News

October 2, 2020

2020 VOICE for Children Awards Celebration

The Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PennAEYC) announced that their 2020 VOICE for Children Award Celebration will be held at the historic Hotel Hershey on October 2, 2020. Join PennAEYC in celebrating grassroots advocates and individuals who demonstrate extraordinary commitment and innovation to support high-quality early childhood across Pennsylvania. Registration information coming soon.

About the Award

PennAEYC recognizes the critical role advocacy plays in high-quality early learning settings and celebrates those who speak on behalf of Pennsylvania’s children. As the voice for early care and learning, community advocates play an important role in assuring all Pennsylvania’s children get the start that they deserve in school and in life. The VOICE for Children Award is the only statewide award in Pennsylvania recognizing the grassroots leaders whose work impacts the quality of care for young children. Now in its 10th year, the VOICE Award celebrates not only individual award recipients, but the early childhood profession.

Registration

To register, visit the event webpage.

Hotel Reservations

If you plan to stay at the Hotel Hershey, reserve your room online or call 855.729.3108; rooms are limited. If calling, ask for the room block for the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children at The Hotel Hershey. Other area hotels are also available.

Questions

For more information on additional area hotels, contact Rose Snyder at 717.635.9026 or rsnyder@pennaeyc.org.

*Information provided by PennAEYC*

News

June 29, 2020

STARS 101 & 102

STARS 101 & 102 is a web-based course that meets the requirement for STAR 2 SQ.2.1 Part 1 and Part 2. It is an introduction to the idea of Continuous Quality Improvement which is the basic premise for the Keystone STARS Quality Rating System. In addition to the philosophy of CQI, the process of change and how to begin your journey through the Keystone STARS system will be discussed.

About

The following elements of assessing and building quality will be covered: Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies and Big Ideas Framework, Continuous Quality Improvement, PA Early Learning Standards, and Caring for Our Children Basics (CFOCB) as a resource and supporting interactions with children and families.

This is a live, interactive webinar. PQAS hours offered. Participants are expected to fully participate; this is not a log-in and leave event. Arriving 15 minutes late may result in no credit for the session. Please note, no refunds will be provided for cancellation or no show.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

    • identify the benefits of continuous quality improvement through Keystone STARS, for children families and programs;
    • identify what determines STAR Designation;
    • describe Program Observation Instruments (POI) used for STARS designation;
    • identify and implement the Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies/Big Ideas Framework;
    • identify and implement PA Early Learning Standards;
    • identify and implement Caring for our Children Basics practices;
    • identify and implement assessment tools that support program quality; and
    • identify and implement interactions with children and families.

Available Dates

    • December 16, 2019 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 306488
    • January 20, 2020 | 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. | Event ID: 308100
    • February 3, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308101
    • March 16, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308102
    • April 30, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308103
    • May 27, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308106
    • June 29, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308107

To register and learn more, visit the PD Registry website.

More Information

For questions, please contact Karen Rucker at 717.314.8368 or krucker@respectingchildren.com.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Key

News

May 27, 2020

STARS 101 & 102

STARS 101 & 102 is a web-based course that meets the requirement for STAR 2 SQ.2.1 Part 1 and Part 2. It is an introduction to the idea of Continuous Quality Improvement which is the basic premise for the Keystone STARS Quality Rating System. In addition to the philosophy of CQI, the process of change and how to begin your journey through the Keystone STARS system will be discussed.

About

The following elements of assessing and building quality will be covered: Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies and Big Ideas Framework, Continuous Quality Improvement, PA Early Learning Standards, and Caring for Our Children Basics (CFOCB) as a resource and supporting interactions with children and families.

This is a live, interactive webinar. PQAS hours offered. Participants are expected to fully participate; this is not a log-in and leave event. Arriving 15 minutes late may result in no credit for the session. Please note, no refunds will be provided for cancellation or no show.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

    • identify the benefits of continuous quality improvement through Keystone STARS, for children families and programs;
    • identify what determines STAR Designation;
    • describe Program Observation Instruments (POI) used for STARS designation;
    • identify and implement the Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies/Big Ideas Framework;
    • identify and implement PA Early Learning Standards;
    • identify and implement Caring for our Children Basics practices;
    • identify and implement assessment tools that support program quality; and
    • identify and implement interactions with children and families.

