August 2020
Fun activities, aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, to help prepare children for school success!
We're Learning in an Early Learning Program!
Babies
Use a song to describe every day activities. The tune of London Bridges Falling Down is an easy one to use--just insert the description of what is being done. "Now we're putting on your socks, on your socks, on your socks. Now we're putting on your socks, my dear baby." Sing and sign the song to your baby, while holding their hand to your throat so they can feel the vibration. If your child avoids music, make picture cards or signs and braille to make task cards. Picture cards posted in the area where the tasks are done. If they respond to movement, add fun gestures that make the activity more enjoyable.  Read more.

Toddlers
Use a wading pool (or the bathtub) and different sized cups to encourage your toddler to pour water from one place to the next. Help them select the big cup or the little cup, and talk about full and empty. Ask them to make predictions about what will happen when they move the containers. Will the large cup of water fit in the small cup? How many small cups fill the large cup? Encourage them to move their hands to explore the containers and feel the water moving. Explore what the water sounds like/feels like when it's dumped out of the container.   Read more.

Preschoolers
What is your preschooler's favorite book about Kindergarten? Visit your local library to discover books with different characters who go to Kindergarten or see the 11 family recommended books about going to school (below). What do they like best about each book? Try to find books that show a child similar to your preschooler in the illustrations. If your preschooler uses a wheelchair or wears glasses, they will enjoy seeing similar characters in the books. If your preschooler is especially concerned about a certain aspect of school, try to find a book or write a story that directly addresses that concern.   Read more.

Kindergartners
Make giant ice-cubes by using clean yogurt, cottage cheese or sour cream plastic containers filled with water, then set into the freezer. Add a small item to the water filled container, like a small toy or other item. Have your kindergartner decide what item will be added. Is it too big or will it fit? Can they see the item once the ice is frozen? Once it's frozen, remove it from the container and use the ice block as ice puck to kick or push around in the grass or hard top (such as a sidewalk). How fast will it melt? What happens when it melts? Provide your kindergartner opportunities to touch the containers, feel the water before and after freezing, feel the weight and compare the containers empty, filled with water, and filled with ice.   Read more.
11 Books About Going to School
The Night Before Preschool   by Natasha Wing
Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!   by Nancy Carlson
First Day Jitters   by Julie Danneberg
Countdown Kindergarten   by Alison McGhee
Do I Have to go to School?   by Pat Thomas
If You Take a Mouse to School   by Laura Numeroff
The Bus for Us   by Suzanne Bloom
The Kissing Hand   by Audrey Penn
My Teacher Sleeps in School   by Leatie Weiss
Dinosaur Roar!   by Henrietta Stickland
My Kindergarten   by Rosemary Wells 


Print this list and take it to your local library. Although some libraries may not be open for in-person service, they may offer book pick up. Check with your library to see what services they are offering.
Featured Article: Teaching Children to Understand and Value Diversity
Do you think of cultural, racial and ethnic diversity as a melting pot, a mosaic or tapestry, tossed salad, vegetable soup, or some other equally picturesque description? All of these descriptions are pleasant and colorful reminders of the richness that comes from differences. Unfortunately, the differences among people also spark name-calling, bullying and violence, even by young children.

How can we teach children to understand and genuinely value people who look, sound and act different? To help people who work with young children and their families in early learning centers, the National Center for Cultural Competence developed a self-assessment checklist that gives specific examples of things you can do to create an environment where diversity is valued, modeled and taught. Read more .
What article was featured this time last year?
Returning to Child Care
Families have been faced with important decisions about child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caregivers considering child care arrangements for their children should understand strategies used to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19.  

This Frequently Asked Questions document—compiled by experts in pediatric primary care, infectious diseases, early childhood and child care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia—is intended to provide parents and caregivers with information and guidance for returning their children to child care. It reflects the latest evidence on safety protocols for home and center-based care. Read the document.
Community Inclusion During COVID-19
The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has created a global health crisis and has a deep impact on the way we perceive our world and interactions with others in our everyday lives. Families of children with special needs are finding it increasingly difficult to explore ways of practicing meaningful community inclusion.

