Little Actions. Big Impact!

All the tools you need to help your child learn and grow

from PA Promise in partnership with OCDEL

Glossary

Act 45 of 2007 - Pennsylvania Inspired Leadership Initiative

Beginning January 1, 2008, Act 45 of 2007, the 2007-08 School Code law, established nine Leadership Standards for school leaders and sets requirements for those leaders to attend programs that address these standards in order to meet Act 48 requirements. The law further directs the Department of Education to establish a Principals’ Induction Program that addresses the three ‘Core’ Leadership Standards and a Continuing Professional Education Program that addresses the three ‘Core’ and six ‘Corollary’ Leadership Standards.

For additional information, please visit PA Inspired Leadership website.

Act 48 of 1999

Beginning July 1, 2000, Act 48 of 1999 required persons holding Pennsylvania professional educator certification to complete continuing education requirements every five years in order to maintain their certificates as active. All educators holding Pennsylvania public school certification including Instructional I and II, Educational Specialist I and II, Administrative, Supervisory, Letters of Eligibility and all vocational certificates are required to meet these requirements. Also included are non- certified teachers and administrators employed by charter schools.

For additional information, please visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly website

FAQ at the PA Department of Education website.  

Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ)

A developmental and social-emotional screening for children from one month to 51⁄2 years. Highly reliable and valid, (ASQ) looks at strengths and trouble spots, educates parents about developmental milestones and incorporates parents’ expert knowledge about their children.

Assessment

An ongoing process of observing a child’s current competencies (including knowledge, skills, dispositions and attitudes) and using the information to help the child develop further in the context of family ,caregiving and learning environments. Not a “test,” but rather a systematic procedure/ process for obtaining information from observation, interviews, portfolios, projects, tests and other sources that can be used to make judgements about children’s characteristics.

Authentic Assessment

A type of performance assessment that uses tasks that are as close as possible to real-life practical and intellectual challenges where the child completes the desired behavior in a context as close to real life as possible.

Better Kid Care

Sponsored in part by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Better Kid Care is operated by Penn State University, College of Agricultural Sciences, and Cooperative Extension. It provides educational materials, learning experiences and programs to child care practitioners and parents in Pennsylvania. This is accomplished in several ways, including its website, satellite workshops, training workshops, video learn-at-home units, on-site training and a toll-free telephone help line. Materials are free to practitioners and parents in Pennsylvania.

For additional information, please visit www.betterkidcare.psu.edu

Bureau of Certification Services (BCS)

An OCDEL bureau which oversees licensing and inspection of child care and acts as an information source on DHS regulations for child care.

For additional information, visit the PA Bureau of Certification Services.

Bureau of Early Intervention Services (BEIS)

An OCDEL bureau which oversees the Infant/Toddler and Preschool Early Intervention programs and Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA). For additional information, visit the PA Bureau of Early Intervention Services.

Bureau of Early Learning Services (BELS)

An OCDEL bureau which oversees Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Keystone STARS, PA Early Learning Keys to Quality, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, and Family Support Programs including home visiting programs.

For additional information, visit the PA Bureau of Early Learning Services.  

Bureau of Subsidized Child Care Services (BSS)

An OCDEL bureau which oversees Child Care Works and Child Care Information Services (CCIS) with Parent Counseling and Referral Services.

For additional information, visit the PA Bureau of Subsidized Child Care Services.  

Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL)

A major focus of CELL is technical assistance on early literacy practices for young children birth to 6 years of age. The CELL model and approach includes both evidence-based intervention and implementation practices that technical assistance providers can use to promote use of early literacy learning practices for both practitioners and parents. Findings reported in research syntheses of early literacy learning practices and adult learning practices are the foundations for the CELL practices.

For additional information, please visit the Center for Early Literacy Learning website.

Certificate of Compliance

A document issued to a legal entity permitting it to operate a specific type of facility or agency, at a given location, for a specified period of time, and according to appropriate departmental program licensure or approval regulations (55 Pa Code §20.4).

Certificate of Registration

A document issued by DHS to a legal entity permitting the legal entity to operate a specific type of facility at a specific location for a specific period of time not to exceed two years from the date of issue, according to applicable departmental regulations. A certificate of registration approves the operation of a facility subject to Article X(c) of the Public Welfare Code (62 P.S. §§1070 - 1080; 55 Pa Code §3290.4).

For additional information, visit the PA Code website.

Chapter 14

The state regulations pertaining to the delivery of preschool early intervention and special education services and programs.

For additional information, visit the PA Code website.

Child Care Center (CCC)

The premise on which care is provided at any one time for seven or more children unrelated to the operator. The facility must comply with the regulations at 55 Pa Code Chapter 3270 and must have a certificate of compliance from DHS in order to legally operate.

For additional information, visit the PA Code website.

Child Care Information Services (CCIS)

CCIS agencies are the hub of child care information. They are local offices based in counties where low-income working families can get assistance with paying for child care. Additionally, they provide families with information on quality child care and personalized child care referrals to child care providers based on specific needs or preferences. Currently there are forty-two local CCIS agencies contracted with Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS).

For additional information, visit the PA Child Care Information Services website

Child Care Works (CCW)

A program that provides subsidized child care services based on yearly family income and work requirements. CCW serves as a welfare prevention program by helping economically-disadvantaged families to work. The program improves productivity and reliability on the job.

For additional information, visit PA Child Care Information Services website

Child Day Care

Care in lieu of parental care for part of a 24-hour day to children under 16 years of age, away from their own homes (62 P.S. §§1001 and 1070).

There are three types of child care facilities under the regulatory authority of DHS: Child Day Care Center, Group Child Care Home and Family Child Care Home.

For additional information, visit PA Code website

Child Development Associate Credential (CDA)

A national credential awarded to an individual who has demonstrated competence to meet the needs of children and to work with parents and other adults to nurture children's physical, social, emotional, and intellectual growth in a child development framework.

For specific CDA requirements, please visit the Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) website.

Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS)

The Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) is a tool for observing and assessing the qualities of interactions among teachers and children in classrooms. There are four CLASS tools for different age levels: Infants (birth - 18 mos.), Toddlers (15 mos. – 36 mos.), Pre-K (3 - 5 years) and K-12.

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS)

DHS’ online application for benefits, including Child Care Works.

For additional information, please visit COMPASS website.

CONNECT Helpline

CONNECT is a statewide, toll-free phone number available to parents and others seeking Early Intervention. The CONNECT staff identifies the correct county Early Intervention program or local preschool Early Intervention program and makes referrals on behalf of the family.

The CONNECT Helpline number is 1-800-692-7288.

Continuing Education Units (CEU)

Standard unit of measure used to quantify continuing adult education. One CEU equals ten hours of instruction.

