Public Pre-K and Partnership Open Office Hours Scheduled

The Maine Department of Education (DOE) Early Learning Team is pleased to offer Open Office Hours focusing on technical assistance for public pre-k.  These office hours will feature Marcy Whitcomb, Public Pre-K Consultant and Sue Gallant, Public Pre-K Expansion Consultant.

Sessions are meant to be a time for educators, pre-k coordinators and administrators to come together to ask questions, celebrate successes and/or work through problems of practice in public pre-k that educators, administrators, and partnership programs may be experiencing. Office hours are offered as part of the Maine DOE’s Pre-K Technical Assistance program and are meant for your use and discussion; you can join for the full hour, or just a part; for each session or only when you have a question.

Sessions after the first session will not be predetermined but will be an open conversation driven by the topics brought from the field.  Our first session will focus on celebrations and problems of practice from the first months in the classroom.

Sessions will be held every first and third Thursday of the month, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m., on the following schedule:

November 17th
December 1st 15th
January 5th 19th
February 2nd 16th
March 2nd 16th
April 6th 20th
May 4th 18th
June 1st 15th

Please use and save the following Zoom link and password to access each meeting (the meeting link will be the same for each office hour session):

Join Zoom Meeting
https://mainestate.zoom.us/j/82733636260?pwd=VUd5eklsaHRIaEEzeldhazJDSWw2dz09

Meeting ID: 827 3363 6260
Passcode: MePreK22!
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,82733636260# US (Washington DC)
+13092053325,,82733636260# US

To submit a topic or question prior to a session and for more information please email Marcy Whitcomb, Public Pre-K Consultant, at: Marcy.r.whitcomb@maine.gov

 

Update of the Maine Early Learning and Development Standards

The Maine Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS) are the state’s learning standards for children ages three-five. Building from the Infant Toddler MELDS (IT MELDS) and bridging developmental expectations to the Maine Learning Results (MLRs), the MELDS inform all early childhood professionals about the typically developing expectations of young children as well as curriculum and assessment practices.

Over the past few years, the IT MELDS and MLRs have been updated. In order to ensure alignment across the sets of standards, it is time to update the MELDS which were last updated in 2015.

To guide the update process, a steering committee of early childhood professionals from around Maine has been formed and is interested in collecting feedback about the current version of the MELDS.   All interested early care and education stakeholders (e.g., childcare providers, parents, teachers, ed techs, administrators) are encouraged to complete this feedback survey no later than November 6, 2022. Input will inform the next steps in the updating process.

In he new year, early care and education stakeholders will be encouraged to consider contributing their expertise to writing teams that will assist with the updating process.  The goal is to have the MELDS update completed by July 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact the Department of Education’s Early Childhood Specialist, Nicole.Madore@maine.gov or the Office of Child and Family Services Child Care Services Program Manager, Crystal.Arbour@maine.gov

 

 

Things Are Falling Into Place In Public Pre-K Expansion Classrooms

Autumn has arrived bringing crisp air and beautiful foliage.  As the colorful leaves drift down, things are falling into place in Pre-K expansion classrooms across ten Maine school districts.  This fall 17 new classrooms opened and five others moved from part day to full day programming through a grant offered by the Maine Department of Education.   Funded through the Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan, the grant expands access to high-quality Pre-K programming and provides relief to families struggling to find childcare.

Grant funds have supported districts with renovating spaces, purchasing furniture and materials to create engaging learning spaces, meeting transportation needs, and ensuring a skilled workforce to serve Pre-K students.  Over the past few months, teachers and administrators have been busy attending training, setting up classrooms, meeting families and working with partner agencies to ensure a smooth start to the school year.  The little faces below show that their hard work has more than paid off.

Students at Newburgh Center in RSU 22 enjoy playful learning during Centers time.  RSU 22 has relocated their Newburg and Winterport classrooms to the Newburg Center, expanded to full day, full week programming and added a third classroom to expand access in their community.

