A not-to-miss CHOP PolicyLab and PHMC ECE webinar on August 28, 1 p.m.

CHOP PolicyLab’s Senior Psychologist Marsha Gerdes, PhD, and PHMC's Managing Director of Early Childhood Education Natalie Renew, MPA will present an overview of pre-school suspension in Philadelphia and strategies to reduce their incidence. 

High-quality, inclusive preschool programs not only prepare students for elementary school but provide children with important cognitive, academic and social-emotional skills that are necessary to succeed at every education level. Yet, one- to three-year olds are being expelled from preschools and child care centers at a rate three times higher than that of youth in K-12, often for behavioral issues that we have other means to address. CLICK HERE for more information and to register for the webinar.

The PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) have released the revised Keystone STARS Performance Standards, June 2017, effective beginning July 1, 2017.

CLICK HERE to visit the PA Keys website to view the performance standards, the new Keystone STARS Program Manual and learn more about the revisioning of Keystone STARS

As part of Keystone STARS Revisioning, OCDEL and stakeholders involved in the process want to make sure that limited resources are being used as effectively as possible to provide quality early learning opportunities, especially for at-risk children. CLICK HERE for the 2017-2018 awards/grants structure.

As a result, OCDEL has made adjustments to financial supports. 

  • Maintain funding for teacher higher education scholarships (T.E.A.C.H. and Rising STARS Tuition Assistance) and Education and Retention Awards;
  • Maintain STAR 2 tiered reimbursement and merit awards;
  • Increase tiered reimbursements for STAR 3 and 4 programs by 23 percent by shifting resources from merit awards. By shifting these resources to tiered reimbursement, providers will have more flexibility with no grant paperwork (saving time and money). With the 12-month redetermination of children receiving Child Care Works, providers will also experience more stability and less paperwork serving these children. Regional Keys can also direct more resources to support quality improvement, and the Commonwealth can provide more equitable supports for at-risk children.

The reimbursement gap to cover the cost of quality early learning widens at the higher STAR 3 and 4 levels. Restrictions on merit awards can make it challenging to offset those costs, especially retaining qualified staff.

The current merit award structure has not resulted in a significantly higher percentage of children receiving Child Care Works enrolling in Keystone STAR 3 and 4 facilities. In fact, there is such an inequitable distribution of resources for at-risk children that programs serving the minimum percentage of at-risk children receive more than ten times the amount per at-risk child than programs serving 90-100 percent enrolled children with IEPs or receiving Child Care Works subsidy.


Reminder: Complete the New Health & Safety Training Requirements by September 2017 

Free online training is available now for 9 of 10 required topics.

One new requirement of the federal Child Care Development Block Grant is for all child care directors and staff to complete training on 10 health and safety topics by September 30, 2017. Please see OCDEL's Announcement for more information.

In order to meet the new requirements:

  • Take a free, six-hour "Health & Safety Basics: Requirements for Certification" course online through Better Kid Care or in person through the Regional Key, or provide transcript of courses already taken that meet the requirements.


  • Must take face-to-face Pediatric First Aid and CPR training.

Child care certification representatives are checking professional development records for these topics as part of inspections and new providers must complete pre-service training on the 10 topics before submitting an application.

Visit the PA Key website  or contact your Regional Certification Office for more details.

Attn: New Legislation to be Enacted Affecting All Current and Future Child Care Providers!

Learn more

Updated PA Position Statements for use with the ERS scales are now available.

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Keystone STARS Environment Rating Scale Assessment Processes for 2016-2017

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