 years
  • early childhood educators with various backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives
  • teacher educators, particularly those working with associate degree students

What should paper proposals include?

Proposals should be 500-750 words in length and should include the following features:

  • an idea for a personal narrative essay that discusses identity and practice, relative to the broader issues of equity and social justice
  • a statement of the challenge or opportunity for reform the paper intends to address
  • a brief contextual overview of the submitter’s program (e.g., geography, the population of children and families served, etc.)
  • a key anecdote or descriptive narrative that captures the heart of the submitter’s message
  • bullet points of two to three lessons the submitter has learned from their experience and their reflections about it

How do interested educators submit?

  • Interested educators should email their completed proposal to
  • Please indicate in the subject line that it is a submission for “Voices of Practitioners” Fall 2023.
  • Proposals are due by April 7.

Learn More

To learn more, read the full submission guidelines or visit the NAEYC “Voices of Practitioners” webpage.


March Recalls on Children’s Products

Parents and caregivers should be aware of several child-related product recalls.

Learn More

Here is a list of March recalls collected from the following major federal agencies: the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

More Information

For recall details, visit the links above or review the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Food and Drug Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration websites.


March 23, 2023

Pennsylvania Key Offering School Age Child Care Mental Health Consultation

The Pennsylvania Key Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Program is now offering School Age Child Care (SACC) Mental Health Consultation, with support from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).

About SACC Mental Health Consultation

SACC Mental Health Consultation is a problem-solving and collaborative approach to help develop goals and strategies for:

  • child social-emotional concerns
  • child behavioral or developmental concerns
  • emotional well-being of teachers and caregivers partnering with families

Through SACC Mental Health Consultation, a Mental Health Consultant is available by appointment to provide assistance via telephone or video conference, and is now accepting appointments for consultation throughout Pennsylvania.

How can SACC Mental Health Consultation help your program?

SACC Mental Health Consultation helps adults strengthen their relationships with school age children and build the capacity to respond to children’s social-emotional needs. Consultation can help reduce caregiver stress, as well as increase caregivers’ reflective practice skills to:

  • figure out what’s really going on when children exhibit challenging behaviors
  • reflect and respond to problem behaviors with the power and impact of nurturing relationships
  • build partnerships with families
  • share community resources
  • consider your next steps and where to go from there

Who can request SACC Mental Health Consultation?

 Services are available to child care professionals participating in Keystone STARS school age child care programs (like teachers, directors, and staff in center, group-based child care programs).

How can you request a SACC Mental Health Consultant appointment?

Appointments are held on Tuesdays, with the option to schedule follow up appointments based on individual needs.

To schedule an appointment with Lauren Walter, SACC Mental Health Consultant, please complete the SACC Mental Health Consultant Form.


Child Care Career Openings in Pittsburgh

Are you looking for open child care positions? Early learning programs in the Greater Pittsburgh Area are hiring! See featured jobs for this week.

Child Care Positions in Pittsburgh

Head Teacher

The University Child Development Center is seeking a full-time preschool Head Teacher to provide developmentally appropriate care for the children in the classroom. The Head Teacher’s responsibilities include supervision, assessment, curricular planning, and support of our laboratory school experience. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field and at least one year of experience working with children between the ages of six weeks and five years of age.

More information is available online.

Interested individuals should apply at

Assistant Teachers

The University Child Development Center is seeking part-time and full-time Assistant Teachers for infant, toddler, and preschool classrooms. Responsibilities include supervision and supporting developmentally appropriate experiences for all children. Candidates must have at least 15 credits in a related field (early childhood, child development, etc.) and one year of experience with children.

More information is available online.

Interested individuals should apply at

Summer Day Camp Counselor

The YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is seeking a Summer Day Camp Counselor. Responsibilities include planning, executing, and organizing summer activities in art, sports, drama, music, and other various areas. Applicants must be familiar with behavioral characteristics and skill sets specific to school age children, able to plan programs accordingly, and capable of adapting activities for group size and skill level.

More information is available online.

Interested individuals should apply at

Assistant Director

Carriage House Children’s Center is seeking an Assistant Director responsible for managing the day-to-day running of the Center. Through a respectful, constructive and energetic style, guided by the objectives of the organization, the Assistant Director will ensure the Center’s compliance with administrative aspects related to licensing regulations, accreditation and certification processes, personnel files, teacher professional development, human resource functions, and Center communications.

