The Aspire Registry Winter Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their winter newsletter. Since 2015, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. The newsletter is distributed to over 25,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In the winter newsletter, the Aspire Registry shares possible New Year’s resolutions for its members. This includes trying something new in the classroom such as a different system for taking observations, learning something new through professional development trainings, and giving the classroom a new look. The Aspire Registry Team also shares information on coaching in early childhood and identifies the difference between coaching and training. In addition, the newsletter introduces Baby Malcom! He is the son of Louisa Higgins, Director at New York Works for Children. Malcom shares his ideas about what kids like and what makes them feel good.

To read the newsletter, click here.

Sesame Street in Communities: Caring and Responsive Engagement Program (C.A.R.E.)

The Institute is pleased to share the result of a recent project with the Sesame Workshop. Our Informal Family Child Care Project worked with Sesame Workshop to help them create a piece about informal (friend, family, and neighbor) caregivers for their Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC) initiative. SSIC provides short informative videos designed to support service providers who currently or endeavor to engage families and caregivers around a range of early learning topics and issues.

For this piece, SSIC focused on the Institute’s new Caring and Responsive Engagement Program (C.A.R.E.), which recruits and supports informal child care providers caring for children under 5 years old through group learning and individualized home-based coaching. The Program Coordinator of C.A.R.E., Zoraima Rosario-Rolón, shares strategies that informal providers can use to care for children more completely. To watch the video, click here.

The C.A.R.E. Program is generously supported by a grant from the New York Community Trust. We would also like to thank all of the staff, providers, and families who participated in the project and the video for sharing their time.

The Aspire Registry Fall Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their fall newsletter. Since 2015, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. The newsletter is distributed to over 25,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

In the latest newsletter, Aspire Registry members are encouraged to update their Aspire profile as they plan and prepare for the year ahead. Members can now upload their documents directly into their Aspire profile and those who regularly update their profile are no longer required to renew their membership annually! The Aspire Registry Team also shares that the New York Works for Children website is getting a new look that will make its debut before the end of this year. The main goal for the site update is for the website to be easy to use, the same resources and information will still be available. In addition, the newsletter features a spotlight on Robyn France, an Assistant teacher working in Queens, New York. She shares why she decided to pursue a degree in early childhood and her favorite part of teaching young children.

To read the newsletter, click here.

New York’s Tale of Two Child Care Cities

A new brief from the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School discusses how growing interest in early education has led to more infant classrooms in child care centers; however, the majority of these centers serve wealthy families. Child care centers for low income families have been losing capacity to take in infants and young toddlers largely due to cost; they are the most expensive age groups to serve in centers. This has resulted in limited child care options for low income families causing the majority of them to choose home-based family child care. According to the brief, nationwide studies have found that, on average, family child care is lower quality than center-based care.

The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute believes in access to excellence for all of New York’s young children, starting at birth, and this report points out some of the challenges that low income families with infants face in trying to get access to high quality care for their children. The Institute developed the Informal Family Child Care Project (IFCC) to assess and address the needs of informal child care providers who receive subsidies from the New York Administration for Children’s Services to provide care. The mission of IFCC is to elevate the quality of care for children in home-based family child care settings in New York City. IFCC offers a wide range of programs and services, including training, technical assistance, home visits, and access to materials and resources that support best practices for family and children. Each of these efforts help to ensure that the children in these child care settings have access to the foundational learning experiences they need to thrive and be successful.

The Aspire Registry: Member of the National Workforce Registry Alliance

The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute staffs New York Works for Children and its flagship service: The Aspire Registry. The Aspire Registry, led by Louisa Higgins and Diana Diaz, is New York State’s workforce database and statewide training calendar for early childhood and school-age professionals. Teachers, providers, directors, trainers, and anyone who works with children can use the Aspire Registry to keep track of important information about their careers, including education and employment history, as well as professional development opportunities.

This year the Aspire Registry achieved Partnership Eligibility Review (PER) status from the National Workforce Registry Alliance. PER is a peer-review process that assesses a registry’s level of readiness for participation in data-related projects at the national level. The National Workforce Registry Alliance is an association comprised of members from throughout the country who oversee and/or manage data systems that track various elements related to those who care for, educate, and support children. The data collected from the Aspire Registry and other members of the National Workforce Registry Alliance will serve as benchmarks to measure progress in both the education and compensation of the workforce or innovative initiatives such as QRIS, scholarship, and wage incentive programs. Comparing these data with other national datasets will be useful in formulating sound policy recommendations.

