June 2016
In the Spotlight

Goddard Child Development Center and Shan's Christian Child Care Eco-Friendly Providers!
Maryland EXCELS recognizes child care and public prekindergarten programs that earn additional Achievements that go beyond the Maryland EXCELS Standards. Goddard Child Development Center and Family Child Care Provider Shantrice Blanchard have taken the opportunity to make positive changes in the way they interact with the natural world and have both earned the Eco-Friendly Achievement. 

Director Dr. Syretha Storey of The Goddard Child Development Center felt that becoming a Green School (through the Maryland Association for Environmental & Outdoor Education) would help both the staff and children in their program become “even better stewards of our planet.”  One fun practice they incorporated was gardening.  “We decided to approach gardening as we do any other science experiment—try it and see what happens!” says Syretha. 

The results were more recycling, reduced energy usage, increased environmental education in the curriculum, more butterflies, and real sustainability.   Though there were a few challenges along the way such as staff without gardening experience and applying green standards that both their 2 year-olds and 5 year-olds could understand, as a result of their efforts, “both children and staff are more environmentally conscious.” 

For Shantrice Blanchard of Shan's Christian Child Care, a veteran Maryland EXCELS participant from the field test, the goal to become an Eco-Friendly program just seemed to be a smart one.  Shantrice wanted to educate not only herself, but her families as well.

Working toward an Eco-Friendly environment took her out of her comfort zone, but now Shantrice enjoys outdoor activities as her favorite time of the day with her child care children.  “I love being outside with the kids exploring Mother Nature.  It’s really hands-on learning.”  From learning where worms live to improving air quality around her home, the Eco-Friendly achievement was a great step for her program.

Thanks to both of these providers for making a healthy Earth an important priority of their programs!

For FREE Eco-Healthy Child Care® Checklists and chances to become an Eco-Healthy Child Care® Program for FREE* (valued between $25 - $50) come to the Johns Hopkins University Early Childhood and Education EXPO on June 18 (details below).

*Program must meet all of the designated requirements of the program. Processing fees will be waived for winners.

For more information on Maryland EXCELS Achievements, including the Eco-Friendly Achievement, visit:


In The Community

FREE Early Childhood and Education EXPO
Bring the family and join us for a free day of Family Friendly activities and educational presentations and demonstrations.
Who’s invited:  You, your family, your friends, and the families/children enrolled in your program
Date: Saturday, June 18th
Time: 9 AM - 3 PM
Location: JHU School of Education, Center for Technology in Education, 6740 Alexander Bell Drive Columbia, MD 21046
Food Vendors Video Game Truck Moonbounce Pony Rides  Slides  Face Painting   Balloon Twisting Petting Zoo Characters Prizes 
Don’t miss this fun-filled day! Visit for additional information.


 Maryland EXCELS and the Baltimore Orioles
Maryland EXCELS was featured during the recent Boston Red Sox and New York Yankee games at Camden Yards and on television! Families are hearing about Maryland EXCELS and the great work that you do each day! 
We are also excited about our 2016 recordings for Kids Call of the Game where children from Maryland EXCELS programs visited CBS Studios to record famous plays in Orioles' history for the 2016 Kids Call of the Game. The spots began airing on the radio on June 12th.  Listen to an O’s game to hear the amazing children who represented the following centers, school age programs, and family child care homes:
  • A Mother's Touch Daycare (Mary Ann Sokolis)
  • Catonsville Presbyterian Child Care Center
  • Clinton Grove Elementary Before and After Care Program
  • Columbia Academy
  • Discovery Kids Place
  • Laura Thornton
  • Little Lambs Learning Center
  • Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy
  • Noah's Ark Children's Center
  • The New Life Family Early Educational Program (Gwendolyn Jones)

June Happenings

June 14th is Flag Day!

Celebrate the Red, White and Blue

June 14th is a great day to celebrate this important symbol of America.  Here are some ideas to get children in a patriotic mood that can continue through July 4th.

 Did you know that there is a special way to fold our flag?
You can use this day as a way to look at and learn about the flags from around the world.  Ask questions such as:  Are there flags that look similar to the American flag? Do any of the flags have interesting designs or symbols on them? Then, invite the children to create their own flags.  

June 21, 2016 Summer Solstice and the First Day of Summer

Did you know that the word solstice is derived from a Latin word and means “sun stands still”?  The summer solstice is the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. The first day of the summer season is the day of the year when the Sun is farthest north.  It is also the longest day and shortest night of the year.

The summer solstice is the perfect time for activities and crafts that scream summer. Check out this human sundial activity: 


New Tools for Young Scientists and Engineers

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is important in the early years.  The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have partnered with Too Small to Fail to create STEM resources for families and educators. STEM learning can happen at any time or anywhere.  These tip sheets (available in English and Spanish) include activities that engage children, promote language and integrate STEM into daily routines. Those young block builders and artists could be the engineers and architects of tomorrow!

Maryland EXCELS Events

Listening Sessions

Stay tuned for more information on Maryland EXCELS Listening Sessions where your voice can be heard. This will be another opportunity to share your ideas with us.

Training and Workshops
Maryland EXCELS Quality Assurance Specialists hold trainings and work groups across the state. Click this link to find a session near you. More dates will be added soon, so check back often!