November 2021
Fun activities, aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, to help prepare children for school success!
We're learning while in the bathroom!
Babies
Using a song, describe the different body parts as you wash your baby. For example, sing that you are washing ten toes, first the big toes, all the way to the little toes. Then move to the left foot and left leg, and so on. Or create a routine singing head, shoulders, knees and toes or saying, "This Little Piggy." Read more.

Toddlers
Using hand soap while washing your toddler's hands, have your toddler discover how many bubbles they can make. Are there a lot of bubbles, or a little bit of bubbles? Are they big bubbles or little bubbles? What happens if they rub together their hands fast? What happens if they put their hands under the water? Where do the bubbles go? Read more.

Preschoolers
Help your preschooler find different shapes in the bathroom. Can they find something that is round, square or rectangle? What shape is the bar of soap, or the top of the shampoo bottle? Allow your preschooler to feel and manipulate each object. Use new words to describe the shapes. Ask questions like, "Are the lines straight or curved?" Talk to your preschooler about the purpose of each item in the bathroom. Describe and introduce the sign for each shape. Read more.

Kindergartners
Use a toy boat or plastic container (one that can float) as a boat and have your kindergartner slowly add other items, like toy cars, LEGOs, or other water-friendly toys, until the boat begins to sink. How many can they add until it begins to sink? What happens to the boat if they take items out of it? Ask them to tell you a story about where the boat is going, or why the objects are on the boat. Read more.
9 Bath Time Books
Tub Toys by Terry Miller Shannon
Do Pirates Take Baths? by Kathy Tucker
Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel
Puppy Takes a Bath by Christine Ricci
King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub by Audrey Wood
Estelle Takes a Bath by Jill Esbaum
Barnyard Bath! by Sandra Boynton
Five Little Monkeys Jump in the Bath by Eileen Christelow
Five Minutes’ Peace by Jill Murphy
 

Get Help with Winter Heating Costs
Pennsylvanians who meet income guidelines can now get help with their winter heating costs. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is now accepting applications online or via a paper application.

LIHEAP helps families who meet income guidelines pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. Households in immediate danger of being without heat can also qualify for crisis grants. The cash grant is a one-time payment sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider to be credited on your bill. These grants range from $200 to $1,000 based on household size, income, and fuel type.

Remember: This is a grant and does not have to be repaid.
Little Neighbors Building a Better World Together
The PSEG Foundation and Sesame Workshop have partnered to create bilingual (English and Spanish), multiple media programs that help families prepare for, and respond to, emergencies and provide tools so that children can build the skills they need to become resilient.

With Let’s Get Ready, families learn to plan and prepare together for emergencies through simple strategies and tips that can be incorporated into everyday routines.

Here for Each Other provides tips, ideas, and activities that teach families effective and comforting ways to respond when an emergency occurs.

Brave, Strong Resilient helps children build the self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and emotional tools they need to cope with adversity.

The latest joint effort, Little Neighbors: Building a Better World Together, helps children learn the many ways to be a good neighbor and what it means to be a member of a community.
The Benefits of Family Mealtimes
Starting a simple habit with your young child, like regularly eating meals together, can have a lifelong impact.

A day beginning with breakfast and ending with dinner as a family is more than a benefit of sharing plates of food. It’s an opportunity to bond as a family, teach children table manners, share stories and experiences, and sample and learn about traditions, cultures and foods. But there are even greater benefits of family mealtimes. Read more!
Families Invited to Participate in Research Study
Children aged 24 to 48 months are invited to participate in a study examining how children with and without autism learn from what they see. This will help researchers at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University develop new interventions to help children learn.

To achieve this goal children are being recruited for a one-time, 3-hour, visit to the AJ Drexel Autism Institute (3020 Market St, Philadelphia, PA).

Families will receive an evaluation of their child’s cognitive and social skills at no cost to you, as well as $70 compensation for your time. If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact Sherief Eldeeb at 215-571-4522 or at sye23@drexel.edu.
Hotline to Assist Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Recipients 
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has launched a live hotline to assist families with the Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) program. Pennsylvanians who have not received their child’s P-EBT benefits or have an issue with P-EBT can dial 484-363-2137 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

P-EBT is designed to help eligible families cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches their children would have been eligible to receive for free or at reduced price through the National School Lunch Program in child care or school settings that closed temporarily or permanently due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Families can use their P-EBT benefits to purchase almost any food item in a typical grocery store, and the program follows the same rules as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
IECMHC Virtual Office Hours: Help for Families, Child Care Professionals 
Are you looking for support with helping a child who is struggling with behavior, attachment, peer relationships or emotion regulation? Need help for teachers or families with self-care, stress, and coping, but not sure what to do next? The Pennsylvania Key Infant-Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (IECMHC) Virtual Office Hours are here to help.

