35 States and Puerto Rico Submitted for Preschool Grants - November 2014 OEL Newsletter

News & Resources from the Office of Early Learning • November 2014

Early Learning at ED

                Subscribe to our monthly Early Learning at ED newsletter here.

Message from the Deputy Assistant Secretary Libby Doggett


I am delighted 35 states and Puerto Rico submitted applications for the Preschool Development Grants.  Thanks to all of you who worked hard to bring people together and develop plans for moving preschool forward in communities throughout your states.  I know completing these applications requires a lot of work and it will be exciting to see all the creative ideas you have submitted.  The results will be announced at the December 10 White House Summit on Early Education along with the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership awards.

The Summit will concentrate on getting even more philanthropic, business, civic and policy leaders to make new commitments to expand access to and quality in birth to five early learning programs.  We want to demonstrate that there is new energy and interest from leaders around the country to ramp up early learning everywhere!

While all of us can’t attend the Summit, I urge each of you to gather with other early learning advocates and practitioners to celebrate our success by watching the live streaming of the event in your local communities.  Use this as an opportunity to recognize those who have been doing this work for decades. Pull in leaders who haven’t been engaged and ask them to help us. We want to create a sense of urgency to keep making progress through every avenue possible. We’ll have more details about the Summit and how to participate remotely soon!

Many of you were helping expand early learning well before it became one of the President’s top agenda items, and you will be here for years to come.  But we have a moment in time right now to move this issue as never before.  Please help us so we can look back and say we all made a huge difference for the kids!  

Preschool for All


In an open letter to policymakers, more than 500 researchers urge the expansion of and increased public investment in early childhood education based on the full body of scientific knowledge about early education and child development and provide a research summary to support and guide future investment in quality early learning programs.


Preschool to 3rd-Grade Alignment

The spotlight is on moving beyond preschool as a standalone grade and aligning it with early elementary grades. The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) released an updated, principal competency guide which defines new competencies and outlines a practical approach to high-quality early childhood education for young children from age three to grade three (the digital version is available for free until November 15). Read more here.

RTT-ELC: Program Spotlight and Technical Assistance

Map of Kentucky

Kentucky Leverages Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge to Support Families and Children

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear announced funding for 24 United Way Born Learning® Academies to be supported in the year 2014. United Way Born Learning® Academies are innovative, school-based workshops that meet a critical need in Kentucky communities – early childhood parental education. The academies consist of six sessions designed to demonstrate how to turn everyday moments with children into learning opportunities. The Born Learning® concept is based on a strategy to engage entire communities in the importance of education at every stage of a child’s life. Kentucky will use $1.4 million of their Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant to expand the total number of United Way Born Learning® Academies statewide. “Race to the Top funds have given us an opportunity to build on a proven practice for supporting families,” said Gov. Beshear. Read more here.

Early Learning at ED


New Resources in Spanish - Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive!
The Birth to 5: Watch Me Thrive! initiative added two new resources in Spanish to their collection of materials. This collaborative initiative of the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) was launched to help families look for and celebrate milestones; promote universal screenings; identify delays as early as possible; and improve the support available to help children succeed in school and thrive together with their peers. The new resources in Spanish include:

o   Del nacimiento a los 5! Informacion y Destacados (Birth to 5! Information and Highlights)

o   Providors Cuidado y Educaciòn Infantil (Early Care and Education Providers Guide)

New IDEA Part C Training Modules

Several new modules were added to the Building the Legacy for Our Youngest Children with Disabilities: A Training Curriculum on IDEA 2004's Part C.   The modules are designed to be used primarily by trainers to train others about the early intervention program under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Click here to learn more about the training curriculum. The newest modules include:

o   Module 3: Pre-Referral and Referral Activities

o   Module 4: Screening, Evaluation, and Assessment Procedures

o   Module 5: Procedures for IFSP Development, Review, and Evaluation

o   Module 6: Content of the IFSP

o   Module 14: System of Payments and Use of Funds in Part C

Grant Notices - Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities
OSERS/OSEP recently published a Notice Inviting Applications for Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities -- Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services (CFDA No. 84.325K), and Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities -- Preparation of Special Education, Early Intervention, Related Services and Leadership Personnel (CFDA No. 84.325D).  The purpose of these programs are to address State-needs for personnel who have the necessary skills and knowledge of evidence-based practices in special education, early intervention, related services to ensure to serve children, including infants and toddlers, with disabilities.  Eligible Applicants are IHEs and private nonprofit organizations who prepare personnel at the bachelor, master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. For application packages and more information, access the links below:

o   Del nacimiento a los 5! Informacion y Destacados (Birth to 5! Information and Highlights)

o   Providors Cuidado y Educaciòn Infantil (Early Care and Education Providers Guide)

