May 3, 2023

Begin with Books: Reading Aloud & Teaching a Love of Books in Childcare

If you work in a child care center or Head Start program, you are an important educator early in a child’s life! Join the Carnegie Library of Homestead for this workshop on becoming a successful early childhood educator.

Attendees will learn how to read aloud, pick developmentally appropriate, inclusive books, and engage kids of all ages from expert storyteller Cynthia Battle. Certified PQAS instructor Beth Smeiles will teach you how to take those literacy skills and incorporate them into everyday activities beyond books.

Event Details

Saturday, May 6 | 1 – 3 p.m.

Carnegie Library of Homestead
510 East 10th Avenue
Munhall, PA 15120


Learn More

This event is part of Remake Learning Days and co-sponsored by Reading Ready Pittsburgh, Cynthia Battle, and Steel Valley Family Center. It will include light refreshments and a gift for all attendees.

To learn more, visit the Remake Learning Days website.


January 20, 2022

Teaching Children Through a Trauma Lens

Join Trying Together for the upcoming session, “Teaching Children Through a Trauma Lens”.

Research continues to show the detrimental effects that complex trauma has on the developing brain with our most vulnerable population. Over time, these young children are at risk for developmental delays, limited positive relationships, and a host of other difficulties. Our early education classrooms can create safe, responsive, and equitable environments to assist in reducing these harmful effects. This presentation will identify different types of trauma, how young children with trauma may present in the classroom, and supportive strategies teachers can implement to foster environments that encourage healing.

UnConference: Creating a Safe Place with Trauma-Informed Care

This session is a part of Trying Together’s upcoming UnConference. Between February 8-18, expert-led workshops will share content related to trauma-informed care. We begin the UnConference with keynote speaker Dr. Veirdre Jackson and dive into how we can create an environment of healing through equity and trust. Following the keynote, workshop sessions include how to identify family stressors, how to provide responsive care-giving for children experiencing trauma, and an overview of the recently launched Rapid Response Team from Trying Together.

Individuals can learn more and register on Trying Together’s website.


December 22, 2021

PNC Financial Management Course

Trying Together is partnering with PNC Bank for a one hour professional development session on financial management. There will be a separate session offered for center-based programs and home-based programs (family, group, relative providers).  The session content will include tools and tips on budgeting, bookkeeping, cash flow, and profit/loss. Space is limited; if you are interested, please use the link below to register.
If you have any questions you can reach out to Allison Hritz,



PNC Financial Management Course

Trying Together is partnering with PNC Bank for a one hour professional development session on financial management. There will be a separate session offered for center-based programs and home-based programs (family, group, relative providers).  The session content will include tools and tips on budgeting, bookkeeping, cash flow, and profit/loss. Space is limited; if you are interested, please use the link below to register.
If you have any questions you can reach out to Allison Hritz,



November 20, 2020

Open-Ended Questions Are For Everyone!

Are you interested in learning about using open-ended STEM questions with early learners of all ages and abilities? Join Trying Together on December 9 for our online session, “Connections and Conversations: Open-Ended Questions Are For Everyone!”


Connections and Conversations Virtual Check-Ins are biweekly interactive sessions that highlight topics of interest to the field of early childhood education. Participants engage in virtual discussions with child development experts while interacting with early learning practitioners to share questions, experiences, and expertise about the highlighted topic. Sessions offer one hour of PQAS credit. Act 48 credit will not be provided.

In this session, participants will engage in virtual discussions via Zoom with child development experts while interacting with early learning practitioners to share questions, experiences, and expertise about using open-ended Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) questioning with early learners of all ages and abilities.

Session Details

    • Session Date: Wednesday, December 9  |  6 – 7 p.m.
    • Instructors: Jasmine Davis and Wendy Brenneman
    • CKC: Curriculum and Learning Experiences
    • CDA Subject Area: Safe, Healthy Learning Environment
    • Registration Deadline: Monday, December 7, 2020


To register, visit the course PD Registry page. Space is limited. Participants will receive the course Zoom link via email within 24 hours before the start date for the course. PQAS credit is available.

