February 2020
Fun activities, aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, to help prepare children for school success!
We're learning while at the doctor's office!
While waiting in the exam room you most likely will have to undress your baby. As you do, touch each part of your baby's body and name each part as you go. Make eye contact with her and smile as you touch and name each body part. Tell her what the body part does. "Your arms reach wide to give a hug." Read more!

Create a Special Event bag your toddler can take when visiting places like the doctor's office. It can be a simple backpack, cloth bag, or even a zip-top plastic bag. Put in items such as pad of paper, crayons, stickers, small toys or cars, View Master, lacing games, playing cards or other special items to be used when visiting. Read more!

While waiting in the examining room, have your preschooler close his eyes and listen. What does he hear? (Closing of a door, someone walking down the hall, the air conditioning/heating vent, a phone ringing, baby crying, etc.) Talk about what you hear. Where might someone be going? Who might be calling? Encourage your child to use his imagination--might it be an elephant on the phone, or a tiger creeping down the hall? Read more!

Explain to your kindergartner that a people doctor is a physician, while an animal doctor is a veterinarian. Provide names of people you know, and see if he can guess which doctor (physician or veterinarian) the person would see, and mix in animals, too. "Would Uncle Jack go to a physician or a veterinarian if he was sick?" or "Would a cat go to a physician or a veterinarian if it was sick?" Let him quiz you, too. Read more!
10 Books About Going to the Doctor's Office
Never Take a Shark to the Dentist    by Judi Barrett
Going to the Doctor    by Anne Civardi
Miss Dose the Doctor’s Daughter    by Allan Ahlberg
Calling Doctor Amelia Bedelia    by Herman Parish
Daisy the Doctor    by Felicity Brooks
Do I Have to Go to the Hospital?    by Pat Thomas
A Day with a Doctor    by Jan Kottke
Franklin Goes to the Hospital    by Paulette Bourgeois
My Friend the Doctor    by Joanna Cole
The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor    by Stan & Jan Berenstain

Featured Article: Screen Time and Young Children
Recent studies  have shown screen time use in young children may have negative impacts on the brain’s white matter — an area key to the development of language, literacy and cognitive skills. In addition, the use of screen time can limit a child’s time and attention in learning other skills they need for healthy development.

With so many people owning a phone, tablet or television, and screens in doctor’s offices, malls and restaurants, it can be difficult—or seem impossible–to limit the exposure to screen time with young children. Read more .
What article was featured this time last year?
Community Inclusion for All
A new resource, Pennsylvania Community Inclusion for All, highlights the importance of and provides resources for meaningful Community Inclusion, geared towards Pennsylvania children, ages birth to grade 6, and their families. 

The PA Community Inclusion for All web page and public Facebook group can help increase opportunities of meaningful interaction between families and children with and without disabilities. It also provide professionals the resources for Community Inclusion to share with the families they serve and use the resources when practicing coaching in the community with families. 

Visit, then share the resources with families and friends to inspire them to create and provide for a more inclusive environment. Read families stories of why and how they are doing it. You can even share your story, highlighting the struggles/challenges, professional support, effective strategies and outcomes of Community Inclusion.
February 2 is Groundhog Day!
Groundhog Day is celebrated on February 2, 2020. It is based on the activities of a groundhog coming out of its winter hibernation to check for his shadow. The legend is, if the groundhog sees his shadow on this day, there will be six more weeks of wintry weather. If he doesn’t, then spring weather is right around the corner.

The most important groundhog is Punxsutawney Phil who lives in a burrow called Gobbler’s Knob near Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

PA’s Promise for Children has a list of fun books to read related to Groundhog Day.
Get counted in the U.S. Census!
Every 10 years, everyone living in the United States is asked to complete a simple but very important constitutional task: respond to the census. The 2020 Census is a questionnaire that asks a few basic questions, like the age, sex and number of people who live or stay in your home, including young children and newborn babies. The next decennial census starts in March of 2020 and responding is easy, safe, and important.

Newborn babies and young children under five are often missed in the census. The 2020 Census helps determine which areas qualify for the critical resources that children and families depend on for the next 10 years—basically, an entire childhood! Examples of resources that could be impacted include food assistance, Head Start, childcare, housing support, public schools, early intervention services for children with special needs, children’s health insurance, and more. Knowing how many children there are and where they live is essential to getting those services and programs to them. That’s why it’s so important that every child be counted, even newborn babies. 