Application Information (Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: December 5, 2014)

Application Information (Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: December 12, 2014)


OSEP will conduct an informational teleconference to explain the programmatic, application, and administrative requirements. There will be an opportunity for interested applicants to ask questions about the requirements and the application submission process. The teleconference will be approximately one hour long. The informational teleconference will be held: Thursday, November 6th, 2014 at 1:00 p.m. ESTThe Conference Number is 1-877-512-6886 and the Conference ID is 8613019655. The teleconference can also be accessed here.

International News

Frank Porter Graham Logo

Just Released:  The New Version of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale

Designed for classrooms serving 3-5 year-olds, the much-anticipated new edition of the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (the ECERS-3) from Teachers College Press debuted at the annual meeting of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in Dallas, Texas. Read more here.


OECD Indicators  

Featuring more than 150 charts, 300 tables, and over 100 000 figures, Education at a Glance 2014 provides data on the structure, finances, and performance of education  systems in the OECD’s 34 member countries, as well as a number of partner countries. Download the publication.

Federal Agencies at Work


Two Anniversaries, One Goal: Celebrating the Runaway & Homeless Youth and Family Violence Prevention & Services Acts

This fall has been an exciting and busy time at the Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB). In September, we commemorated the 40th anniversary of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA). And last month, we celebrated 30 years of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA). We all know that November is a time to give thanks. I’d like to kick off this month of gratitude by highlighting the combined strength of RHYA and FVPSA. Together, these important pieces of legislation make possible a nationwide network of support for young people affected by trauma. Read more.


Cooking Safe This Holiday Season. 

Unsafe handling and under-cooking your Thanksgiving turkey can cause foodborne illness. Follow these tips from the USDA to keep your holiday safe and delicious! For more information click here.

Research and Reports


New in ERIC: Family Capacity-Building in Early Childhood Intervention: Do Context and Setting Matter?

A new study in School Community Journal investigates the effects of early intervention settings on the extent of parent involvement in IDEA Part C Infant and Toddler Programs are reported. Results showed that provision of early intervention entirely or partially outside a family's home were associated with minimal parent involvement. More than 50% of the parents, regardless of setting or context, were not involved in their children's early intervention in a manner consistent with the IDEA Part C family capacity-building provision. The need for better preparation of early intervention practitioners is described. To read the full text of the study, please click here.

new america

Early Education Initiative at New America will be hosting an event this month to discuss the release of “Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Early Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study,” by Marcy Whitebook, Deborah Phillips, and Carollee Howes. The study finds that early childhood educators continue to be undervalued and underpaid, despite the wealth of research on how formative these years are for young children and educators’ increased qualifications over the last 25 years.  Join New America on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 from 10:00 AM - 12:30 pm in person or online for an important discussion on how to support these workers.


Researchers Call For Greater Investment In Early Childhood Education.

Lillian Mongeau writes at the Education Week (11/13, 116K) “Early Years” blog that the National Institute for Early Education Research and the non-profit First Five Years Fund has released a letter penned by a group of 500 researchers calling for “the expansion of and increased public investment in early-childhood education.” The letter argues that “critics of greater investments in early education ‘ignore the full body of evidence.’” The piece notes that despite criticisms that there is insufficient research and that the Federal government already spends enough on early-childhood education through programs like Head Start and the Child-Care and Development Block Grant program,” states and cities have recently been expanding their programs.


Two new state-based reports have been released by the National Black Child Development Institute – Being Black is Not a Risk Factor: Statistics and Strengths-Based Solutions from the States of Michigan and WisconsinThe national report that was released last year can also be found here.

Resources You Can Use


Bisphenol A Exposure and the Development of Wheeze and Lung Function in Children Through Age 5 Years 

Bisphenol A (BPA), a prevalent endocrine-disrupting chemical, has been associated with wheezing in children, but few studies have examined its effect on lung function or wheeze in older children. A birth cohort study, enrolled during early pregnancy in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio, area among 398 mother-infant dyads. We collected maternal urine samples during pregnancy (at 16 and 26 weeks) and child urine samples annually to assess gestational and child BPA exposure.  To read more click here.

