Little Actions. Big Impact!

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

from PA Promise in partnership with OCDEL

SAC Technical Assistance Specialist Shares Site Visit Experience

Keystone STARS and After-School Quality (ASQ) site
Friday, November 10, 2017

Take the time to visit other local programs to see quality care in action!

Betsy S.

Since 2012, I have worked with a statewide team to support implementation of the nationally recognized After School Quality (ASQ) project created by the National Institute of Out of School Time (NIOST).  Through this involvement, I learned about Mercy Neighborhood Ministries of Philadelphia and was recently able to experience their success first hand. 

Mercy Neighborhood Ministries is a Keystone STAR 4 early learning program and After-School Quality (ASQ) site. This Department of Human Services (DHS) certified childcare center serves 140 preschool and school-age children. They use a blended funding approach from Head Start, PA Pre-K Counts, Mercy Ministries community dollars provided through local business leaders and childcare works. Using blended sources of funding allows Mercy to serve more children in a high quality manner. It also allows for adopting the best practices of each type of service and stronger collaborative ties to funders. Mercy Neighborhood is demonstrating stakeholder involvement, collaboration and teamwork, three concepts at the foundation of the ASQ process.

My visit began with a tour, where I learned about the Mercy Neighborhood STEM curriculum, which evolved through the ASQ process. We stopped at a fish tank  and heard about Aquaponics, an ecosystem of plant and water life, resulting in  growing herbs off of the fish tank below. We also learned about the teaching supports and how the school approaches the curriculum through hands on learning and coaching. In addition to STEM, the Director, Barbara Coleman, spoke about one of their community outreaches, teaching children and their families about recycling and implementing a community-wide recycle program. 

“I believe that children deserve the best, and it is my job along with our teams of teachers, the ministry and the community to work together to make this happen,” Ms. Coleman said.

Ms. Coleman expressed that her program sustains their quality and their staff because of strong leadership, the programs’ conviction to their mission, educated staff, and relationships across all sectors inside the program and outside the program.  In fact, the facility also hosts an intergenerational group that reaps the benefits of meals, activities and connection with the young, along with a GED Study program.

Ms. Coleman invites all to see the program in action, stating “It is important to share with others how to approach high quality practices. This is why I use a TA consultant, this is why I mentor others, and this is why we open our doors for people to visit.”

I encourage everyone to take the time to visit other local programs to see quality care in action!

Photo, below: Barbara Coleman, Shanta Lemons and Donna Smith with the aquaponics project, fish and plant growing ecosystem.

By Betsy O. Saatman, Statewide School Age Credentialed (SAC) Technical Assistance Specialist

Barbara Coleman, Shanta Lemons and Donna Smith with the aquaponics project, fish and plant growing ecosystem.

Washington County PA Pre-K Counts: When we grow up

PA Pre-K Counts
Tuesday, October 31, 2017

More than 300 PA Pre-K Counts children participated in a PA Promise activity!

During October 2017, more than 300 PA Pre-K Counts children participated in a PA Promise activity where they talked about what they wanted to be when they grow up. Then then drew a picture of themselves on PA Promise cards. 

The cards were displayed in various areas throughout the partnering school districts to share Pre-K’s Promise. 

For more information about pre-k opportunities in Washington County, contact Kris Krivanek, PA Pre-K Counts Program Manager at (724) 225-9550, ext. 489 or kkrivanek@myblueprints.org.

Celebrating PA Pre-K Counts

Maddy is so excited to start pre-school

PA Pre-K Counts
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Our family is excited for what this school year will bring. 

Jessica

Maddy is excited to embark on another year of pre-school with the Pre-K Counts program.  She looks forward to a year of learning, growing, and making new friends.  She is most excited to be a classroom helper and participate in the different classroom centers that encourage her creativity, imagination, problem-solving, and team work.  The pre-school program has helped her to build confidence and further prepare her for kindergarten. Her teachers are amazing with their hands on approach and encouragement to learn and grow.  

Our family is excited for what this school year will bring. 

Maddy holding sign

No Other Head Start

Head Start
Monday, August 21, 2017

I really like the music that she brings home from school. She learns so much.

Bucklyme N.

It is great my daughter, Jazairah, being an only child learning how to share with others. She very quick to learn thing and she learns so much in one day here she never wants to leave and is very excited the night before school.

Miss April and Miss Dara are very great with them. Jazairah loves them very much and it will be a sad day she departs from them.

I really like the music that she brings home from school. She learns so much.

I would not pick no other Head Start very happy she is here.


Long term effects on her learning

Head Start
Monday, August 21, 2017

She also has become school ready, and eager for kindergarten.

Allegheny County Family

Head Start has benefited my child by providing a learning environment that supports growth.

She also has become school ready, and eager for kindergarten.