For additional information, please visit the International Association for Continuing Education and Training website. 

Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI)

The process of: 1) identifying, describing and analyzing strengths and weaknesses via multiple sources of evidence; 2) establishing a plan with benchmarks, timelines, assigned tasks and responsibilities to improve; 3) testing and implementing solutions; 4) evaluating results and revising the plan. This process requires the view and support of a team of multiple stakeholders.

Some sources of information used to contribute to the CQI plan may be environment rating scales, individual staff professional development plans, parent and staff program evaluations, certification inspection summaries and action plans from various accreditation processes.

For additional information, visit the PA Keys website.

Core Knowledge Competencies (CKC)

An essential component to Pennsylvania’s professional development system, Pennsylvania’s Core Knowledge Competencies for Early Childhood and School-Age Professionals identify a set of content areas that help define the knowledge expectations for professionals in settings within the early childhood education and school-age field.

These competencies are linked to the learning standards and specify the scope of skills and knowledge that guides those who work with children to facilitate child learning and development and support their partnerships with families.

For additional information, visit the PA Keys website.

Council on Accreditation (COA)

The Council on Accreditation (COA) partners with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

For additional information, please visit the Council on Accreditation website.

County Assistance Offices (CAOs)

Local offices of state government that administer the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program and provide eligibility for Medical Assistance and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These offices also determine eligibility for Child Care Works child care subsidy for families participating in TANF and SNAP. Families eligible for child care subsidies are electronically transferred to the CCIS for enrollment and payment.

For additional information, visit the PA Department of Human Services website

Cultural Competency

Using knowledge and understanding of the diverse cultural, ethnic and racial context of children and families in creating strategies in early childhood and school-age programs, policies and practices.

For additional information, visit the PA Keys website.

Curriculum

A body of material that defines the content to be taught and the methods to be used. Information organized on a specific topic; a set of topic-specific information created for a defined group.

Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP)

A framework of principles and guidelines for best practice in the care and education of young children, birth through age 8, which is grounded both in the research on how young children develop and learn and in what is known about education effectiveness.

For more information, visit the NAEYC website.

Division of Regulatory Administration (DRA)

DRA is a division within OCDEL’s Bureau of Certification Services that is responsible for planning, developing, implementing, analyzing, coordinating, monitoring and evaluating regulation, policy procedures and operations relating to the certification and registration of child care facilities.

Early Care & Education (ECE)

Quality early learning which impacts children’s intellectual, social, and emotional development.

ECE focuses on children from birth through transition to kindergarten.

Early Childhood Education (ECE)

Early childhood education (ECE) is a branch of education theory which relates to the teaching of young children (formally and informally) from birth up until the age of about eight.

Early Childhood Education Educator (ECEE)

As defined by the United States Department of Education: Includes programs and individuals that Early Childhood Educator means any professional working in Early Learning and Development Programs, including but not limited to center-based and family child care providers, infant and toddler specialists, early intervention specialists and early childhood special educators, home visitors, related service providers, administrators, Head Start teachers, Early Head Start teachers, preschool and other teachers, teacher assistants, family service staff, and health coordinators.

Early Childhood Education Linkage Systems (ECELS)

Operated by the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (PA AAP) and provides consultation to the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and practitioners in the field regarding national best practices for health and safety in child care settings.

For additional information, visit Early Childhood Education Linkage Systems website.

Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale – Revised (ECERS-R)

Designed to assess group early learning programs serving children 36 months through entrance to 1st grade. The ECERS–R is one of four environment rating scales. The scale evaluates: Physical Environment; Basic Care; Curriculum; Interaction; Program Structure; and Supports for Parents and Staff.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website. Find information about Keystone STARS.

Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale – 3rd Edition (ECERS-3)

The ECERS-3 is a new version of the ECERS tool, which better reflects current research around high quality expectations for best practices in teacher-child interactions, individualized instruction, literacy and math for preschool age children.

Early Childhood Executive Leadership (ECEL) Institute

A program which focuses on what early childhood leaders and educators need to know and be able to do in order to understand and connect the variety of systems serving children (birth to grade 4) and to ensure instructional improvements that will lead to student growth in cognitive, social, emotional, and attention areas.

For additional information, visit the PA Keys website.

Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Project (ECMH)

A project designed to assist early care and education programs in meeting the social and emotional needs of children who exhibit challenging behaviors in the classroom.

The projects goals are to: 1) reduce the number of children expelled from early care and education settings due to behavioral issues, 2) increase understanding of social and emotional development and its impact on educational success, and 3) link and bridge systems and services on behalf of a child, family, and program.

For additional information, visit the PA Keys website.

Early Childhood Program to Program Articulation (EC-P2P)

A seamless transfer of an ECE associate degree program that contains a 30 credit early childhood professional Program Articulation studies curriculum aligned with NAEYC Associate Degree Standards and PDE PK-4 core competencies, into a PK-4 certificate program with 54 or more credits counted towards graduation.

For additional information, visit the PA Keys website.

Early Intervention (EI)

Supports and services for infants, toddlers and preschool age children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families/caregivers so that they may help the child grow and develop. Early Intervention embeds supports and services within the learning opportunities that exist in the child’s typical routines and within the home and community activities and/or early education program. Through a unique collaboration between the Departments of Education and Human Services, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning administer the Early Intervention Program for eligible infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

For additional information, visit PA Department of Human Services website.

Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA)

Provides statewide training and technical assistance on behalf of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning. The primary recipients of EITA training and technical assistance are the infant toddler and preschool early intervention programs that provide supports and services to children birth to school age with developmental delays or disabilities and their families. EITA is part of the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN).

For additional information, visit PA Early Intervention Technical Assistance website.

Early Learning Council (ELC)

The purpose of this Council is to plan for the expansion of effective early learning and development services for young children and their families, and make recommendations to ensure the plans are implemented successfully. The Council is responsible for coordinating the delivery of Federal and Commonwealth programs designed to serve young children from birth through their entry into school, and to ensure a smooth transition for those children into K-12 education and other programs serving older children.

For additional information, visit the PA Keys website.

Early Learning Outcomes Reporting (ELOR)

Early Learning Outcomes Reporting links high quality learning standards with assessment and instruction for children birth through transition to kindergarten. Child outcomes reported to the state consist of outcomes that align to specific Pennsylvania (PA) Early Learning Standards. The specific standards chosen within the outcomes framework represent those standards which most directly predict later school success and align with Learning Standards for Early Childhood.

Within the framework of outcomes reporting, PA early learning programs select an OCDEL approved vendor assessment instrument. Outcomes from the selected tool are translated into age-specific Early Learning Outcomes reporting frameworks within the PELICAN system based.

English Language Learners (ELL)

A term used to refer to those children and their families who rely on a second or other language.