Plasticity in Developing Brain: Active Auditory Exposure Impacts Prelinguistic Acoustic Mapping

One critical period for optimizing human language mapping is early in the first year; however, the neural processes involved and the influence of passive compared with active experience are as yet incompletely understood. In this paper, researchers demonstrate that, while both active and passive acoustic experience from 4 to 7 months of age, using temporally modulated nonspeech stimuli, impacts acoustic mapping, active experience confers a significant advantage.  To read more click here.

Federal, State, and Local Spending to Address Child Abuse and Neglect in SFY 2012

Federal, State, and Local Spending to Address Child Abuse and Neglect in SFY 2012 summarizes key findings from a national survey of states’ child welfare expenditures. The survey of 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico found that child welfare agency expenditures from federal, state, and local sources decreased by 8% between state fiscal years 2010 and 2012.  To read more click here.

Kids' Share 2014: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children Through 2013

Federal, state, and local governments provide critical investments in the nation’s future through investments in the health, education, nutrition, safety, and overall development of children. To help assess the government’s investment in children and changes over time, this eighth annual Kids’ Share report provides an updated analysis of federal, as well as state and local, expenditures on children through 2013.  To read more click here.

"First Five Years Fund's Jim Messina and Kevin Madden share their opinions in an open letter to policymakers to build on existing bipartisan relationships in support of early childhood education.       http://ffyf.org/messina-madden-memo/."

First Five Fund

Increasing Investments in Early Childhood Education a Top priority for Voters

For two years in a row, national polling from the First Five Years Fund has shown that increasing investments in early childhood education is a top priority for voters across the political spectrum. In October, their bipartisan polling team released the results of five new state polls in the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado and Florida, which show similar strong levels of support and a desire to invest in a full range of early learning programs from birth to age five. More than three in five voters in each state support a federal plan to help states expand access to high-quality early childhood education programs – even if it increased the deficit in the short-term but paid for itself later on through better education, health and economic outcomes.

50 years of head start

National Head Start Association

Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director

The National Head Start Association (NHSA) had a busy October as we recognized Head Start Awareness Month and celebrated the official kick off of Head Start’s 50th anniversary. Highlights included our 2014 Fall Leadership Institute, the launch of our Nike GoSmart app, and Head Start Works Button Day, in addition to a host of local celebratory events held in Head Start classrooms across the nation. During the month of October, we also started a Head Start Alumni Spotlight blog series, which featured stories from inspiring alumni who shared how Head Start laid the foundation for their success. This month, in honor of Native American Heritage Month, NHSA will spotlight Head Start students and families in tribal communities. From Maine to Alaska, Head Start’s comprehensive programs serve the unique needs of diverse communities to ensure that all children enter Kindergarten ready to succeed.


Recently released by the Education Commission of the States (ECS) the Initiatives from Preschool to the Third Grade: A Policymaker's Guide serves as a reference guide for policymakers and their staffs, members of the media and others on the most commonly requested topics to the ECS Information Clearinghouse from preschool to third grade. It covers both (1) effective strategies to support children on their path to third-grade academic success and also (2) the foundations of effective P-3 approaches. "There are many candidates across the country running for gubernatorial and legislative seats, and many are running with early childhood as a key component of their education platform," said Bruce Atchison, director of ECS' Early Learning Institute. "This document will be an excellent resource for the newly elected officials and for professionals currently working in the field of early childhood."

Click here to go to the press release and click here to go directly to the Early Learning Primer.

Build Initiative

The BUILD Initiative has launched a searchable web-based QRIS Compendium at qriscompendium.org. This website will give you the latest details on quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) in every state, territory and region/locality.  The BUILD Initiative will host a demonstration webinar on Thursday, December 4th from 2 to 3 pm ET to walk participants through the three main data tools from qriscompendium.org that will allow you to access the specific information about QRIS that is of interest. Please pre-register for the webinar here.


The Center for American Progress released a report on Early Head Start, the Child Care and Development Block grant and other programs focused on infants and toddlers. Read more here.

Child Trend

A new report from Child Trends, Culture Counts: Engaging Black and Latino Parents of Young Children in Family Support Programs, provides an overview of family support programs aimed at black and Latino parents. This report identifies the features and strategies that may be most effective for reaching and engaging black and Latino families, with the ultimate goal of supporting young children’s development. It offers a synthesis of available research on parent engagement—as well as potential barriers to their engagement—in family support services and programs. Child Trends also offers recommendations for policymakers and practitioners for designing, adapting, and evaluating culturally-relevant family support programs and services.