Available Dates

    • December 16, 2019 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 306488
    • January 20, 2020 | 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. | Event ID: 308100
    • February 3, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308101
    • March 16, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308102
    • April 30, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308103
    • May 27, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308106
    • June 29, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308107

To register and learn more, visit the PD Registry website.

More Information

For questions, please contact Karen Rucker at 717.314.8368 or krucker@respectingchildren.com.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Key

News

April 30, 2020

STARS 101 & 102

STARS 101 & 102 is a web-based course that meets the requirement for STAR 2 SQ.2.1 Part 1 and Part 2. It is an introduction to the idea of Continuous Quality Improvement which is the basic premise for the Keystone STARS Quality Rating System. In addition to the philosophy of CQI, the process of change and how to begin your journey through the Keystone STARS system will be discussed.

About

The following elements of assessing and building quality will be covered: Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies and Big Ideas Framework, Continuous Quality Improvement, PA Early Learning Standards, and Caring for Our Children Basics (CFOCB) as a resource and supporting interactions with children and families.

This is a live, interactive webinar. PQAS hours offered. Participants are expected to fully participate; this is not a log-in and leave event. Arriving 15 minutes late may result in no credit for the session. Please note, no refunds will be provided for cancellation or no show.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

    • identify the benefits of continuous quality improvement through Keystone STARS, for children families and programs;
    • identify what determines STAR Designation;
    • describe Program Observation Instruments (POI) used for STARS designation;
    • identify and implement the Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies/Big Ideas Framework;
    • identify and implement PA Early Learning Standards;
    • identify and implement Caring for our Children Basics practices;
    • identify and implement assessment tools that support program quality; and
    • identify and implement interactions with children and families.

Available Dates

    • December 16, 2019 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 306488
    • January 20, 2020 | 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. | Event ID: 308100
    • February 3, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308101
    • March 16, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308102
    • April 30, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308103
    • May 27, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308106
    • June 29, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308107

To register and learn more, visit the PD Registry website.

More Information

For questions, please contact Karen Rucker at 717.314.8368 or krucker@respectingchildren.com.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Key

News

March 27, 2020

COVID-19: Legislative and Regulatory Roundup

Join the NIHCM Foundation, Alliance for Health Policy, and Commonwealth Fund on March 27 for their COVID-19 webinar series.

About

This COVID-19 Webinar Mini-Series will synthesize the information in the headlines to provide cohesive insight into the status of the response and remaining gaps in the system that must be addressed to limit the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. This week, Congress is set to pass the third major legislative package in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This webinar will offer a high-level analysis of the policies that Congress and the administration have pursued to date and what we can expect in the coming months.

Registration

To register and learn more, visit the event webpage.

News

March 24, 2020

COVID-19: Resources for Parents and Caregivers

If you are a parent, caregiver, or family member living in Pennsylvania, it’s important to remain calm, prepare, and take precautionary measures to maintain the health and wellbeing of yourself, your family, and the community. Continue reading below for a brief overview of COVID-19 and a list of family and caregiver resources.

Submit a Resource

Do you have a resource for families or early learning professionals that should be added to our lists? Complete Trying Together’s COVID-19 Resource Submission Form!

 


PA 2.1.1 Southwest

If you require assistance and would like to access an extensive list of family and caregiver resources, please call 2.1.1 or text your zip code to 898.211 to receive text alerts. For more information or to receive support, visit the 2.1.1 website.

PA 2.1.1 Southwest seeks to provide an easy-to-remember phone number and web resource for finding health and human services for everyday needs and in crisis situations, serving the following counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.


 

An Overview of COVID-19

COVID-19 is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus not previously seen in humans. Because the virus impacts the respiratory system, common symptoms of infection include fever, dry cough, tiredness, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. However, WHO states that some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, and diarrhea. After being infected with COVID-19, individuals generally display mild symptoms that begin gradually, but some people who become infected may not develop any symptoms at all and may feel healthy.

