PA center gives official an inside view of ECE classroom

Brian Kasel gets a first-hand look at what an ECE program provides children.

Brian Kasel gets a first-hand look at what an ECE program provides children.

It’s one thing to talk about early childhood education in legislative offices, but it’s another thing entirely to visit with teachers in their classrooms and see firsthand the impact high-quality ECE can have on a child. Brian Kasel, assistant to Pennsylvania State Representative George Dunbar, recently enjoyed that opportunity at the North Huntingdon KinderCare.

The visit, arranged by the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC), was supposed to include Rep. Dunbar, but a last minute scheduling conflict meant he was unable to come. Kasel came on behalf of Rep. Dunbar and took detailed notes to share with the Representative.

“The teachers and I felt honored to be given an opportunity to be selected as a voice for early childhood,” said Center Director Sherrie Klos. “Having PAEYC here to validate all that we do was wonderful as well.”

North Huntingdon visitors pose with artwork created by center children.

Brian Kasel (from Rep. Dunbar’s office), Shawna Turner (PAEYC) and Janet (KinderCare teacher) display artwork created by North Huntingdon KinderCare students for Rep. Dunbar.

Shawna Turner from PAEYC joined Kasel on his visit, explaining the highlights of each classroom and the hallmarks of a high-quality ECE program like KinderCare. She Klos also explained the state quality rating program (Keystone STARS), emphasizing the importance of continued funding for ECE programs.

Kasel spent time with each teacher, observing their classroom and inquiring about how elected officials like Rep. Dunbar might help teachers and their students.

“He was very impressed with the tenure of our team – and myself,” said Klos. “When he asked Shawna if our veteran staff was typical of early childhood she told him no, the state average is four years…!”

At the end of his visit Klos presented Kasel with some child-created artwork. Kasel loved the art and assured North Huntingdon staff it would soon be on display in their office lobby for everyone to see.

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