Opportunity Realized

Tune into this month’s PDO podcast, “Opportunity Realized,” where we feature perspectives from an early education center owner, director, and teacher who is a PDO-sponsored student.


[email protected] Education Partners for Program Year 4

Congratulations to these [email protected] educational partners funded for program year 4 starting July 1, 2022, and welcome to four new partners!


Penn Highlands Community College – NEW!
Westmoreland County Community College
Community College of Allegheny County
Carlow University
Trying Together
Shippensburg University
First Up


Lackawanna College – NEW!
Lehigh Carbon Community College
Northampton Community College
Reading Area Community College
Keystone College
East Stroudsburg University


Community College of Beaver County – NEW!
Edinboro University
Early Connections
Clarion University of Pennsylvania
Clearfield County League on Social Services


Millersville University – NEW!
Delaware County Community College
Harrisburg Area Community College
Lock Haven University
Penn State (Courses not yet available.)

No-Cost Counseling for PDO Students

Many of us who spend so much of our lives caring for others are not nearly as good at self care as we should be. PDO students are encouraged to take advantage of confidential, no-cost counseling support services available through our partner program, Growing Edges. Listen to learn more about how you can access this free self-care support!


Pediatric First Aid/CPR Training Requirements

  • What is the Pediatric First Aid/CPR training required of early child care providers?

    On January 11, 2022, the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) issued an announcement that impacts certified child care facilities and early learning staff. Specifically, the announcement indicates that all child care providers and staff must complete Pediatric First Aid and Pediatric Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) training before they can care for children unsupervised.

  • Can early care providers and staff still take courses exclusively online?

    In a word – NO. The “online-only” course, “Adult, Child, and Baby First Aid/CPR” certification that does not include a hands-on component will no longer be accepted to meet compliance with certification regulations. Any staff that has completed this “online-only” course prior to September 30, 2021, will not be cited for non-compliance with certification regulations. At this time, all Pediatric First Aid and Pediatric CPR trainings must include hands-on sessions to be considered compliant with certification regulations.

  • For whom will training be prioritized?

    OCDEL has issued a prioritization plan for Pediatric First Aid and Pediatric CPR training as follows:

    • PRIORITY 1: Facilities that have received a citation for non-compliance because child care staff do not have Pediatric First Aid/Pediatric CPR training.
    • PRIORITY 2: Child care staff’s Pediatric First Aid/Pediatric CPR certificate has expired.
    • PRIORITY 3: Child care staff who are newly hired and are in their first 90 days of employment but have not yet received this required training.
    • PRIORITY 4: Child care staff’s Pediatric First Aid/Pediatric CPR certificate has not yet expired, but will expire within 1 year of their facility’s certificate of compliance expiration date.
    • PRIORITY 5: Child care staff who will need Pediatric First Aid/Pediatric CPR training for compliance within 1 year of their facility’s certificate of compliance expiration date. Priority 5 staff will get the training, but not as quickly as someone who has been cited for non-compliance or who is in higher priority categories.

    Note: If an individual child care staff member does not fall in one of these prioritizations, and a provider wants all their child care staff to be trained at the same time, the provider is responsible for covering the costs of those child care staff not falling in the prioritizations.

  • Must a child care provider/program use the PDO to complete these training requirements?

    Early care providers/programs DO NOT need to use the PDO to complete Pediatric First Aid/CPR training. They are able to use any approved Pennsylvania Quality Assurance System (PQAS)-approved instructor who uses an OCDEL-recognized curriculum. PQAS-approved providers can be found by doing a search on the PD registry.

    Note: The [email protected] is not responsible for locating, certifying, or approving PQAS trainers. This must be done through the PD Registry.

  • Can early care programs/providers get one certificate to cover its entire staff?

    NO. Each individual who needs the training must complete it for themselves and claim their certificate. It cannot be completed by a program director on behalf of staff, even if the director must provide supports to staff. Each employee is responsible for completing their own training.

  • Will the [email protected] reimburse our site for all required Pediatric First Aid/CPR trainings for certification?

