June 29, 2020

Connections and Conversations: Advocacy 101

Are you interested in learning about the budget process and state government in Pennsylvania? Join Trying Together on July 22 at 6 p.m. for our online session, “Connections and Conversations: Advocacy 101.”


Connections and Conversations Virtual Check-Ins are interactive sessions that highlight topics of interest to the field of early childhood education. 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 the highlighted topic.

This session will highlight the budget process and state government in Pennsylvania. Participants will receive an overview of the Early Learning Pennsylvania (ELPA) campaigns, how early childhood education programs are impacted by the budget process, and ways professionals and families can use their experiences and knowledge to advocate. This session will also identify advocacy actions attendees can participate in or lead to advocate for early childhood.

Participants will receive the course Zoom link via email within 24 hours before the start date for the course. For questions, contact Rosie Hogan at or Sarah Grubb at

Session Details

    • Session Date: Wednesday, July 22 | 6 – 7 p.m
    • Instructors: Emily Neff, Cristina Codario, and Lindsey Ramsey
    • CKC: K6.10 C1
    • CDA Subject Area: Maintaining a commitment to professionalism.
    • Registrations must be submitted by Monday, July 20. Space is limited.
    • Sessions will be offered biweekly and will offer one hour of PQAS credit. Act 48 credit will not be offered.


To register and learn more, visit the course webpage.

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 Rosie Hogan at


May 19, 2020

Social Distancing in Early Care and Education: Feasible or Impossible?

Join the National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness (NCECHW) on June 2 for, “Social Distancing in Early Care and Education: Feasible or Impossible?,” a one-hour discussion exploring issues around social distancing in early care and education programs.


During the webinar, participants will hear from Danette Glassy, MD, FAAP, pediatrician, about guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and discover practical strategies for implementation in a variety of early care programs. Webinar topics include:

    • CDC guidance for early care and education programs;
    • barriers to implementation within early care settings; and
    • strategies for early care and education programs to keep children and staff as safe as possible.

This event is best suited for Head Start program directors and health services staff; Head Start State Collaboration directors; child care resource and referral agencies; child care directors and health consultants; state public health departments; and nurses working with early care and education programs.


To register, visit the event page. The registration link can be used for both the live event and on-demand viewing.

A recording of the discussion will be available to watch on-demand 30 minutes after the event ends until June 15, 2020. A version with English closed captions will also be posted on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) in the coming weeks.

More Information

For questions, please contact NCECHW at 888.227.5125 or


April 6, 2020

Small Business Administration Loans Explained | Webinar

Are you interested in learning how to apply for and utilize Small Business Association (SBA) Loans? Join co-hosts Trying Together, the University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and Start Strong PA on April 7, 2020 for their webinar, “Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans Explained.”


In this webinar, Trying Together, the SBDC, and Start Strong PA will explain how to apply for and utilize the SBA Loans made available in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar will be hosted on Zoom. Digital access links will be emailed to all attendees on the day of the event.


Registration is required by 10 a.m. on April 7, 2020. To register, please visit the event registration page.


February 7, 2020

2020-21 Pennsylvania Budget Proposal Response

On February 5, during his 2020-2021 budget proposal address, Governor Tom Wolf dared us to imagine a Pennsylvania where no one is denied the chance to work because they can’t find child care. A Pennsylvania where high-quality child care is accessible and affordable. A Pennsylvania where child care rates are stabilized and child care providers are incentivized. Trying Together belives in that dream, but the budget proposal itself offers no new state investments to make these dreams a reality.


While the 2020-21 budget proposal offered increased state investments in early childhood programs like pre-k and home-visiting, it’s missing state investments for something that affects the lives of every parent and caregiver in Pennsylvania: child care. Early Learning PA highlights this issue in their recent press release, stating, “Given that 70 percent of Pennsylvania children under the age of five have all adults in their household in the labor force, high-quality child care is an essential workforce support.” However, due to high prices and limited child care slots, many families across the Commonwealth are not able to afford or access high-quality child care programs.

Early Learning PA continues on, 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.” This, in turn, affects each caregiver’s ability to enter, re-enter, or remain in the workforce and the long-term academic, career, and health outcomes of young children. In Pennsylvania, 73 percent of eligible children under the age of five are not receiving high-quality child care services.

Interestingly, the lack of state investment is also a lack of response to the Governor’s own Keystone Economic Development and Workforce Command Center report, just released last week identifying barriers to employment and providing recommendations for action by the governor, Pennsylvania General Assembly, and private sector. In the report, increasing access to affordable high-quality child care was a top priority for all three.

Take Action

The lack of state investments in child care isn’t only something worth talking about, it’s also an issue that worthy of advocacy. Join us as an advocate by sending a message urging the General Assembly to demonstrate their commitment to Pennsylvania’s youngest children, their families, and our economy by increasing state funding for high-quality child care! Our senators and representatives will need to hear from us through budget negotiations, and our message starts now.

Join us if you believe that all children in Pennsylvania deserve to start strong!


January 27, 2020

Take Action to Support Infants and Toddlers in Pennsylvania

Are you interested in advocating to increase access to and the affordability of child care for infants and toddlers in Pennsylvania? Take action by completing Start Strong PA’s current advocacy ask!


In December 2019, a campaign for high-quality child care in Pennsylvania called Start Strong PA delivered a New Year’s resolution photo frame to every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The frames included a spot for a photo, a place for their signature, and the following resolution:

In 2020, I resolve that all children deserve to start strong.
I will support the healthy development of all Pennsylvania’s infants and toddlers by fighting for greater access to high-quality child care.