English Language Learners Tool Kit

Research-based information, guidelines, and principles for early learning professionals to promote culturally competent practice in working with those families who rely on a second or other language.

For additional information, visit the PA Keys website.

Environment Rating Scales (ERS) / Environment Rating System Assessment

General term used to refer to assessment tools used to measure the quality of early childhood and school-age programs. There are four environment rating scales: Infant/Toddler, Early Childhood, School-Age and Family Child Care. Each scale evaluates: Physical Environment; Basic Care; Curriculum; Interaction; Schedule and Program Structure; and Supports for Parent and Staff.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Executive Review Process (ERP)

This protocol creates a streamlined process for the Executive review and approval of documents to assure a common understanding of who must review and approve documents and the associated timeframes for this review.

Family-Centered

Refers to a child's services and/or supports which are based upon the strengths and needs, concerns, priorities, and resources as identified by the child's family. Services and supports are designed to respect the family's concerns, interests, values, and priorities.

Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale - Revised (FCCERS-R)

Designed to assess family child care programs, the FCCERS is one of four environment rating scales. The scale has evaluates: Physical Environment; Basic Care; Curriculum; Interaction; Schedule and Program Structure; and Supports for Parent and Staff.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Family Child Care Home (FCCH)

A home other than the child’s own home, operated for profit or not-for-profit, in which child day care is provided at any one time to 4, 5, or 6 children unrelated to the operator. A family child day care home must comply with the regulations at 55 Pa Code Chapter 3290 and must have a certificate of registration from DHS in order to legally operate.

For additional information, please visit PA Department of Human Services website.

Family Support Programs

Programs supported by OCDEL which include Nurse-Family Partnership, Parent-Child Home Program and Children’s Trust Fund.

For additional information, please see more information about Home Visiting.

Family Survey

An annual opportunity for family members to provide valuable input on OCDEL programs. Input is used to guide OCDEL’s continuous program improvement efforts statewide and to satisfy federal requirements regarding collecting and acting upon family indicators of satisfaction for early intervention.

Full-Day Kindergarten

A program which provides children with at least a 5-hour school day for a minimum of 180 days or 900 hours per year, during which children are transported to and from school, fed a hot lunch and participate in special subjects such as Art, Physical Education and Music.

Group Child Care Home (GCCH)

Premises in which care is provided at one time for more than 6 but fewer than 16 older school-aged children (see §3280.4, relating to definitions) or more than 6 but fewer than 13 children of another age level who are unrelated to the operator. The term includes a facility located in a residence or another premise. A GCCH must comply with the regulations at 55 Pa Code Chapter 3280 and have a DHS certificate of compliance in order to legally operate.

For additional information, please visit PA Code website.

Head Start (HS) and Early Head Start (EHS)

Head Start promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in their local community. Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the mental, social, and emotional development of children from birth to age 5. In addition to education services, programs provide children and their families with health, nutrition, social, and other services. Head Start services are responsive to each child and family's ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage.

Head Start and Early Head Start are federally funded programs that provide comprehensive early childhood services to children up to 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Head Start focuses on serving 3- and 4-year-old children. The Early Head Start program serves pregnant women and families with children 0-3 years old.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website. Also visit the PA Head Start website.

Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP)

This program, for existing Head Start grantees, provides state funds to supplement federal allocations to expand high quality pre-kindergarten Head Start services for eligible children throughout Pennsylvania. Head Start Programs may enroll additional three or four year old children and/or expand full day and full year service opportunities for children and families.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

I am Moving, I am Learning (IMIL)

A proactive approach for addressing childhood obesity in children. IMIL seeks to increase moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, improve the quality of movement activities intentionally planned and facilitated by adults, and promote healthy food choices every day.

For additional information, please visit Choosy Kids website.

Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC)

Passed by the General Assembly in 1982, the Regulatory Review Act established the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) with a mission to review regulations to make certain that the agency has the statutory authority to enact the regulation and determine whether the regulation is consistent with legislative intent. IRRC then considers economic impact, public health and safety, reasonableness, and clarity. The Commission also acts as a clearinghouse for complaints, comments, and other input from the General Assembly and the public regarding not only proposed and final regulation, but also existing regulations.

For additional information, please visit Independent Regulatory Review Commission website.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

A plan that documents and guides the preschool early intervention and special education process for children with developmental delays and disabilities and their families; as well as students with disabilities up to age 21. It contains information about individual strengths and needs, educational and family goals, strategies and services necessary to facilitate a child or student’s development and learning, with the participation of the family.

Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

A written plan for providing early intervention services for an infant or toddler with a developmental delay or disability and their family. The plan contains information on the child’s individual strengths and needs, family goals, strategies and services necessary to facilitate the infant’s or toddler’s development and learning, with the participation of the family.

Individual Professional Development Plan (IPDP)

The Individual Professional Development Plan is the summary of decisions made related to professional development goals. These goals are determined in multiple ways including the completion of the Big Ideas Essential Questions Framework, individual educational goals (e.g.) college courses) and through the review of program goals (LIS, ERS, Health & Safety checklist, etc.)

Individuals are expected to complete their individual self-assessment in the PA Keys to Quality Professional Development Registry.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA)

The federal law that governs the provision of early intervention and special education services and the rights of parents of a child with a disability.

For additional information, please visit Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.

Infant Toddler Environment Rating Scale – Revised (ITERS–R)

Designed to assess group programs serving children from birth to 36 months of age, the ITERS-R is one of four environment rating scales. The scale evaluates: Physical Environment; Basic Care; Curriculum; Interaction; Schedule and Program Structure; and Supports for Parent and Staff.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Inspection Summary (IS)

When an inspection is conducted at a child care facility that is certified or registered, DHS records the results as this document. It is the document on which regulatory noncompliance is cited, correction is required, a plan to correct noncompliance is submitted and correction is documented (see 55 Pa Code §§20.52 and 20.71(3) and (4); 55 Pa Code §3290.12(a) and (c) (1) and (2)).

Keystone Color Me Healthy

A curriculum for children four and five years of age, their parents, and teachers that provides fun, innovative, interactive learning opportunities on physical activity and healthy eating.

For additional information, please visit Keystone Color Me Healthy.

Keystone STARS (STARS)

Keystone STARS, a tiered quality rating and improvement system, is a system of continuous quality improvement for child care and other early learning providers. Keystone STARS is an initiative of the Office of Child Development and Early Learning to improve, support and recognize quality child care and early learning programs in Pennsylvania.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Keystone STARS Core Professional Development Series (CPDS)

The Keystone STARS Core Professional Development Series includes professional development designed to meet specific needs of Keystone STARS practitioners under the Keystone STARS Performance Standards.