In August, Diana Diaz, The Aspire Registry Administrator, was elected to the Board of the National Workforce Registry Alliance as the Region II Representative. In this role, she will coordinate work with other registries established in New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands and serve as their liaison to report to the National Board members in activities, successes and issues occurring within the region. Diana will also develop annual work plans, with the input of the other Alliance members from this region, to address the present needs and propose work and strategies to support the early childhood workforce at the national level. In addition, she will continue to serve as a member of the Data and Standards Committee to oversee the collection of data and development of reports to inform policy and support quality initiatives.

The Aspire Registry and the Institute’s other initiatives continue to translate proven approaches and research into policy and practice to create a comprehensive system for teachers, directors, administrators, policy leaders, funders, and other individuals who want to create an exemplary and well-compensated early childhood workforce. Additional information is available at

Gender, Sexuality, and the Family: Fall Trainings

A recent article in the New York Times discussed a gender expansive 5-year-old boy that illustrated some of the challenges that both families and educators can encounter when it comes to issues of gender and sexuality with young children. During the preschool years, children are beginning to develop their understandings of gender, sexuality, and family. The Institute is committed to providing educators and professionals with high-quality professional development on how to explore these concepts with young children in curriculum and pedagogy. We are also committed to supporting parents and family members to confidently address these topics with their children in empowering, accurate, and developmentally appropriate ways.

This fall, the Institute is offering another series of workshops on “Gender, Sexuality, and the Family” for early childhood educators. The workshops are designed to spark discussion, facilitate the creation of shared language, and provide educators with the resources needed to make their classrooms supportive spaces for the development and exploration of identity.

The set of workshops for early childhood educators and professionals will begin on the following dates:

  • Tuesday, October 17th from 5:30pm-8:30pm

Session 1: Gender Development, Expression and Play 

  • Tuesday, November 28th from 5:30pm-8:30pm

Session 2: Bodies, Curiosity and Touching

  • Tuesday, December 12th from 5:30pm-8:30pm

Session 3: Including All Families and Supporting All Children

Sessions can be attended as a series or individually. You can find more information about the workshops on our website and register for the sessions by clicking on the links above.

The Institute’s First Annual Report

The Institute has released our first-ever annual report! This report provides a snapshot of much of our work in 2016. The Institute works at several levels to improve the early childhood workforce and expand quality improvement across the state. We work with the entire range of providers and service delivery systems – from higher education to informal family child care, and everyone in between. We support child care, Head Start, Pre-K and primary education programs. We partner with public agencies and non-profit organizations. We build systems, conduct and support research, and work with policymakers to implement evidence-based change. We work with other states across the country to learn from others and share the progress we’ve generated. Our work positively impacts the care and education that thousands of young New Yorkers and their families receive every day.

We do this all with generous and wise funders, an incredible cadre of partners and stakeholders, and an extraordinary team of people across New York who serve as our staff. The City University of New York provides a home and a compliment of services that enables our response to be efficient, affordable, and of the highest quality.

We thank you for your continued support!

To read our annual report, click here.

Helga Yuan Larsen appointed new Director of QUALITYstarsNY



Contact: Sherry Cleary, Executive Director  

O: 718-254-7320

New York, NY August 7, 2017 – The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute of the Research Foundation of the CUNY is pleased to announce the appointment of Helga Yuan Larsen as the new Director of QUALITYstarsNY.

“After an expansive search, Helga stood out as the candidate who could best lead QUALITYstarsNY going forward during an exciting time of continued growth,” said Sherry M. Cleary, Executive Director of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, which oversees and coordinates all aspects of QUALITYstarsNY. “We are impressed with Helga’s deep experience in and understanding of early childhood education and its stakeholders. I am confident in her ability to lead QUALITYstarsNY into the future.”

Ms. Larsen joined QUALITYstarsNY earlier this year as Assistant Director. With over 10 years of experience in the field — serving previously as Regional Early Childhood Manager at STG International — she has provided training and technical assistance to Early Head Start and Head Start programs with consultation, training, policy and procedure development to promote high quality services to children and families. She holds a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Barnard College, Columbia University.

