News

June 11, 2024

Trying Together Webinar to Focus on Contacting State Legislators Regarding Early Care and Education Investments

Trying Together will host a webinar in June that will instruct attendees on how to contact their state legislators regarding investments in early care and education in the state budget.

Learn More

State elected officials are in the final days of budget negotiations and are currently debating how much money to invest in early child care care and education.

Trying Together’s Policy Team will host an upcoming workshop known as the ECE Advocacy Express that will provide information to participants on how they can:

  • Find their state legislator
  • Email their state legislator
  • Call their state legislator

The workshop will provide attendees with the tools and templates that are needed to make an impact in just a few minutes.

The webinar will take place at 10 a.m. on June 17 on Zoom. Registration is now open.

For more information on what early care and education advocates are calling for from state legislators, read these articles:

News

June 3, 2024

Trying Together Kicks Off June Sustainer Campaign

Trying Together is looking for 20 new donors to become recurring donors by the end of its fiscal year on June 30.

Learn More

Trying Together 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.

But advocating for quality child care isn’t something Trying Together can do alone. Trying Together needs your support so it can advocate, learn, and partner together to make sure caregivers and families have the resources they need to make the best decisions about their children’s early learning experiences.

A recurring donation to Trying Together is a generous and easy way to sustain its mission. Monthly giving programs are cost-effective and eliminate the need for repeated solicitation efforts reducing costs for the organization. Automatic recurring donations can be set up by credit card or electronic funds transfer.

To support high-quality care and education for young children in an ongoing way, there are four suggested monthly donation levels, including:

  • Early Childhood Supporter ($5 per month, $60 annually)
  • Early Childhood Sustainer ($10 per month, $120 annually)
  • Early Childhood Advocate ($25 per month, $300 annually)
  • Trying Together Champion ($83.33 per month, $1,000 annually)

Recurring donors are asked to consider increasing their monthly gift amounts. 

However donors support Trying Together, they are making a difference.

When supporters contribute to Trying Together, they help to create a future in which:

  • All children have access to high-quality, early learning environments
  • All families have the resources they need to support their children’s early learning experiences
  • All caregivers feel valued

Donate today and set-up recurring gifts on Trying Together’s website. For questions about donations, contact Kerry May, Assistant Director of Development, at 412-206-1053 or by email at kerry@tryingtogether.org

News

Kindergarten Transition White Paper Highlights Regional Efforts

Trying Together has released a white paper titled “Kindergarten Transition” that includes research on transition activities, possible policy opportunities, and recommendations to support effective kindergarten transition. 

Learn More

The transition from pre-k to kindergarten is a critical point in the lives of young children and their families. However, during the 2021-2022 school year, 78% of three-year-olds and 65% of four-year-olds in Pennsylvania did not have access to a pre-k program. 

As a result, kindergarten was likely many families’ first entry into the school system as well as the first opportunity for some children to engage with classroom routines and socialization on a larger scale.

Recommendations were made for state elected officials and local school district administrators. Some of these recommendations included:

  • Requiring local transition teams
  • Providing guidance on how to leverage funds
  • Encouraging data sharing
  • Advocating for full-day kindergarten
  • Including parents and guardians in the transition process
  • Ensuring high-quality, developmentally appropriate kindergarten
  • Showing support for local pre-k and child care providers in providing pre-k
  • Strengthening relationships and collaboration between early childhood programs and elementary schools
  • Emphasizing culturally responsive practices
  • Rethinking the possibility of school readiness

Learn more about Trying Together’s mission of supporting equitable access to a strong kindergarten transition for all children across the region by reading the “Kindergarten Transition” white paper.

Trying Together has joined the Allegheny Intermediate Unit and the United Way of Southwestern PA in a partnership known as Hi5!, which focuses on engaging all 43 public school districts in Allegheny County to develop and implement kindergarten transition plans.

News

May 28, 2024

East End Community Celebrates Juneteenth

The Trade Institute of Pittsburgh and other community partners – including Trying Together – will host a Pre-Juneteenth Festival on June 14 in Homewood.

Learn More

Juneteenth Pittsburgh 2024 will include free food and activities, including live entertainment and a kid’s zone. DJ Hoodie Tre will spin tunes and visitors can take part in a group fitness class.

Special guest speakers include Leon Ford, Jason Rivers, and Rev. Cornell Jones.