The Keystone STARS Core Professional Development Series consists of the following: Foundations of the Environment Rating Scales, Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS-R), Infant/ Toddler Environment Rating Scale (ITERS-R), School-Age Environment Rating Scale (SACERS), Family Child Care Rating Scale for Home-Based Child Care Practitioners (FCCERS), Core Knowledge Competencies and Big Ideas Framework.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Keystone STARS Education and Retention Award (ERA)

The intent of the Keystone STARS ERA is to provide annual financial awards to highly qualified directors and/or teaching staff who have attained specialized degrees, credentials, and credit-based professional development in content areas that correspond to the age and developmental needs of the children being served. A further intent of the ERA is to assist providers in establishing a stable workforce as they work toward higher levels of quality by reducing turnover and improving the education of teaching staff. To be eligible, a provider must meet site-specific requirements as well as staff-specific requirements.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Keystone STARS Merit Grant

The purpose of STARS Merit Grants are to assist eligible STARS participating providers in continually improving the quality of their early learning and school-age programs to achieve a STAR 2 or higher rating. The grant must be used for site-specific quality improvement; however, there are parameters set regarding what Merit Grants can be used for.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Keystone STARS Rising STARS Support Grant

The intent of the Keystone STARS Rising STARS Support Grant is to assist STAR Designated Practitioners in achieving a higher STAR designation. Providing financial supports to providers serving vulnerable, at-risk children is one strategy implemented by OCDEL to promote continuous quality improvement. The intent of the Rising STARS Support Grant is to assist STAR 1 designated providers in achieving higher STAR designation through continuous quality improvement.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Keystone STARS Special Initiative Grants

Special Initiative grants are intended for early learning providers (and DHS-regulated school age programs) that are not eligible for other Keystone STARS funding through the Rising STARS Support Grant, the Merit Grant or the Education and Retention Award.

There are three types of grants in this category: Enrollment Incentive, Movement Incentive and Child Care Capacity Awards for Rural Child Care Expansion.

Enrollment and Movement Incentive– Early learning programs not eligible for Rising STARS Support Grant or the MERA Grants because they don’t meet 10% childcare subsidy eligibility and/or the program is not a DHS-regulated childcare program.

Child Care Capacity Awards for Rural Child Care Expansion – For non-regulated child care programs (Relative/Neighbor Care programs) that are seeking to become DHS-regulated or for current regulated programs that are anticipating opening a new facility in targeted rural counties.

Kindergarten Advisory Committee

The purpose is to improve communication between the Department of Education, the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), and the school districts offering full-day kindergarten programs. The role of the committee is to provide input to program and policy development, to provide insight and advice regarding program implementation, to be knowledgeable about the early learning needs of young children, how they are met by the services of OCDEL, and to serve as advocates for the services and work of OCDEL.

Kindergarten, Here I Come & Kindergarten, Here I Am Activity Guides

Kindergarten, Here I Come and Kindergarten, Here I Am Activity Guides help families support their children's learning as they prepare for and enter Kindergarten. Simple materials found within the home provide the basis for activities and experiences that children and parents can do together that are linked to Pennsylvania's Learning Standards for Early Childhood. Available in both English and Spanish.

For additional information, please visit http://papromiseforchildren.org/en/pages/kindergarten-here-i-am

Learning Is Everywhere

A monthly calendar (hard copy and web-based) of themed activities for infants, toddlers, pre- kindergarten and kindergarten children which are aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards (ELS).

For additional information, please visit http://papromiseforchildren.com/help-your-child-grow/learning-is-everywhere/

Links to Learning

A series of 25 hours of professional development modules to support practitioner understanding of the role of afterschool programs in providing complementary supports to ensure developmental progress of children. Participants learn how to guide curriculum planning in afterschool and how to link activities to learning standards and quality standards. The content of the modules also explores theme- and project-based learning, coordinating and communicating with schools and family engagement.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Local Education and Resource Network (LEARN)

Community based networks comprised of a variety of citizens who have an interest in supporting and promoting quality early learning for Pennsylvania’s children through outreach to families with engagement and support, partnering around transitions into early learning and school age settings, and acting as a local resource on quality early learning supports.

For additional information, please visit http://papromiseforchildren.com/be-a-childrens-champion/become-a-learn-partner/

Local Interagency Coordinating Council (LICC)

The LICC consists of parents and professionals working together to coordinate and plan for Early Intervention services, birth to age 5, in the local community. The LICC is required by Act 212 of 1990, the Early Intervention Services Systems Act.

For additional information, please visit Local Interagency Coordinating Council

Mandated Reporter

The following adults are considered mandated reporters and are required to report suspected child abuse if they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child is a victim of child abuse:

  • A person licensed or certified to practice in any health-related field under the jurisdiction of the Department of State.

  • A medical examiner, coroner or funeral director.

  • An employee of a health care facility or provider licensed by the Department of Health, who is engaged in the admission, examination, care or treatment of individuals.

  • A school employee.

  • An employee of a child-care service who has direct contact with children in the  course of employment.

  • A clergyman, priest, rabbi, minister, Christian Science practitioner, religious healer or spiritual leader of any regularly established church or other religious organization.

  • An individual paid or unpaid, who, on the basis of the individual's role as an integral part of a regularly scheduled program, activity or service, accepts responsibility for a child.

  • An employee of a social services agency who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.

  • A peace officer or law enforcement official.

  • An emergency medical services provider certified by the Department of Health.

  • An employee of a public library who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.

  • An individual supervised or managed by a person listed above, who has direct contact with children in the course of employment.

  • An independent contractor who has direct contact with children.

  • An attorney affiliated with an agency, institution, organization or other entity, including a school or regularly established religious organization that is responsible for the care, supervision, guidance or control of children.

  • A foster parent.

    For additional information, please visit Mandated Reporter.

Market Rate Survey

The Market Rate Survey compares consumer’s child care payment amounts in a specific geographic area with all regulated child care providers surveyed. It is a Federal requirement to conduct a market rate survey every two years. The results are used for Federal reporting as part of the State Plan and to help set the Maximum Child Care Allowance (MCCA) or county ceiling rates for children receiving subsidized child care.

Maternal Infant Early Childhood Home Visitation Program (MIECHV)

MIECHV is a federally-funded initiative that supports services to pregnant woman and young children. In Pennsylvania four evidence based programs receive expanded funding to support vulnerable families. The models are Early Head Start, Healthy Families America, Nurse-Family Partnership and Parents As Teachers.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is the unit of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities in the Middle States region, which includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and several locations internationally.

The Commission is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations, and resources. It examines each institution as a whole, rather than specific programs within institutions.

