September 26, 2023

Resources for October Observances

Various organizations, states, and nations recognize a number of observances each month. Resources help parents, caregivers, and child care professionals acknowledge and navigate them.

Here is a list of resources for October observances:

Month-Long Observances

Head Start Awareness Month

Dyslexia Awareness Month

Hispanic Heritage Month (continued)

National Book Month

Days of Recognition

October 2 is National Child Health Day

October 4 is National Walk to School Day

October 7 is National Play Outside Day

October 9 is Indigenous Peoples’ Day

October 10 is World Mental Health Day

October 11 is National Coming Out Day


September Recalls on Children’s Products

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

Learn More

Here is a list of September 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.

More Resources

To read more recall reports:




Spring 2024 T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship Application Now Open

Early childhood education professionals interested in attending college in the Spring 2024 semester can now submit applications to receive a T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education And Compensation Helps) Scholarship and earn their teaching degree at little to no personal cost.

Interested applicants must complete and submit their T.E.A.C.H. applications with all required documentation/information by Friday, November 17.

About T.E.A.C.H. Scholarships

T.E.A.C.H. encompasses several different scholarship programs. These programs help child care professionals complete coursework toward a degree or credential in early childhood and increase their compensation.

Every T.E.A.C.H. scholarship has five key components:

  1. Scholarship – The scholarship covers most of the cost for tuition and books. Additionally, recipients receive a travel stipend each semester they are enrolled in class. Also, T.E.A.C.H. requires that the sponsoring child care program offer paid release time for the student to attend class, study, or handle personal needs.
  2. Education – In one scholarship year, each participant must successfully complete a required number of credit hours (usually 9-15) toward a degree in early childhood education.
  3. Compensation – At the end of the scholarship year, if they complete their educational requirement, participants are eligible to receive either a stipend or a raise.
  4. Commitment – Participants agree to continue working in their child care program for one year after each scholarship year.
  5. Counseling – Each recipient gets assigned a counselor able to assist the student in securing a scholarship, navigating the college processes, setting goals, and monitoring progress and needs.


The Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA) offers a variety of T.E.A.C.H. scholarships to meet the needs of the early care and education workforce in center and home-based settings. Eligible applicants must:

  • work a minimum of 25-30 hours per week directly with children in a DHS-certified child care program;
  • make $21.63 or less an hour ($25 or less per hour for directors); and
  • remain interested in pursuing coursework at a participating college toward a degree or credential in early childhood.


To apply, download a scholarship application on the PACCA website and submit your completed application by Friday, November 17 through one of the following methods:

  • Email:
  • Fax: 717.657.0959
  • Mail: 20 Erford Road, Suite 302, Lemoyne, PA 17043

Additionally, begin the college admissions process and contact an early childhood education (ECE) advisor at your intended college/university. This helps to ensure that scholarship applicants get admitted to their college/university and can register for courses if/when they receive a T.E.A.C.H. scholarship. T.E.A.C.H. can provide contact information for early childhood education advisors at partnering institutions if needed.

Learn More

For questions about scholarship eligibility or requirements, contact a T.E.A.C.H. Counselor at


Poster Series for Helping Kids who have Experienced Trauma

Heal PA and Bright Start, Bright Kids, Bright Futures have created a poster series for early childhood educators to help children who have experienced trauma.


The posters equip teachers with the necessary tools to identify symptoms of childhood trauma, establish safe and informed classroom environments, and implement effective trauma-informed techniques and practices. Each set contains four posters focusing on ages birth – three and three – six years. The poster topics are:

  • What are Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)?
  • Signs and Symptoms of Traumatic Stress
  • Children can cope with trauma and build resiliency
  • Tips for Educators: Taking care of yourself

Early childhood educators and partners can display the posters where families and staff can view the information. Posters are available at no cost and available in English and Spanish. Supplies are limited. Download the posters on the Heal PA website or order a set of posters.


September 25, 2023

Duolingo Invests $1 Million A Year Towards Pittsburgh Early Education

Duolingo, headquartered in East Liberty, has pledged $1 million to a new program called “Early Learner’s First.”

This program’s main goal is to help strengthen and enhance Pittsburgh’s early education system by investing in local child care programs. With this pledge, Duolingo looks to invest directly in local child care programs to amplify the quality of early child care and create a lasting impact on staff retention and sustainable business practices.

Trying Together, the Early Excellence Project and Candor&Co partnered with Duolingo in the creation of this program.

Who Does It Impact?

The nine local early learning programs impacted by this pledge are:

Those selected for the program will receive up to $80,000 to assist them in meeting the true cost of care, which can include expenses like staff benefits and facility improvements, which allows them to welcome more children to their programs.