    It depends. Training will be provided to ECE providers based on the prioritization plan prescribed by OCDEL (see above). Any provider who needs Pediatric First Aid/CPR training for their staff, and would like to request PDO funding should email: [email protected] to better understand what training costs will be covered by the PDO.

    Note: The PDO will not reimburse for training taken outside of our organization. Child care providers have the option to take CPR training via any entity they prefer, as long as the training meets OCDEL requirements. The PDO will only pay for approved training taken through our organization/partner organizations.

  • What is the process for an early care director/owner to request PDO funding for Pediatric First Aid/CPR training for themselves and their staff?
    1. A director/owner (or individual) requests Pediatric First Aid/CPR training funded through the PDO by emailing [email protected].
    2. A form will be sent to you for completion.
    3. Once the form is completed and submitted to [email protected], a PDO representative will provide further instructions.
  • ‘Wondering where to sign up for training?

2022 – Rearranged Resilience “This will be my year!”

The new year offers us a chance to hit the “reset” button, including early childhood educators.This podcast, “Rearranged Resilience,” features two PDO students who share ways they have bolstered their abilities to juggle work, school, and home life during the pandemic. Get recharged; this can be your year to shine!


ECE [email protected]: Building a Community of Professional Practice

The COVID pandemic has made evident the critical role quality early childhood education and care plays in both the development of our youngest children and the economy. Many people simply cannot get back to work without quality care for their young children. The Early Childhood Education Professional Development Organization has made that possible for thousands of Pennsylvanians and continues to build a supportive community of practice for those working in this field and who want to build their career pathways in this all-important profession.


Meet Amber Barkman

AMBER BARKMAN knows how challenging access to a variety of services can be in the rural region where she lives and works. As a Career Coach and ECE Professional Development Coordinator in the Early Learning Resource Center that services seven largely rural counties in PDO Northwestern Region 6, Amber knows the value of access to quality early childhood education, broadband service, and good-paying jobs.

Starting as a quality coach who travelled to childcare centers to evaluate and help teachers improve their skills (as many do not have credentials or degrees), Amber became an ECE Professional Development Coordinator in July of this year. “It seemed like an ideal fit for me,” she says, as her bachelor’s degree is in early childhood education and her master’s degree is in English as a second language. The latter degree helped her to bridge multicultural families when she taught in a Pre-K Counts program following her 2013 college graduation.

A proven cheerleader for the PDO program and what it can offer to student-workers and in turn, the children for whom they care, Amber has actively recruited students into CDA and other credit-bearing coursework; she increased her fall recruits from 10 to 30 who are scheduled for spring courses.

“We have a lot of family childcare providers in our region and I work to recruit them,” Amber remarks. Childcare center directors are pleased both they and their staff are pursuing professional development funded by the PDO.

Her secret sauce seems to be working, as Diane Hoffman, a center director in the region (and PDO-sponsored student) applauds Amber’s efforts. “PDO funding will enable me to offer a higher quality of care to the children in my facility. Thank you, Amber, for all your help and thank you to the PDO for this opportunity.” Reach Amber at [email protected].

ECE PDO Professional Development Coordinator Spotlight: Karen Lindbergh

I CAN, SO I SHOULD. This has been the lifelong motto of ECE PDO Professional Development Coordinator Karen Lindbergh. A single mother of four grown children, Karen knows personally about the struggles associated with balancing family needs, work demands, and advancing her own education. Motivated by faith, family, a strong work ethic, and a can-do spirit, Karen understands firsthand the value of early childhood education and the importance of gaining credentials to increase both career- and income-earning opportunities.

A long-time champion of young children, including those with special needs, Karen works tirelessly to encourage early childcare workers to take advantage of PDO-sponsored education. “This PDO-funded educational experience will develop students’ understanding of how children learn,” she says, noting that everyone wins.

A proponent of apprenticeship opportunities that include mentoring by masters, Karen believes early childhood apprenticeships are opportunities to both expand knowledge and develop collaborative skills needed to enhance lives. Apprenticeships are opportunities to cultivate more successful futures, where student-workers flourish and pass along a love of learning and apply their skills to benefit young children.”

Recently, Karen helped a 74 year-old student enroll in her first Child Development Associate credential (CDA) course, demonstrating that education has no age limitations.