March 2021
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, and shoes. Read more.

Do a nighttime countdown. 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

COVID-19 Pandemic: What Will Your Child Remember?
The past year has brought many changes which have created stress and concerns. Families may have experienced significant changes, like homelessness, illness, or employment loss. Even children are not immune and may have had child care or school changes, or absence of family members or friends. One concern families may have is what will their children remember from these experiences?

Here are a few recommended articles from the staff at Pennsylvania's Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Program. These articles have information on what impacts a child's memories and experiences.

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
Everyone's story is unique, and hearing stories from other families can provide inspiration, encouragement and support.

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, addressed challenges related to illness, disabilities or delays, or learned new words, new skills, or come out of their shell
  • Read stories other families have shared!

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.

Click here to share your story.

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 bedtime routine that can work for your child.
MyPlate Food Quizzes
Eating healthy foods is part of helping your child grow. How knowledgeable are you about fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy? The U.S. Department of Agriculture has five short online quizzes to test how much you know and provide information.

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.  

Keeping Your Child Healthy
Did you know there are 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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