April 24, 2020

Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Bureau of Certification, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Key, will be offering weekly webinars on the CDC guidance for operating child care providers. These webinars are intended for currently operating child care providers.


The webinars will be facilitated by Amy Requa, MSN, CRNP (Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner) and Senior Health Manager at the Pennsylvania Key and will:

    • emphasize how the guidance offers practices for keeping people healthy and safe; and
    • answer questions that are submitted by providers.

Questions may be submitted prior to the webinar to Questions can also be entered into the chat box during the webinars and will be addressed in future webinars.


To attend the webinar on April 29, register by clicking on the links below:


August 20, 2019

Infant/Toddler Contracted Slots Program Accepting Applicants

Child care providers across the Commonwealth are encouraged to apply for 980 expansion infant/toddler contract slots to better serve eligible children.


The Infant Toddler Contracted Slots Program builds on the established infrastructure of the Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Program (PA PKC) model. PA PKC has been in existence since 2007 and provides high-quality pre-kindergarten services to eligible children. Building an infant/toddler focused program with established PA PKC programs will allow continued focus on quality programming while building strong transitions from infant/toddler to pre-kindergarten classrooms.


Eligible providers must:

    • currently serve PA Pre-K Counts funded children
    • have an established infant/toddler program

Upcoming Dates

    • Pre-Application Webinar – Friday, August 23 | 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
    • Last Day to Submit Questions – Friday, August 30 | 3 p.m.
    • Application Submission Deadline – Monday, September 9 | 3 p.m.
    • Anticipated Applicant Award Notifications – October 2019


To begin the application process and learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.

See the Application Guidance document.

More Information

Questions about the application process must be submitted via email to by August 30. Responses will be released on September 2, 2019.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Key


July 29, 2019

New Services Available on Pennsylvania’s PD Registry

In July, Pennsylvania’s PD Registry received new enhancements that will help support early childhood professionals.

New Services Available

Through the PD Registry website, early childhood professionals can now apply for or access:

Early Childhood Career Pathway

The Early Childhood Education Career Pathway is a tool to support the ECE profession in entering the field prepared for success while growing the existing professional’s capacity to advance in their intended field. This tool is now available on PD Registry. To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.


The Career Lattice will still be used for Keystone STARS designation and Education and Retention Awards (ERA) until further notice. Additionally, early childhood educators that currently meet the expectation of particular career lattice level will be honored at that level by being grandfathered into the Career Pathway level that is equivalent if verified within the determined timeline.

Many individuals have already uploaded transcripts before the new enhancements went live on July 1. You will still need to complete your profile to be placed on the career pathway. If transcripts were already uploaded, this step will not be needed again. To view tip sheets on completing the profile and uploading transcripts, please view them at the PA Keys website.

More Information

For more information on these enhancements, watch the recorded webinar, visit the FAQ document, and view tipsheets and more on the PD Registry.

Questions? Call 1.800.284.6031 or email

*Information provided by The Pennsylvania Key


July 25, 2019

Changes Made to Rising STARS Tuition Assistance Program

For Fiscal Year 2019-20, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning’s Rising STARS Tuition Assistance (RSTA) program has undergone several important changes. Administered by The Pennsylvania Key, RSTA helps cover a portion of tuition costs for early childhood professionals.

Fiscal Year 2019-20 Changes

The following changes have been implemented for FY 2019-20:

    • “Grandfathered” applicants seeking an AA, BA, or PreK-4 Teacher Certification will continue to receive 95% of tuition costs with a maximum benefit of $6,000 per individual. These applicants will need to transition to T.E.A.C.H. or another financial aid resource by Fiscal Year 2020-2021.
    • For new applicants for approved CDA or Credential Coursework, individuals will receive 95% of tuition costs and fees net of other funding sources for approved credential or CDA coursework up to eighteen (18) credits.
    • Additionally, new applicants for approved CDA or Credential Coursework can submit a request form (including receipt) for reimbursement for books after purchase.

More Information

To learn more about the RSTA program, visit the Pennsylvania Key website.

For questions, call 1.800.284.6031 or email

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning


December 20, 2018

PA Wins Brandon Hall Group Excellence Bronze Award

In August 2018, the PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and PA Key course, Assessment: Beyond the Basics of Observation and Data Utilization, won the prestigious Brandon Hall Group Excellence Bronze Award for best in Custom Content.

The Excellence Awards

The Excellence Awards recognize the best organizations that have successfully deployed programs, strategies, modalities, processes, systems, and tools that have achieved measurable results. Award entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts, Brandon Hall Group analysts, and executives based upon the following criteria:

  • Fit the need
  • Design of the program
  • Functionality
  • Innovation
  • Overall measurable benefits.

See the full list awardees.

About the Course

The winning self-paced online course for early learning teachers provides an overview of classroom assessments of young children and how information from assessments can be used to inform instruction. The course was developed in collaboration with CyperhWorx, Inc. and was made possible through Pennsylvania’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant.

Professional Development

To register for the winning course (and others), visit the PA Professional Development Registry.

*Information provided by the PA Early Ed News