As a parent of a child with Autism, Sadia was worried about possible regression in social growth her daughter had accomplished over the last three years. She knew she had to do something to maintain the acquired skills and also to help her daughter understand and adapt to the new world. The biggest challenges were to help her understand what social distancing means and wearing a mask.

Register NOW for Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking—Early Intervention (C2P2 EI)
Families receiving Early Intervention Supports and Services are invited to participate with Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking—
Early Intervention (C2P2 EI). C2P2 EI is free training to help you learn the Early Intervention System and actively participate in your child’s team. You'll also learn to navigate the Pennsylvania Early Intervention System, identify best practice supports and connect with community resources.

Virtual and In-person sessions are planned. Alternative options and participant supports will be available if COVID restrictions occur.

Applicants should be Pennsylvania family members who:
  • Have a child—infant to school age­—who receives Early Intervention services.
  • Desire to advocate for themselves and others by building leadership skills.
  • Are willing to commit to ALL trainings, in-person and virtual.

Set the Right Course for Your Child's Success
Pennsylvania's Early Learning GPS has a lot of great information and resources for families and caregivers.

The Early Learning GPS can help you set the right course for your child’s success in kindergarten and beyond.

Choose between the infant, toddler or preschooler quiz and find 10 questions about your child. Get information about your child’s brain, their development, you and your child, and when your child is not with you. At the end of the quiz, you’ll get a list of helpful resources. 

You can stop the quiz at any time and jump right to the resources! Responses are not recorded and you don’t give any personal information about yourself or your child to take the quiz or get the resources. 

Ready to start the quiz?  Visit www.earlylearninggps.com .
What Early Learning Resource Centers Can Do for You
Pennsylvania's Early Learning Resources Centers, or ELRCs, are a single point-of-contact for families, early learning service providers, and communities to gain information and access services that support high-quality child care and early childhood education programs.

An ELRC can help you find the best child care for your child. They offer links to or information about services like:
  • Individualized list of child care programs based on a child's specific needs
  • Child Care Works, Pennsylvania’s child care subsidy program
  • Keystone STARS, Pennsylvania’s quality improvement program for child care providers
  • PA Pre-K Counts and Head Start
  • Early Intervention Services
  • Family Centers
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • And other services

To find your ELRC and additional information, visit   www.raiseyourstar.org   and search by your county.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month
We all need shots (also called vaccinations or immunizations) to help protect us from serious diseases. Shots can prevent serious diseases like the flu, measles, and pneumonia. It's important to know which shots you need and when to get them. 

Everyone age 6 months and older needs to get a flu vaccine every year. Many other shots work best when they are given at certain ages. 


Talk to your doctor or nurse to make sure that everyone in your family gets the shots they need.

What to do if you can't afford vaccinations for your child? The  PA Vaccines for Children Program   provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. You can also apply for the  PA Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP)  that includes coverage like vaccines.
A Family Activity that Encourages Healthy Eating
How can your child participate in a valuable learning experience, while having family fun? Where can you get the freshest fruits and vegetables for your family without having to dig or plant? Try a Pick Your Own farm near you!

Children of all ages can help pick fruits and vegetables. Helping also mean they're more likely to try an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable!
 
Pick Your Own farms allow families to pick and purchase fruits and vegetables that someone else has been planted. There are several locations throughout Pennsylvania where families can pick their own fruits and vegetables. How much you purchase depends on how much you can pick!  Learn more .
August 1-7: World Breastfeeding Week
Having a new baby is an exciting time for a family. By choosing to breastfeed, moms are providing their baby with food that is uniquely made for him and benefits their health and well-being.

The WIC Program is available to answer any questions and help with any breastfeeding challenges a mom may face.  Get information  about how the WIC Program can help moms reach their breastfeeding goals with a little loving support.
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Starting Kindergarten in the Fall?
Will your preschooler enter Kindergarten in the fall of 2020?   Sign up for the FREE monthly Kindergarten, Here I Am eNews !  Each month get activities, tips and resources you can use to help your kindergartner prepare for and have a successful Kindergarten year.
The PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) provides families access to high quality services to prepare children for school and life success. 
  
Find more information about Quality Early Learning in Pennsylvania
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