October 12, 2021

New Resources for Parents and Caregivers

New resources have been added to the Trying Together website for families and caregivers. These resources further Trying Together’s mission to supports high-quality care and education for young children by providing advocacy, community resources, and professional growth opportunities for the needs and rights of children, their families, and the individuals who interact with them.

New Resources

DAP Series Parts VII, VIII, and IX

As an early childhood nonprofit, Trying Together recognizes that a child’s parent is their first and most important caregiver. That’s why we created the Developmentally Appropriate Parenting (DAP) Series to assist parents and caregivers in creating high-quality learning experiences at the earliest stages of their child’s life. The series features digital and print content that provides information on critical early childhood topics.

New topics in the DAP Series include Part VII: Childhood Mental Health; Part VIII: Race and Equity; and Part IX: Transitions & Routines. Families and caregivers may also access previous parts of the DAP Series: Part I: Developmentally Appropriate Practice; Part II: Childhood Physical Health; Part III: Child Care; Part IV: Early Intervention and InclusionPart V: Safety and Emergencies; and Part VI: Social-Emotional Development.  Resources will continue to be added through 2022 as additional Parts are finalized.

Additionally, families and caregivers may now request a set of cards in the mail at no cost. These cards provide an overview of each part of the DAP series with a quick reference to local and regional organizations.

Parenting Together Pathway

The Parenting Together Pathway is a video-based learning series to provide high-quality information on early childhood development to parents and caregivers in Allegheny County and surrounding areas. Launched in April 2021, the Parenting Together Pathway provides families the opportunity to learn more about: brain development; play; interactions and relationships; technology; child care; and advocacy to better support their children’s healthy growth.

Two additional videos have been added to the Parenting Together Pathway: Early Intervention and Safety and Emergencies.


September 21, 2020

Transitions and How Using Them Helps

Are you interested in learning about strategies that help make transitions easier for children, families, and educators? Join Trying Together on October 14 for our online session, “Connections and Conversations: Transitions and How Using Them Helps.”


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

This session will highlight best practices that help make transitions easier for children, families, and educators. The course instructor will share strategies and suggestions and provide opportunities to analyze scenarios and share expertise.

Session Details

    • Session Date: Wednesday, October 14  |  6 – 7 p.m.
    • Instructor: Jasmine Davis
    • CKC: Curriculum and Learning Experiences
    • CDA Subject Area: Social & Emotional Development
    • Registration Deadline: Monday, October 12


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 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 Jasmine Davis at 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, contact Jasmine Davis 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 27, 2019

Kindergarten Transition Strategies Highlighted in New Briefs


New America reported that in the 2019-20 school year, “approximately four million children will start kindergarten.” This period of early learning is critical, as research shows that access to high-quality early education increases children’s likelihood of going to college, saving for retirement, and living in wealthier neighborhoods.

Recognizing the need for better support, New America released two briefs highlighting opportunities for states, local education agencies (LEAs), and elementary schools to strengthen pre-k to kindergarten transitions and fund transition activities.

Moving into Kindergarten

Their first brief, Moving into Kindergarten: How Schools and Districts are Connecting the Steps for Children and Families, highlights actions that schools and districts can take to help ensure a smooth and stress-free transition into kindergarten for children and their caregivers. The highlighted approaches are currently taking place in districts across the country, with a range of models included to ensure an appropriate method based on a district’s current state of development.

Highlighted methods include:

    • increased data sharing between child care, pre-k programs, and kindergarten
    • professional development and planning across grades (more specifically, formal activities that bring adults together across childcare, pre-k, and kindergarten)
    • a focus on family engagement that emphasizes the importance of involvement in education, extends beyond a one-time activity and takes place prior to the start of kindergarten
    • activities for incoming kindergarten students that go beyond one-time events (such as a classroom visit) and prioritize students without access to pre-k

To read the full brief, visit the New America website.

Using Local, State, and Federal Dollars to Improve Pre-K to Kindergarten Transitions

New America’s second brief, Using Local, State, and Federal Dollars to Improve Pre-K to K Transitions, highlights the importance of a seamless transition between early learning programs and grade levels as well as effective policies and practices. With this, New American mentions that “there are a number of federal and state programs and other funding opportunities that can help support state and local efforts to improve pre-k to kindergarten transitions and alignment.”

Serving as a resource for state and local leaders, the brief examines:

    • Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG)
    • Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
    • Head Start Act
    • Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV)
    • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
    • Preschool Development Grant, Birth through Five (PDG B-5)
    • Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC)
    • Other Sources

Following this, the brief provides action recommendations for states, local education agencies, and elementary schools. Visit the New America website to learn more.

Local Initiatives

Are you interested in learning about the local pre-k and kindergarten landscape? Check out these initiatives:

    • Hi5 ensures that young children are school ready and promotes the importance of on-time kindergarten registration. Over the past seven years, this program has helped Allegheny County schools reach an impressive on-time kindergarten registration rate of 96 percent. To learn more, visit the Hi5 webpage.

Learn More

For more information, contact New America at 202.986.2700 or

*Information provided by New America