September 11, 2020

On the Shoulders of Giants: Scientific Symposium

Join the Child Mind Institute on October 6 for its 2020 Virtual Symposium: On the Shoulders of Giants. The Symposium will feature 2020 Sarah Gund Prize recipient W. Thomas Boyce, MD.


On the Shoulders of Giants is the Child Mind Institute’s annual celebration of scientific achievement in child and adolescent psychiatry, psychology, and developmental neuroscience. This symposium celebrates the spirit of scientific collaboration and stewardship, and highlights seminal contributions to the field’s understanding of the brain and behavior.

Motivated by the recent crises, there will be a new format for this year’s event. Following brief presentations by Dr. Boyce and his proteges, participants will move onto a roundtable discussion, moderated by Dr. Nora Volkow and composed of past Distinguished Scientists honorees, to discuss issues of racism and inequality on children’s mental health – as well as the future of training in the field.


To register and learn more, visit the event registration page.


March 19, 2020

UnConference Postponed Due to COVID-19 Concerns

Due to the presence of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Allegheny County and many other Pennsylvania communities, Trying Together has decided to postpone the UnConference: Exceptional Care with a Team Approach to Inclusion, originally scheduled for March 28, 2020.


Trying Together has made this decision out of care for our community and partners, following the Allegheny County Department of Health’s lead and recommendation to postpone large group events. We are sorry for any inconvenience or disappointment this may cause. Like many of those who registered to attend, our organization was very excited about this UnConference topic, our great line-up of workshop presenters, and keynote speaker.

We are actively working with our co-host, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, to reschedule this UnConference to a later date. Please know that this is a postponement, not a cancellation. Trying Together will provide further information in April when more concrete information is available.

Thank you for your understanding and flexibility. Keep up the good handwashing!

More Information

For more information about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health. For questions regarding this postponement, contact Trying Together at


November 13, 2019

Supporting Young Children During Transitions

Writing for Child Mind Institute, Katherine Martinelli recently authored “How Can We Help Kids With Transitions,” highlighting key tips and advice for parents and caregivers seeking to support their young children.


When it comes to transitions–to kindergarten, a new program, or a new routine–young children often struggle. When children whine, stall, meltdown, or have a tantrum, some parents and caregivers aren’t sure where to turn. In an effort to empower these caregivers, Katherine Martinelli authored an article highlighting eight tips for supporting young children during the transition process, mentioning that these supports may be especially important for children with ADHD, anxiety, autism, or sensory sensitivities.

Tips & Advice

    • Create Routines
      Setting routines for daily activities such as bedtime, taking a bath, or putting away toys can play a big role in reassuring children during such transitions.
    • Preview and Count Down
      In addition to routines, providing a clear outline of what the day will entail can help children adequately prepare for transitions to come. Caregivers can do this in the morning with their children, paired with countdowns throughout the day. Before each transition, give your child a timeframe and description of what’s going to happen next.
    • Give It a Soundtrack
      Songs are a great tool to encourage routines and ease transitions. By creating songs for things such as cleaning up, bedtime, and getting ready to leave, caregivers establish a recognizable, fun indicator that a transition is happening. This tip works especially well with young children.
    • Visual Cues
      Some children may benefit from visual clues, such as a chart or poster with drawings that explain what to expect or the steps of a transition. Parents and caregivers can easily reference these visual cues during the transition to help walk children through the process.
    • Get Their Attention
      Many parents and caregivers know that simply yelling at children from across the room will only lead to frustration for both parties. Instead, caregivers are encouraged to make a connection with the child to ensure the child is giving their full attention. This could mean eye contact, a hand on the shoulder, sitting next to them, or asking them to repeat back what has been said.
    • Use Rewards
      Reward systems can be beneficial in schools and at home, especially during the early phases of a new transition. Using rewards such as stickers, snacks, or a point system can be effective in supporting positive behaviors. With this, the reward system can be phased out as a child gets closer to mastering the transition.
    • Implement Appropriate Consequences
      If a child exhibits negative behaviors during a transition, ignore the negative behavior rather than escalating the situation. However, if a child is egregiously misbehaving, parents and caregivers should implement “appropriate consequences for that behavior that makes the child understand that behavior is off-limits.”
    • Praise Good Transitioning
      Praise and recognition play a vital role in reinforcing positive behaviors. Martinelli recommends that caregivers be specific in their praise, following up with a reward when appropriate.

More Information

For more tips and advice on supporting children during transitions, read the full article on the Child Mind Institute website.


September 6, 2019

Be Strong Parent Café Training Institute Seeking Applications

Family leaders and providers are invited to apply for the Be Strong Parent Café Institute. Applications must be submitted no later than September 15, 2019.


Through the efforts of the PA Strengthening Families Leadership Team, with funding support from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and facilitated by the Center for Schools and Communities, Pennsylvania has offered the Be Strong Parent Café Training Institutes (PCTI) since 2016 and developed over 40 locally-based teams. There is no fee for participation.

PCTI is a two-day experiential and highly interactive institute that prepares a team of family leaders and providers to convene and implement parent cafés and serve as café leaders and table hosts. By the end of the institute, teams will know the anatomy of a parent café, the philosophical foundations and research underlying parent cafés, how to create an ambiance conducive to maximizing the effectiveness of the parent café process, and how to build on the parent café experience to enhance programs for and with family members/family leaders.

Be Strong Parent Cafés educate parents and caregivers about the Strengthening Families™ Protective Factors and create an environment in which parents and caregivers can build protective factors through individual deep self-reflection and peer-to-peer learning.

Read their announcement to learn more.