The family also benefits from Head Start by allowing some parental involvement. Parents are the children’s first teachers. Using the daily routine which should have long term effects on her learning.


Head Start Helping My Son Get Ready For School

Head Start
Monday, August 21, 2017

It has also taught him how to listen and behave outside of his normal home environment.

Allegheny County Family

Head Start has helped my son interact with other kids his age. It has helped him learn how to play and intact with kids his age better seeing he is a only child.

It has also taught him how to listen and behave outside of his normal home environment. It has allowed to sit down and do project with him since he is willing to do more projects if it’s a school project.

It has also began to get my son adapted to school routines in morning such as waking up on time, bath time, and brushing teeth and steady bedtime.


Benefiting the entire family

PA Pre-K Counts
Monday, August 21, 2017

Now our family is better resourced thanks to PA Pre-K Counts - this program benefits the entire family!

Christin

PA Pre-K Counts has made it possible for both of my children to have access to a high-quality early learning program. They have benefited immensely from their enrollment in the program.

Without access to PA Pre-K Counts, my family would not have been able to afford to send our children to preschool. Also, I was able to return to work, part-time at first, now full time, thanks to this wonderful program.

Before PA Pre-K Counts, when I was working full time, our family was actually taking a loss each month with me working outside of the home instead of caring for our young children at home. My income was not enough to cover the high cost of childcare each month.

Now our family is better resourced thanks to PA Pre-K Counts - this program benefits the entire family!


Instantly Impressed with PA Pre-K Counts

PA Pre-K Counts
Monday, August 21, 2017

When I called, they took the time to convince me to keep him in the program and we would open communicate and put together a plan for him.  I am so appreciative for this. 

Stephanie

As my child’s advocate, I would like to take time to share with the stakeholders and funders, my family’s testimonial as to how much the PA Pre-K Counts Program, through CAS at the Jefferson-Morgan location, has impacted my son’s educational excitement as well as our grateful appreciation of all of the amazing teachers and staff who dedicate so much love and passion to each and every child.

When I first entered into the classroom to fill out paperwork, I was instantly impressed with the quality educational tools that my eyes took in.  And meeting Ms. Marilyn was the icing on the cake.  I could tell that she was highly qualified and compassionate in making sure my overly hyper child would succeed with transitioning into kindergarten.

In the first few weeks, Mason was having difficulty getting accustomed to a room full of other children and I saw he was acting out.  I value education and the last thing I wanted was my child disrupting Ms. Marilyn’s daily classroom.  I had decided at that point that I was pulling Mason from the PA Pre-K program.  When I called, they took the time to convince me to keep him in the program and we would open communicate and put together a plan for him.  I am so appreciative for this.  The CAS team, and the teachers at the Jefferson Morgan location are so dedicated to early child development and it shows!  The one on one time they give each child, all the learning activities and curriculum provided to help the children become skilled, ready and excited for kindergarten truly is a gift.

I know that this program is highly valuable to help the less fortunate learn, from social to educational skills, to endless tools that they would otherwise miss out on, all provided at no cost to the family themselves.  The teachers of CAS through the PA Pre-K Counts program and Mr. McCarty at the Jefferson-Morgan Elementary school are valuable gifts to the children and the community.

Fast forward to day, Ms. Marilyn and Ms. Jennifer, as well as Mr. McCarty, superseded my expectations.  My son is ready for kindergarten.  I am thankful for this early childhood educational team, the grant funding, and to you, the stakeholders and funders, for your time and dedication to ensure and make happen that the love of learning is available to the future young leaders of tomorrow.

Stephanie

Thankful and Confident with PA Pre-K Counts

PA Pre-K Counts
Monday, August 21, 2017

We are thankful for this opportunity Larry has had with PA Pre-K Counts. 

Jessica L.

This was Larry's only year of preschool. He starts kindergarten this fall. We are confident our son is ready for kindergarten. We believe he is prepared for a classroom situation and has learned what is expected of him to start his new journey.

We are thankful for this opportunity Larry has had with PA Pre-K Counts. The teachers did a great job.

This was also Colton’s first year in preschool and he is the youngest of the three-year-olds. It has been exciting to watch him grow from a toddler to a preschooler. He seems to have become independent and confident. Colton likes Pre-K and has learned a lot. He is working on the classroom situation and with another year of preschool he will be prepared for kindergarten.

We appreciate Colton being part of the PA Pre-K counts. Ms. Lauren and Ms. Carol are to be commended.

Jessica L.

Being Familiar Because of PA Pre-K Counts

PA Pre-K Counts
Monday, August 21, 2017

He won’t have to transition too much..

Danielle

I enjoy that the PA Pre-K Counts program that my child attended was in the school where he will be attending Kindergarten in the fall. Therefore, he won’t have to transition too much being familiar a little already where certain things are like the library, gym and cafeteria.

The teachers are very nice and welcoming to the children.

Danielle

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