October 2016
In The Spotlight

The Kent Judy Center: Public Pre-K
Director: Donna Bedell

Located in Garnett Elementary School of Kent County, the Kent Judy Center was the first public Prekindergarten program to earn and publish its rating in the Maryland EXCELS system. Great Job!

According to Donna Bedell, director of the Kent Judy Center, working through Maryland EXCELS provided her program the opportunity to reflect on their best practices, determine areas needing improvement, and refine how best to encourage and support the other Judy Center programs to achieve their own Maryland EXCELS ratings.
Some of their favorite practices include a summer camp for PreK students. This camp gives children the chance, through a curriculum focused on social skills, to experience a school setting in familiar surroundings before their actual first day of kindergarten. Another favorite activity involving the children and their families, is their family field trips. The adults who attend the chaperone meetings for each field trip are treated to a workshop and participate in activities that align with the field trip objectives.
The Kent Judy Center also relies on many local community partnerships to enhance their program. Through their local public library, they have a weekly Pre-School story time within their classrooms. Their partnership with the Family Support Center helps provide families and their children, ages 0-4 years, with educational and health-related training and activities.
For their strong emphasis on family engagement and on achieving the highest  Quality Rating of Level 5, we send a big “Thank You” to the Kent Judy Center. We appreciate all you do for children and families!
 What's New

Congratulations to Deborah Lee - Winner of the Frog Street Curriculum!

Deborah Lee is a Maryland EXCELS family child care provider in Baltimore City.  She is the lucky winner of our first Frog Street PreK curriculum and learning materials giveaway valued at $5,000!
The next Maryland EXCELS winner will be randomly selected on October 28, 2016 from among all programs that are published and participating on that date.

We're Listening

Earlier this year Maryland EXCELS Participants had the opportunity to provide feedback by completing our annual survey.

Here are some of the results:

We Asked: Has your program published* a Maryland EXCELS Rating?

You Said: 82.5% of respondents had published a Maryland EXCELS rating. *Published means that you have met the requirements and requested to publish your rating and your Maryland EXCELS Rating is visible to families searching for early childhood and school age programs.

We Asked: What is the top reason you are participating in Maryland EXCELS?

You Said:

  • 37.8% of respondents need to participate in order to accept Child Care Subsidy.
  • 32.1% of respondents are participating to improve the quality of their program.

We Asked: What resource has been the most helpful to you?

You Said: 39% of respondents found their Quality Assurance Specialist to be most helpful.

We Asked: Do you have other ideas for Additional Achievements that should be considered for Maryland EXCELS Participants?

You Said:

  • SEFEL Training
  • Allergy-Friendly Program
  • Science-Technology-Engineering-Math (STEM) Programs
  • Accredited Program
  • Highly Trained Staff (Staff w/ college degrees)
  • Length of Time in Business
  • Family Engagement
  • Extended Learning / Community Connections

We also held in-person Listening Sessions on September 9 & 10 where we listened to your feedback about Maryland EXCELS. In next month’s E-News, we will highlight some of the feedback we gathered during those sessions.

All of your feedback is being used to help make Maryland EXCELS even better for children, educators, and families!

Would you be interested in attending a Listening Session? Do you have feedback that you’d like to share? Email us at
October Happenings!

Autumn Leaves

We are so fortunate to live in Maryland where we enjoy four seasons.  One benefit is the amazing variety of color nature shares with us before its winter rest as trees turn from green to vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.  If you have ever wondered about this seasonal change, the USDA Forest Service provides answers to questions you and your children might have about autumn leaves.
  • How do autumn colors happen?     
  • Where do autumn colors come from?
  • How does weather affect autumn color?
  • What triggers leaf fall?

For the answers to these and other questions read Why Leaves Change Color by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Want to share your Autumn Leaf activities with us? Email us at and we just may feature your program in our next newsletter or on our Facebook page!


Daily Schedule and Philosophy Statement: DAP 2.2

Not only is it important for your program to have a philosophy statement, your learning environment should always support it. When thinking about your philosophy statement, you may want to ask:
  • What does your philosophy statement say about your program?
  • Does your philosophy statement promote inclusion for every child including those with special needs?
  • Do your day-to-day activities reinforce your philosophy statement?
  • Do your materials and equipment contribute to the overall environment and program philosophy?
  • What changes can you make to your learning environment to further support your program’s philosophy?  
  • Early Childhood News offers additional ideas about supporting your program’s philosophy and curriculum.