For additional information, please visit Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Mind in the Making (MIM)

Created by Families and Work Institute, Mind in the Making is a 12-part facilitated research-based learning process designed to help teachers become engaged in understanding their own and their children’s learning process͖ , become more mindful of their own teaching practice, and have a working knowledge of the significant research in child development, and be able to translate this knowledge into their teaching practice.

For additional information, please visit Mind in the Making.

Mutually Agreed Upon Written Arrangement (MAWA)

Section 304 of Act 212 of 1990 designates PA Department of Education (PDE) as the responsible entity for providing early intervention services to eligible preschool children. The MAWA is the Act's terminology for a contract between PDE and a local intermediate unit, school district, or provider agency to provide Early Intervention services locally to eligible young children on behalf of PDE.

For additional information, please visit the PA General Assembly website. 

National Afterschool Association (NAA)

The National Afterschool Association, formerly the National School-Age Care Alliance, was founded in 1987. It is a professional association with a membership component- including more than 7,000 practitioners, policy makers, and administrators representing all public, private, and community-based sectors of after-school and out-of-school time programs, as well as school-age and after-school programs on military bases, both domestic and international. It is dedicated to the development, education, and care of children and youth during their out-of-school hours.

For additional information, please visit National Afterschool Association.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is dedicated to improving the well-being of all young children, with particular focus on the quality of educational and developmental services for all children from birth through age 8. Membership is open to all individuals such as teachers, parents and government administrators who share a desire to serve and act on behalf of the needs and rights of all young children.

For additional information, please visit National Association for the Education of Young Children.

National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC)

The focus of NAFCC is to provide technical assistance to family child care associations. This assistance is provided through developing leadership and professionalism, addressing issues of diversity, and by promoting quality and professionalism through NAFCC's Family Child Care Accreditation.

For additional information, please visit National Association for Family Child Care.

National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC)

NCCIC, a service of the Child Care Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a national clearinghouse and technical assistance center that links parents, practitioners, policy- makers, researchers, and the public to early care and education information.

NCCIC responds to requests from parents, child care practitioners and other early education professionals, researchers, policy-makers, national organizations, businesses, and the general public. NCCIC provides technical assistance and professional development to states, territories, and tribes.

For additional information, please visit National Child Care Information Center.

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

Through the process of professional accreditation of schools, colleges and departments of education, NCATE works to make a difference in the quality of teaching and teacher preparation.

For additional information, please visit National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

National Early Childhood Program Accreditation (NECPA)

The National Early Childhood Program Accreditation has been supporting educational programs strive for excellence since 1993. NECPA’s mission is to create broad public understanding of the benefits of high quality early childhood care and education and a raised awareness of the “professional expertise” required to deliver that high quality care and an appreciation of the advantages that children receive from accredited centers and schools.

For additional information, please visit National Early Childhood Program Accreditation.

The National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative (NITCCI)

As a project of the U.S. Office of Child Care, NITCCI works collaboratively with Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) administrators and other partners to advance system initiatives to improve the quality and supply of infant/toddler child care. Through customized technical assistance, NITCCI works with states, territories, and tribes to develop a deeper knowledge about specific elements of the early care and education system that supports quality infant/toddler child care. NITCCI collects and disseminates information on infant/toddler child care supply, investments, and initiatives; produces materials and resources; and responds to requests for information and technical assistance related to infant/toddler child care.

For additional information, please visit the National Infant & Toddler Child Care Initiative.

National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) conducts and communicates research to support high quality, effective, early childhood education for all young children. Such education enhances their physical, cognitive, and social development, and subsequent success in school and later life. The Institute offers independent research-based advice and technical assistance to policy makers, journalists, researchers, and educators.

For additional information, please visit National Institute for Early Education Research.

Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)

OCDEL provides policy and procedural oversight of programs for children and families, with a focus on the early education and care programs, and provides cross-departmental leadership for Pennsylvania’s early childhood education priorities. This office is a national model that is jointly overseen by the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education.

For additional information, please visit PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning

For information regarding OCDEL Research.

Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP)

A program which provides a home visitor to help parents learn how to read to and play with their children in a way that promotes early learning and builds a positive parent-child bond. Parent-Child Home Program is for families who enroll their children between 18 months and two years of age, participate for two years, are challenged by low levels of education, poverty, literacy and language barriers, and/or are isolated and not accessing community services.

For additional information, please visit Parent-Child Home Program.

Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA)

PACCA is a statewide, non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating the provision of quality early care and education to the children of Pennsylvania.

For additional information, please visit Pennsylvania Child Care Association.

Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund (CTF)

The PA Children's Trust Fund is dedicated to funding community-based child abuse and neglect prevention programs. Grantees implement programs which teach parents and early education providers about ways to strengthen families and build protective factors (such as parenting skills and resilience in times of stress; building social connections and a support network; and knowledge of child development) in an effort to prevent child abuse and neglect before it begins.

For additional information, please visit Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund.

Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is charged with numerous program areas and oversees Pre K-12 Schools; PA Higher and Adult Education; Teacher Certification and Commonwealth Libraries issues in the Commonwealth.

For additional information, please visit Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS)

The Department of Human Services is charged with numerous program areas. DHS oversees the Offices of Child Development and Early Learning; Children, Youth and Families; Developmental Programs; Income Maintenance; Long Term Living, Medical Assistance Programs, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and Social Programs issues in the Commonwealth.

For additional information, visit Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Pennsylvania Director Credential

A standard by which to measure program and fiscal management and leadership abilities of early childhood and school-age directors and administrators.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

PA Early Ed News

Sponsored by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning, the PA Early Ed News is a monthly e-newsletter to inform early learning professionals, the early childhood community, school district staff, policymakers, community leaders and the public on developments in early childhood education and care in Pennsylvania. The newsletter is free and open to anyone.

For additional information, please visit the PA Key website.

Pennsylvania Early Learning Career Lattice

A guide to the education levels required for many different positions in the Early Care and Education field. The Career Lattice encourages practitioners to attain credentials and degrees and to plan their educational pathway according to the position that they are interested in attaining.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania Early Learning Keys to Quality (K2Q)

A quality improvement system in which all early learning programs and practitioners are encouraged and supported to improve child outcomes. The PA Early Learning Keys to Quality System is implemented in collaboration with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning through the PA Key and five PA Regional Keys.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania Early Learning Network (ELN)

The Early Learning Network (ELN) is Pennsylvania’s electronic data system for gathering information on early childhood programs and for studying the development of children in those programs. ELN combines information about the program including the quality and experience of the staff, with information on your child’s development over time. This information is then used to build and maintain high quality early childhood programs.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards (ELS)

A comprehensive set of learning areas: English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science (including Environment and Ecology), Social Studies, and Social and Emotional Development. Refinements also have been made to: Partnerships for Learning (Family Engagement); Approaches to Learning Through Play; Creative Thinking and Expression; and Health, Wellness and Physical Development. Each learning area is comprised of individual standards.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania’s Enterprise to Link Information for Children Across Networks (PELICAN)

An integrated information system used by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning’s staff, providers and grantees. The information system automates and supports OCDEL’s early learning programs and providers under a single management information system. All child care services information is managed in PELICAN.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania Information Management System (PIMS)

Pennsylvania Department of Education’s statewide longitudinal data system to improve data capabilities by enhancing school districts' capacities to meet student-level data reporting requirements and provide robust decision support tools, based on open internet standards that enable sharing among diverse, otherwise incompatible systems and includes safeguards for data quality and security.