Interested individuals should email their resume to Sharon Amick at

Child Care Providers – Assistant Group Supervisors

Early Bird Childcare is seeking professional and knowledgeable Child Care Providers who have a love and passion for working with children, and are creative, energetic, and self-motivated team players dedicated to ensuring the well-being of each and every child in their care. All Childcare Providers must be flexible and dependable, with at least two years of experience working in a child care center, or in a before- or after-school program setting.

Interested individuals should call 412-315-5679 or email their resume to

Kindergarten Co-Teacher

The Carriage House Children’s Center is seeking a Kindergarten Co-Teacher. Candidates must have a B.A. in Elementary and Early Childhood Education with a PA certification to teach Pre-K through 4th grade.

Interested individuals should email their resume Debbie Welch at

Infant Room Teacher

Little Owls Learning Center is seeking a compassionate caregiver to take care of their littlest owlets. Applicants must be reliable, have experience in childcare, and be a team player.

Interested individuals should email their resume to

Infant and Toddler Room Teacher/Assistant Teacher

Rainbows End Child Academy is seeking an Infant and Toddler Room Teacher/Assistant Teacher. The person in this role will create and implement lessons that will meet the needs of every child, maintain a safe, nurturing environment where children can play and learn, and partner and communicate with parents through a shared desire to provide the best care and education for their children.

Interested individuals should email their resume to

Submit a Job

Trying Together highlights employer-submitted jobs on our website, social media, and in our newsletter.

All jobs submitted after Tuesday each week will be published in the following week’s news post. Publication dates may vary due to state and federal holidays. Unrelated jobs will not be included.

For questions, contact Heidi Winkler at

Other Jobs in Early Childhood


Visit the ECE Hire website to view early childhood education job listings and helpful tips on interviewing, resumes, and more.


Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA) offers a Job Board for its members to post jobs for free and sends out submitted jobs via their Facebook page and e-newsletter. PACCA members can submit jobs online after signing into their membership account. For questions, contact Maureen Murphy at

Receive Jobs in Your Inbox

To receive the latest job opportunities, subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook.


March 22, 2023

OCDEL Ends Option for Director Instructor PQAS

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development & Early Learning (OCDEL) recently ended the option for individuals to apply for the Director Instructor (DI) Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System (PQAS).

Effective March 21, applications for DI PQAS will no longer be accepted or processed, and the DI PQAS will no longer be available as an option for individuals to provide training to child care staff. Additionally, individuals holding a DI PQAS will no longer have access to train child care staff, as trainings will be made obsolete on April 28.

Learn More

Directors may pursue a PQAS application and create their own content in alignment with competencies for which they are approved based on expertise and/or education. Visit PQAS Applications – The Pennsylvania Key for information on applying to become a Professional Development Instructor.

For child care staff seeking professional development in material similar to the outdated modules, OCDEL is supplying course content to replace the outdated modules within the PD Registry. All content in the PD Registry is offered by approved Professional Development PQAS Instructors in order to count for various professional development requirements.

To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.


Additional Course to be Required for PQAS Certification

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development & Early Learning (OCDEL) recently adopted a new set of Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators (PA PSCECE), which require an additional self-paced Professional Development (PD) Registry course for Professional Development Instructor Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System (PQAS) approval, beginning July 1.

The new course, “Submitting PQAS Courses in the PD Registry,” meets enhanced PSCECE standards.

Changes to PQAS Application Requirements

Currently, instructors seeking Professional Development Instructor PQAS approval must complete the following self-paced PD Registry courses:

  • Overview of Keystone STARS: Pennsylvania’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS)
  • Engaging Adult Learners
  • The Pennsylvania Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators

On July 1, Pennsylvania will add “Submitting PQAS Courses in the PD Registry” to this list of required courses, as part of the PQAS application requirements for all new PD Instructor PQAS instructors.

PQAS-approved instructors who have already updated courses to align with PA PSCECE do not need take this additional course.

However, if you currently have PQAS approval, but have not submitted any courses since May 2022, you must complete the additional course prior to submitting any new courses into the PD Registry.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.


Resources for Changes to SNAP Benefits

Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro and Acting Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Val Arkoosh are reminding Pennsylvanians of federal changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that are taking effect this month.