Now, Start Strong PA is encouraging the General Assembly to take a picture with the signed photo frame and share it across their social media platforms. However, Start Strong PA needs your help! Throughout January, the campaign is asking Pennsylvania families and caregivers to send in photos of their infants and toddlers to place inside the frames. Will you reinforce Start Strong PA’s mission to increase access to and the affordability of high-quality infant/toddler early learning programs?

How You Can Help

To send in a photo, complete the following steps:

    • Find your Senator or Representative by visiting:
    • Type in your address and press search.
    • You will be given links to your Pennsylvania House and Senate members.
    • Click on the link (their name) and you will be sent to their website. On the left-hand side, you can find their Harrisburg office address.
    • Place the 4 x 6 photo(s) and a message that says “Make me your New Year’s resolution!” in an envelope, add postage, and mail to their Harrisburg office.

Looking to go a step further? Send your Senator and Representative a reminder as well by completing a pre-filled form on our Take Action page!

More Information

For questions or to send your picture to Start Strong PA, email


December 19, 2019

Head Start Coaching Companion Available

If you are an early care and education professional who is interested in receiving coaching feedback and sharing videos, consider using the Head Start Coaching Companion!


By utilizing the Head Start Coaching Companion, early childhood professionals will view examples of teaching practices, record their teaching interactions, and track their progress using three major components of Practice-Based Coaching (PBC), including:

    • shared goals and action planning;
    • focused observation; and
    • reflection and feedback.

Though PBC was designed with Head Start programs in mind, it aligns with a variety of coaching models.


To utilize the Head Start Coaching Companion, professionals should have access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone with basic video editing software; a digital video camera, tablet, or smartphone with video capability; and reliable internet access. Video footage will be utilized to record teaching interactions.

See the Head Start Coaching Companion handout to learn more.

Learn More

To get started, educators can submit a Coaching Companion application and learn more online. View the Coaching Companion PDF or email for additional information.

*Information provided via Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Region 5


August 22, 2019

Young Children Experiencing Homelessness Summit

Congress approved provisions prioritizing children who experience homelessness to be served by Head Start, the Child Care Development Fund, and other high-quality early learning programs. On September 16, professionals are invited to the “Young Children Experiencing Homelessness Summit: Educate. Collaborate. Inspire.” to explore these changes, identify challenges, and discuss the future.


Thousands of young homeless children are in shelter or living doubled up in Pennsylvania, in New Jersey, and in Delaware. High-quality early learning programs like Head Start can strengthen their resilience, but access is a challenge. Featuring keynote speaker Dr. Deborah Bergeron, National Director of Head Start, this Summit will explore what has happened since those changes, identify local and national challenges, and consider the role of intermediaries.


To attend the Summit, complete the event registration webpage.

Learn More

To learn more, visit the event page.

For questions, contact Joe Willard at 267.777.5851 or

*Information provided by the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey


August 19, 2019

2020 Gro More Good Garden Grants Now Open

If you’re a Head Start program looking to integrate gardening into your curriculum, apply today for a Gro More Good Garden Grant!


Studies show that many children from at-risk backgrounds don’t have access to fresh produce on a daily basis. However, research also shows that children who grow fresh food eat more fresh food and are healthier as a result. That’s why the National Head Start Association and the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation are joining forces to address this critical issue facing young children.

Through the Gro More Good Garden Grants initiative, both partners will work with Head Start programs across the country to teach children, families, and communities how to grow their own fresh produce. Their multi-year initiative will make garden grants, garden kits, educational curriculum, and garden training available to all Head Start programs with the goal of creating more edible gardens for young children and their families.

Grant Details

$5,000 grants, garden kits, and product donations will be awarded to the 10 highest scoring applicants. The Garden Grants are a three-year program with an opportunity to apply again in the fall of 2020 for the 2021 grant cycle.


As a part of the grant award, Head Start programs will be expected to host a Community Build Day, bringing together Head Start students and families, community partners, and Scotts Miracle-Gro associates in a day of community service to build and celebrate the garden. Community Build Days should be held during the March through June timeframe.


To apply for a Gro More Good Garden Grant, visit the application page.

Applications must be submitted no later than 11:59 p.m. on October 11, 2019.

Learn More

For more information, visit the National Head Start Association website or the grant FAQ page.

For direct questions, email

*Information provided by the National Head Start Association


July 2, 2019

Babywearing 101

Join MAYA Organization and Healthy Start Pittsburgh for Babywearing 101 to learn alternative ways to carry your baby!


Parents and caregivers are invited to find out how babywearing can benefit moms, dads, caregivers, and babies! Try out different carries and learn how to use them properly alongside a MAYA educator and doula, Jaime Horst, for this fun and interactive class.


To register or ask questions, call 412.945.7670, ext. 103; email; or visit their Facebook event page.

Share this flyer with your network.


May 9, 2019

Historic Increases for Early Learning & Development Programs

The House Appropriations Committee recently approved the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education spending bill for FY2020, which outlines funding for early care and learning programs critical to babies’ development. The first three years are a time in development unmatched by any other later point in life. But the recently released State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 reveals troubling early warning signs that too many young children face conditions that place their development – and our future – at risk.

About the Bill

The bill includes historic increases to key early learning and development programs that can help to reverse this path we have set for our future, including:

    • An increase of $2.4 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant;
    • $525 million increase in the set-aside for the expansion of Early Head Start, including through EHS-Child Care Partnerships;
    • Doubling of the Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Grant Program, to a total of $10 million; and
    • An increase of $21.3 million for Part C Early Intervention.

By laying the foundation today for 12 million infants and toddlers living in the U.S., we are investing in our society’s future.

Learn More

To learn more, see Zero to Three’s full statement.

*Information provided by Zero to Three