IECMH Consultants are available by appointment to provide telephone or video conference consultation. IECMHC Virtual Office Hours is a short-term, collaborative, problem-solving conversation to help you find next steps for:
  • Child Social-Emotional Concerns
  • Child Behavioral or Developmental Concerns
  • Emotional Well-being of Teachers and Caregivers
  • Partnering with Families

Services are available at no cost to Pennsylvania families, child care professionals and specialists supporting Keystone STARS child care programs. IECMH Consultation helps adults strengthen their relationships with young children and build capacity to respond to children’s social-emotional needs. IECMHC can help reduce caregiver stress, as well as increase caregivers’ reflective practice skills. Learn how IECMHC Virtual Office Hours can help.
Free Meals Finder
Families who could use help in feeding their children can enter their address to find free, healthy meals being served by organizations in their community on the No Kid Hungry website. The website does not use information for any other purpose than to locate food assistance.

Families can also find these resources by texting the word FOOD to 877-877. Information is available in English and Spanish. 
How to Talk to Friends & Family About COVID-19 Vaccines
COVID-19 vaccines are rolling out in Pennsylvania, bringing us new hope and a path back to our lives. Every Pennsylvanian who chooses to get vaccinated brings us a step closer to moving past the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we can defeat the virus.

Everyone who chooses to get vaccinated does it for a reason—to protect their family, to protect their children, to be less anxious, to visit their parents, or to get back to activities like seeing friends, resuming work, or returning to school. 

Many of us have friends and family who are hesitant to get the vaccine. The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) has some ideas for how to talk to loved ones about their concerns in a safe and supportive way

This resource from PA DOH has information about vaccine safety. You can also find out when and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Health and Dental Coverage Options for Families
Pennsylvania families have different options for health and dental coverage. Find the best option for your family.

Pennie
The 2022 Open Enrollment Period for Pennie is happening now! Pennie is PA’s official health & dental insurance marketplace and the only link to financial assistance to help reduce the cost of coverage and care. Pennie’s Open Enrollment Period for 2022 Coverage Runs from Nov. 1, 2021, to Jan. 15, 2022. Visit pennie.com to shop and compare health coverage plans. Pennie’s plan comparison tool allows you to answer questions about your health status, preferred providers, and even prescription drug needs. The tool will then display coverage options for you to see your total costs for care, including premium, deductible, and total out-of-pocket costs. 

CHIP
The Children's Health Insurance Program — or CHIP — is Pennsylvania's program to provide health coverage to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance. For most families, it's free. Families with incomes above the free CHIP limits will pay low monthly premiums and co-pays for some services.  
Child Care Seat Safety
At the www.pakidstravelsafe.org website, sponsored by the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, find all types of travel safety information to keep your child safe. Search for car seat recalls, locate a car seat loan program, find a car seat fitting station locations, and access a child car seat technician to ensure the correct installation of a car seat in a vehicle.
Start a Smile Early
Did you know that even before your baby's teeth appear, what you do--or don't do--can impact future teeth? Taking care of your child's smile begins at birth. 

Tips for Potty Training
Potty or toilet training can be a stressful time for families and children, even though it doesn’t have to be! Get potty training tips. 
Helping Your Family Prepare for Emergencies with Ready Wrigley
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created Ready Wrigley to provide parents, guardians, teachers, and young children with tips, activities, and a story to help the whole family prepare for emergencies. Together with your child, join Wrigley as she helps her family prepare for emergencies by staying informed, packing emergency kits, and making a family communication plan. 

The activity book is designed to provide an interactive tool to further your child's education and promote disaster preparedness and safe clean-up in your community. You can share this book with your schools and early learning programs, communities, and families to help children learn the importance of being prepared. It is available in English and Spanish.
Is your child in Kindergarten? You need this!
Is your child now in kindergarten? If so, you should 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 have a great school year. 
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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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