The event will run from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, June 14 at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA.

News

May 27, 2024

P.R.I.D.E. Speaker Series on Black Joy in Early Childhood Featuring Trying Together Exec Director Now Available

Trying Together Executive Director Cara Ciminillo was a guest speaker in the Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education (P.R.I.D.E.) program’s recent spring Speaker Series event. Ciminillo discussed what Black joy meant to her, and how Trying Together is actively working to eliminate racism and address the inequities in systems.

Learn More

Affirming Black Joy: Race, Identity, and Early Childhood” took place on April 10. Leading experts in the field of race and early childhood discussed needs and strategies to promote a culture of positive racial identity as well as joy and affirmation in classroom, home, and community settings.

P.R.I.D.E. Program Director Dr. Aisha White moderated the event. Ciminillo was a guest panelist.

“When I think about affirming Black joy, it begins with affirming who a child is, which can only be accomplished in relationship with others,” she said. “So, it’s recognizing a child’s emotions, their needs, their experiences, and talents. It’s seeing themselves in their surroundings and valuing a Black child’s family, culture, and traditions as assets – something to celebrate, to build off of.”

Ciminillo said that Trying Together – which 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 those who interact with them – has worked to embody these ideals.

“Several years ago, we recognized that our limitations in meeting these ideals were hampered and we weren’t putting those same ideals in practice in our own organization,” Ciminillo said. “We needed to embody a culture of belonging and then apply that in the field. We believe Black joy means establishing a positive image in the early childhood field – and elevating voices and decision making. We envision a future in which all caregivers feel valued. We’ve set into motion daily practices large and small to achieve it. Our organization must be representative of those in the field we serve. Our staff composition at all levels needs to reflect their diversity and types of experiences.”

The P.R.I.D.E. Speaker Series event can be viewed in full on YouTube.

News

May 15, 2024

Trying Together’s Strategic Roadmap Dashboard is Live

Trying Together has launched a new interactive dashboard to highlight the ongoing process of meeting its strategic goals as well as the impact the organization has had on the young children, families, early care and education professionals, and communities it serves.  

The Roadmap’s Goals

The goals of Trying Together’s five-year strategy roadmap include being:

  • A trusted source of collaboration for families regarding their child’s early experiences
  • An experienced facilitator of inclusive learning opportunities for educators that aims to ensure that every child has access to high-quality early care and education
  • A collaborative convener that coordinates and connects systems to support early care and education
  • A committed advocate mobilizing for policy change alongside communities to elevate the needs of children, families, and educators for an equitable early care and education system
  • An accountable nonprofit that prioritizes ethics when fundraising in support of its mission and provides transparent stewardship to its donors

The roadmap also addresses how Trying Together will sustain an inclusive culture of belonging through recruitment and retainment of staff and board members who represent those the organization serves and those who are most affected by early education policies. 

Learn More

To learn more about Trying Together’s goals, read its 2023-2027 Strategic Roadmap. Also, frequently drop by the interactive dashboard to view new stories of impact and quantitative outputs that will be updated on a quarterly basis.

To share a story about an experience you have had with Trying Together or to get more information, email info@tryingtogether.org.

News

May 10, 2024

ECE Advocacy Express Webinar

Trying Together’s Policy Team will host a webinar in June on how to contact your state legislators regarding investments in early care and education in the state budget.

Learn More

State elected officials are in the final days of budget negotiations and are currently debating how much money to invest in early care and education.

Trying Together’s Policy Team will host a workshop known as the ECE Advocacy Express that will provide information on

  • How to find your state legislator
  • How to email your legislator
  • How to call your legislator

The workshop will provide attendees with the tools and templates that are needed to make an impact in just a few minutes.

The webinar will take place on Zoom at 10 a.m. on June 17. Registration is now open.

News

May 7, 2024

Seeking Input on Recess and Play for Advocacy Toolkit

Trying Together and Playful Pittsburgh are seeking input on recess and play for the creation of an advocacy toolkit on the topics.

Learn More

As part of their play advocacy research, Trying Together and Playful Pittsburgh are asking parents and caregivers of children, teachers, school administrators, and community members for input.

In the survey, participants will discuss how their child’s school perceives and implements recess. Collected input will go toward devising a comprehensive, community-based Play Advocacy Toolkit that will be widely shared and easily accessible.

