March 2019 eNews
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New Funding to Support Preschool
Maryland has been awarded a $10,618,584 Preschool Development Birth through Five Initial Grant Award. The grant was announced by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
“This critical funding allows Maryland to strengthen collaboration and program improvement throughout our State on behalf of our youngest learners,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools. “By enhancing care and education for Pre-K students, particularly those from low-income households, we are investing in the future of our State.”
Overall, the grant will help Maryland improve the delivery of early education services and enable more children to receive high-quality child care and early education.
Interested in a Prekindergarten Curriculum? 
Children Study their World prekindergarten 4-year-old curriculum will be available for fall 2019 implementation. Funding is available for 200 classrooms. The funding will support materials, professional development for teachers, and coaching.

Directors and program administrators interested in the curriculum can learn more through the webinar on April 3 at 6:30 pm. Register 
Maryland EXCELS Central Region Provider Celebration
The Central Region celebration on January 17, 2019 offered a wonderful opportunity for providers to socialize with one another in a fun and relaxing environment. From delicious food and festive music to games and prizes, it’s clear why attendees are having such great experiences at these statewide events.

View more photos of the Central Region event here.
Upcoming Provider Receptions:
  • Baltimore—March 21, 2019 at the Winslow Room
  • Harford/Cecil—April 11, 2019 at Mountain Branch Golf Club
Tickets to both events are all claimed.

Provider Spotlight: Prince George’s County Child Care Center Expands, Credits Growth to Maryland EXCELS

Kay Dabiri has spent more than a decade making a positive impact on the lives of many families and children in Prince George’s County.

Previously a manager at a local gym, Dabiri said she fell into the child care profession when she became a mom to two young children and had the opportunity to stay at home with them. She is now a mom of eight children and a successful business owner of KayCares in Bowie for 13 years.

Dabiri plans to open a new center in Fort Washington, which will serve about 75 children.

She credits her program’s success and growth to Maryland EXCELS, her management and business experience, and the support of her loving husband.

Read more here.

Select the image above to visit the Workgroup and Training calendar online.
     Discover More Ways to Engage Young Readers 
Read Aloud 15 Minutes is an organization dedicated to motivating children and their families to read at least 15 minutes a day. Visit to take advantage of free downloads—including reading logs, posters, fliers and much more. You can also join their 21-day challenge for further reading inspiration.
Opening Doors to Inclusion
How do you recognize the various cultures and experience of the children in your program? Inclusion in child care and early education is an important topic. As you work to ensure inclusivity in your program, check out these practical ideas from Quality Assurance Specialist Petrea Hicks.

Young Children in the Digital Age: A Parent's Guide

A challenge for families today involves making decisions about the appropriate screen and digital device use for their young children. To help navigate this territory, Nancy Carlsson-Paige has written Young Children in the Digital Age: A Parent's Guide. Based on six core ideas from the field of child development, this free downloadable guide offers helpful information and support for family members, including real-life suggestions to implement at home.
Download the guide here.
Maryland EXCELS Team Connects with Families at Preschool Fairs
Maryland EXCELS attended the Child Care and Preschool Fair at Annapolis Mall on January 26 and Children on Board Preschool Fair in Howard County on January 27—both popular events for local families. Participants included many center-based programs, community organizations, pediatric practitioners, as well as private businesses that serve children and families. 

These events enable Maryland EXCELS to connect with families and share vital information about licensing and choosing quality child care, as well as details about the Child Care Scholarship Program.

Top photo (l-r): Quality Assurance Specialist Thea Quible represented Maryland EXCELS at the Annapolis fair, and worked side by side with Licensing Specialist Erin Handley. Bottom photo (l-r): Licensing Specialist Dottie Ernst and Assistant to the Director of the Office of Child Care Tara Bartosz collaborated at the Howard County fair.
Access Frequently Asked Questions about Maryland EXCELS "Year of Bonuses" here.
Read Across America 2019 Digital Calendar
The National Education Association recognized Read Across America Day on March 2, 2019. While the event itself is just one day, celebrating early literacy and a nation of diverse readers is important every day.  See how your program may benefit from 
Read Across America’s recommended books, authors, and teaching resources that represent various experiences and cultures.
What Read Across America says about inspiring young readers:
In our diverse and complex society, students need books that provide both windows and mirrors if we are going to create more readers, writers, and people who feel included and recognized, and who understand that the world is far richer than just their experiences alone. We know it is challenging to find the time to seek out new books to share, let alone create fun, exciting learning experiences around them. We hope you’ll find the books and resources we’ve provided here and online can blend effectively into existing classroom activities and units of study.
Access the NEA Read Across America Digital Calendar here.
Toolkit Connection: Get Organized

Looking to get more organized and increase your success in Maryland EXCELS? Visit the Maryland EXCELS Toolkit homepage. Select each button to find five keys to success. It’s as easy as a-b-c-d-e!

Celebrate National Child and Adult Care Food Program Week March 17-23, 2019

Get reimbursed for the food you serve to the children in your child care program. In 2018, more than 600 child and adult care centers in Maryland served more than ten million breakfasts and lunches to over 20,000 participants. (Excerpt from a recent Maryland State Department of Education press release. Read the full press release here.) Participation in the Child and Adult Food Program (CACFP) will help you meet Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating 3.

To learn more about the CACFP, visit the Office of School and Community Nutrition Programs website at or call 410-767-0219.
March is National Nutrition Month! What are some of the ways that you incorporate healthy eating and living into your program? Share your stories and photos with us at for a chance to be featured on our social media pages!
Need some ideas? Check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (at the links below) for 20 ways to enjoy more fruits and vegetables.
What is Maryland Accreditation?
  • A way for programs to demonstrate their commitment to providing high-quality learning environments.
  • A process of demonstrating and verifying program effectiveness and continuous improvement using the Maryland Accreditation Standards.
  • Maryland Accreditation is a process in which programs commit to and demonstrate continuous quality improvement, to benefit children, families, and staff.
5 Tips for Starting the Maryland Accreditation Process
Please contact Nicole Johnson at and for questions.
Follow Maryland EXCELS on Social Media!


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