How Does the Early Childhood Profession Support Children Experiencing Homelessness?

Capture1Homelessness continues to affect the lives of thousands of young children in New York and across the country. In addition to health and safety concerns, homeless children and youth also face many challenges when seeking access to education. In order to address these barriers, the U.S. Department of Education has recently released guidance to states and school districts on the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that aim to support homeless children and youth. The new provisions will ensure access to education and protection to homeless children and youth, and will provide them with support for their individual needs. The guidance is intended to help states and school districts best implement the new law by providing them with critical tools and resources necessary to increase the educational success of homeless children and youths throughout their academic careers.

Although the law will impact all homeless children and youth, the new provisions demonstrate an increased focus on preschool-aged homeless youth. For example, the new provisions strive to ensure that all preschool-age homeless children have access to public preschool programs. These children must also have the opportunity to receive supportive services, including speech therapy, psychological counselling, and medical evaluations, if eligible. Additionally, the provisions stipulate that states and school districts must provide school stability across age-groups and grade levels to ensure that even preschool-aged homeless children can remain in the same school throughout the academic year. With these new provisions, all children across the U.S. will have access to excellence, and will receive the tools necessary to become successful adults.

The Administration for Children & Families Announces a New Policy Statement on Early Childhood Career Pathways

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Building quality through a well-trained and educated workforce continues to be an important focus of the early childhood field, both at the state level and nationally. Experts agree that developing and retaining a strong early childhood workforce begins with creating clear, research-based career pathways that outline the knowledge and competencies necessary to be a successful early educator. In response, the Administration for Children & Families (ACF) has released a new Policy Statement on Early Childhood Career Pathways. The goal of the new policy statement is to provide guidance on how to elevate the early childhood workforce, both in policy and in practice, to help teachers and program directors as they advance through their careers. Specifically, career pathways detail the sequence of research-based, portable credentials, as well as different supports and resources, educators will need as they progress on their career pathway. In order to develop this work on a systems levels and for individuals seeking professional advancement, the report provides state and local recommendations.

Read more…

The Aspire Registry July Newsletter

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The Aspire Registry team has released their July newsletter. For more than a year now, 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. Each month, the newsletter is distributed to over 24,000 Aspire Registry members, a number that continues to grow. 


Building Quality in Family Child Care

reportOne of the greatest opportunities to strengthen New York’s early childhood workforce is building the quality of practice in family child care programs. The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs recently released its full report analyzing the progress and challenges of the city’s contracted, EarlyLearn Family Childcare programs.  The report, Bringing It All Home: Problems and Possibilities Facing New York City’s Family Child Care, provides a blueprint for building on lessons learned from New York City’s EarlyLearn initiative over the last four years with subsidized family child care programs.

The report identifies two of primary areas for development: 

  • leveraging the unique strengths of family child care programs, including culturally-responsive, relationship-based practice, and
  • providing clear expectations and additional training to the network support staff who coach and monitor family child care providers. 

The New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute’s own experience in the informal family child care field as well as with teacher coaching,  and the relevant policy research, support the report’s emphasis on strengths-based practice and the power of trusted coaching relationships to create lasting change. Well-organized and resourced family child care networks reduce isolation and create opportunities for providers to access professional development. Ensuring that this professional development is of high quality and responsive to the needs of providers along with site-based coaching will elevate the field of family child care and raise outcomes for thousands of infants, toddlers and young children. 

The Aspire Registry Team Second Annual Retreat

Diana Diaz, Dwayne Spencer, Virginia Alvarez, Felicia Reid, Lizbeth Cervantes, Jhoana Taboada, Katherine Haro 

Last Friday, The Aspire Registry team headed to the Brooklyn Central Library in Grand Army Plaza for their second annual team retreat. The group spent the day reflecting on the past year’s accomplishments and planning how to meet their goals for this year. We believe that reflection and purposeful planning are essential components for a strong and efficient team, and The Aspire Registry team looks forward to putting their plans into practice.