The deadline to complete the survey is June 21. The survey is now available to complete.

Community Conversations on Play

Parents and caregivers of children, teachers, school leaders, and community members are also invited to join Trying Together and Playful Pittsburgh for upcoming community conversations on play.

Physical movement, the freedom to play, and playful learning during the school day improves a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills. However, many American children engage in less than one hour of unstructured play per day.

The conversations will focus on how play is an important part of a child’s school life. The events will help attendees learn how to advocate for play and developmentally appropriate practices in early childhood.

In person event
Thursday, May 30, 2024 | 5 – 7 p.m.
Spartan Community Center of Hazelwood, 134 East Elizabeth Street
Registration is now open

Dinner and child care will be provided.

Virtual event
Monday, June 10, 2024 | 7-8 p.m.
Zoom
Registration is now open.

News

May 6, 2024

Registration Open for UnConference: Launching School Age Summer Programming

Join Trying Together, Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST), and Allegheny County Department of Human Services for UnConference: Launching School Age Summer Programming.” Registration is now open for the event, which will be held on Thursday, June 6 at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., participants will attend expert-led sessions that will equip them with skills needed to create safe and enriching summer experiences for school-aged children. Six PQAS and Act 48 credit hours will be available.

Workshops

The morning session is dedicated to American Red Cross Pediatric First Aid, CPR, and AED training. Participants will attend two afternoon sessions.

Morning Session (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

Workshops include:

  • Play Included: Building Friendships Through LEGO Play
    o  Speaker: John Balash and Team from Carnegie Mellon University
  • Maximizing the Mind-Body Connection in Summer Youth Programming
    • Speaker: Danielle Thum, MS, RYT, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Family Care Connection Centers
  • American Red Cross: First Aid/CPR/AED, Including Pediatric First Aid and CPR
  • Playnotes Interactive Activity

Afternoon Sessions (1:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.)

Following lunch, participants will attend two rounds of workshops. Sessions will focus on how to create welcoming and culturally inclusive environments; strategies to guide and mentor children; and using LEGO play to collaborate, communicate, and problem solve.

Workshops include:

  • The Culturally Inclusive Check-In
    o  Speaker: Ja’Sonta Roberts from Assemble
  • Everyday Mentoring
    o  Speaker: Sophia Duck from Mentoring Pittsburgh
  • Play Included: Building Friendships Through LEGO Play
    o  Speaker: John Balash and Team from Carnegie Mellon University
  • When Helping Hurts: Understanding the Impact of Compassion Fatigue
    o  Speaker: Sharice Nance, LCSW, CCTP
  • Amplifying Youth Voice and Choice
    • Speaker: Katherine Spinney, PCC, MT, MSW
  • Maximizing the Mind-Body Connection in Summer Youth Programming
    • Speaker: Danielle Thum, MS, RYT, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Family Care Connection Centers
  • Supporting Youth From English Language Learning Backgrounds
    • Speakers: Meg Booth and Jenna Baron from Alliance for Refugee Youth Support and Education

More session details will be available soon.

More Details

Registration is now open for the conference. Tickets for the UnConference cost $25 and free parking will be available for participants at the conservatory. Lunch, which will be catered by Phipps, is included with registration.

Those interested in attending must register by May 27. Registrants will be asked to choose their preferred workshops at a later date. Group discounts are not available.

If you have questions about the UnConference, visit the event webpage or contact Paige Kizior at paige@tryingtogether.org

News

May 1, 2024

Recess and Play: Community Conversations

Parents and caregivers of children, teachers, school leaders, and community members are invited to join Trying Together and Playful Pittsburgh for community conversations on play.

Learn More

Physical movement, the freedom to play, and playful learning during the school day improves a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills. However, many American children engage in less than one hour of unstructured play per day.

We’d like to know how much your child is able to play. A community conversation being held on May 30 will discuss how play is a part of a child’s school life. The event will help attendees learn how to advocate for play and developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood.

Dinner and child care will be provided to participants at the in-person event. There will also be a virtual event in June.

Details

Thursday, May 30 | 5 – 7 p.m.
Spartan Community Center of Hazelwood, 134 East Elizabeth Street in Pittsburgh
Register

Monday, June 10 | 7 – 8 p.m.
Virtual
Register

Can’t attend? Take the play advocacy survey to share your thoughts.