Learn More

To learn more about Duolingo and the Early Learners First program, read “Early Learners First: A New Early Education Program for our Pittsburgh Neighbors.”

Related Content & Resources:


U.S. Maternal Deaths Rise as Health Disparities Increase; Local Resources Offer Support

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has revealed significant increases in pregnancy-related deaths across the United States, with disproportionate losses among Black, Native American, and Alaska Native people.

About the Study

Entitled, “Trends in State-Level Maternal Mortality by Racial and Ethnic Group in the United States,” the study analyzed state-by-state census data from 1999 to 2019 on pregnant or recently pregnant individuals aged 10 to 54 years, to provide comprehensive evidence on maternal morbidity and to guide policies aimed at preventing maternal deaths.

Key Findings

Results revealed a stark spike in maternal mortality rates, with pregnancy-related deaths more than doubling among all racial and ethnic groups across the U.S. over the last 20 years, and more than tripling for Native American and Alaska Native people. However, maternal mortality remains the highest among the nation’s Black population, continuing historic trends.

Unfortunately, worsening healthcare for Black and BIPOC mothers—a trend typically relegated to southern states—is expanding. According to the study, New York and New Jersey saw an increase in Black and Latina deaths, while more Asian mothers died in Wyoming and Montana.

Supporting Information

In interviews with study authors and other medical professionals, WESA, an NPR affiliate, revealed the uniqueness of this upward trend, noting that other high-income countries have seen their maternal morbidity rates decline as a result of increasingly accessible healthcare.

Consequently, state review committees consider most maternal deaths preventable, as most deaths appear linked to untreated health conditions and complications. Thus, WESA sites researchers are advocating for improved access to care, which Medicaid may allow, as the program pays for about half of U.S. births.

Local Maternal Health Resources

Local programs and services may help new and expecting mothers in the Greater Pittsburgh Area and Pennsylvania. Some of these resources include:

Learn More

Find the status of local maternal health and learn about the state maternal morbidity review committee on the Pennsylvania Department of Health website.

To learn more, read the NPR and WESA article, “U.S. maternal deaths keep rising. Here’s who is most at risk.” 


Information for this post was taken directly from “Trends in State-Level Maternal Mortality by Racial and Ethnic Group in the United States”—a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)—and the NPR and WESA article, “U.S. maternal deaths keep rising. Here’s who is most at risk.” Text has been added, paraphrased, and adapted for reproduction, readability, and comprehension, and resources curated from a number of online sources.

Related Content & Resources


September 24, 2023

Exploring Nearby Nature Professional Development Series

Trying Together and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy invite early childhood education providers in Allegheny County to learn about how nature supports children’s physical health, social and emotional well-being, and cognitive growth.

PQAS and ACT 48 continuing education credits will be provided to participants who participate in the following sessions, which are available at no cost.

Exploring Nearby Nature Part 1: Why and How

Session Details

  • Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Virtual
  • Register

Nature and the outdoors provide a rich context for early learning. This course will cover simple tools, science content, and tips for supporting children’s developing inquiry skills. Participants will gain knowledge about how they can help young learners get the most of their nature exploration time. The course will cover simple tools, science content, and tips for supporting children’s developing inquiry skills. 

Exploring Nearby Nature Part 2: Tools for Going Out

Session Details

  • Saturday, October 14, 2023 | 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Schenley Park Visitor Center,101 Panther Hollow Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
  • Register

Building upon the training, “Exploring Nearby Nature Part 1,” participants will gain knowledge and skills to help young learners get the most out of outdoor exploration time. The course will cover outdoor safety, exploration strategies, and science content. This training includes time outdoors to practice techniques and nature-based activities.


September 21, 2023

Request for Proposals: Early Intervention Gap Analysis

Trying Together is requesting proposals from qualified and experienced consulting firms to conduct a comprehensive gap analysis of the early intervention system (birth to three and three to five) in Allegheny County.


Trying Together seeks an external consulting firm to conduct an early intervention gap analysis in Allegheny County with the goal of identifying areas in which the system is not equitable for young children and families based on but not limited to race, ethnicity, geography, and income. This will include examining outreach, referral, enrollment, and support for Black and Brown families and those who speak a language other than English in the home.

Results and recommendations will be shared with community stakeholders starting with families as well as regional system partners and the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). Trying Together will use the recommendations of the gap analysis to develop potential solutions to address inequities and improve outreach, referral, enrollment, and support for Black and Brown families with young children.

The ideal candidate seeks to understand the Part B and Part C early intervention systems in Allegheny County and has an experienced track record of completing evaluations of education and human services programs.

