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Early Learning in PA

Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)

Pennsylvania is rich in natural resources, but it is our greatest resource, our children, that will lead us into the future. The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and its partners throughout the commonwealth provide many programs that help children and families reach their promise. OCDEL’s philosophy is to create an early education system that not only serves school-aged and younger children by providing a bright start in life, but also becomes the first block of a youngster’s education continuum to lifelong learning.

OCDEL recognizes the need for an effective, multi-layered early education system, one with standards that demand excellence and the supports available to make that excellence a reality. Pennsylvania's vision is to develop a system that becomes a part of Pennsylvania’s service to children and families, a system that helps educational service providers play a vital role in continuous quality improvement among early learning programs and professionals.

“High quality early childhood education, delivered by trained professionals who understand child development, puts children on the road to success. Making sure children get off to the right start is the right thing to do -- and it pays back."       

—Michelle Powers, Executive Vice President with Crayola                PA Early Learning Investment Commission         


Early Learning Council (ELC)

The Pennsylvania Early Learning Council is composed of a variety of stakeholders, appointed by the Governor.  The purpose of the 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.

ELC Membership List

 

Improving Early Education Access for Children experiencing homelessness

May 2013:

New policy guidance issued by the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning improves access to early learning opportunities for children under the age of six experiencing homelessness.

This policy sets new standards for interagency collaboration at state and local levels to identify young children experiencing homelessness across service systems and ensure access to quality early learning programs, such as Head Start and Early Intervention.

OCDEL’s guidelines reiterate the federal requirements for supporting students experiencing homelessness, as detailed across federal and state laws such as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.

The act, which became law in 1987, ensures that “each child of an individual who is homeless and each youth who is homeless have equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as provided to other children and youth.”

March 2014:

There are an estimated 19,914 children and youth reported to be experiencing homelessness and receiving supportive services through PA's Education for Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program. Forty-two percent of these children are age six or under, with over 40 percent of the children under the age of five.

The release of the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Bureau of Teaching and Learning, Pennsylvania's Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Program 2014 Task Force Report includes the findings of the task force and offers 13 recommendations to aid families of children experiencing homelessness.

This report also serves as a valuable resource available to schools and community organizations who are serving students who are homeless. The Department of Education encourages all superintendents, school administrators and teachers to review the report.

To view the report, please visit the PA Department of Education website.

April 2014:

FOCUS on ECMH: Caring for Young Children Who Are Experiencing Homelessness

 

OCDEL Family Engagement Pilot Project

The following enews editions were provided to the pilot partners during the 2013-2014 OCDEL Family Enagement Pilot Project.

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