If you do not have a PD Registry account, please complete this online form to create one. If you are unable to create an account, please contact for more information.

Session Rules and Guidelines

These virtual discussions are designed to provide educators the opportunity to grow professionally and share knowledge on early childhood topics. During the meeting, participants should follow the guidelines below to ensure a successful virtual meeting for all participants.

    • Please allow all participants a chance to speak. Listen respectfully and actively.
    • Commit to learning about each other, not to debating the topic.
    • Embrace differences of opinion as healthy and support each person’s authentic self-expression.
    • Participants will be muted for the beginning portion of the session.
    • Participants may use the “Raise Hand” feature in Zoom to request an opportunity to comment or ask a question. Individuals will be temporarily unmuted by the moderator.
    • Participants may type a comment or question in the Chat or may send comments or questions directly to the moderator for them to share.
    • To receive PQAS credit, you must complete an evaluation at the end of the session and include your PD Registry number.
    • Have fun, make connections, and engage in the conversations!

More Information

For questions or more information, please contact Jasmine Davis at


Tuition-Free Courses Available for ECE Professionals

Are you an early learning professional who is interested in earning an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, or Child Development Certificate? No- and low-cost options are available for eligible professionals in Pennsylvania through the Professional Development Organization (PDO).

Professional Development Organization

The Professional Development Organization (PDO) is a grant-funded educational collaboration among four universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) and numerous partner universities, colleges, and community programs across the state to advance the career pathways of the early childhood workforce. PDO funding covers tuition, expenses, and other supports to help eligible early childhood educators earn credit-bearing credentials and degrees.

Tuition-Free Courses

Tuition-free courses are eligible for early childhood professionals who:

    • are Pennsylvania residents,
    • work in a Keystone STARS program, and
    • work a minimum average of 25 hours per week over an entire work year (during non-COVID times).

To determine your eligibility, complete the online application. Once your eligibility is confirmed, a PDO Liaison from your region will contact you to discuss your professional development options.

Available Pathways

The following pathways are available to advance your academic and professional development:

    • Child Development Associate Certificate (CDA)
    • Associate’s Degree, Early Childhood Education
    • Bachelor’s Degree, Early Childhood Education

Steps To Take

If you are interested in taking advantage of this limited-time opportunity, complete these three steps:

    • Apply for Tuition Assistance 

      Complete the application. Once submitted, an ECE Liaison will contact you to confirm your eligibility for tuition assistance, guide you through the application at a PDO partner university, college, or program, and help you register for classes. Be sure to check your spam folder as it may contain an email from your ECE Liaison.

    • Register for Classes 

      Class offerings at all schools and programs may change each semester. Check with an ECE Liaison or the school for details. View this document for examples of available classes.

More Information

For more information, contact Mimi Loughead at

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November 17, 2020

Child Care Programs: Submit Your Experience

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is conducting a survey to gather information from the early childhood field to inform federal and state actions on child care. This survey is intended for early learning professionals.


Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, NAEYC has been collecting survey responses from early learning professionals to convey the challenges child care programs are facing across states and settings. Data collected through this survey will be shared with policymakers to build a deeper understanding of the ongoing urgency of the challenges programs are facing.

Early childhood educators can answer the questions regardless of whether their child care program is open, closed, or somewhere in between, and regardless of what kind of child care program they work in, or what role they have there.

Take The Survey

To submit your experience, complete the online survey by November 22, 2020. NAEYC will select 10 respondents at random to receive a $50 gift card. Winners will be notified on December 18, 2020.

More Information

For more information, contact


November 13, 2020

2021 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards: Apply

Do you know an exceptional child care professional or are you one yourself? Apply for the 2021 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards to nominate that person for a chance to win the Helene Marks Award, a $1,000 cash prize, and more!