Available Dates

PCTI will be hosted on the following dates:

    • September 26–27, 2019, Grove City area
    • November 18–19, 2019, Allentown area
    • November 21–22, 2019, State College area
    • December 18–19, 2019, Pittsburgh area

What’s Included

Participation in PCTI includes:

    • continental breakfast and lunch;
    • an honorarium for each day attended;
    • lodging for those who must travel 50 or more miles to the event and wish to stay overnight;
    • and reimbursements for family members of the team for milage (in their car), child care, and evening meals with the submission of a required form and receipts.


To apply for PCTI, complete this form no later than September 15, 2019. Completed applications should be submitted via email to or fax at 717.763.2083.

Learn More

For questions about the Be Strong Parent Café model or to discuss your readiness to participate, please contact Rijelle Kraft at 717.763.1661, x221 or

Visit the PA Strengthening Families website to learn more.

*Information provided by Pennsylvania Strengthening Families


June 4, 2019

Empowering and Strengthening Relationships Across Early Childhood Settings

Join the Harvard Graduate School of Education on June 27 and 28 for “Empowering and Strengthening Relationships Across Early Childhood Settings,” a new program intended for early education leaders, principals, program directors, administrators, and teacher leaders.


“Empowering and Strengthening Relationships Across Early Childhood Settings” is offered as part of the Zaentz Professional Learning Academy, featuring the tools and resources of “Simple Interactions,” a collaboration between the Fred Rogers Center on Early Learning and Children’s Media and the Zaentz Initiative.

Led by Faculty Co-Chairs Junlei Li, Nonie Lesaux, and Stephanie Jones, this two-day on-campus institute offers participants a combination of practice-based learning experiences, research and theoretical insights from both within and beyond the early childhood field, and community-supported problem-solving.

Program Objectives

Participants will:

    • Define what is a developmental human interaction and how such interactions contribute to the full range of child development goals from language to social and emotional learning;
    • Envision and plan how to support the development of young children’s helpers and empower adult-child human interactions; and
    • Engage in practice-based conversations for professional learning settings and re-examine early childhood systems with a relationship-focused lens.

Program Costs

The program will be hosted on campus and will require a $199 tuition payment per person. Special rates are available for Program, Community, District, and Network Teams. Participants will receive a certificate of participation and a letter confirming clock hours of instruction.

Tuition includes all instructional materials, however, participants will have to pay for associated travel expenses and hotel accommodations. For more information, visit their Payment page.


Registrations must be submitted by June 20, 2019, via the event website.

More Information

For more information, visit the event webpage or email

Share this flyer with your network.


April 3, 2019

2019 P-3 Governor’s Institute Encourages Applications

The Pennsylvania Department of Education Office of Child Development and Early Learning announced the 2019 Prenatal to Grade 3 (P-3) Governor’s Institute: P-3 Collaboration – Working Together for Student Success.


The purpose of Pennsylvania’s P-3 Governor’s Institute is to help school districts, early learning providers, and community organizations throughout the Commonwealth make the vital connections and collaborations necessary for student success from prenatal through grade 3. The 2019 P-3 Governor’s Institute is being offered June 24- 25, 2019 in Hershey, PA.

Application Details

Participation in the 2019 Institute is limited to 22 teams that have not previously attended a P-3 Governor’s Institute. Participating teams will be selected through an application process. School districts, birth-5 early learning programs, and community organizations may submit an application.

Applications may be submitted for more than one team from the same organization if each applying team represents a different elementary school and birth-5 feeder school/program. Teams should be built around a specific elementary school(s), its feeder early learning programs, and the local community. Selected teams will participate in this two-day event. Professional development will be offered to support team specific implementation of P-3 efforts.

Most expenses, except meals, will be covered for participating teams using Preschool Development Grant funds. Act 48, and Act 45/PIL professional development credits and Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System (PQAS) hours will be offered.

Required Agreements

To be considered for participation in this event, participating teams must agree to the following:

  • Participate in pre-conference assignment, webinar or call;
  • Attend and actively engage in the entire two-day event;
  • Bring a core team of no less than four educators (maximum participating team of eight members): a birth-5 administrator, a birth-5 teacher, a K-3 administrator, and a K-3 teacher. Preference will be given to applicants who include up to four of the following: family leader or family representative, Early Intervention representative, out of school time professional, community member, librarian, curriculum specialist, higher education partner, IU representative, Home Visiting, and Family Support;
  • Applying team has not attended a past P-3 Governor’s Institute;
  • Engage in continuous improvement via sharing and implementation of strategies/programs that will enhance student achievement; and
  • Maintain an active role in the Governor’s Institute cohort subsequent to the event (e.g., professional learning community, webinars, monthly follow up).

Application & Deadline

Applications are being accepted via the Governor’s Institute P-3 2019 Application link until the April 30, 2019 deadline. Selected applicants will be notified via email by May 10, 2019.


For questions, contact Jolie Phillips at

*Information provided by OCDEL’s PA Early Ed Newsletter


November 28, 2018

Film Screening | We Wear the Mask: The Hidden Faces of Women in Poverty

Join Just Films in their free screening of Pittsburgh filmmaker Tammy Thompson’s “We Wear the Mask.” After the screening, Thompson and the women featured in the documentary will participate in a panel discussion and Q&A session. This event is free and open to the public. Register here.

For any questions, contact Melody Harris via phone (412.365.1578) or email (

About the Film

“We Wear the Mask” powerfully represents the challenges for low-income women in Pittsburgh, and demonstrates the psychological effects of poverty. Women are disproportionately disadvantaged by growing economic inequality in our country and region. This evocative documentary follows three different women who have faced similar struggles, and illuminates the human impact of economic injustice through their stories.

Just Films

Just Films is brought to you by the Chatham University Women’s Institute, Gwen’s Girls, the Women and Girls Foundation, the Women’s Law Project, and YWCA Greater Pittsburgh.

Share their flyer with your networks.