Check out the flyers, Counting Young Children in the 2020 Census or Shape our children’s future. Start with the 2020 Census . for more information. Wondering who should be counted in the 2020 Census? Check out the video below.
Celebrating Early Literacy in February
February kicks off with two special awareness days! Reading early and often your preschooler will help them learn about the world around them and develop important skills they will need to prepare for kindergarten.

February 1 is the Annual Take Your Child To The Library Day.  It is a great time to build upon your preschooler's love of reading and learning. Visit your library to see what exciting activities they have planned. Find a library near you

February 5 is World Read Aloud Day .  It's the perfect excuse to pick up a book and read to your preschooler! Revisit an old favorite or find a new one.
Share a photo of you and your preschooler reading a favorite book and tag PA's Promise for Children! Find us on   Facebook  ,  Twitter   and   Instagram !
A Guide to Choosing a Quality Early Learning Program
Let’s face it-- trying to find child care can be hard. You want your child in a quality child care or early learning program. What do you look for so your child will be safe, happy and learning?

You want:
  • Your child safe and secure while you are at school or work.
  • Your child’s teachers to support and challenge your child to explore and learn new things.
  • Your child to learn skills needed for kindergarten.
  • You and your child to feel supported.

When looking for a program, visit  www.findchildcare.pa.gov  to search by address, early learning program name, or the age of your child. Get information about the program, like location, fees, and inspection reports.  Watch the video for more information  .

Pennsylvania's Promise for Children   has resources you can use before, during and after your search for an early learning program.
Supports for Breastfeeding Moms
Are you a mom who is breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding your new baby, but have questions? Are you wondering how breastfeeding and child care will work together?

This new resource,  Breastfed Babies Welcome Here! A Mother's Guide   from USDA has information, tips and resources to help moms and babies prepare for breastfeeding options when your baby is in a child care program.

Get information on:
  • providing breastmilk to your baby when you go back to work or school
  • how to keep making enough milk when your baby is in child care
  • how to take breastmilk to the child care site
  • feeding breastmilk in a bottle
  • helping your child care program provide care for your breastfed baby and more!
Finding the Right Healthcare Professional for Your Child
Don't underestimate the importance of choosing that first healthcare professional. They will shape the feelings your child has of healthcare visits. If your child is in need of specialty care or if there are a lack of health care professionals in your area, this could be challenging. However, a little homework prior to deciding on a health care professional may make for a more positive experience you and your child.

Get tips on how to find the right Healthcare Professional for your child and read about Angie who addresses a concern about her son with his healthcare professional in   Be Your Child's Champion .
February is National Children's Dental Health Month
How many time a day does your child brush his teeth? Does she floss? It's never too early to teach your child how to take care of their teeth. During February's National Children's Dental Health Month (NCDHM) learn how you can help your child practice good dental health.

This year's theme is “Fluoride in water prevents cavities! Get it from the tap!”   This month-long national health observance brings together thousands of dedicated dental professionals, health care providers and others to promote the benefits of good oral health to children and adults, caregivers, teachers and many others.

The NCDHM Program Planning Guide  offers program coordinators resources to promote the benefits of good oral health to children. The guide includes easy-to-do activities, program planning timetable tips, a sample NCDHM proclamation and much more.

Watch the video below  for tips on how to encourage your child to brush his or her teeth. Visit PA's Promise for Children to find out how you can start a healthy smile early .

Did you know that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the United States? The good news is it can be prevented with the help of CHIP! CHIP coverage includes teeth cleanings, check-ups, x-rays, fluoride, dental sealants, fillings, orthodontia services when medically necessary and much more. Get more info at       CHIPcoversPAKids.com.
Moving Towards School Success
Will your child start Kindergarten in the fall? In the next few months, many schools will host Kindergarten Registration.

Early Kindergarten registration will help you prepare your child for his first day of Kindergarten. Your child's school may provide special programs, events or resources to help your child prepare for the important transition. 

Visit the  PA's Promise for Children website  to locate Kindergarten Registration information , then check out these FREE printable resources to help your child prepare to be successful in school. 
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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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