Early Learning Newsletter | December 2019 | Happy Holidays!


The U.S. Department of Education's Early Learning Newsletter

Happy Holidays!!

December 2019

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In This Issue:

From the Directors

Laurie VanderPloeg and Christopher Rinkus

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

As the year comes to an end, many of us are hard at work to accomplish goals that were set earlier and to complete current projects and tasks. We have been busy supporting early learning systems, educators, administrators, and families to best support our nation’s youngest learners. However, it is also the time to pause and reflect on what we want to accomplish in the new year as we await 2020 with a sense of excitement and hopefulness. We will be taking this time to think of new ways that we can continue carrying out our mission for young children and their families into the next year. We hope you will be able to do the same.

In this edition, Early Learning highlights several innovative technology resources for young learners. For our Voices From the Field blog, we interviewed Grace Wardhana, co-founder of Kiko Labs. With support from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the National Science Foundation, Kido Labs develops virtual games that target school readiness skills.

Enjoy reading the rest of the newsletter to find out about recent developments and resources to support our youngest learners, as well as their teachers, caregivers, and families.

Thank you, as always, for reading Early Learning and we wish you a happy new year!

Laurie VanderPloeg
Office of Special Education Programs

Christopher Rinkus
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary
Discretionary Grants and Support Services
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education



Project Spotlight


Early Math Concepts Taught Through Animal Adventures!

The ED-funded KinderTEK is a research-based instructional program for kindergarten mathematics. Delivered through an iPad app, KinderTEK helps children develop, maintain, and become fluent in critical early math skills within a fun, engaging environment. KinderTEK was tested with children ages 2 to 8. To find out which KinderTEK model is right for your learner(s), please visit their Resources & Support page.



Early Learning Updates from ED

ED Games Expo icon

ED Games Expo 2020: A Showcase for Educational Learning Games and Technologies Developed Across 30 Government Program Offices

Demo about 150 educational learning games and technologies in action at the 7th annual ED Games Expo! Technologies are for children and students ages 3 to adult and cover a range of topics in education and special education across science, math, computer science and coding, reading and writing, foreign language, social studies, social and behavioral development, and health. This event is Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020, from 58:00 p.m EDT at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The Expo is free and open to the public. Bring your children after school so they can play and talk to the developers.



Voices From the Field

Grace Wardhana

Developing Executive Functioning Skills Through Games

We interviewed Grace Wardhana, co-founder of Kiko Labs. As a parent of a child fascinated by technology, she was inspired to apply her experience to reimagine game-based learning taken to new levels of personalization and adaptivity.

We invite you to read the full interview on the OSERS Blog.



Resources for You

This Month's Recommended Resources:

Logo: STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) Center

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Teaching and Learning

The ED-funded STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) would like you to #JoinTheSTEMpede by being part of our STEM4EC community. The blog series in the community is a way to learn about supporting young children with disabilities in participating and engaging in meaningful STEM learning. You can also exchange ideas, personal narratives, and questions about including young children with disabilities in STEM learning. Whether you are a practitioner, faculty, family member, or a STEM industry professional, this place is for you! You can join the STEM4EC community here.

The Early Childhood Personnel Center

The ED-funded Early Childhood Personnel Center serves as a national resource on personnel standards and assists states in developing an integrated and comprehensive system of personnel development that aligns preservice and inservice training across all disciplines serving young children and their families. One of their featured resources is a map of  Institutes of Higher Education Early Childhood Programs. This map provides information about certificate and degree programs in early childhood, early childhood special education, and blended programs in each state.   

WIC: A Guide for Implementing the WIC Developmental Milestone Checklist Program

WIC Developmental Milestone Checklist Program Online Implementation Guide

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) providers know that how a child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves for his or her age are important signs of a child’s healthy growth and development. When a child’s development is delayed, they also know the value of a timely referral to support both the child and family.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program developed and tested the WIC Developmental Milestone Checklist program in collaboration with WIC staff. This resource can help WIC providers engage parents in monitoring their children’s development and support them with timely referrals when needed. To learn more about the program, click here to watch this short video.



Featured Webinar

 SLDS Webinar: Early Childhood Data Analytics: Transitions Between Programs

Early Childhood Data Analytics: Transitions Between Programs

The State Longitudinal Data System grant program is funded by ED. This fall, representatives from Utah, Texas, and Kansas shared how they use their Early Childhood Integrated Data Systems and State Longitudinal Data Systems  to address collecting and using information horizontally (about children who are served in multiple early childhood programs) as well as vertically (for children as they move from early childhood programs to early elementary school). Experts also discussed how the Common Education Data Standards can help states integrate data across early childhood programs. The recording of the webinar and the accompanied presentation slides can be accessed here.



New Award Announcement

The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems

We are excited to announce the launch of the new ED-funded National Technical Assistance Center to Improve State Capacity to Collect, Report, Analyze, and Use Accurate Early Childhood IDEA Data. SRI International and its partners will continue to support the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act early intervention and early childhood special education state programs in the development or enhancement of coordinated early childhood longitudinal data systems. To learn about resources and services the DaSy center offers, go to their homepage




Connect With Us Online!

Check out ED's Early Learning website for updates on all of ED's early learning activities, and to view the Early Learning newsletter archive. 

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OSERS is on Twitter with the latest tweets from special education and early intervention advocates, educators, families, and students. Be sure to follow @Ed_Sped_Rehab and tell your friends.