About QUALITYstarsNY

QUALITYstarsNY is New York State’s voluntary quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) which supports all regulated early childhood programs serving children from birth to age five in child care centers, family homes and in primary schools with Pre-K. QUALITYstarsNY is committed to supporting child care programs with a variety of outstanding resources and supports, including individualized coaching and technical assistance; scholarships to help staff further their professional goals; and improvement funds to purchase materials, furnishings and supplies. QUALITYstarsNY participating programs now serve more than 44,000 children across the state. For more about QUALITYstarsNY, visit

About the Institute

The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute is a public-private partnership that brings together a range of city and state agencies, a consortium of private funders, and the nation's largest urban university to build a comprehensive system of professional development for individuals who work with young children in New York. Additional information is available at




The Aspire Registry Summer Newsletter

The Aspire Registry team has released their Summer newsletter. Since 2015, the Aspire Registry Newsletter has discussed the latest Registry news and events, and highlighted the work of New York professionals in the field of early childhood. The newsletter also provides information about useful resources and tips for early childhood professionals. The newsletter is distributed to over 25,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow.

The Aspire Registry is now releasing its newsletter seasonally! In the latest newsletter, the Aspire Registry Team encourages early childhood professionals to utilize the Core Body of Knowledge: New York State’s Core Competencies for Early Childhood Educators to seek out professional development areas to explore this summer. After identifying these areas, they can use the Aspire Statewide Training Calendar to search for relevant professional development. The Aspire Registry Team also discusses the Aspire Registry Attendance App. Trainers use the app to take attendance at professional development events by scanning the code on the back of Aspire membership cards or key tags. When trainers scan the card or key tag, participants will immediately get credit for attending the session on their Aspire profile. In addition, the newsletter features a spotlight on Julie Burt, the Director at United Educare Preschool. She shares her favorite part of working with young children for almost 20 years.

Read the newsletter here: The Aspire Registry Summer Newsletter 2017

NAEYC’s New Membership Feature

Are you a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)? If so, you can access their new membership feature- Hello! Hello is an accessible online space for engaging and dynamic discussion around specific topics in early childhood education. It is a unique platform for early childhood educators to share their diverse insights, opinions, and ideas about their profession. Topics currently trending on Hello include blocks in kindergarten, tips for a director starting in a new program, and music in classrooms.

Each day NAEYC members receive a digest email highlighting the conversations their colleagues are having in the open forum on Hello. In addition, the platform provides early childhood educators the opportunity for digital, year-round networking with experts and peers nationwide to have conversations and create connections around early learning issues. This modern platform allows all NAEYC members to participate in these valuable conversations. Hello is the perfect opportunity to strengthen your connection to your profession!

Only NAEYC members can contribute to the conversations; however, anyone is able to view the posts online here. Below we highlight a few posts from a conversation about preparing early childhood educators:

NAEYC member Tim from Texas began the discussion:

I agree with the philosophical discussion that early childhood teachers need to be better trained and if they are better trained and receive a degree they should be better compensated, however I have yet to see the mathematical formula that makes that possible in the early childhood field.  If someone has figured that out, I would be interested in hearing about it.

Another member of the Hello community, Robert from Virginia, replied:

I certainly agree with what others are saying. I believe a degree in Early Childhood Education makes a difference in the competency and confidence a teacher of young children has in designing and implementing a learning environment where young children enjoy learning, growing and developing together with their teacher and peers. I do think the quality of the degree program makes a difference and should integrate theory with practice. Connecting a practicum to a course seems to me to be beneficial as well as thinking about how to offer the courses where and as teachers work is important.

Community member, Nora from New Jersey, weighed in with her perspective:

Another issue is working conditions. I think with the low pay, in some cases hourly, and the long days that many early childhood educators endure also contribute to the turnover and loss of teachers to the public schools. The public schools are able to provide higher salaries, longer vacations, pensions, etc. This is a big draw. Many of the people who work in the community centers also have their own children to raise so, in some ways, it is unconscionable to have them working 8 to 10 hour days. Caring for and educating young children is a complex endeavor that takes a lot of reflection and critical thinking, requiring a great deal of knowledge about children's development and how they learn as well as subject matter knowledge. It is not enough to love children, although that is a baseline requirement. Those who care for and educate young children need to be prepared as teachers and knowledgeable about different theories of early childhood instruction.

To become a NAEYC member and join the conversation, click here