Seton Hill Child Services

SHCS, Inc. (SHCS) was founded by the Sisters of Charity in 1966. SHCS has since been providing quality care and education to children throughout Westmoreland County. As the years have gone by, our reputation and outstanding representation within the community has allowed us to grow to who we are today. SHCS currently has 7 different locations, serving 450 children throughout Westmoreland County. We offer services to families with children, birth through 12 years of age, providing center-based, comprehensive programs that are guaranteed to meet each child’s emotional, social, health, nutritional, and developmental needs. Our programs are also designed to provide services to support each family as a whole during the child’s enrollment at SHCS.

The agency became a HS delegate in 1967. Over the years, the SHCS has expanded in scope to provide EHS (1996), PA State Pre-K Counts (2007), and EHS – Child Care Partnerships (2015). In 2016, SHCS became a grantee for the HS program. The agency has successfully weathered trends in funding and is consistently able to adapt services to meet the changing needs of families. This is accomplished by managing services that provide for greater social well-being, providing a foundation for children to grow and develop basic skills for school success, improving the abilities of families to be financially self-sufficient, and promoting the healthy development of children and families. SHCS mission and vision are to provide year-round quality care and educational experiences for children, from birth through 12 years of age. We respond to the needs of families with young children by advocating on behalf of children on the local, state, and national levels. Our philosophy is to exist as a support service to families with young children in Westmoreland County. We believe that the family is the foundation of a healthy, happy society. Parents are, and should always remain, the primary educators and caregivers of their children. SHCS recognizes that a quality group experience in a loving, accepting environment enhances the development of most children emotionally, socially, cognitively, and physically. Partnerships with businesses, community, and post-secondary institutions are embraced to expand educational experiences for students, staff, families, and residents. These partnerships allow engagement in authentic learning experiences which foster 21st Century technologies and literacies in curricula and programs that address the needs of birth through adult learners, resulting in citizens who are successful and productive.

SHCS manages a variety of programs designed to assist low-income families from EHS, EHS-CCP, PA Pre-K Counts programs, PA State Supplemental Programs, along with Child Care Works (formerly Child Care Information Services-CCIS) and private pay child care.


  • The Creative Curriculum® for Infants, Toddlers & Twos is a comprehensive, research based curriculum that helps teachers and caregivers understand developmentally appropriate practice and how to offer nurturing daily routines and meaningful experiences that meet children’s strengths, interests, and needs
  • Routines and experiences enable children to develop a secure attachment with the important people in their lives and gain confidence in themselves as learners
  • Activities include age-appropriate play, verbal communication, nursery rhymes, songs, and an outdoor experience, along with daily routines of diapering, feeding, rocking and loving care of infants
  • Planned activities and experiences are also designed to meet the needs of a growing toddler to foster cognitive, physical, and social skills, and are guided by the PA Infant-Toddler Early Learning Standards
  • When a child is physiologically ready and the parent initiates the process, staff will reinforce proper toilet training techniques
  • Staff maintain ratios, number of children per staff, according to DHS regulations and Head Start Standards

*In most locations, infants and toddlers are combined. In these instances, the classroom is arranged to ensure the safety of every child and each child follows the routine that is most appropriate for his/her development.

  • The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool is a research-based, comprehensive curriculum that features exploration and discovery as a way of learning
  • Activities are planned in developmentally appropriate environments to support and encourage cognitive, language, problem solving, physical, and social skills, and are guided by the PA Pre-Kindergarten Early Learning Standards
  • Daily routines are preplanned yet flexible to meet individual child’s needs and interests – purposeful play, large and small groups, meal times and transitions are all necessary components of the daily routine
  • Through experiences children will have the opportunity to develop a positive self-concept, learn self-help skills, and feel secure and loved
  • Staff maintain ratios, number of children per staff, according to DHS regulations and Head Start Standards

Seton Hill Child Services, Inc. uses the following curriculum, assessment and screening tools for all programs.

Upon enrollment each child within the program will be screened within their first 45 days of enrollment in the accordance with Office of Head Start Regulations. For the developmental screening, Infant and Toddler teachers use the Ages and Stages Questionnaire Developmental (ASQ – 3). Parents are asked to answer questions based on their observations of their child’s development. If the parent prefers, the teacher and parents may complete the screening together.  Inclusion Coordinators administer the Brigance Screens III for preschool development.  The results of the screenings are used to assist staff in planning an appropriate program for the children and to help identify any developmental needs as early as possible. During the 2019-20 program year, 21.85% of children received early intervention services.

For the social/emotional development screening, both Infant Toddler teachers and Preschool teachers use Ages and Stages Questionnaire Social Emotional (ASQ:SE). If the results are low, the specialist and consultant will review for further guidance for the family and classroom. The teachers share the result of the screenings with parents and make referrals for the family and classroom.

Ongoing Assessment

Each child’s development is assessed periodically through the use of a standardized assessment tool along with informal procedures such as conversations with parents and caregivers and observations of the children in their daily routines.

Teaching Strategies GOLD is an authentic, ongoing observational system for assessing children from birth through kindergarten. It helps teachers to observe children in the context of every day experiences, which is an effective way to learn what they know and can do. Teaching Strategies GOLD is based on 38 objectives for development and learning that include predictors of school success and are based on school readiness standards. The objectives are aligned with the Common Core State Standards, state early learning guidelines, and the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework. These objectives are at the heart of the system; teachers use them to focus their observations as they gather information to make classroom decisions.

Data is collected at three checkpoint periods (November-fall, February-winter, and May-spring) to track each child’s progress.  Teachers use this information to develop individual goals in partnership with the child’s parents during parent-teacher conferences which occur at least twice per program year.