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Early Childhood Programs

Mini-Grant Program



The PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) and the PA Key, with the generous support of the Heinz Endowments, are excited to offer Pennsylvania’s early learning programs who participate in Keystone STARS the opportunity to apply for up to $5,000 in funding through a competitive grant process, to support environmental health and environment and ecology education improvements in their programs.  This second round of the mini-grants program is a wonderful way for PA early learning programs to make purchases of equipment, supplies, maintenance, professional maintenance services, and a selection of educational material that will make their facilities and programs environmentally healthier.

The mini-grants program is funded by the Heinz Endowments’ Children, Youth & Families program as part of the PA ECE Healthy & Green Initiative.   Up to 60 grants will be awarded, and OCDEL encourages eligible programs to apply!

Healthy & Green Request for Proposal, Application Worksheet, and Application Helpful Tips for information on how to apply.

The following list describes the basic eligibility requirements for the PA Healthy & Green Mini-Grants program: 

  1. Applicants must be PA Keystone STARS participants in good standing.  Child care centers, Group child care homes, Family child care homes, Head Start programs and PA Pre-K Counts programs with a current designation of STAR 1, STAR 2, STAR 3, or STAR 4/4A are encouraged to apply.
  2. Programs who serve children ages 6 weeks to 6 years of age are eligible.
  3. Programs must complete and provide documentation of completion of the professional development listed below to be eligible to apply for grant support: 

A.  Eco-Healthy Childcare© (three hour session). This session targets program directors, family child care home operators, or those with the authority to make operational, programmatic, and maintenance decisions in their facilities. Participants will learn why environmental health is important for our youngest children, the typical routes of exposure to environmental hazards, and tips to reduce exposures to environmental toxins/hazards. Participants will also become familiar with the Eco-Healthy Child Care Checklist©, which is designed to help programs gauge their progress towards becoming “eco-healthy”.

a. Eco-Healthy Childcare© is designated as a health and safety professional development event (K7.8.C2) and meets the criteria to satisfy programs’ annual health and safety credit hour requirements. 
b. Must be offered by a PA Eco-Healthy Child Care© certified professional development instructor. A list of qualified instructors TBA. Please also check the PD Registry for sessions being held near you.

B. Project Learning Tree or Growing Up WILD (two hour session).  These sessions target family child care home operators, program directors, and/or lead teachers who have the authority and ability to implement this supportive curriculum in their ongoing programming.

a. Project Learning Tree and Growing Up WILD are both designated as an environment, curriculum and content professional development event (K2.07 C1; K2.07 C2)
b. Must be offered by a Project Learning Tree and/or Growing Up WILD certified professional development instructor. A list of qualified instructors TBA. Please also check the PD Registry for sessions being held near you.

4. Environmental health improvements must be the central part of the applicant’s proposal.



Note: If you are a Keystone STARS participant and you plan to apply for the PA ECE Healthy & Green Mini-Grants program, you are required to attend an Eco-Healthy Child Care professional development session in order to be eligible to make a grant application.

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