March 2020
Fun activities, aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, to help prepare children for school success!
We're learning while in the bedroom!
As you dress your baby, tell them about what you're doing as you're doing it. Tell them, "The shirt goes over the head, one arm in, another arm in, and then cover the belly!"  Read more.  

Let your toddler pick out their clothes. If it's not possible for them to pick out their entire outfit, let them choose one item, like socks or shirt. Ask them to identify where different items of clothing belong on their body. Don't forget things like mittens, scarves, shoes and belts.   Read more.

Do a nighttime count down. Before turning out the light for the night, help your preschooler count the number of same or similar items in the bedroom, like two doors, one window, six dresser drawers, etc. Together find pairs of items, then sets of three, etc. Encouraging your preschooler to sing or sign songs like '1, 2 buckle my shoe', sign finger plays, and play counting games together are playful modifications.  Read more.    

Have your kindergartner tell you where items of clothing are worn and help them figure out what the purpose is of each item. Ask why we wear boots while in the snow, for example. Don't forget items like aprons, belts and mittens! If your kindergartner is having difficulty with this, playing with paper dolls or cut out pictures from magazines provide an opportunity to practice dressing.   Read more.  
9 Bedtime Books
In My Bedroom    by Carol Thompson
The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room    by Stan and Jan Berenstain
There's a Barnyard in my Bedroom    by David Suzuki
Good Night, Gorilla    by Petty Rathmann
Mr. Messy    by Roger Hargreaves
I Love You, Stinky Face    by Lisa Mccourt
June B. Jones Has a Monster Under her Bed    by Barbara Park
What You Never Knew About Beds, Bedrooms & Pajamas    by Patricia Lauber
Who Will Tuck Me In Tonight?    by Carol Roth

Featured Article: Language Development and Young Children
In 2013, Stanford University released a study showing a language gap in children living in families with different income levels. The study found “children of lower-income, less-educated parents typically enter school with poorer language skills than their more privileged counterparts. By some measures, 5-year-old children of lower socioeconomic status score more than two years behind on standardized language development tests by the time they enter school.”

A delay in language development can impact the way a child learns, not only while young, but as they get older.

Every family—regardless of income, education level or their spoken language—can help their child develop the language needed to learn and be successful in school. There are many ways parents, families and caregivers can help children develop language skills and set them on a path to learning. Read more, watch the video and access resources to support your child's language development .
Share Your Story for Month of the Young Child
Even though everyone's story is unique, hearing stories from other families can inspire, encourage and support others.

PA's Promise for Children wants to celebrate families during April's Month of the Young Child. Will you consider sharing your story? Your story might be about:
  • What makes your child special
  • What dreams you have for your child
  • How you help your young child grow, how you help your child feel safe and loved, learn new things, or meet and get along with new people
  • How the help of a home visitor, therapist or nurse at home has made an impact for your child and family.
  • How a child care, early learning program or teacher has helped you and your child
  • How you have seen your child grow, overcome illness, disabilities or delays, or learned new words, new skills, or come out of their shell

Early Childhood Education (ECE) professionals and others may share stories with written permission from the child’s parent/guardian. 

Your story will be profiled on Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children website at . We will let you know when your story is live so you can share it with your friends and family.

Pick a way to share your story!
  • Share your written story! Submit your story and a photo. Click here to share your written story.
  • Share your story via a video! We'll do the work if you'd like to share your story via video. You may be eligible for a $200 stipend for a video story if selected. Click here to submit your information to be considered. (You must be eligible to come to Harrisburg for the recording during March 2020.)

Although we'll help you tell your story, we won't share identifiable information about your family or your child (like last names or specific locations). If you have any questions, please contact Mary at .
First Step: Kindergarten Registration!
What's the first step for Kindergarten? Registration! Although each school district has their own process for Kindergarten Registration, typically families will need to bring specific documents to register their child. This may include:

  • The child's birth certificate
  • Proof of residency (like a utility bill or copy of a lease)
  • Vaccination records (the PA Dept. of Health shares which ones your child needs)
  • Any forms required by the school district, like an application or emergency contact list.
  • There may be other documents needed, so check with your school district. 

Some schools set aside specific dates to register for Kindergarten. Others may provide special events, like summer orientation for their incoming students.  Find your school's contact info and check for specific registration dates .