To learn more about COVID-19 and the steps you can take to reduce your family’s risk of infection, read our recent news post. This post also includes information about what to do after infection, information on how it spreads, and links to several other organizations and entities that can provide more information.

Update on School Closures

On April 9, 2020, Governor Wolf announced that all schools in Pennsylvania will remain closed through the end of the academic school year as a mitigation effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS)

As an institution for learning, PPS knows there is concern about the loss of student learning during school closures. Because of this, PPS has created supplemental grade-level activity packets.

Additional online activities are available via the District’s CLEVER portal. A video on how to use and login to CLEVER can be found on the District’s VIMEO page. Printed packets for English Language Arts and Mathematics will be available for students at Grab and Go locations next week. Some District schools have also produced activity packets which can be found on the individual school websites.

Due to issues of equity and access, PPS cannot provide online learning options at this time. Since all District students do not have access to technology, internet in the home, or transportation to a Grab and Go site, the completion of activity packets is optional and will not count towards student grades. This also applies to any extra assignments provided between March 16 and April 14, 2020. Extra credit is also not allowable. Click here to learn more.

Meals for Schoolchildren

In partnership with local community organizations, Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) will shift the distribution of Grab and Go meals to regional sites across the city. Open to all students, the locations were selected based on student participation during the first week of closure. Meals will be distributed between 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. Multiple meals will be distributed on Tuesdays and Fridays. Visit the PPS website for a list of Grab and Go meal locations.

The PPS Food Service Department will be closed from Monday, April 6 through Monday, April 13, 2020 for spring break. However, the District will deliver four days of meals. Parkhurst Dining Services, through the generous support of the United Way, will be sending an additional two meals for distribution to sites on Friday, April 3. Non-PPS sites will continue to distribute food during spring break. To learn more, visit www.pghschools.org/grabandgo.

 


 

Resources

Information about COVID-19

Talking with Children

Prevention

After Infection

Impacts on Child Care, School, and Work

At-Home Activities

Fact Sheets

Informational Flyers

Recorded Webinars

Mental Health

Receiving Support

Multilingual Resources

Curated Lists

Contacts and Information

More Information

For more information about COVID-19, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or World Health Organization (WHO) websites.

News

March 16, 2020

STARS 101 & 102

STARS 101 & 102 is a web-based course that meets the requirement for STAR 2 SQ.2.1 Part 1 and Part 2. It is an introduction to the idea of Continuous Quality Improvement which is the basic premise for the Keystone STARS Quality Rating System. In addition to the philosophy of CQI, the process of change and how to begin your journey through the Keystone STARS system will be discussed.

About

The following elements of assessing and building quality will be covered: Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies and Big Ideas Framework, Continuous Quality Improvement, PA Early Learning Standards, and Caring for Our Children Basics (CFOCB) as a resource and supporting interactions with children and families.

This is a live, interactive webinar. PQAS hours offered. Participants are expected to fully participate; this is not a log-in and leave event. Arriving 15 minutes late may result in no credit for the session. Please note, no refunds will be provided for cancellation or no show.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this course, learners will be able to:

    • identify the benefits of continuous quality improvement through Keystone STARS, for children families and programs;
    • identify what determines STAR Designation;
    • describe Program Observation Instruments (POI) used for STARS designation;
    • identify and implement the Pennsylvania Core Knowledge Competencies/Big Ideas Framework;
    • identify and implement PA Early Learning Standards;
    • identify and implement Caring for our Children Basics practices;
    • identify and implement assessment tools that support program quality; and
    • identify and implement interactions with children and families.

Available Dates

    • December 16, 2019 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 306488
    • January 20, 2020 | 12:30 – 4:30 p.m. | Event ID: 308100
    • February 3, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308101
    • March 16, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308102
    • April 30, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308103
    • May 27, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308106
    • June 29, 2020 | 6 – 10 p.m. | Event ID: 308107

To register and learn more, visit the PD Registry website.

