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A Call to Advocacy: Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Initiatives. Office of Child Development and Early Learning 2008. Why advocate? . Advance the field Federal and state funding plays a major role in early childhood education in PA Federal: Head Start, Child Care Development Block Grant

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A Call to Advocacy:Pennsylvania’s Early Childhood Initiatives

Office of Child Development and Early Learning


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Why advocate?

Advance the field

Federal and state funding plays a major role in early childhood education in PA

Federal: Head Start, Child Care Development Block Grant

State: Head Start Supplemental, Full Day Kindergarten Accountability Block Grant, STARS, PA Pre-K Counts

Better serve children and families

Support a quality early education continuum

You have a unique perspective

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Your voice matters because

You have expertise in ECE

You have experiences that matter to legislators

You are the future of ECE

You vote!!

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What are you advocating for?

Increased public recognition that quality early learning matters

Increased public investment in quality early learning

Increased support for building a quality early education continuum

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ECE in Pennsylvania: OCDEL

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) promotes opportunities for all Pennsylvania children and families by building systems and providing supports that help ensure access to high quality child and family services. The office is a joint initiative between the Departments of Education and Public Welfare.

OCDEL’s focus in the upcoming year will be to build and strengthen a quality early education continuum for children and families.

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Our Programs

Child Care Certification

Child Care Works

Early Intervention – Birth to Five

Family Support Programs: Children’s Trust Fund, Nurse Family Partnership and Parent-Child Home Program

Full-Day Kindergarten

Head Start Supplemental

Assistance Program

Keystone STARS/ PA Early Learning Keys to Quality


Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts

Public-Private Partnership

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Pennsylvania is making progress

Pennsylvania has made great progress in serving young children through early education initiatives such as Accountability Block Grants, Keystone STARS, Early Intervention and the Head Start Supplemental Assistance program, PA Pre-K Counts but it’s just the start.

Our enrollment in quality programs for preschoolers has increased from 18% in 2002-03 to 35% in 2006-07.

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But …we still face challenges

Children in 70 percent of PA’s counties are at moderate to high risk of school failure

More than one-third of

Pennsylvania’s children

under the age of five live

in low-income families

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Building a quality early education continuum

OCDEL’s goal: a seamless system of quality early education from birth – age 5

What it takes:

1. Quality program design

2. Quality implementation & coordination

3. Meeting the diverse needs of families

4. Maximizing resources

5. Documenting positive impact and building accountability into the program

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Key programs to address

Keystone STARS

Child Care Works

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts

Early Intervention

Nurse Family Partnership

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Highlight: Keystone STARS

A reliable indicator of quality child care and demonstrates support for children’s early learning and development.

Over 170,000 children will be served in 2008

Funding to help participating programs move up through the STARS Ladder

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Highlight: Child Care Works

Supports parents who are working hard to provide for their families and gives children the opportunity to participate in an early childhood program.

Serve an additional 2600 children and their families for a total of over 235,000 per year

Provide families with young children with the ability to search for child care information on the web

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Highlight: Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts

  • A pre-kindergarten program currently serving over 11,000 3- and 4-year olds. The program supports quality half- (2.5 hours) and full-day (five hours) pre-kindergarten in schools, Head Start, child care centers, group child care homes and licensed nursery schools during the school year.

  • All children in participating communities age three until they enter kindergarten are eligible.

  • Focus on children at risk of academic failure due to income, special needs, language, or other issue.

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Highlight: Early Intervention

Enhances family/caregiver relationships with children building on their strengths, and strives to maximize all the experiences, opportunities, and resources within the activities of daily living unique to each family.

Assures that all eligible children from birth to five with developmental delays receive services and supports that maximize their development so they achieve success in early education settings

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Highlight: Pennsylvania Nurse Family Partnership - NFP

Registered nurses work with the expectant mothers to ensure a healthy pregnancy, to engage in activities with the baby that will promote healthy development, and to make plans for the future.

Prepares parents to provide a stable and nurturing home environment for their child where they are the child’s first teacher

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What you can do

Meet your legislators

Write your legislators

Start a buzz on campus

Hold a “Be a Kid Again” event

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How to meet your legislators

Letters are good, but meeting is better!

Meet in their district office

Go with a classmate or advocate

Prepare ahead of time – script out

Be pleasant

Get their position on ECE

If they support the Governor’s budget, ask them to write their leadership

If they don’t, ask why?

Follow up

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Be a Kid Again

Host an event on campus

Plan a fun “kid activity” that students can do to relieve stress, have fun

Educate through play!

Get signatures

Invite campus or local media

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You’ve got help

Student advocacy toolkit

Contact your Early Childhood Community Engagement Group – www.pakeys.org/CommunityEngagement Groups.aspx

Local AEYCs - www.pennaeyc.org/

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Questions for discussion

What types of activities would you plan for Week of the Young Child – April 13-19, 2008?

How do you measure quality in early childhood education?

As students of child development and early childhood education, what unique perspective do you have that you can share with legislators?

If you had 3 minutes to explain to a legislator or a decision maker why building a quality early learning continuum is important, what would you say?

What other groups or individuals might assist you in building support and/or awareness of early childhood education?