Early Learning Newsletter | June 2020 | Celebrate Fathers!


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

Celebrate Fathers!

 June 2020

Young daughter holding father's finger

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In This Issue:

From the Directors

Laurie VanderPloeg and Christopher Rinkus

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

June 21 was Father’s Day. How did you celebrate the fathers in your life? At the U.S. Department of Education (ED), we give a big shout-out to father and grandfather figures for all that they do every day to nurture and care for young children. They cook meals, take children to appointments, change diapers, do laundry, give baths, read to and play with children, and play important roles in the healthy development of children in countless ways. To celebrate all the great things fathers do in children’s development and family lives, this edition of Early Learning highlights many resources to encourage early childhood professionals and programs to become more father friendly.

In addition to exploring the resources presented in this newsletter, please continue visiting the ED’s COVID-19 Information and Resources page for COVID-19 related resources and updates.

This month, for our Voices From the Field  blog, we interviewed Justin Brown of Westminster, Massachusetts. Justin is the father of a preschooler and two toddlers, and he talks about what early childhood programs can do to engage more fathers.

Thank you, as always, for reading Early Learning. We hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe!

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

logo - National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse

Father Engagement

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse disseminates current research and innovative strategies to encourage and strengthen fathers and families. Fathers play a critical role in the overall development of children, and the healthy engagement of fathers leads to a host of positive outcomes for children and families. Find tips, hints, and even deals for dads and kids in its “For Dads” corner. Many resources are also available in Spanish. Don’t forget to check out some "Dad Jokes" showing how even something like telling jokes encourages great relationships between children and their dads!


Early Learning Updates from ED

father browsing on a tablet computer

Providing Services to English Learners During the COVID-19 Outbreak

ED recently published a fact sheet to provide additional information about requirements in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and other Federal laws related to English learners (ELs) in light of COVID-19. This fact sheet outlines states’ responsibilities to ELs and their parents during the extended school closures and, in some cases, the move to remote learning due to the national emergency caused by COVID-19.


Voices From the Field

Justin Brown. Read his interview in the OSERS "Voices From the Field" blog post

A Father's Engagement

We recently interviewed Justin Brown of Westminster, Massachusetts. Justin is the father of a preschooler and two toddlers. He talks about what helped him engage in his son’s education and services. We invite you to read the full interview on the OSERS Blog.


Resources For You

cover - Head Start Father Engagement Birth to Five Programming Guide

Birth to 5 Father Engagement Guide

Early care and education programs benefit when fathers are honored and acknowledged as partners in their child’s learning and development. Explore the latest resources from HHS’ Office of Head Start to support father engagement efforts during virtual service provision. The Father Engagement Birth to 5 Programming Guide was developed with input from fathers and early childhood program staff. It includes useful tips that programs and agencies can apply, as well as opportunities for practice and reflection. Use it to enhance your knowledge about effective father engagement strategies.

video: A Home Visit with Ares' Family

COVID-19 Resources for
Birth to Five

The ED-funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center has developed a COVID-19 webpage that houses resources for states and local programs serving young children with disabilities and their families. The webpage also contains a number of resources on tele-intervention and distance learning. Check out its Provider and Educator Use of Technology page. This page highlights many videos that illustrate how home visit video conferencing supports the entire family in typical everyday routines. Watch Grayson’s Family and Ares’ Family videos to learn how home visit video conferencing engages and supports moms and dads.

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

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Learning for Young Children with Disabilities

The STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) Center develops resources that support early STEM learning for young children with disabilities. STEMIE is developing a knowledge base on early learning trajectories that will support parents of young children with disabilities in accessing high-quality STEM learning experiences for their child. Additional resources were disseminated at recent conferences, including STEM for All and the recent Unconference. Join the STEMpede!


Featured Webinars

National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) logo

Creating Anti-Racist Early Childhood Spaces

Now, more than ever, it is important to address issues of race and bias in early childhood settings. Children notice race at a very early age and can begin to categorize people according to skin color. The ED-funded National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) broadcasted Creating Anti-Racist Early Childhood Spaces on June 12. This webinar presents strategies for creating an anti-racist environment to promote the development of healthy racial identities.

Logo: ED’s Institute for Education Sciences-funded Early Learning Network

Spanish-Language Webinar on the Transition to Kindergarten Amid COVID-19

The transition into kindergarten marks a major milestone in a child’s life. Even under normal circumstances, the start of kindergarten can be a stressful time for a child as they enter a world filled with new expectations and routines. COVID-19 may create continued uncertainty and additional worries about what school will look like for children in the fall. The ED-funded Early Learning Network presents this webinar specifically designed for Spanish speaking families to help families prepare their child for a successful transition into kindergarten.


Funding Opportunities

IDEAs That Work logo

Office of Special Education Programs Funding opportunities

ED’s Office of Special Education Programs recently published two new funding opportunities.



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.