For additional information, please visit Pennsylvania Information Management System

Pennsylvania Key (PA Key)

The PA Key provides statewide leadership in collaboration with the Office of Child Development and Early Learning in the development of an integrated coordinated system of program quality improvements and professional development supports. The PA Key creates comprehensive statewide approaches, recommendations, and strategies in areas such as career lattice, infant/toddler, school-age and relative/neighbor care; employs and supervises the Regional Program Quality Assessors; manages statewide initiatives related to professional development and to technical assistance models; implements special initiatives; and provides supports in the area of outreach and communications. Monitoring and technical assistance and fiscal support for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP), Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) and OCDEL Early Head Start and Early Head Start - Child Care Partnerships are provided by the PA Key. The Head Start Collaboration Project is also administered by the PA Key.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania Keys to Professional Development Financial Assistance

Rising STARS Tuition Assistance pays 95% of tuition costs for eligible college coursework taken by early learning professionals, with a maximum benefit of $4,500 per individual each fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). The program covers tuition costs only and does not include books, materials or fees.

CDA Assessment Fee Voucher Program provides payment for the CDA Assessment Fee that is required to complete the CDA Assessment process. The full CDA Assessment Fee of $425 is paid directly to the Council for Professional Recognition. This program does not reimburse individuals.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania Keys to Professional Development

A component of Pennsylvania’s professional development system serving practitioners in family homes, centers, and school-age settings. Professional development is provided through several options, which include non-credit workshops, conferences, satellite downlinks, on-line, on-demand and college courses.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania Nurse-Family Partnership (PA-NFP)

A program which provides first time mothers supports necessary to provide an excellent start for their children. Registered nurses work with the expectant mothers to ensure a healthy pregnancy, to engage in activities with the baby that will promote healthy development, and to make plans for the future.

For additional information, please visit Nurse Family Partnership.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts (PA-PKC)

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts provides high quality pre-kindergarten services to at risk three and four year olds.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children

Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children is a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of providing every young child in Pennsylvania with access to quality early learning opportunities. It is sponsored by PA BUILD Initiative, The Heinz Endowments, William Penn Foundation, The Grable Foundation and PA Key.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System (PQAS)

PQAS is a system designed as a means to ensure quality of professional development and technical assistance for early childhood and school age professionals in Pennsylvania. This system is designed so that individual trainers are reviewed rather than individual sessions. Approved trainers are required to maintain established qualifications, including educational achievements and experience. In addition, the PQAS approves Professional Development offered by selected organizations that offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs), Act 48 credit, Head Start, Intermediate Units (IUs), Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EIT), the International Computer Driver’s License (ICDL), Public Librarians and the PA Key.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania Regional Keys

Five Pennsylvania Regional Keys develop and implement a regional quality improvement plan for professional development and technical assistance; encourage participation in Keystone STARS; administer Keystone STARS standards and offer guidance through the self-study process; assist programs in accessing financial supports for STARS; conduct outreach campaigns; and provide professional development opportunities and funding.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania School-Age Professional Credential (SAPC)

SAPC is a competency based program modeled after the Child Development Associate (CDA) that requires 120 hours of coursework focusing on thirteen (13) Functional Areas, as well as additional requirements.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE)

The largest higher education provider in Pennsylvania whose mission is to increase the intellectual wealth of the Commonwealth, to prepare students at all levels for personal and professional success in their lives, and to contribute to the economic, social, and cultural development of Pennsylvania’s communities, the Commonwealth, and the nation.

For additional information, please visit Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.

Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network (PSAYDN)

Promotes sustainable, high-quality out-of-school youth development programs through advocacy and capacity building to enhance the welfare of Pennsylvania’s children, youth, and families. PSAYDN’s mission is that all children and youth deserve access to high quality out-of-school time programs that promote positive youth development and support the successful transition to adulthood.

For additional information, please visit Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool Youth Development Network

Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN)

A Statewide organization which supports the efforts and initiatives of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Bureau of Special Education and builds the capacity of local educational agencies to serve students who receive special education services.

For additional information, please visit Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network

The Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC)

The goal of PITC is to help infant/toddler care teachers recognize the crucial importance of giving care and assisting in the infants' intellectual development through an attentive reading of each child's cues. The PITC's videos, guides, and manuals are designed to help child care managers and infant/toddler care teachers become sensitive to infants' cues, connect with their family and culture, and develop responsive, relationship-based care. The training materials provide the foundation for a style of care in which infant/toddler care teachers study the infants in their care, reflect on and record information about the children's interests and skills, and search for ways to set the stage for the child's next learning encounters.

For additional information, please visit The Program for Infant/Toddler Care. Also visit the PA Keys website.

Program Reach and Risk Assessment (Reach and Risk)

An annual report that provides information on 1) the level of risk for school failure for children throughout the commonwealth and 2) how well the commonwealth is reaching its young children with quality early learning services. The data is provided for each county and Pennsylvania's 27 largest cities.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS)

A systemic approach to assess, improve, and communicate the level of quality in early and school- age care and education programs. Provides an opportunity for States to increase the quality of care for children; increase parents’ understanding and demand for higher quality care; and increase professional development of child care providers. Also called quality rating systems (QRS).

For additional information, please visit Quality Rating Improvement System.

Race Matters Tool Kit

Tool Kit created by Annie E Casey Foundation to help make the case, shape the message and do the work to create racial equity throughout the United States. Using programs, policies, practices, and communications to effectively serve all of Pennsylvania’s children and families, by identify discrepancies among various racial or cultural groups, and determining ways in which the Commonwealth can address those discrepancies.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant (RTT-ELC)

A $51.7M federal grant awarded to Pennsylvania in December 2013. This grant builds upon Pennsylvania's successes to provide more at-risk children such as children living in low-income families, English language learners, children with disabilities and developmental delays, and children experiencing homelessness, with high quality early learning opportunities to close the achievement gap.

For additional information, please visit PA Department of Education.

