May 2020
Fun activities, aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, to help prepare children for school success!
We're Learning in the Grocery Store!
Even though you may not be able to visit the grocery store with your young child at this time, the activities below have been adapted to do at home with grocery items in your pantry, refrigerator or cabinet.

Select different food items as you prepare a meal and describe to your baby what they are seeing. Use different words to describe the colors, shapes, smells and noises they may experience. Tell them what you plan to do with the items. Use facial expressions to enhance your experiences. Read more.

With items in your pantry or cabinet, have your toddler help you decide which item is largest, smallest, heaviest, etc. For example, compare the size of a lemon and a grapefruit, or a can of soup and a can of tuna, and help them decide which item is larger or smaller.  Read more.

Talk about grocery items that were purchased and are now at home. Help your preschooler describe each item--hard, soft, rough, smooth, red, green, etc. How many different words can they use to describe the item? Create a shopping page on a tablet with pictures and descriptive words.  Read more.

Have your kindergartner create a grocery list. Draw or cut out from a magazine different types of food. Talk about where different foods come from--do they grow in the ground or on trees--and if they are fruits, vegetables, meats, etc. Which item is their favorite to eat? Read more.
11 Books About the Grocery Store
Grandpa's Corner Store   by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan
Out and About at the Supermarket   by Kitty Shea
Put It On the List   by Kristen Darbyshire
A Visit to the Supermarket   by Blake A. Hoena
Our Corner Grocery Store   by Joanne Schwartz and Laura Beingessner
A Busy Day at Mr. Kang's Grocery Store   by Alice K. Flanagan
To Market, To Market   by Anne Miranda
Shopping with Dad   by Matt Harvey and Miriam Latimer
What's in Grandma's Grocery Bag?   by Hui-Mei Pan
Just Shopping with Mom   by Mercer Mayer
Maisy Goes Shopping   by Lucy Cousins

What can you do with the monthly book lists?
Each month    Learning is Everywhere    provides a list of books that compliment the activities. What can you do with this list?
  • Make a short video of your child reading or giving a book review of one of the books on the list. What was their favorite part of the book? Share the video with family and friends. Tag PA's Promise for Children on FacebookTwitter or Instagram!
  • Share the list with your friends who have children. You can forward this email to them or they can sign up to get the email.
  • If you are a teacher, print this list and give it to the families of your students, or post this list where families can see it. They'll know which books are being read in your classroom.
  • If you are an early learning community partner, once it's safe to do so, host a special reading event for families using the monthly book lists. Each month has a different focus--find them at PA's Promise for Children. Include an activity from the monthly list to engage families.
  • Print the list and take it to your local library once it's safe to do so. Your librarian can help you find the books on the list. Then read the books with your child. Help your child circle or cross out the books on the list as you read them.

How do you use this book list?   Share on PA's Promise for Children , the  Facebook page or send it to Mary at
Featured Article: The Importance of Independent Play
Sasha, 18 months old, stacks blocks on top of each other, then knocks them down, only to build them again.

Rachel, two and half years old, takes books off the shelf, looking through pages and sharing the story with her stuffed animals.

Jamie, four years old, hooks play trains together and runs them along imaginary paths.

What do all of these have in common? They’re all examples of independent play!

Research has shown the importance of play. Play can enhance brain structure and function and promote executive function (the process of learning). While interaction with adults and other children during play builds important cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills, independent play also has benefits. When a child plays alone, it can foster imagination and creative play, build persistence and problem-solving skills, and teach patience and resilience. Find out how you can help your child develop independent play skills .
What article was featured this time last year?
Early Intervention Services and Support During COVID-19
Tele-Intervention services remain available for Infant/Toddler and Preschool Early Intervention (EI) services and supports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Services can be provided by phone and/or video technology. The Early Intervention program can help families with ways to get services.

Early Intervention in Pennsylvania consists of services and supports designed to help families with children who have developmental delays or disabilities. Early Intervention builds upon the natural learning occurring in those first few years. It is a process that promotes collaboration among parents, service providers, and others significantly involved with a child.

To begin Tele-Intervention Services, families should connect with their local program by calling their Service Coordinator or Local EI Program Representative.

Families who need information to contact a Local Early Intervention Program can call the CONNECT Helpline at 1-800-692-7288.

If families are unable to connect with their EI program, or if they have difficulty starting Tele-Intervention services, please email the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) at Click here to learn more about Early Intervention Services and Supports.
Enroll Now for PA Pre-K Counts

Quality pre-kindergarten can give your child a strong start in school and in life. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts provides free half-day or full-day pre-kindergarten for at-risk children throughout Pennsylvania.

Each program offering PA Pre-K Counts classrooms will have their own guidelines, but PA Pre-K Counts is designed for children who:

  • are between age 3 and younger than the entry age for kindergarten;
  • live in a family earning up to 300% of poverty; and
  • may also have language (English is not your first language), a disability or developmental delay, or other issues that make them at risk for failing in school.

If your child falls into these categories, you may be eligible to apply.

There are PA Pre-K Counts classrooms in most of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. To find PA Pre-K Counts programs near you, contact your local Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) and they can help you locate your local PA Pre-K Counts program. Find your ELRC at PA Pre-K Counts program may currently be closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If families are interested in enrolling, and are having difficulty reaching a provider, they can also contact the Pennsylvania Key at 1.800.284.6031 to locate a PA Pre-K Counts program.  
Love Your Teacher? Share your story!

Help celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, 2020!
Teachers play an important role in shaping the lives of Pennsylvania's youngest learners. They work with families, children and partners to ensure that each child has opportunities to learn and grow.
Are you a parent or family member whose child loves their teacher? Share:
  • Your child's favorite teacher's name and early learning program or school
  • Why he or she is your child's favorite teacher-why is this teacher special?
  • A picture of your child and their favorite teacher!

Email your story to Mary at . Send your story to be highlighted on  PA's Promise for Children website  and  Facebook page   during Teacher Appreciation Week! Although Teacher's Appreciation Week runs May 4-8, we will continue to publish stories as they're received.
Is Your Child Registered for Kindergarten?
It's not too late to register your child for Kindergarten! Registering your child now means that you, your child and your child's school will be ready when Kindergarten begins.

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day
Often when we think of children's health, we think of things related to physical health, such as colds and flu, asthma, or broken bones. But children are much more than their physical bodies, and children's health encompasses more than physical health. 

The well-being of the whole child includes a healthy mental and emotional state as well. Just as children suffer from physical illnesses and injuries, they can also suffer from emotional and mental disorders. Your child's health can also affect how well she learns!

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day  on May 7, 2020 is a day for everyone to learn about and promote positive youth development, resilience, recovery, and the transformation of mental health services delivery for children and youth their families.

Click here  to learn why positive mental health is essential to a child's healthy development from birth. There's also information on  how a parent's mental health can affect their baby .

Pennsylvania CHIP offers care for children by providing benefits to cover behavioral health care. Visit  for more information on the mental health services covered by PA CHIP and how to apply.
The   Our Kids....To Infinity & Beyond! on Facebook   is for f amily members who have, and professionals who work with children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. The focus is on advocacy, self-advocacy, self-determination. This is a safe place to ask questions, get advice, or share stories!

Join more than 1,000 families connecting and engaging through the Our Kids....To Infinity & Beyond! Facebook Group
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Do you have a preschooler?
Did your child start preschool?    Sign up for the FREE monthly Kindergarten, Here I Come eNews!   Each month get activities, tips and resources you can use to help your child prepare for and transition into their 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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