Interested applicants should review the entire Early Intervention Gap Analysis RFP. Proposals should be submitted via email to and are due no later than October 18, 2023. Phone call inquiries will not be accepted. Please email if you have questions.


September 19, 2023

Poll Reveals Increases in Child Communication Disorders and Need for Early Intervention Services

A national poll of audiologists and speech-language pathologists recently revealed an increase in child medical referrals for parental concerns about hearing, speech, and language delays or disorders.

Conducted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), the survey investigated early detection, early warning signs, and caregiver knowledge and awareness of communication disorders, and demonstrated a need for early intervention education and services.

About the Survey

ASHA conducted this survey in February and March of 2023, sending an email invitation to 5,460 ASHA-certified audiologists and 5,534 ASHA-certified speech-language pathologists in the U.S. who are employed as clinical service providers and regularly serve at least one of the following age groups:

  • six months or younger,
  • seven months to two years of age, and
  • three to five years of age

The invitation included a link to the survey, which 858 recipients completed. Demographically:

  • 43% of respondents work in schools.
  • 29% work in nonresidential health care facilities.
  • 21% work in hospitals.
  • 79% regularly serve age groups three to five years.
  • 54% regularly serve age groups seven months to two years.
  • 32% regularly serve age groups six months or less.

Key Findings

Pandemic-Related Trends

  • Backlogs of children who weren’t referred to audiologists and speech-language pathologists during stay-at-home periods, or whose families waited to seek help due to concerns about coronavirus exposure, were a major factor in the increase of referrals. Three-quarters (75%) of audiologists and 62% of speech-language pathologists reported such backlogs.
  • Post-pandemic:
    • 34% of audiologists reported seeing more children with a delayed diagnosis of hearing loss;
    • 36% of audiologists reported seeing more children with untreated ear infections that could interfere with communication development;
    • 84% of speech-language pathologists reported seeing more children with emotional or behavioral difficulties;
    • 79% of speech-language pathologists reported seeing more children with delayed language or diagnosed language disorders, and
    • 78% reported seeing more children with social communication difficulties than before the pandemic.
  • When it comes to factors contributing to increases in referrals beyond backlogs, audiologists and speech-language pathologists point to:
    • limited opportunities for social interaction and play with peers (59%);
    • limited formal pre-K and daycare or interaction with outside adults (57%) such as child care providers, preschool teachers, and extended family; and
    • young children (51%) spending more time using screens and technology such as tablets and smartphones compared with pre-pandemic years.

Caregiver Awareness and Need for Early Intervention Services

Positive Trends
  • 67% of audiologists and speech-language pathologists said parental awareness of the early warning signs of communication disorders has improved during the past decade.
  • A majority (71%) said that most families with young children are at least “somewhat” aware of the importance of early detection of speech, language, and hearing difficulties when families first see them.
Negative Trends
  • Lack of awareness of the early signs of disorders remains the leading factor hindering parents and caregivers from taking action on communication disorders in young children.
  • Less than one quarter (21%) of audiologists said that most parents know the early warning signs of hearing disorders.
  • Only 28% of speech-language pathologists said that most parents know the early warning signs of speech-language disorders.
  • About 40% of audiologists indicated that, on average, symptoms of hearing loss in young children go unrecognized by parents/caregivers for 6 months to 1 year.
  • Similarly, about 41% of speech-language pathologists indicated that, on average, symptoms of a speech-language delay or disorder in young children go unrecognized by parents/caregivers for 1–2 years.
  • Nearly half (48%) of audiologists indicated that, on average, parents/caregivers wait 6 months to 1 year after observing symptoms of hearing loss in their children before acting.
  • Accordingly, 48% of speech-language pathologists indicated that, on average, parents/caregivers wait 6 months to 1 year after observing symptoms of a speech-language delay or disorder to get help.

ASHA Recommendations for Families

Learn More

Visit to learn more about communication disorders. To find additional information, visit the ASHA website.


Information for this post was taken directly from the ASHA “Identify the Signs Campaign Survey Results” and ASHA Press Release. Some text may have been added, paraphrased, or adapted for readability and comprehension.

Related Content & Resources


September 18, 2023

New Food Safety Fact Sheets Available

The United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed five new fact sheets with information about produce safety and best practices.


School meals are an important source of fruits and vegetables for children. Child nutrition program operators should understand food safety best practices to keep children safe.

For food safety information and best practices, including information specifically for produce, check out USDA’s five new fact sheets. These resources are designed for USDA’s partners and stakeholders, including child nutrition program operators and agricultural producers. They’re filled with useful information and provide an overview of the following topics related to food safety:

Visit the USDA Food and Nutrition Service’s (FNS) Produce Safety webpage for more information about food safety.