In collaboration with the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation (TLLCCF), First Up is hosting the 2021 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards to honor exceptional child care professionals. In 1987, Kay and Fred Lokoff formed the TLLCCF to honor the memory of their daughter. Terri was a passionate child care teacher who knew the incredible value of Early Childhood Education and was committed to making a difference by giving children a strong start in their lives.

Applications for the 2021 Terri Lynne Lokoff Teacher Awards are now available. Child care teachers from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and on U.S. Military bases and installations around the world are invited to apply. Fifty awards are presented each year.

What Will Recipients Win?

Every award recipient receives:

    • a $1,000 cash prize,
    • a trip to Philadelphia for the award ceremony (COVID permitting), and
    • a chance to win the Helene Marks Award with the additional honor of being named the National Child Care Teacher of the Year.


To apply, complete the online application. For those who would like to print and mail their completed application, a downloadable PDF version is available. Applications are due by January 29, 2021.

More Information

For more information, please contact Sharon Bell at


November 12, 2020

Educators: Join the Leap into Science National Network

Are you an educator in Pennsylvania who is interested in receiving training and materials to lead science and literacy workshops for children and families? Join the Leap into Science National Network! Applications must be submitted by December 14, 2020.


Leap into Science is a nationwide program developed by The Franklin Institute Science Museum that integrates open-ended science activities with children’s books, designed for children ages three through 10-years-old and their families. The program empowers educators to offer workshops in community settings like libraries, museums, and out-of-school time programs to engage underserved audiences in accessible and familiar settings.

Leap into Science provides workshops on a science theme for three possible audiences: early childhood, elementary, and/or family groups. If your organization was already trained in the Leap into Science Wind curricula, you are NOT eligible to attend this training.

Organization Benefits

Each organization that participates in Leap into Science will receive:

    • a two-hour virtual training on high-quality science and literacy curriculum and facilitation strategies for two or more educators;
    • ongoing support during program implementation as part of a Leap into Science National Network;
    • access to the national Leap into Science leadership team and online resources; and
    • a curriculum and materials kit (valued at $300).

Participation Commitments

As a Leap into Science partner organization, participants commit to:

    • scheduling and leading at least three Leap into Science workshops for children and/or families living in underserved rural or urban communities by September 2021, including an event during National Leap into Science Week (June 7 – 13, 2021);
    • posting each workshop to The Connectory, a searchable directory for STEM programs across the country;
    • completing a workshop report following each workshop; and
    • participating in quarterly calls with other trained educators in your state.

Available Workshops

The Pennsylvania Leap into Science Team is hosting a free two-hour virtual training on the Leap into Science Light & Shadow workshops at the following times:

    • Friday, January 29, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
    • Tuesday, March 16, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    • Thursday, May 13, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Submit An Application

To participate in the national network and attend one of the trainings listed above, please complete this brief application form by December 14, 2020.

Priority will be given to organizations that can send at least two educators to the training and who serve traditionally underrepresented audiences. If selected, you will receive an email notification of your acceptance by the end of December with details about the training you will attend.

More Information

For questions, contact Betsy O. Saatman at or 484.955.5909.


November 5, 2020

Early Literacy Virtual Conference

Are you interested in learning actionable strategies for teaching the five pillars of reading, especially in distance and hybrid learning environments? Join Learning Ally on December 4, 2020 for the “Early Literacy Virtual Conference.”


Join Learning Ally on December 4 for a full day of early literacy professional learning featuring keynote speakers Kai-leé Berke and Barbara Steinberg, in addition to 12 other experts. By attending, professionals will:

    • Discover actionable strategies for teaching the five pillars of reading, especially in a distance or hybrid learning environment.
    • Understand the milestones in early literacy development so you can better meet the needs of all your students.
    • Learn what it means to be intentionally anti-biased and culturally relevant when teaching literacy in a diverse classroom.
    • Connect with the experts and other educators to share first-hand experiences to drive lasting change in your teaching practice.


To register for the conference, visit the Learning Ally website. Attendees will be able to earn up to 16 Continuing Education (CE) hours live or on-demand through January 31, 2021.