SNAP Emergency Allotments—which were usually paid in the second half of each month—ended after February due to changes by the federal government.

In his 2023-24 budget, the governor proposed an increase to the minimum SNAP benefit for seniors and people with disabilities. The budget proposal also seeks to continue universal school breakfasts, an investment in children’s ability to learn and access to food for working families in all communities.

To address current needs, he is encouraging struggling families to utilize food assistance resources.

Proposed Increases to SNAP

The Governor’s proposed budget would increase the minimum monthly SNAP benefit for seniors and people with disabilities to $35 each month, as well as provide additional support as federal pandemic SNAP benefits end.

Additionally, it would continue universal free breakfast for all Pennsylvania students.

Food Assistance Resources

The following resources are available to families in need of food assistance:

SNAP-eligible senior citizens can benefit from the Senior Food Box Program, which provides additional shelf-stable groceries. Learn more about these programs from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Additionally, SNAP recipients who are pregnant or have kids younger than age five may be able to get help buying food from PA WIC. Call 1-800-WIC-WINS to learn more or apply online at

Find additional resources at

Learn More

Though SNAP benefits are being reduced, they are not being eliminated. Anybody who already receives SNAP should reach out to DHS and update their information to ensure they are receiving their maximum SNAP benefit. Additionally, anybody struggling to afford food or who may need financial assistance should reach out to DHS and apply for SNAP.

To learn more, visit the Official Pennsylvania website.

Additional Information and Resources


March 21, 2023

2023-24 Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Request for Applications

The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) recently announced its 2023-24 Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Request for Applications (RFA).

This is a full, competitive rebid opportunity to disperse all available funding to select, eligible grantees for a five-year grant period beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2023-24, and is intended to support providers in preparing to serve and enroll children by September 2023.

All FY 2022-23 Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts grantees wishing to serve children in FY 2023-2024 must apply as part of this competitive rebid process. Those seeking to become new Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts grantees may also apply.

About Pre-K Counts Grants

The ceiling or limit on the potential number of slots that may be awarded to any applicant will depend upon a county’s unmet need percentages and the amount of funding available. Funding is contingent upon approval by the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Grants are funded via state dollars, therefore, carryover funds are not permitted. All grant dollars identified in this FY 2023-24 application must be encumbered or spent by June 30, 2024.


Eligible applicants include:

  • existing PA PKC grantees
  • new applicants from:
    • school districts
    • PDE-licensed nursery schools
    • Head Start grantees
    • child care centers and group child care homes designated at Keystone STAR 3 or STAR 4, and
    • third-party entities applying for PA PKC funding to administer the lead agency responsibilities for entities that are eligible to provide the classroom services under the categories listed above

Eligible applicants must:

  • provide assurance that they operate in full compliance with Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Statute, Regulations, and Guidance
  • submit a Letter of Intent
  • possess a:
    • vendor number (SAP#)
    • administrative unit number (AUN)
    • master provider index number (MPI)
    • federal ID number or tax ID number, and
    • MyPDESuite login ID

Eligible applicants are encouraged, but not required to:

Letter of Intent

Interested applicants must submit Letters of Intent to by 3 p.m. on March 28, 2023.

Because of the need to establish access to the eGrants procurement system, applicants must submit a completed Letter of Intent to apply for funds using the template posted at PKC How to Apply.

The Letter of Intent represents the applicant’s intent to apply for PA PKC funding and must include:

  • the legal name of the eligible entity that will apply
  • the AUN associated with the applying legal entity’s proposed PA PKC provider type
  • preliminary information about requested funding
  • program model
  • provider type, and
  • area to be served.

Except for the legal entity and AUN, information submitted in the Letter of Intent may be modified in the final eGrants application.

Programs that do not submit the Letter of Intent will not be able to access or submit a funding application in eGrants. Late submissions will not be accepted. Applicants submitting a fully complete Letter of Intent to by 3 p.m. on March 28, 2023 will be notified when the PA PKC application is open in eGrants.

Learn More

To learn more, consult the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Request for Applications (RFA) Guidelines or visit the Pennsylvania Keys website.

Any questions should be sent to


Vote School Board First Shares Key Election Information

Vote School Board First! recently shared key dates regarding the 2023 Pittsburgh Primary Election and is encouraging voters in the City of Pittsburgh to vote for school board members on May 16, 2023.