More Information

For questions, please contact Karen Rucker at 717.314.8368 or krucker@respectingchildren.com.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Key

News

March 11, 2020

Making the Census Count for All PA Kids | Webinar

Did you know there is an official 2020 Census song? Or that Sesame Street’s Count von Count is sharing the message about the importance of responding to the Census? Do you know how much federal funding Pennsylvania missed over the past 10 years because of undercounting in the last Census? Join the Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA) for their webinar on March 11 to learn about all of these topics and more! 

About

The federal government uses census data to help allocate over $800 billion a year in federal funds to key programs that serve children and families. When we miss young children in the census, our communities miss out on funding for public programs for much of their childhood. During this webinar, you will learn more about what you can do to encourage families in your early learning program to participate in the 2020 Census.

Registration

Registrations must be submitted by noon on March 10, 2020. To register, please visit the event webpage.

More Information

For questions, contact Maureen Murphy at 717.657.9000, extension 107.

*Information provided by PACCA

News

March 9, 2020

Interviews with Ms. Barb and Families at the Frank Sarris Library

Prior to the start of the Washington County Focus Week (March 9 – 13, 2020), Trying Together visited staff, families, and young children at the Frank Sarris Public Library in Canonsburg for a reading of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham.” At the event, library staff member Barbara Somma, aka Ms. Barb, led children and their caregivers through a series of activities, including fingerplays, dances, and a Dr. Seuss themed craft. The classroom included creative play items for the children as well, including a puppet show theater, “grocery market,” books, legos, and more.

After the class, Trying Together had the opportunity to talk with Ms. Barb and two participating caregivers, Karen and Kim. Featured below are our questions and each interviewees’ responses.

Interviews

Barbara Somma, Class Teacher

Barbara Somma, or as the children call her, “Ms. Barb,” brightens the day of each child and caregiver who attends her classes. Having a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education under her belt, Ms. Barb spent the last 10 years as a dedicated staff member at the Frank Sarris Public Library. If you stop by the Library, you can catch Ms. Barb leading Storytime, Little Picassos, Wiggles and Giggles, and the Summer Reading Camp! Odds are, she will have a crowd of young children giggling and following her happily!

  • What programming does Frank Sarris Library provide for young children and families?

The Frank Sarris Library offers a plethora of programming for children and families! Monday through Friday, we have activities geared towards preschool level children like storytime, yoga storytime, art, and a class called Wiggles and Giggles that is focused on body movement. During the month of July, we also offer a Summer Reading Camp for children in Kindergarten through fourth grade that includes creative themes like Fairytale Science, Mysical Beasts, and Magic School. They’re all meant to spark each child’s imagination. We offer services all throughout the year though, including books for readers of all ages, creative “Grable Kits,” several e-resources, and more.

  • How can caregivers make literacy experiences meaningful for their young children?

I think by just reading to your children all of the time. Read for 20 minutes a day, every day with your children. As a mother of two, I would always read a couple books with them right before bed. It’s also important to get a library card! They’re free and the library has tons of free resources for young children and families.

  • Why do you feel early childhood development is so important for young children?

Early childhood development is the basis for everything a child needs in life! Children learn from meaningful experiences and repetition. As adults, we need to make sure we are providing the time and patience for those experiences!

  • How do you see your role at the Frank Sarris Library supporting early childhood development in your community?

I think my role is really important here at the Frank Sarris Library. We serve many families and it’s important that we provide children with safe places to go. All of the staff here at the Library serve as role models within the community. However, our Library is an untapped resource. There are so many services that community members could benefit from if they stopped by.

Karen and Granddaughter Ellie

  • How did you like today’s event? What piqued your interest in attending?

Everything Ms. Barb does is truly amazing. I’ve been coming here for seven and a half years and I’ve brought all of my grandchildren. I was interested in attending because I wanted to make sure my grandchildren had social interactions with young children, and Ms. Barb allows the children to have these great social experiences! By coming here, my grandchildren have learned language concepts and vocabulary. Ms. Barb is so dynamic. She exudes engaging and creative energy in everything she does!

  • What’s your favorite book to read to your child? Why?

