October 6, 2020

Promoting Inclusion in ECE Programs

On September 30, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) released guidance on strategies early learning programs should use to ensure all young children with disabilities and their families have access to high-quality, inclusive programming.


OCDEL issued this announcement to provide guidance on strategies that promote inclusion for all students, set an expectation for high-quality programs to be inclusive of children with disabilities, and identify resources available to local early learning programs.

Who Does This Apply To?

Effective October 1, 2020, this announcement applies to both federally- and state-funded programs, including Child Care Works, Child Care Certification, Early Head Start, Head Start, Early Intervention, Home Visiting programs, Keystone STARS, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, and Family Centers.

Next Steps

To promote inclusion, local early learning programs must complete the following actions:

1. In collaboration with program staff and families:

    • develop and implement a written program policy that focuses on actively including young children with disabilities in your early learning program;
    • review and modify existing policies, practices, and procedures to ensure barriers are removed that would prevent children with disabilities from accessing or participating in your early learning program; and
    • develop resources for effective communication between families and program staff to ensure families know the benefits of and their rights related to inclusion.

2. Assess staff competencies and implement professional development, which includes family perspectives, related to inclusion based on the needs of staff and families.

3. Seek assistance from your local Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) to identify examples of inclusive program policies, structures, and activities to provide models of dissemination and replication throughout Pennsylvania.

4. Develop and strengthen partnerships between your program and Early Intervention programs so that supports and services for children with disabilities can be provided within the daily routines and activities of high-quality early learning programs.

5. Participate in ongoing opportunities for stakeholder input and professional development opportunities on additional OCDEL guidance related to the inclusion of all children.

6. Implement this policy in conjunction with the Announcement, Reduction of Expulsion and Suspension in Early Childhood Programs in Pennsylvania and any additional guidance related to the inclusion of all children.

OCDEL’s Support

To promote practices that support the inclusion of all young children in early learning programs, OCDEL will complete the following actions:

1. In collaboration with and input from stakeholders and families, OCDEL will:

2. OCDEL will provide individualized support, including on-site coaching and consultation, to OCDEL-funded programs.

3. Through the ELRCs, OCDEL will:

    • identify opportunities for community partnerships to promote inclusion, including partnerships for providing individualized support, professional development, and other capacity-building resources;
    • provide support and guidance to assist child care programs to progress in their Keystone STAR level rating; and
    • support child care programs to understand their vital role in supporting inclusion.

More Information

For more information, read the full announcement.


July 10, 2020

Remote Learning for Early Learners with Autism

Are you interested in learning how to help early learners with autism engage with remote instruction through evidence-based practices? Attend the webinar “Remote Learning for Early Learners with Autism” on July 16.


While remote learning allows students to continue their education, it can be challenging for young students with autism and other developmental disabilities to attend to the screen and engage with the curriculum. In this webinar, STAR Autism Support Training Specialist Elizabeth Curtin will discuss strategies to help early learners with autism engage with synchronous remote instruction through evidence-based practices.

A focus of this presentation will be on teaching skills in receptive language, expressive language, social and play, and pre-academics. This webinar will include video examples of teachers coaching caregivers to provide consistent instruction to their students. Participants will also learn strategies on teaching students to be more independent in daily functional routines.

This webinar is best suited for pre-k through elementary teachers and school leaders. Time for questions will be provided.


To register and learn more, visit the event webpage. Registration to attend the live presentation is limited to 2,000 people. A recording of the session will be available to those who sign up to receive it via email and to those who attend the live event.


July 7, 2020

A Routines-Based Approach for Young Children with Disabilities

Are you interested in learning about a routines-based approach for providing early intervention to young children with disabilities? Join ZERO TO THREE on July 15 for their free webinar, “Where Intervention Happens: A Routines-Based Approach for Young Children with Disabilities.”


Throughout the day, children learn during their everyday routines, including during child care. Ensuring that infants and toddlers with disabilities get the most intervention possible and the most relevant intervention possible means building their caregivers’ capacity.

This webinar will address the assessment of child and family needs, the use of a primary service provider, collaborative consultation, data collection, and how to train staff to use a routines-based approach. This webinar is best suited for early intervention professionals, as well as caregivers who have or would like to have an early intervention professional working with them.


To register and learn more, visit the event webpage. For those who are unable to attend the session, please note that all registrants will receive a link to the webinar recording 24 to 48 hours after the session.


July 23, 2019

Free Leadership Training for Families Receiving EI Services

Are you a parent, caregiver, or family member of a young child who receives Early Intervention services in Pennsylvania? Join the Temple University College of Education for Competence and Confidence: Partners in Policymaking Early Intervention (C2P2 EI 2019-20).


C2P2 EI 2019-20 provides free leadership development training for families of children who receive Infant-Toddler Early Intervention or Preschool Early Intervention Services. The training will provide participants with up-to-date information, leadership development training, resources, and skills. Participants learn about the local, state, and national issues that affect children with disabilities.


To be eligible, applicants should be Pennsylvania family members who:

    • Have a child—infant or school-age—that receives Early Intervention services,
    • Desire to advocate for themselves and others by building leadership skills, and
    • Are willing to commit to all four 2-day trainings.

Training Information

Training Dates

Trainings will be held on Fridays from 1 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

    • October 11-12, 2019
    • December 6-7, 2019
    • March 6-7, 2020
    • April 3-4, 2020
Covered Costs
    • Meals included
    • Travel and child care expense reimbursements
    • Overnight lodging (for those traveling 40+ miles)


To apply and for more information, visit the event website.

The application deadline is September 20, 2019.


For questions, contact Cathy Roccia-Meier at 215.204.1772 (voice), 215.204.1805 (TeleTypewriter/TTY), or


February 12, 2019

Fostering Inclusive Spaces for Children of All Abilities

Join APOST at United Way’s Pittsburgh Office for this eye-opening and interactive workshop, tailored to increase awareness about disabilities, and to share different ways to make your program space more inclusive for children with disabilities.

With her firsthand experience living with a disability and parenting a child with a disability too, guest presenter, Michelle Walker, of Lend An Ear Consulting, will be here to help participants navigate this important topic for Out-of-School Time providers. Questions are encouraged.

Objectives of this workshop are:

  • Participants will learn and discuss the various types of disabilities, both visible and invisible.
  • Participants will explore ways to be more inclusive, more accessible and welcoming for all.


To register, visit their event page.


For questions, contact APOST at 412.456.6876 or


October 18, 2018

Worst Case Scenarios: Child Care Provider Emergency Planning and Management

Register today for the Worst Case Scenarios min-conference. Pre-registration is required.

Child care providers, whether a single family home provider or staff at large center, need to have a plan and be prepared for challenging situations that could threaten children and staff, including the impact on children and staff with special health care needs and disabilities. The goal of this conference is to provide information that will improve caregiver’s knowledge of what to do in emergency situations, and familiarize them with the local people to contact.

The cost is $15 per person for the half-day conference which includes a continental breakfast. PQAS hours are available.

View this flyer for event and registration details.