Vote School Board First! does not support or endorse any specific candidate. The coalition’s goal is to educate the community and promote increased participation in school board elections.

Key Dates

On May 16, voters will vote in the primary elections and select school board candidates for Pittsburgh Public School districts 2, 4, 6, and 8. If you are a registered voter, mark your calendar for these key dates:

  • April 1: Vote School Board First! publishes responses to Candidate Questionnaire
  • May 1: Last Day to Register to Vote!
  • May 9: Last Day to Apply for Absentee or Mail In Ballot
  • May 16: Last Day to Return Mail or Absentee Ballots by 8:00 PM

Register to Vote

The deadline to register to vote is May 1. If you are not registered, register now by completing the Voter Registration Application.

If you are uncertain of your registration status, check it using the Pennsylvania Department of State Voter Registration Status Tool.

Find Your Polling Place

Not sure where to vote? Use the Pennsylvania Department of State Polling Place Search Tool to locate your polling place for election day.

Reasons to Vote

Vote School Board First! encourages voters to participate in school board elections because:

  1. A high quality public education is a cornerstone of a functioning democracy.
  2. Gaps in opportunities for Pittsburgh children based on race persist.
  3. Opportunities to thrive in our current society and economy require more education.
  4. Only one in five registered voters participate in school board elections.
  5. Schools spend most of your tax dollars.

Find details on the Vote School Board First! website.

Learn More

If have questions about your registration status, polling place, or the May 16 election, visit the Allegheny County Elections website or contact the county election office at:

Phone Number

(412) 350-4500


Allegheny County Elections Division
542 Forbes Ave., Suite 312
Pittsburgh, PA 15219-2953.


Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


March 14, 2023

UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation Offering Medical Grants for Children

The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is offering medical grants to families unable to afford child medical expenses not covered, or not fully covered, by commercial health insurance.

Families can receive up to $5,000 annually per child ($10,000 lifetime maximum per child), and do not need to have insurance through UnitedHealthcare to be eligible to receive medical grants.

About UHCCF Medical Grants

UHCCF is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides medical grants to help children gain access to health-related services not covered or not fully covered by their family’s commercial health insurance plan.

Grants are available for medical costs incurred within 60 days of application and are good for one year following the month in which they are approved.

Families can use medical grants to cover the cost of deductibles, coinsurance, copays, and a variety of non-covered services and supports, including therapies, durable medical equipment, hospital stays, medication, mental health services, and most other standard/FDA approved services.

Families cannot use medical grants to pay for insurance premiums, home modifications, and experimental or unproven services. Visit the UHCCF website to find a list of other exclusions.

Grant recipients awarded less than $5,000 may re-apply for another grant once the current grant funds have been completely exhausted.

Applications not approved by the regional board must wait 12 months before re-applying unless the medical condition and requested items have significantly changed from the original request.

Grant Eligibility

Families are eligible for UHCCF medical grants if:

  • The child for whom they seek financial support is:
    • facing a health-related challenge
    • 16 years of age or younger at the time of application
    • a United States citizen and resides in the U.S.
    • covered by a commercial health plan individually purchased or provided by a caretaker’s employer
    • receiving care in the U.S. from a a licensed medical professional or receiving treatments in the U.S. prescribed by a Medical Doctor (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) or Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.)
      • Care or treatment administered in U.S. territories including U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are not eligible for UHCCF grant coverage.
  • Their maximum annual income, as reported on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1040 Tax Form, does not exceed:
    • Family Size of two – $55,000
    • Family Size of three – $85,000
    • Family Size of four – $115,000
    • Family Size of five or more – $145,000
  • They apply in a timely manor.
    • If families seek a grant for treatment or service that occurred more than 60 days prior to the application, their application will not be considered.

Apply for a Grant

To apply for UHCCF grant:

  • Ask your child’s physician to complete the Physician Certification of Medical Condition Form and obtain an electronic copy of the completed form.
  • Obtain an electronic copy of your IRS 1040 Tax Form.
  • Obtain an electronic copy of the front and back of your current commercial/private insurance card.
  • Complete the online UHCCF grant application, attaching electronic copies of the completed and signed Medical Condition Form, IRS 1040 Tax Form, and commercial/private insurance card.

Learn More

UHCCF’s funding is provided by contributions from individuals, corporations, and UnitedHealth Group employees.

To learn more, visit the UHCCF website.