The Aspire Registry is an integral piece of New York Works For Children, New York State’s integrated professional development system for early childhood professionals. Teachers, directors, family child care providers, and trainers can use The Aspire Registry to keep track of their employment history, education, ongoing professional development, and contributions to the field. With an Aspire profile, individuals can take advantage of helpful resources to guide career choices and plan for professional growth. To learn more about The Aspire Registry, visit

The Institute’s Informal Family Child Care Project (IFCC) Recognizes the Participants of the Brooklyn Borough Trainings

From left to right (Front) Mercedes Diaz, Bergica Albuquerque, Zoila Chusan, Nancy Correa; From left to right (Back) Yolanda Morales, Humberto Cruz, Alexandra Alberto, Jose Alberto

This Wednesday, July 6th the Informal Family Child Care Project held a recognition ceremony for the fourth cycle of Brooklyn Borough Trainings. This group was special because it was our first Spanish speaking group held for this series of trainings. It was also more intensive with 3 weeks of two trainings per week for which our providers were fully committed to. The trainings were held under the facilitation of Humberto Cruz, one of IFCC’s trainers. 

As part of the IFCC team we are used to providers being familiar with us, however what struck me the most about sharing time with this group of providers was the familiarity in which they treated one another. Friendships were made that is for sure. The most natural of events such as eating came by as the way to bond between us and them but the feeling of familiarity came by as if we gathered among family members. It was loud, it was full of jokes and stories about the children they care for as well as funny experiences the class had during their time together. At some point, during the dinner, one of the participants stood up and handed Humberto a thank you card as a gift from the group to express their gratitude towards him and IFCC. Filled with emotion he said thank you and hugged the participants. 


From left to right : Yolanda Morales, Humberto Cruz, Mercedes Diaz, Nancy Correa, Jose Alberto, Bergica Albuquerque

Gathered around the table providers discussed the lessons learned through the training. Some of these were asking children why they behaved a certain way or understanding the motivation of children for their acts; the use of concrete explanations when addressing/dealing challenging behaviors and not just saying “because I said so!” lowering yourself down to the child’s level to communicate with him/her; considering the family’s perspective when addressing challenging behaviors or a sensitive topic. The most influential part of this discussion, I believe, was hearing them explain how they put it in practice with the children they care for and their acknowledgement that doing so is the best form to manifest what they learned. 

Also, two of the three informal providers in the class shared that they are interested in obtaining a license this year; that’s telling of their interest to continue with their professional development in the future. All providers were interested in continuing classes for the fall.


Left Side: Yolanda Morales, Mercedes Diaz, Nancy Correa, Jose Alberto; Right side: Alexandra Alberto, Bergica Albuquerque

The following participants were recognized:


Alexandra Alberto

Jose Alberto

Bergica Albuquerque

Zoila Chusan

Nancy  Correa

Mercedes Diaz

Yolanda Morales



QUALITYstarsNY End-of-the-Year Learning Community Event

June 15, 2016—Quality Improvement Specialist, Charlene Harvilla (center of back row), is celebrating a successful year of Learning Community meetings with QUALITYstarsNY program administrators in the Southern Tier. Front Row:  Nichole Fuller, Lori Smith, Leigh Tiesi, Lori Hayes, Rachele VerValin-Petit, Martha Kirby. Back row:  Judy Murphy, Chrissy Caslin, Emily Drake, Marlene Schwartz Patrick, Charlene Harvilla, Grace Mohrien, Deborah Fitzgerald, Gail Holleran, Rose McCabe.

QUALITYstarsNY supports Learning Communities across New York State, which aim to create collaborative coaching opportunities for early childhood professionals to improve existing knowledge and practices, develop new skills, and promote continuous quality improvement. Each Learning Community establishes measurable goals based on QUALITYstarsNY standards and programs’ self-assessment efforts, and works to meet those outcomes throughout the year. On June 15th, QUALITYstarsNY hosted its end-of-the-year Learning Community event in New York State’s Southern Tier. During the past school year, early childhood program directors focused on The Director’s Toolbox Series by Paula Jorde Bloom to make the most of their leadership role and skill set aimed at supporting and nurturing staff, families, and children in their programs. 

“The QualitystarsNY Learning Community/BAEYC Directors' Academy is a nice opportunity to collaborate with other administrators in the area and to learn new skills that will improve our centers. I look forward to attending each month," said program director Gail Holleran.

Monthly meetings featured inclusive practices that allowed many leaders to share practical suggestions and collaborate on shared visions for high quality early childhood education and care. By providing time to come together with their colleagues, these meetings fostered a sense of community and shared learning. The response was very positive. The final meeting of the year featured a lively discussion about ideas for proposed Learning Community meetings next fall. 

