UPDATED: Early Learning Newsletter | December 2022 | Happy Holidays


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

Happy Holidays

December 2022

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In This Issue:

From the Directors

Valerie Williams and Jamila Smith

Hello, Early Learning Leaders!

Happy Holidays from the U.S. Department of Education! As the year comes to a close, we know that you continue to work hard to support the families, systems, and providers that support our youngest learners. It is also a time to reflect on the events of 2022 and ponder what we want to accomplish in 2023. We will be thinking of how we can continue to carry out our mission of supporting our youngest learners, their families, and providers and invite you to do the same.

In this edition, we have included recent updates from the Department, and resources to support our youngest learners and their teachers, caregivers, and families as well as those who may be interested in entering the field.

Thank you for reading “Early Learning”! We hope you and your loved ones have a healthy and safe holiday season.

Valerie C. Williams
Director, Office of Special Education Programs
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services

Jamila Smith
Director, Innovation and Early Learning Programs
Office of Elementary and Secondary Education


Early Learning Updates

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Webinar: “Working Together to Support All Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities”

ED is hosting a webinar, “Working Together to Support All Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities,” on Dec. 14 at 4 p.m. EST. The webinar will highlight how federal and state agencies, local programs, and families can work together to support the growth and development of infants and toddlers with disabilities. Presenters will share new materials that highlight a vision for serving all infants and toddlers with delays and disabilities and provide strategies and resources on implementing an equitable and comprehensive system that identifies, locates, and evaluates these infants and toddlers. You can register for the webinar and will receive information to join.

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Unique Education Needs of Highly Mobile Children With Disabilities

In November, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a letter to state directors of special education to address concerns regarding the unique education needs of highly mobile children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This letter provides resources, guidance, and important principles to help states, school districts, families, and others ensure the rights of these children.

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Data On Young, Homeless Children Served

ED released school district-level data on young, homeless children served (SY 20–21). In collaboration with SchoolHouse Connection, a report on infants and toddlers experiencing homelessness in 20 states was also released in November.


Recommended Resources

Early intervention specialist working with a mother and her baby

Professions in Early Intervention

Early intervention supports families of infant and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities so that their infants and toddlers reach their full potential. ED's Early Childhood Personnel Center, in collaboration with the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children, has created a video that explores professions in early intervention. A website with additional information on what it means to be an early interventionist is also available. Encourage those you know to consider a career in early intervention!

Two fathers reading to their daughter

Partnering for Literacy

ED’s National Center on Improving Literacy has produced a toolkit of resources titled Families and Schools Partnering for Children’s Literacy Success. This toolkit helps families and schools work together to support children’s literacy success in and out of school by offering: tips for starting or enhancing discussions about literacy instruction and intervention, ways to increase understanding of evidence-based literacy practices, and strategies for addressing concerns about children’s literacy development. The toolkit includes an online tutorial, research briefs, infographics, tools, resources, and facilitator’s guides.

A mother sharing a difficult experience with a therapist while her daughter sits near her.

When Families Share Difficult Experiences

Early childhood providers sometimes work with families and young children experiencing trauma. When families share something upsetting or surprising, early childhood providers may not know how to respond. The ED-funded National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations developed “Response Strategies when Families Share Hard Things.” This resource provides strategies to use when families share difficult or traumatic experiences.

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Supporting Children with Autism

The ED-funded Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center has partnered with the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder to develop new Autism Focused Intervention Resources and Modules (AFIRM) focused on parent-implemented interventions for toddlers in the home setting and naturalistic interventions in childcare settings. The modules were developed for early intervention providers who provide services to families of young children and work with childcare providers.


Voices From the Field

Young-Suk Kim

Literacy Development from a Cross-Linguistic View

For our Voices From the Field interview, we have included a link to an interview from ED’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), highlighting Dr. Young-Suk Kim and her experiences in education research.



Featured Webinars and Conferences

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STEMIEFest 2022

The ED-funded STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE), is hosting STEMIEFest on Dec. 8 from 12–4 p.m. EST. STEMIEFest is a gathering of families, early childhood and early childhood special education professionals, faculty, and more to engage in innovative STEM learning experiences as well as explore and develop a model to support young children with and without disabilities in early STEM learning. The program includes an opening keynote by Dr. K Renee Horton, NASA quality engineer, a closing keynote by Carmen Bogan, author of an award-winning children’s book, and targeted concurrent sessions.

Young smiling boy holding mothers face

Building Relationships That Help Children Thrive

A strong foundation for a child’s optimal development is built with nurturing relationships. The U. S. Department of Health and Human Service’s National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning is hosting a webinar on Dec. 14 from 3–4 p.m. EST discussing strategies and resources that support nurturing and responsive relationships. English and Spanish captioning will be provided.

Coworkers with their hands stacked atop each other

Strengthening Collaboration Between IDEA Agencies and Head Start Programs

OSEP, in collaboration with the Office of Head Start, is hosting a webinar on Dec. 15 from 2–3 p.m. EST. to highlight the newly released “Guidance on Creating an Effective Memorandum of Understanding to Support High-Quality Inclusive Early Childhood Systems” and a dear colleague letter on IDEA services in Head Start. Opportunities, strategies, and resources that foster collaboration and support inclusion will be discussed.


Funding Opportunities

HHS’s Office for Planning Research and Evaluation (OPRE)

Dissertation Funding

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation, has announced forecasted funding for child care, Head Start, and behavioral interventions graduate student dissertation grants in 2023. Please visit grants.gov to view the child care, Head Start, and behavioral interventions forecast information. For more information about previous grant recipients, please visit the project pages on the ACF website for the child care, Head Start, and behavioral interventions scholars grants.


Connect With Us Online!

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Check out more early learning stories, including "Voices From the Field" posts, on OSERS Blog.