Ellie doesn’t have a favorite book, she really just loves to read! She is very into the alphabet right now!

Kim and Grandson

  • How did you like today’s event? What piqued your interest in attending?

Ms. Barb is great! Attending this program is the best thing I have done with my grandson! We heard about the children’s programs here through word of mouth. We have been attending since he was about six months old. We love Ms. Barb’s music and freeze dancing!

  • What’s your favorite book to read to your child?

He loves reading Elmo and Mini Mouse right now!

More Information

This session was one of many free services that the Frank Sarris Public Library provides, with options available for learners of all ages. To learn more about their services, visit the Frank Sarris Public Library website! To learn more about the Washington County Focus Week, read our news post!

News

March 6, 2020

Washington County Focus Week Urges Increased Investments

In March 2020, Trying Together, Pre-K for PA, and Start Strong PA are co-hosting the Washington County Focus Week to highlight the need for increased child care and pre-kindergarten investments in future Pennsylvania budgets.

About

Taking place from March 9 through March 13, 2020 the Washington County Focus Week seeks to:

    • highlight quality infant and toddler child care in Washington and Allegheny County;
    • thank state policymakers for investments in high-quality early learning programs;
    • document continued unmet need for high-quality child care and pre-k in Washington and Allegheny County;
    • and urge state policymakers to make high-quality child care and pre-k top priorities in future state budgets to increase access to and the affordability of these critical programs.

The Washington County Focus Week is one of many to come. Pre-K For PA, Start Strong PA, and campaign partner organizations like Trying Together will host additional Focus Weeks in districts across the Commonwealth throughout the year. These weeks were developed, in part, due to the need for increased child care funding in the Pennsylvania state budget, as 73 percent of eligible children under the age of five are not receiving high-quality child care services

Why It Matters

According to the Committee for Economic Development’s 2019 Child Care in State Economies Fact Sheet, the average annual cost of child care for an infant in Pennsylvania is $11,560 in a child care center. That is roughly 21 percent of the state’s median income and 80 percent of the cost of tuition and fees at a four-year state college in Pennsylvania. These costs remain a major barrier for many parents and caregivers, especially those who are seeking to enter, re-enter, or remain in the workforce. 

Issues of access are not limited to child care, however, as 56 percent of eligible three- and four-year-olds in Pennsylvania do not have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-k according to recent data from KIDS COUNT: Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. Locally, 55 percent of eligible children in Washington County do not have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-k.

Both Pre-K For PA and Start Strong PA commented on the most recent 2020-2021 Pennsylvania State Budget proposal, stating, “Although the Governor’s budget proposal utilizes $15.3 million in federal funding toward child care subsidy base rates, this proposal will have no impact in addressing the list of children waiting to gain access to subsidized care or improve the quality of that care.”

No Small Matter Screening

On March 12 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Collier Community Center (which lies on the border of Washington and Allegheny Counties in Oakdale, Pennsylvania) Washington County constituents are invited to attend a free screening and panel discushttps://www.ocd.pitt.edu/sion of the early childhood documentary, No Small Matter.

Through poignant stories and surprising humor, No Small Matter lays out the overwhelming evidence for the importance of the first five years of life and reveals how our failure to act on that evidence has resulted in an everyday crisis for American families, and a slow-motion catastrophe for the entire country. These crises are playing out in Pennsylvania, as families and caregivers across the Commonwealth are struggling to access high-quality pre-kindergarten and child care programs.

Panelists will include:

    • Senator Camera Bartolotta
    • Representative Jason Ortitay
    • Representative Timothy J. O’Neal
    • Donna Shriver, SmartKids Child Care & Learning Center
    • Audra Redick, The University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development

Visit our event webpage to register and learn more!

More Information

For more information about the Washington County Focus Week and the additional early learning advocacy efforts of Trying Together, contact Cristina Codario, Public Policy Regional Coordinator at 412.567.3673 or cristina@tryingtogether.org.

For more information about Pre-K For PA or Start Strong PA, visit www.prekforpa.org and www.startstrongpa.org online respectively.