Abraham Lincoln School in Bangor has expanded their pre-k from part day to full day in a beautiful space set up to spark the imaginations of young learners.

Downeast School in Bangor

Downeast School in Bangor has expanded to a full day program and has added a new classroom as well.  Here the teachers join students to support learning through play.

Students build their language skills through story time and conversations around the table during meals in Limestone’s new pre-k classroom.   Limestone collaborates with Aroostook County Community Action Head Start to provide rich learning opportunities and comprehensive services to students and families in their program.

The Maine DOE is pleased to announce a second round of public pre-k expansion grant funding available for the 2023-24 school year.  The submission deadline is rapidly approaching (October 14, 2022). To learn more please visit the Pre-K Expansion Grants page of the Maine DOE website.

For more information, contact Sue Gallant, Pre-K Expansion Consultant (Sue.Gallant@maine.gov) or Nicole Madore, Early Childhood Specialist (Nicole.Madore@maine.gov).

Reminder: Pre-K Expansion Grant RFA Applications Open 

Interested in starting or expanding Public Pre-K in your school administrative unit during the 2023-24 school year?  This is a reminder that applications are open for RFA #202207106 Pre- K Expansion Grant. The application along with directions can be found on this webpage. To learn more about this opportunity please refer to the recorded Informational Session 

Dates to keep in mind:
September 22nd – RFA Questions due (all questions need to be emailed to RFA coordinator, jane.kirsling@maine.gov)
September 30th– RFA Questions and Answers posted
October 13th– RFA Applications due

12 Maine School Administrative Units (SAUs) were awarded Pre-K Expansion grants totaling $2.2 million for start-up or expansion of Pre-K programming during the 2022-23 school year. Expansions included adding classrooms to accommodate more students as well as moving existing programs from part day/part week to full day/full week programming. SAUs may apply on behalf of one school or multiple schools within their school system. Funding for this round of Pre-K Expansion will amount to approximately 7 million dollars. The second round of funding is for the school year 2023-2024.  

Questions about the RFA should be directed to the RFA Coordinator, jane.kirsling@maine.gov. 

Other questions about the benefits of Pre-K or program questions should be directed to the Director of Early Learning, leeann.larsen@maine.gov,or Early Childhood Specialist, nicole.madore@maine.gov.  

A Moving Child Is a Learning Child: FREE Early Childhood Text Study

“All learning begins with the body…the body is the brain’s first teacher. And the lesson plan is movement.” (Connell, G. & McCarthy, C. 2014)

Join specialists from the Maine Department of Education’s Early Learning Team for a web-based professional development opportunity. Early childhood educators in the Pre-K through Grade 2 span will utilize a virtual text study format each month for 60 minutes.  The sessions will be held on Thursdays.  The series will utilize the text, A Moving Child is a Learning Child by Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy, 2014. Reading will be completed independently between sessions.

A Moving Child is a Learning Child is grounded in best practices and current research. This hands-on resource connects the dots that link brain activity, motor and sensory development, movement, and early learning in an effort to best support and educate the whole child. The expert authors unveil the Kinetic Scale: a visual map of the active learning needs of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children in primary grades that fits each child’s individual timetable. Educators will find a wealth of information, actionable tips, and games they can use to support the whole child across domains of development. If you’re looking for new ideas to grow your practice, engage children in a way that meets their individual needs and build deeper, more meaningful relationships with your students, then consider joining us for this opportunity.

The text study is set to begin on Thursday, November 3, 2022, from 3:30-4:30pm. and will continue the following Thursdays:

  • November 17
  • December 8
  • January 5
  • January 26
  • February 16

Registration will be open through September 28th and limited to 30 participants on a first come, first served basis.

Those interested are encouraged to register. Participants will receive a copy of the book and up to 18 contact hours at the end of the text study.

Registration is free and can be completed here.

For further information, please contact Nicole Madore, Early Childhood Specialist at Nicole.Madore@maine.gov