Race to the Top Early Childhood Education Community Innovation Zone (ECE-CIZ)

The purpose of the Early Childhood Education Community Innovation Zones, which are funded through the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant, is to recognize, celebrate, support, learn from, and enhance innovative programs, activities, and strategies involving community-based efforts to enhance the learning outcomes of young children and reduce the student achievement gap by grade three.

Relative/Neighbor Care (R/N)

Child care services provided by a relative, friend or neighbor who cares for 3 or fewer children, unrelated to the operator.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Also see Unregulated Child Care Provider for additional information.

Risk Management Plan

A plan in a child care facility that identifies potential operational risks to children and staff, specifies ways to reduce or eliminate the risks and establishes procedures to be followed in an emergency or crisis involving an individual or the community of the child care facility.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale- Updated (SACERS-U)

An updated, not revised, version of the School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale which is designed to assess group-care programs serving children of young school age or older school age (1st grade through 15 years of age). The SACERS-U is one of four environment rating scales. The scale evaluates: Physical Environment; Basic Care; Curriculum; Interaction; Schedule and Program Structure; and Parent and Staff Education.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

School-Age Child Care (SAC)

Child care provided to school-aged children ranging in age from 5 through 16 years. A SAC program can also be incorporated into an established child care center or operate separately as a before- and after-school program.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)

Integration of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math into the daily curriculum in which children address real-word issues and attempt to solve real-world problems. A STEM environment is one in which children are free to explore and investigate, ask open-ended questions and one that offers new discoveries.

For additional information, please visit PA Dept. of Education or PDE SAS.

Standards Aligned Systems (SAS)

The Pennsylvania Standards Aligned System identifies six elements which, when used together, provides a common framework for continuous student achievement. Clear Standards, Fair Assessments, Curriculum Framework, Instruction, Materials and Resources, and Interventions are the six elements high achieving programs have in common.

The website PDE SAS provides information on the Standards Aligned System, as well as practical resources for implementing SAS in early education settings.

STARS Stakeholders

The Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) established the Keystone STARS Stakeholders (formerly known as STARS Advisory) in 2005. The purpose of the Stakeholders is to advise OCDEL about the Keystone STARS program including performance standards, operations, and program design.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

STARS Designation

A system for measuring the quality of child care and early learning providers. OCDEL evaluates providers according to best practices in early learning. A one through four STARS is awarded based on fulfilment of program standards, with STAR 4 being the highest award.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

STARS Managers/ Specialist

Regional Key staff that assist early childhood providers in participating in Keystone STARS through mentoring/guidance, providing access to resources, professional development, STARS TA, grants and awards, and other supports (e.g., vouchers, region specific resources, etc.) The Managers/ Specialists are the interpreters of the STARS Standards.

STARS Technical Assistance (STARS TA)

Specialized, one-on-one, time-limited, on-site assistance and consultation to help practitioners achieve specific Keystone STARS standards.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

State Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention (SICC)

The SICC is a 15-member advisory board of parents, Pennsylvania Departments of Education, Health and Human Services (Departments) professionals, and others who are appointed by the governor. The SICC advises and supports state agencies by making recommendations to the Departments. The SICC is required by federal regulation and Pennsylvania Act 212 of 1990, the “Early Intervention Services Systems Act.”

For additional information, please visit State Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention.

Strengthening Families

An approach implemented by OCDEL in which child- and family-serving programs frame their work with children and families around building five, research-based Protective Factors: Parental resilience; Social connections; Knowledge of parenting and child development; Concrete support in times of need͖ and Children’s social and emotional development.

For additional information, please visit Strengthening Families.

Teacher Induction

The support and guidance provided to novice teachers and school administrators in the early stages of their careers. Induction encompasses orientation to the workplace, socialization, mentoring, and guidance through beginning teacher practice. This encourages them to remain in the field and earn their permanent teaching certificate.

For additional information, please visit PA Code website.

Technical Assistance Accountability Plan (TAAP)

A protocol which establishes baselines for expectations of measurable success of the technical assistance delivered.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program is designed to help needy families achieve self-sufficiency. TANF payments are funded by federal and state dollars. Applicants must meet certain eligibility requirements and provide proof of their statements about household circumstances.

For additional information, please visit PA Dept. of Human Services.

Tiered Quality Rating Improvement Scale (TQRIS)

TQRIS (also see QRIS) is the system through which the State uses a set of progressively higher Program Standards to evaluate the quality of an Early Learning and Development Program and to support program improvement. A Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System consists of four components: 1) tiered Program Standards with multiple rating categories that clearly and meaningfully differentiate program quality levels; 2) monitoring to evaluate program quality based on the Program Standards; 3) supports to help programs meet progressively higher standards (e.g., through training, technical assistance, financial support); and 4) public availability of program quality ratings; and includes a process for validating the system.

Pennsylvania’s TQRIS is known as Keystone STARS
For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Transition Across the Continuum of Early Learning (TACEL)

A framework for school readiness and school success based on aligning systems (family, school and community) in which transition is understood as an on-going process beginning with birth and continuing through entrance into formal schooling to 3rd grade.

For information about the toolkit, please visit the PA Keys website.

Transition to Kindergarten

The process of establishing transition to kindergarten practices which provide continuity and consider the contexts and relationships that interact with each other and the child, thereby easing the transition process and providing the foundation for positive learning experiences.

For additional information, please visit the PA Keys website.

Unregulated Child Care Provider

A provider of child care services that is not required to be certified or registered according to the provisions of Articles IX and X or 55 Pa Code Chapters 20, 3270, 3280, and 3290. The term “relative/neighbor care” is typically used to reference a provider serving three or fewer children that is eligible to receive public dollars as payment for child care, but is not required to be certified or registered. A relative/neighbor provider who participates in the child care subsidy system is required to comply with funding standards included in the provider agreement for child care subsidy.

