Early Learning Newsletter | February 2020 | Celebrating National Children’s Dental Health Month!


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

Celebrating National Children’s
Dental Health Month!

February 2020

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In This Issue:

From the Directors

Laurie VanderPloeg and Christopher Rinkus

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

It’s February! February is filled with many observances to celebrate, including Presidents Day, Valentine’s Day, and Black History Month. We recognize and celebrate all these important observances with you. So while February is the shortest month of the year, we are lucky to have another day in February this year.

In this edition, we have focused Early Learning on recognizing National Children’s Dental Health Month. Oral health is an important part of a child’s overall health and well-being. According to the National Center on Children’s Health and Wellness, children with good oral health tend to eat well, sleep well, and develop as they should. Children’s oral health also makes a big difference in their ability to learn. Therefore, please be aware of the importance of children’s oral health and help them develop good oral health habits, especially after all the Valentine’s Day festivities! In this month’s newsletter, you will find resources to help promote children’s oral health. For our Voices From the Field blog, we interviewed Diana Brown Capobianco, pediatric dentist. She talks about her dental public health work in her community.

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!

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

Teacher and students in the classroom

Exploring Classroom Ecology

The U.S. Department of Education (ED)-funded Early Learning Network (ELN) is examining why many children — especially those from low-income households or other disadvantaged backgrounds — experience academic and social difficulties as they transition from preschool to elementary school. In its most recent news update, the ELN highlighted classroom ecology. You can learn about some preliminary findings the ELN uncovered on classroom ecology and its impact on early learning.



Early Learning Updates from ED

Institute of Education Sciences (IES) logo

Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is about to begin the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2022–23 (ECLS-K:2023) with a field test early this year. The ECLS-K:2023 will focus on children’s early school (preschool through fifth grade) experiences. From the spring of 2022 through the spring of 2028, ECLS-K2023 will collect national study data from children and their parents, teachers, and school administrators to answer questions about children’s early learning and development, transition into kindergarten and beyond, and experiences in the elementary grades. For information about the ECLS program studies, please visit the ECLS Website..



Voices From the Field

Diana Capobianco

Promoting Children’s Oral Health

We interviewed Diana Brown Capobianco, a pediatric dentist. She talks about the importance of oral health in children’s development and how to prevent and identify dental diseases early. We invite you to read the full interview on the OSERS Blog.




Resources For You

This Month's Recommended Resources:

Poster: National Children's Dental Health Month

Brush Up on Oral Health

February is National Children's Dental Health Month. Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, but it's preventable. Children with dental pain can have trouble speaking clearly, eating, and learning. Explore the resources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of Head Start to promote a healthy mouth. Learn about proper toothbrushing and other preventive measures and how to find a dentist. Don’t forget to also check out resources for Spanish-speaking families!


Cover of Child Maltreatment 2018 report

The Child Maltreatment Report 2018

The Child Maltreatment Report 2018 was released in January 2020 by HHS’ Children’s Bureau. It is the most recent collection of child maltreatment data from across the country. Since 1991, this important resource breaks down the data at the national and state levels and shows trends in data on child maltreatment. You can find the links to each chapter, the summary pages, data tables and the glossary.


Cover: "We Can Be Problem Solvers!"

We Can All Be Problem Solvers!

The ED-funded National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations has a number of visual resources to help young children develop problem solving skills. Check out the practical strategies to help children think through how to problem solve as well as visuals of problem solving steps in English and Spanish.



Featured Webinar

Head Start logo

Understanding Language Development to Inform High Quality Interactions

The Feb. 6 webinar, Understanding Language Development to Inform High Quality Interactions, presented by HHS’ Office of Head Start featured research findings about how preschool children develop language and process two or more languages. It also focused on how to identify and use research-based strategies, such as modeling and other supports. Find resources for supporting high-quality instructional interactions with children who are dual language learners, and view the webinar after registering at the link above.


Funding Opportunities

IDEAs That Work logo

Increasing the Capacity of Leaders To Improve Systems Serving Children With Disabilities

ED has just announced a Notice Inviting Applications for a new funding opportunity, Personnel Development To Improve Services and Results for Children With Disabilities—Leadership Development Programs: Increasing the Capacity of Leaders To Improve Systems Serving Children With Disabilities (CFDA 84.325L). This program supports states in developing a leadership development program to retain a network of leaders at the state or local level. Information about the application can be found on Grants.gov. Applications are due on April 13.


Logo: HRSA

UT3 Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B)

HHS’ Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) has announced the opportunity to apply for funding under the UT3 Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health Program. This program establishes and maintains an interdisciplinary, multicenter research platform for scientific collaboration and infrastructure building. Information on this funding opportunity can be found at HRSA. The application deadline is April 13.



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.