Archive for December, 2014

Early Connections Earns Seal of Excellence

December 22nd, 2014
Erie County, News

Erie County’s Early Connections has been awarded the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) Seal of Excellence for successfully completing the Standards for Excellence® accreditation program.  Early Connections voluntarily opened itself up to scrutiny by a “jury of its peers” who examined Early Connections for compliance with PANO’s Standards for Excellence: An Ethics and Accountability Code for the Nonprofit Sector®(more…)

2015 PA One Book is here!

December 18th, 2014
All Counties, News, What's Happening

The 2015 PA One Book is… (more…)

When I Play, I Learn!

Did you know that when children are playing, they are learning? It’s true!

The new When I Play, I Learn has fun activities using every day items, like a towel, measuring cups, a box, or a blanket. See what activities your child can do and what skills they are learning. Then see how you can help!  (more…)

Helping your child develop positive relationships

December 15th, 2014
All Counties, PA Counties, Resources, Stories

Positive relationships between families and children are the building blocks for healthy friendships. Get tips on how you can help your child develop positive relationships! (more…)

Child care center receives support from 2014 Educator for a Day grant

A Keystone STAR 3 early learning program, the Lewistown Children’s Center of SUM Child Development Inc., was recently selected as one of five institutions nationwide to receive a 2014 Educator for a Day grant.

In honor of American Education Week, Walden University awarded grants to five preK–12 schools that planned to host an Educator for a Day event. The university, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, awarded $25,000 this year to schools and educational facilities for the purpose of enhancing classroom education. (more…)

Quality Early Learning Radio Show Builds Following of Young Families

December 8th, 2014
News, PA Counties

DUBOIS, Pa. (EYT) – A new Quality Early Learning radio show is building listeners across Pennsylvania and beyond thanks to a strong roster of child development experts appearing as guests on the show.

Read the full article on the Explore Jefferson website!

National Endowment for the Arts Grant Supports Children’s Book Festival

December 5th, 2014
Cambria County, News

2015 Festival Lineup Includes Award Winning Webcomics and PA One Book Authors!

Sixty-one percent of low-income families in America have no age-appropriate children’s books in their homes, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. For the past six years, the Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown has made available free books to kids of all incomes and provided once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to meet award-winning authors and illustrators for area families—all for FREE!.  The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has awarded The Learning Lamp a $10,000 Challenge America grant for its 2015 Children’s Book Festival.  The agency is one of only 163 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Challenge America grant—its third consecutive NEA grant award in as many years.

“I’m pleased to be able to share the news of our support through Challenge America including the award to The Learning Lamp,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu said. “The arts foster value, connection, creativity and innovation for the American people and these recommended grants demonstrate those attributes and affirm that the arts are part of our everyday lives.”

The Challenge America category supports projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics or disability. The NEA received 347 eligible Challenge America applications and selected 163 projects for a total of $1.63 million.  The Learning Lamp’s award will help to fund an expanded line-up of nationally-known authors and illustrators and ensure low-income children have equal access to the festival.

“The NEA grants we have received over the past two years were instrumental in The Learning Lamp’s ability to bring in authors and NEA Grant Award/Add One illustrators of popular books that kids are excited about reading. That funding also enables us to transport children to the festival from under-served neighborhoods. Without bussing, children would otherwise miss out on the opportunity to be inspired by professional authors,” explained Leah Spangler, festival founder.

The Learning Lamp’s 7th Annual Children’s Book Festival will be held April 10-12, 2015 at BOTTLE WORKS in Johnstown’s historic Cambria City neighborhood. The three-day festival is free and is geared to children in grades Pre-K through 6.  The Learning Lamp is proud to announce a powerhouse lineup of headlining presenters:

  • Dave Roman is the author/illustrator of the popular graphic novel series Astronaut Academy and co-author of two New York Times bestselling graphic novels, X-Men: Misfits and The Last Airbender: Zuko’s Story. Roman also worked as a comics editor for the groundbreaking Nickelodeon Magazine.
  • Greg Pizzoli is author/illustrator of the 2015 PA One Book Number One Sam. His first picture book, The Watermelon Seed, won the 2014 ALA Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.  He also won two Portfolio Honor Awards from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
  • Zachariah OHora is an award-winning author and illustrator of numerous children’s books.  His debut book Stop Snoring, Bernard! won the 2011 Founders Award of the Society of Illustrators, a Merit Award from the New York Bookbinders Guild and was chosen as the PA One Book for 2012.
  • Mark Weakland is an award-winning author/educator and musician.  A reading specialist who is also certified in secondary science, Mark spins science into books about everything from sports to simple machines.  With 68 books on Goodreads, his most popular is Zombies and Forces and Motion.  Mark is currently working on sets of Scooby Doo books.

In 2014, The Children’s Book Festival of Johnstown was named one of four “Best of the Best” arts projects by the PA Council on the Arts. Since its inception, the festival has evolved into a premier literacy event, drawing 2,095 people from eight PA counties this year. Another 2,500 elementary students, some from rural, under-served areas, participated in pre-festival visits with authors, and 460 children from 22 schools in four counties submitted entries for our book mark contest.  Each child at the festival goes home with a free age-appropriate book from First Book.  The event also features arts and crafts, storytelling and live music and theatrical performances.

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Challenge America support, please visit the NEA website at To learn more about the Children’s Book Festival, visit