LIST OF ACRONYMS

AA - Associate of Arts Degree
ACEI - Association for Childhood Education International
ABG - Accountability Block Grant
ADA - American’s with Disabilities Act
AGS - Assistant Group Supervisor
AHA - American Heart Association
AI - Affiliate Instructor
APS - Approved Private School
ARC - Advocacy and Resources for Citizens
ASQ - Ages and Stages Questionnaire
ASQ:SE - Ages and Stages: Social Emotional
ASTM - American Society for Testing Materials
BA - Bachelor of Arts
BCS - Bureau of Certification Services
BEIS - Bureau of Early Intervention Services
BELS - Bureau of Early Learning Services
BKC - Better Kids Care
BS - Bachelor of Science
BSCS - Bureau Subsidized Childcare Services
CACFP - Child and Adult Care Food Program
CAO - County Assistance Office
CAP - Community Action Program
CELL - Center for Early Literacy Learning
CKC - Core Knowledge Competencies
CC - Certified Consultant
CCC - Child Care Center
CCDBG - Child Care and Development Block Grant
CCDF - Child Care and Development Fund
CCHC - Child Care Health Consultant
CCIS - Child Care Information Services
CCP - Child Care Professional
CCW - Child Care Works
CD - Child Development
CDA - Child Development Associate
CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CEU - Continuing Education Units
CFOC - Caring for our Children (A Book for Health and Safety Resources)
CHEA - Council for Higher Education Accreditation
CHIP - Children’s Health Insurance Program
CI - Certified Instructor
CKC - Core Knowledge Competencies
CLASS - Classroom Assessment Scoring System
COA - Council on Accreditation
COMPASS - Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services
CPDS - Core Professional Development Series
CPSC - Consumer Product Safety Commission
CPSL - Child Protective Services Law
CQI - Continuous Quality Improvement
CTF - Children’s Trust Fund
CYS - Children and Youth Services
DAP - Developmentally Appropriate Practice
DI - Director Instructor
DOH - Department of Health
DHS - Department of Human Services
DRA - Division of Regulatory Administration
ECERS-R - Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale - Revised
ECERS-3 - Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (3rd Edition)
ECEAC - Early Care and Education Advisory Committee
ECE - Early Care and Education
ECE - Early Childhood Education
ECE-CIZ - Race to the Top Early Childhood Education– Community Innovation Zone
ECEE - Early Childhood Education Educator
ECEL Institute - Early Childhood Executive Leadership Institute
ECELS - Early Childhood Education Linkage Systems
ECMH - Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
ECT - Enrollment Calculation Tool
EHS - Early Head Start
EI - Early Intervention
EITA - Early Intervention Technical Assistance
ELC - Early Learning Council
ELL - English Language Learners
ELN - Early Learning Network
ELOR - Early Learning Outcomes Reporting
ELS - Early Learning Standards
ER - Evaluation Report
ERA - Education and Retention Award
ERS - Environment Rating Scale
ERP - Executive Review Process
FAPE - Free Appropriate Public Education
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
FBA - Functional Behavioral Assessment
FCC - Family Child Care
FCCERS-R - Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale – Revised (Part of the Core Series)
FCCH - Family Child Care Home
FEIN - Federal Employment Identification Number
FERPA - Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
FSW - Family Social Worker
FTE - Full-Time Enrollment
GBB - Good, Better, Best
GED - General Equivalency Development
GCCH - Group Child Care Home
GS - Group Supervisor
HS - Head Start
H&S - Health and Safety
HSSAP - Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program
HSSCO - Head Start State Collaboration Office
IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
IEP - Individualized Education Program
IFSP - Individualized Family Service Plan
IMIL - I Am Moving, I Am Learning
IPDP - Individual Professional Development Plan
IRRC - Independent Regulatory Review Commission
I/T - Infant/Toddler
ITERS-R - Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale – Revised (Part of the Core Series)
IS - Inspection Summary
IU - Intermediate Unit
K2Q - Keys to Quality
LAAEYC - Lancaster Area Association for the Education of Young Children
LEA - Local Education Agency
LEARN - Local Education and Resource Network
LICC - Local Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention
LRE - Least Restrictive Environment
MA - Medical Assistance/Medicaid
MAWA - Mutually Agreed upon Written Agreement
MCCHP - Model Child Care Health Policies
MERA - Merit and Education Retention Award
MH/ID - Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities
MIECHV - Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visitation
MIM - Mind in the Making
MOU - Memorandum of Understanding
MSCHE - Middle States Commission on Higher Education
NAA - National After School Association
NAEYC - National Association for the Education of Young Children
NAFCC - National Association for Family Child Care
NAA - National After-School Alliance
NCATE - National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
NCCIC - National Child Care Information Center
NECPA - National Early Childhood Program Accreditation
NIEER - National Institute for Early Education Research
NITCCI - National Infant and Toddler Child Care Initiative
NOREP - Notice of Recommended Educational Placement
NSL - No Star Level
NSO - New Staff Orientation
OCDEL - Office of Child Development and Early Learning
OCYF - Office of Children, Youth and Families
ODR - Office for Dispute Resolution
OMHSAS - Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services
OSEP - Office of Special Education Programs
OST - Out of School Time
PACCA - Pennsylvania Child Care Association
PA - AAP - Pennsylvania Chapter - American Academy of Pediatrics
PA HSSCO - Pennsylvania Head Start State Collaboration Office
PA - NFP - Pennsylvania Nurse-Family Partnership
PKC - Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts
PASSHE - Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education
PaTTAN - Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network
PCHP - Parent-Child Home Program
PD - Professional Development
PDE - Pennsylvania Department of Education
PDII - Professional Development Instructor Institute
PDO - Professional Development Organization
PELICAN - Pennsylvania’s Enterprise to Link Information for Children Across Networks
PFA - Pediatric First Aid
PHSA - Pennsylvania Head Start Association
PIMS - Pennsylvania Information Management System
PIRC - Pennsylvania Parent Information Resource Center
PITC - The Program for Infant-Toddler Care
PPC - Parent Policy Council
PPC - Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
PQAS - Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System
PSAYDN - Pennsylvania Statewide Afterschool/Youth Development Network
PSP - Primary Staff Person
PSSA - Pennsylvania System of School Assessment
PVAAS - Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System
QIP - Quality Improvement Plan
QRIS - Quality Rating and Improvement System
QUEST - Quality Early Education through Salaries and Training
R/N - Relative/Neighbor Care
RFA - Request for Application
R & R - Resource and Referral
RTT - ELC - Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant
SAC - School-Age Child Care
SACC-PD/TA - School-Age Care Professional Development and Technical Assistance
SACERS - School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale
SACERS-U - School-Age Care Environment Rating Scale - Updated
SAPC - School-Age Professional Credential
SAS - Standards Aligned Systems
SEA - State Educational Agency
SICC - State Interagency Coordinating Council for Early Intervention
SNAP - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps)
SPECS - Scaling Progress in Early Childhood Settings
SQAP - Staff Qualification Action Plan
STARS - Standards, Training, Assistance, Resource, Support
STARS ERA - STARS Education and Retention Award
STARS TA - STARS Technical Assistance
STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
TA - Technical Assistance
TAAP - Technical Assistance Accountability Plan
TACEL - Transition Across the Continuum of Early Learning
TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
TQRIS - Tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System
UDL - Universal Design for Learning
UW - United Way
WAP - Waiver Action Plan
WIC - Women, Infants & Children program

Concerned about your child’s development?

Call Pennsylvania’s CONNECT Helpline at 1-800-692-7288 for information about your child’s development and connecting to Early Intervention services in Pennsylvania.

Call Child Care Works Helpline at 1-877-4-PA-KIDS (1-877-472-5437) for information about finding, paying for and other concerns related to child care.

Learn more about these Helplines