October 2022
Activities aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards to help your preschooler prepare for Kindergarten. 
Let's Play and Learn
Did you know that when preschoolers play, they learn? It's true! Use these activities to encourage your preschooler to play. Then visit the library to find a book about the activity.

We're learning Language and Literacy Skills 
Do it! 
Collect pictures from the fronts of cereal boxes or advertisements. Put them in a book and ask your child to read to you. You can also use this as an opportunity to get your preschooler more comfortable with things they are hesitant about, like new foods or new experiences. Encourage your preschooler to help take the pictures, chose the images and print the pictures. Use this as an opportunity to introduce vocabulary. Add print or braille to your book to increase their exposure to written word. 
Read it! 
One Smart Goose by Caroline Church. Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell and Lizzy Rockwell. 

We're learning Social and Emotional Development
Do it! 
Share with your preschooler baby pictures and current pictures of them. Compare the pictures and talk about the difference and changes. Discuss new things they learned and are capable of doing between the two time periods. Ask your preschooler to predict what they will look like and be able to do in the future. Talk about the growth and progress you have seen in your preschooler in a positive manner. Continue to talk about upcoming changes in an exciting way and the feeling will be contagious!
Read it! 
What's Opposite? by Stephen R. Swinburne. You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant.

We're learning Science Thinking and Technology 
Do it! 
Play "Who's my baby?" Name an animal and ask your preschooler to tell you the names of the baby. For example: dog-puppy, cat-kitten. Use resources at your local library for a preschooler who needs time to continuing exploring this concept. Introduce them to animals they don't see in their environment, including the braille and sign for the animals. If possible, find books that replicate the texture of the animal or take them to a petting zoo to touch, smell and hear the animals in person. Talk to your preschooler about what they see, hear and notice as differences. Point out differences between the parent and baby animals, ask questions and make observations about how the baby and parent interact.  
Read it! 
Bark George by Jules Feiffer. When I Grow Up by "Weird Al" Yankovic.

We're learning Mathematical Thinking and Expression
Do it! 
Encourage your preschooler to count items around the house. Count the stairs, the windows, etc. For extra practice, give your preschooler objects to practice one-to-one correspondence. For example, one block stacked for each thing you count. Introduce the visual number and the braille number as you count. Your preschooler can also label each item with the printed number. 
Read it! 
Counting Our Way to Maine by Maggie Smith. Quack and Count by Keith Baker.
Share Your Experiences with Humor in Raising Children in this Quick Survey
Have you shared your experiences with the use of humor in raising children in this quick survey? Whatever your experience has been (as a child or a parent), Dr. Benjamin Levi of the Penn State Children’s Hospital is interested in hearing about it. 

There are no right or wrong answers--just the opportunity for you to share your experiences about humor and parenting. The information collected will not be linked to any individuals, but it will give a better understanding of how humor can be used to help raise children. 

Thank you for your participation! A full explanation of the survey is available when you click here.
When Frightful isn't Delightful
It's the season for ghosts, goblins and scary things-especially for young children! Even if your family does not participate in Halloween activities, there are displays at stores, schools or activity centers.

10 Books about Being Afraid
Children can have many fears--of the dark, going to bed, or new places. The fears can change with their age or experiences, and sometimes we don't understand their fears. But for children, those fears can be very real.
Talk with your preschooler's teacher, doctor or health care professional if your preschooler is having difficulty with fears, or you feel the fears are causing problems with your preschooler.
You can also read books with your preschooler about the fears others may have and how they coped with those fears. PA's Promise for Children has a list of 10 children's books about being afraid.
PBS Preschool Learning at Home
Preschoolers learn best through exploring, using all of their senses to understand their world. While playing, they are better able to focus on what interests them, but they still need lots of support from caring adults to help them develop the habits they need to thrive in school and beyond. Find resources from PBS to support child's early learning.
Encouraging the Development of Fine Motor Skills
From the time they’re born, children are working on their fine motor skills, and they continue to work on them as a child gets older. Fine motor skills are the movements the hands and fingers make to grasp and manipulate objects. The way an object feels, moves or even tastes can help a child learn about the world around them.
When your preschooler was a baby, they used fine motor skills to grasp your fingers and clench their hands. They may have grabbed or held onto rattles or teethers and passed objects from one hand to the next. As your child became a toddler, they used fine motor skills when eating, playing and exploring the world around them. By the time your child got to preschool, the fine motor skills they started developing as a baby are helping them learn to write, use scissors, button clothes, build with blocks and more.
Tips to help your preschooler learn fine motor skills