You can start now to help your preschool prepare for kindergarten.  Sign up to get the Kindergarten, Here I Come enews   and check out   these books families recommend about starting school  .
Sleepy Time, Bed Time: Ways to help your child sleep
What do sleepy babies, tired toddlers, yawning preschoolers, and cranky kindergartners have in common? They might not want to go to sleep at bedtime! Having a bedtime routine or activities you do every night, can help your child go to sleep with little fuss.  

Click here  to get tips for a bed time routine that can work for your child.
Everyone’s favorite furry friends on Sesame Street are reminding you to participate in the #2020Census! Learn more about how to make kids, babies, and your whole family count:
Avoiding Fraud and Scams with the U.S. Census
The U.S. Census Bureau is committed to making the 2020 Census quick, easy, and safe for all participants. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and ensure the information reported related to the U.S. Census is to the correct entity.

  • Avoid Scams Online: It is important to know that the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request your participation in the 2020 Census. During the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau will never ask for:
  • Your Social Security number.
  • Your bank account or credit card numbers.
  • Money or donations.
  • In addition, the Census Bureau will not contact you on behalf of a political party.
  • Staying Safe at Home: If someone visits your home to collect a response for the 2020 Census, you can do the following to verify their identity:
  • First, check to make sure that they have a valid ID badge, with their photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.
  • If you still have questions about their identity, you can call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative.
  • Reporting Suspected Fraud: If you suspect fraud, call 800-923-8282 to speak with a local Census Bureau representative. If it is determined that the visitor who came to your door does not work for the Census Bureau, contact your local police department.

For more information on the U.S. Census, visit the website at .
Keeping Your Family Healthy and Prepared
Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine recently outlined the Wolf Administration’s steps to prepare for community spread of the coronavirus known as COVID-19, as well as what Pennsylvanians can do now. To date, no one in Pennsylvania has tested positive for COVID-19.

“Since the start of this outbreak, we’ve taken a proactive approach to prepare and carefully monitor potential cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania,” Dr. Levine said. “As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised, we need to be prepared for community spread of COVID-19. We are working to make sure our health systems, first responders and county and municipal health departments have the resources they need to respond.”

As of February 25, there are more than 80,000 cases worldwide, including more than 2,700 deaths. There are 57 cases and no deaths to date in the United States. The CDC expects cases to continue to be confirmed in the upcoming days and weeks but wants everyone to take action to help prevent the spread of the virus. CDC also said due to the rapidly changing nature of the spread of COVID-19 around the world, it is important for families to be prepared.

Pennsylvanians should continue to help stop the spread of viruses by washing their hands, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning surfaces and staying home if they are sick.

Keep your family prepared with these resources:
Financial help with your child's medical expenses
The United Healthcare Children's Foundation can help provide financial help/assistance for families with children that have medical needs not covered or not fully covered by their commercial health insurance plan. 

Qualifying families may receive up to $5,000 per child, per year ($10,000 lifetime max). The funds help pay for medical treatment, services or equipment such as surgeries, counseling, prescription medications, wheelchairs, orthotics, eyeglasses, hearing aids and physical, occupational and speech therapies.  

Bedroom Safety for Children of All Ages
A child's bedroom can be a multi-purpose room, used for sleeping, quiet time, or play. The bedroom should also be a safe place for your child. Take time to ensure that your child's safety won't stop at the bedroom door.    Visit PA's Promise for Children for a few tips to get you started.
Keeping Your Child Healthy
Did you know there are 14 vaccine-preventable diseases you can protect your young child? You may have almost forgotten about diseases like Diphtheria, Chickenpox, Mumps, Whooping Cough (Pertussis) and others because of vaccines. It's still important for your child to have vaccines though! While these diseases are preventable, they can still exist and infect those who are not vaccinated. Vaccines can help keep your child healthy, and vaccines may be required for your child to attend school or an early learning program.   Find out which vaccines your child should receive and when   .

Getting your child vaccinated is easy. In Pennsylvania, the Vaccine for Children Program (VFC) provides vaccinations to children who do not have health insurance or children who are insured but the insurance does not cover immunizations. These children are eligible to receive federally funded vaccines at public sites. For more information, call the Vaccines for Children program: 1-888-646-6864.

For children without insurance, PA CHIP may be able to help. CHIP is short for the Children's Health Insurance Program, Pennsylvania's program to provide health insurance to uninsured children who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance. Regardless of the reasons your children might not have health insurance, CHIP may be able to help you. Visit
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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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