May 2019, Volume 3


Welcome to the third edition of the #INspirEDearly Monthly Newsletter! This is a resource for early educators across all settings, administrators of Pre-K programs, and anyone looking for early learning updates from the Indiana Department of Education. We will be sharing resources, updates, research, and events, and spotlighting work being done around the state. To subscribe to this newsletter, please visit our website. Please share this newsletter with your network and colleagues!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

With Teacher Appreciation Week being May 6-10, we wanted to take the opportunity to thank you and your colleagues for everything you do for Indiana children and families.

Show us how you're celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week or how you've been celebrated! If you're using social media, be sure to tag the Indiana Department of Education and use the hashtag #AppreciateINTs

New Releases from IDOE

It's That Time - OMWPK Enrollment!

Applications for On My Way Pre-K (OMWPK) launched on March 25. If you're an OMWPK Program, see the marketing materials below (available in English and Spanish).
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Are You Eligible to Become an On My Way Pre-K Provider?

Check out this resource to determine if you meet the requirements. Public School Pre-K Coordinators or Administrators can contact Pre-K Expansion Specialist, Sarah Parks-Reese, for additional support.

Capacity Building Grant Opportunity

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The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning is seeking applications for Capacity Building Grants to early learning providers and county coalitions to serve more children and increase the quality of early education opportunities in 56 Indiana counties (see link below for full list). Funds received from this grant may be used for the following purposes:

• Training and professional development of teaching staff;

• Classroom materials that demonstrate increased outcomes for children or increased instructional practices for educators;

• Evidence-based curriculum or instructional materials including professional development for teaching staff to utilize the curriculum;

• Family engagement activities or materials and/or marketing and communication materials;

• Other relevant needs to help expand capacity and/or improve quality programming to help programs reach Paths to QUALITY™ level 3 or 4, which is the requirement for a provider to be eligible to be an On My Way Pre-K provider.

Deadline to apply is Friday, June 7, 2019, at 5 p.m. EDT.

Click on the link below for more information!

Transitions to Kindergarten

As we look to the end of the school year, transitioning from Pre-K to Kindergarten can be an exciting time. Here are some resources to think through as you're implementing your transition plan.

National Head Start Association ESSA Toolkit

Early Childhood Knowledge and Learning Center (ECKLC)

Kindergarten Readiness - Resources for Families

IDOE has created handouts for families that help explain Kindergarten Readiness generally and also specific to Literacy and Mathematics. These handouts may be helpful to pass out to families at Pre-K Conferences, Pre-K Graduations, and Kindergarten Round-Ups as they provide ideas for activities that families can do at home:

Kindergarten Readiness

Kindergarten Literacy Readiness

Kindergarten Mathematics Readiness

Kindergarten Readiness - Spanish

Kindergarten Literacy Readiness - Spanish

Kindergarten Mathematics Readiness - Spanish

Spotlight From the Field

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Jennifer Smallwood

Jennifer Smallwood is the Early Learning Compliance and Integration Manager for the Monroe County Community School Corporation's early learning program, located across twelve elementary schools and two licensed centers. In her role, Jennifer coordinates early learning quality initiatives at all 14 sites, and creates and delivers professional development to early learning staff. Jennifer is a doctoral student studying Organizational Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University, with a special interest in the role of workplace conditions on the psychological health of teaching staff. She holds a master's degree in Early Childhood Leadership from Bank Street College of Education. Jennifer has been in the field of early learning for more than 25 years, as a teacher of young children, a college educator, and a program director.

Jennifer's colleague, Debra Prenkert, says of her:

"Just this school year, we integrated all of our early learning preschool programs and opened another early learning center. The center serves infants that are six weeks and up. Jennifer works tirelessly to ensure that our teachers and families have the support they need. She also works with our Paths To Quality Coach. We are currently level 3 and are working diligently to become level 4. With her leadership the teachers and instructional assistants are getting high quality professional development. She offers monthly evening training and she also created an early learning PLC that meets every Wednesday. At this meeting, she provides guidance and assistance as the teachers discuss the NAEYC standards and collect evidence and documentation needed for each standard. She also problem solves with the teachers and ensures they have what they need in order to help every child be successful!"

Thank you, Jennifer, for everything you do for young children!

Nominate Your Colleague!

We are hoping to spotlight an early educator or program administrator in our newsletter every month. Nominate your early learning colleague by filling out this form!

Community Spotlight

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Saint Mary's Child Center

Saint Mary's Child Center (SMCC) hosted staff from IDOE's Early Learning and Social, Emotional, and Behavior Wellness Teams as well as partners from the Indiana State Department of Health in March 2019. SMCC shared their long history of serving families in poverty, transitioning to and using the Reggio Emilia approach, and their work and research with Dr. Lori Desautels (Butler). SMCC also provides Pre-K programming at the IPS/Butler Lab School, St. Anthony's Catholic School, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. We're grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Saint Mary's Child Center as we developed our Approaches to Play and Learning Guidance and appreciate their partnership.

Engage With Us

Foundations Guidance Workgroups

We are looking for three additional members for our Creative Arts and Physical Health and Growth Foundations Guidance Workgroups. If you're interested in participating, please complete this form.

Reminder: Early Learning Advisory Committee Meeting

We'd like to send a friendly reminder that the next Early Learning Advisory Committee's (ELAC) meeting will be held May 14th, 2019 from 2-4pm at Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana located at 1635 W. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46222. Streaming information can be found on the ELAC Website here.

Resources We Love

WIDA Connections Document

The WIDA E-ELD Standards represent the language of overarching developmental domains that Dual Language Learners need to use with peers, educators, and curricula within the preschool setting. The E-ELD Standards are designed to be used in conjunction with the Foundations to ensure Dual Language Learners are provided necessary language support to make learning meaningful while developing English. The connections document can be found here.

DEC Recommended Practices

The Division of Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices were developed to provide guidance to educators and families about the most effective ways to improve the learning outcomes and promote the development of young children, birth through five years of age, who have or are at-risk for developmental delays or disabilities.

Professional Development

Thank You!

Thank you to those of you who joined us at Title Con on April 22nd and at the Indiana Small and Rural Schools Association Conference on the 24th!
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Pages to Paradise: Coming to a Town Near You!

The Office of School Improvement Curriculum Team will be coming to a town near you this summer! "Pages to Paradise" is a professional development opportunity supporting educators and administrators of PK-12 schools focused on improving literacy instruction. Sessions include early learning, elementary literacy, secondary literacy, dyslexia, world languages and high ability. Click here to register as seats are limited.

Indiana Head Start Association Director and Leadership Conference

Thursday, May 9th, 1:15pm

2501 South High School Road Indianapolis, IN

Join IDOE's Early Learning Team as we share newly developed resources and potential uses from a leadership perspective.

First Steps Conference

Thursday, June 13th, 4pm

302 South College Avenue

Bloomington, IN

Staff from IDOE will be collaborating with partners for two sessions at the 2nd statewide First Steps Conference! The session on Thursday will explore the new Foundations Guidance and Friday's session will focus on transitions. We look forward to sharing and learning with early interventionists. Registration opened for all early educators on 5/1. For more information on this conference, please see the conference website.