Council to Release White Paper on Diversity at NAEYC

As part of a continuing series, the Council for Professional Recognition is releasing its second white paper of the year that addresses critical issues impacting the early care and education community. Entitled Diversity and Inclusion in Early Care and Education, the paper will examine how changing demographics will call for a greater tolerance and understanding of varying cultural and ethnic backgrounds, how the Council’s Child Development Associate ™ National Credential provides the proper tools for early educators to gain these skills, and look at best practices currently in place across the country. The white paper will be available for download from the Council’s website beginning Nov. 10.

early care logo

ECEC Presentation of 'Pathways to Child Care Excellence' at NARA's 2014 Licensure Seminar

On September 30th, Early Childhood Education Consortium (ECEC) Policy Director, Rachel Demma and National Association of Regulatory Administrators (NARA) Executive Director, Marcus Williams presented to over 150 conference participants at NARA’s annual licensure seminar in Orlando, FL. The presentation focused on ECEC’s policy positions framed by ‘Pathways to Child Care Excellence,' a publication jointly released by both organizations in 2013.The presentation sparked a robust discussion of how policies could better support providers in meeting the cost of delivering high- quality early care and learning programs, and empower parents in accessing these resources in their home communities. The presentation can be found here ​.

In this issue: 

Voices from the Field

Voices Photo

Voices from the Field

Interview with Lynette M. Fraga, Executive Director of Child Care Aware of America

By Senior Policy Advisor Steven Hicks


Steven Hicks: How did you begin your career in early learning?

Lynette Fraga: My first role in early childhood, actually, was as a toddler teacher in a childcare center after graduating with a degree in education.  After that I was also in a Preschool classroom in a center-based setting. Then I moved to Europe and began working in the military childcare system. First as a teacher, and then as a training and curriculum specialist, and later in an administrative role. Then I became a center director and oversaw the school-age program for the military. I was fortunate to work in the military childcare system very early on in my career. Obviously it remains a model for childcare so I was very fortunate to begin in the military system. Since that time I’ve had the opportunity to work in higher education and in the non-profit and corporate sectors, advocating and supporting high-quality early learning programs across disciplines and across settings. I’ve had the opportunity to work in Head Start and Early Head Start and Childcare in multiple systems and in the corporate and non-profit communities, as well as higher education.

SH: So what do you see as the role of ChildCare Aware of America in improving the quality of early learning?

LF: Child Care Aware of America, formally NACCRRA, has been an advocacy organization dedicated to quality early learning since 1987. We believe that childcare is an essential part of the economic engine of the nation, and that families need child care to support their ability to work, as well as an important early learning setting for many children. We think that childcare and improving quality early learning experiences for children through federal and state initiatives is critical for helping to move the bar for families and for children from an economic perspective – as well as from an early learning vehicle with all we know about the science for young children.

SH: Why do you think the President’s proposal to provide high-quality early learning and development programs for our children is important to our country, and what do you see as some of the challenges and opportunities?

LF: I would say that there is no doubt that the President’s proposal heightened the quality early learning conversation, and brought it to the national spotlight. And that continues to be critical for our country and an important reminder to us that early learning is the greatest opportunity to provide a solid return on dollars invested in quality. And we know, again, that research has shown it is the greatest return on investment. It’s investing in programs that demonstrate quality in policy and practice. So the President’s proposal provides the platform for all of us to have that discussion. And the proposal also provides an opportunity to piece together all of the critical components in many settings to support children in their first years of life and beyond. I think part of the challenge is that  critical for us all to remember is that early learning does begin from birth and having an early learning platform that’s balanced from birth and continues through life. The birth-through-five spectrum provides the opportunity to create a positive development in a child’s life, and holding on to that through various proposals that sit within the President’s initiative can be challenging.  I think that is probably the greatest challenge that all of us are going to face: to ensure that we hold on to that birth-through-five perspective in multiple settings, and that all of them are critically important.

SH: What do you think is next for Child Care Aware of America?

LF: We’re at an interesting time because we’re looking forward to the possible passage of CCDBG legislation this month and obviously looking towards the implementation and practice in the states as a significant focus for us in the coming year—what the implementation looks like because states are so different in terms of the road they have to travel between where they are now and the potential legislation. Another one is to ensure that as we raise the bar around quality standards and regulation for child care, we have a supportive approach for the workforce – those that are working with infants and toddlers and preschoolers.  I’d say another significant area for us to focus as an early learning community is on diversity. Looking at the changing demographics of the country and its implication for providing community-based, culturally sensitive services to children and families is going to be of critical importance in the future as well.

Monthly Multimedia

First Five Fund

Change the First Five Years

View the video by clicking  here.