  • Give your preschooler opportunities to explore and manipulate age-appropriate objects. Give them supervised access to crayons, child-safe scissors, finger paints, pipe cleaners and other craft objects to draw, mold, and manipulate. Even toys like LEGOS, puzzles and blocks can help with the development of fine motor skills.
  • Encourage use of both hands. Did you know that being left or right handed can come from mom or dad? A recent study shows the same genetic markers tied to being left-handed may also play roles in brain development and communication between different brain areas. Although children may be as old as six years old before they show a preference for using their left or right hand, encouraging them to use either hand means they can more fully explore their world and learn.
  • Expect a mess. Messes can be learning experiences! When your preschooler digs into the dirt, or cuts construction paper into small pieces, these are learning experiences using fine motor skills.
Protect Your Preschooler from the Flu
Just as it does every year without fail, influenza season – also known as flu season – is coming. Many people don't realize it, but the flu can be a very serious illness. It causes thousands of deaths in the United States every year, some of which are among previously healthy children.
As a parent, the best thing you can do to protect your children from the flu is to get them vaccinated. Everyone around them should be vaccinated, too.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine for the 2022-2023 flu season.
Each year, it is possible that flu, COVID-19, and other common viruses will spread at the same time. Last influenza season was longer than most. Sometimes, the vaccine is not an exact match with the strains in the community. But the vaccine still can protect against serious illness. Talk with your pediatrician about your child getting the flu vaccine along with other recommended immunizations. This includes getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster, if they are eligible.

Check out these resources to help protect your preschooler from the flu.
COVID-19 Vaccinations and Young Children
The number of COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months – 5 years of age is very low--in Pennsylvania it’s about 10%, and nationally it’s 8%. COVID-19 vaccines lower the chance of getting very sick from the virus. Vaccinated children are less likely to be hospitalized or die from COVID-19 than those who are not vaccinated. When more people are vaccinated, including children, there is less chance that other people will get sick.

Check out these great resources, available in multiple languages, to learn more about COVID-19 vaccinations for children: 

All Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC) pages are translated into Spanish. Select the Español button on the top right corner to see the Spanish translation.
Health and Safety in the Preschool Setting
When you trust your preschooler to someone else, you want to be sure that both you and your child feel safe. Head Start programs are regulated by the federal government; and preschool or pre-kindergarten programs can be regulated by either the Department of Human Services, registered with the Department of Education, or regulated by the organization that runs them.

The regulations cover areas like
  • Safety standards for the building and classrooms;
  • Staff requirements, such as age, education level;
  • Staff to child ratios - how many staff people must be in a classroom with a certain number of children at all times (the younger the children, the more staff per classroom);
  • Classroom and playground equipment;
  • Supervision of children; and
  • Nutrition and adult and child health.

When you are looking for a preschool program for your preschooler, visit the program and look for signs of safety.
  • Department of Human Services Child Care Certificate is posted.
  • Check inspection and violation history of child care programs before you visit at www.findchildcare.pa.gov.
  • Does the facility appear orderly and clean?
  • Are hazardous materials locked away?
  • Is there an emergency plan and is it posted?
  • Are there security measures in place?
  • Is there a policy for sick children and other circumstances?
  • Is the program taking precautions to keep children healthy and safe? Find resources for supporting your child in a preschool setting during COVID-19 on the PA Promise for Children website.

Visit the PA's Promise website to find more information about finding a safe and secure location for your preschooler to learn.
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The 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