Quality Improvement Specialist, Charlene Harvilla, enjoys a longstanding relationship with area directors: all area administrators are invited and attendance is high. While each meeting is an opportunity to discuss timely topics of interest that translate into enhanced leadership skills, directors are also able to stay informed about QUALITYstarsNY and other Professional Development events in the area. QUALITYstarsNY has partnered with the Binghamton AEYC to co-chair these meetings, which draw on several local resources for information and host presenters throughout the year. In addition to Learning Community events, QUALITYstarsNY and BAEYC sponsor monthly workshops for early childhood staff and providers on timely topics such as curriculum, assessment, and diversity.

Getting to know Institute Staff: Meet Raedell


Raedell Wallace is the Co-Director of Career and Professional Development at the Institute. Her work focuses on the Institute’s Career Development Services Center, which provides free, comprehensive career development services to all current and aspiring early childhood professionals. Their services include academic planning and advisement, career and vocational assessment, resume preparation, interview and job search strategies, and teacher certification support. We asked Raedell to share some of her reflections about her work with us.


What is your current role? In your own words, how would you describe the work you do?

The Career Development Services Center (CDSC) is the one-stop-shop for everyone who has or wants a career in early childhood – advising, job search support, career exploration, professional development planning, and more! One-on-one or in small groups, our team helps individuals assess where they are currently and determine the steps necessary to create and achieve their goals.

Who do you work most closely with at the Institute? What outside partners/organizations do you work with?

The CDSC works closely with many different city agencies and organizations where our clients originate and where many of them end up employed. We also work with the CUNY colleges and universities to support our client's coursework needs. Our internal work is most closely linked to the Aspire registry, where the individuals we support are able to document their professional development and progress towards their goals.

What motivated you to work in the early childhood field?

Our work, at its core, is pursuing the best for young children. For us that means making sure that the adults responsible for their care and education are well prepared and highly skilled.

If you could learn a new skill today, what would it be?

One new skill I want to learn is how to best use data to inform our practice and tell the compelling story of the early childhood workforce we serve.

What brings you joy in your work?

The best thing about our work is knowing that we've impacted the life of an individual that will ultimately go on to impact the life of a child. This is what brings us to work every day, and what we want to be remembered for.

If you had one piece of advice for a new early childhood teacher, what would it be?

In spite of all you face every day, at the heart of your work are children – and they always deserve the very best we have to offer.

To learn more about the Career Development Services Center, please visit

Elevating the Workforce


The challenges and opportunities we face make for ‘interesting times’.  At the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute (Institute) we seek to strengthen and elevate the early childhood workforce.  We’ve built a comprehensive system of workforce development, known as New York Works for Children, and work with city and state agencies, and nationally, to strengthen and create new policy that recognizes the professional nature of the work and the need for supportive workplaces and adequate compensation models.  New York’s first statewide workforce data base known as The Aspire Registry has been implemented and already has 20,000 educators in it –  and will continue to grow every month. QUALITYstarsNY, the state’s quality rating and improvement system, focuses a considerable amount of resources on workforce development in both the classrooms and at the leadership level.  The Institute has created new and dynamic paradigms of professional development that have been successful in building the skills of teachers and leaders.  Developing training and coaching competencies has begun to elevate the field of professional development.  Launching a study of New York’s institutions of higher education at the 2-year, 4-year and graduate level has helped to chart a course for the future. We have made great strides in New York, but there is much to be done.

Since the federal government, through the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services commissioned the Institute of Medicine study, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation (, much has been developed in the way of supporting material to continue to chart pathways to a stronger workforce.  Our colleagues at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California at Berkeley continue to generate critical information that strengthens our messages and contributes to our policy agenda (

The Institute is active in its work to advocate for stronger policy and significant changes in compensation, while at the same time creating much more robust access to higher education, career and professional development, and quality improvement.

For more information and ways to find support:

  • Please visit the Institute’s website at
  • Consider visiting the Career Development Services Center (for free career advisement, job search support, certification help and more call for an appointment at 718-254-7353).
  • Join the Aspire Registry for New York’s early childhood workforce  (contact:
  • QUALITYstarsNY participants receive resources that support career development for site staff.  For information about QUALITYstarsNY, contact:    
  • The Institute sponsors a credit-bearing CDA (Child Development Associate) Credential.  For financial aid and enrollment information, contact Dana Benzo at 718-254-7353 or
  • The Institute sponsors a credit-bearing director’s credential, the Children’s Program Administrator’s Credential (CPAC) which is recognized by the state and QUALITYstarsNY.  For information contact 718-254-7353.


Sherry headshot 


  Sherry M. Cleary,

  Executive Director

Early Learning Career Pathways Initiative: Credentialing in the Early Care and Education Field

Posted on 1 of July, 2016 by in Policy