December 2021
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! 
Help your preschooler look through magazines to find words that begin with the first letter of their name. Have them use a crayon to circle the letter. If your preschooler has difficulty circling the letters, use a stamper instead. Say the letter, sound the letter sound, sign the letter with your fingers, and touch the letter in braille. Trace the letters with your fingers and repeat the letter each time.  
Read it! 
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. Miss Spider's ABC by David Kirk.

We're learning Mathematical Thinking and Expression
Do it! 
Prepare a meal with your preschooler. Show them how to measure different ingredients using measuring cups or spoons. Introduce mathematical vocabulary throughout cooking, such as cup, tablespoon, temperature, etc. Help your preschooler understand the steps by using visuals during a cooking activity for each step of the recipe.
Read it! 
Everybody Cooks Rice by Norah Dooley. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak.

We're learning Science Thinking and Technology 
Do it! 
Experiment with magnets. Give your preschooler a refrigerator magnet and see where they can make it stick. Talk about what all those objects have in common. Take the time to move around and feel objects made from those materials, then experiment to see if the magnet sticks.
Read it! 
Shapes All Over Town by Joe Borer. What Magnets Can Do by Alan Fowler. 

We're learning Social Emotional Development
Do it! 
Bake cookies for a family member or neighbor. Let your preschooler tell how they made the cookies. If they have difficulty with sequencing or communicating verbally, take pictures as you bake. After printing the pictures, help your preschooler put them in order from first to last steps. Put the pictures in a small photo album or on card stock for them to share with the recipient of the cookies. 
Read it! 
The Gingerbread Boy by Richard Egielski. Jelly Beans for Sale by Bruce McMillan. 
Families: Your Input is Needed!
Families of children receiving Early Intervention Services and Supports are invited to share their input. Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Early Intervention Services and Family Supports needs your ideas on improving the Infant Toddler and Preschool Early Intervention Program. Join virtually for one, two or all of the input sessions. Learn how progress is measured and provide your feedback as targets are set and the State Performance Plan is developed.
 
  • December 9, 10-11:30 AM (repeat of session on Dec. 15): Engaging families in Early Intervention
  • December 9, 6-7:30 PM: Enrolling children in Early Intervention as early as possible
  • December 15, 12:30-2 PM: Settings where preschoolers in Early Intervention receive services
  • December 15, 6-7:30 PM (Repeat of session on Dec. 9): Engaging families in Early Intervention
 
Click here to register for any of the sessions. For more information, contact Sarah Holland at saholland@pa.gov. Childcare reimbursement offered (per guidelines) for families of children receiving EI services. ADA accommodations must be requested two weeks in advance (during registration). 
Keeping Families Healthy
Staying updated with information to keep your family safe and healthy can be confusing and overwhelming. These reliable resources can help!
 
Coronavirus (COVID-19) from KidsHealth: Information about the signs and symptoms, how Coronavirus spreads, how it can be dangerous to children and more.
 
Navigating Flu Season: Resources to keep kids safe and healthy from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia: What you should know about the flu, why it's important to get a flu shot, how to get vaccinated and more.
 
Influenza Vaccine Clinics from the Pennsylvania Department of Health: The flu vaccine is offered statewide throughout flu season at many locations, including your doctor's office, pharmacies, grocery stores with pharmacies and also at numerous Department of Health facilities. Find an upcoming flu vaccine clinic near you.
 
COVID-19 Printables from Conscious Discipline: ABC's for Parents of Little Ones, Adult Weekly Commitment Calendar, At Home Brain Breaks and Active Calming, and more.
Top Five Gifts for Your Preschooler
Did you know there are five gifts you can give your preschooler this holiday season that won't cost a penny, but will last a lifetime? 

School Success Starts at Home
Families who play with their kids and provide learning materials like books and craft supplies help ensure that their kids get started on the right foot. This quick video below from Child Trends has ideas for low or no cost solutions to help your preschooler get ready for school.
Mindfulness With Children
Children of all ages can benefit from mindfulness, the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment. It can help parents and caregivers, too, by promoting happiness and relieving stress. This article from The New York Times offers basic tips for children and adults of all ages, as well as several activities that develop compassion, focus, curiosity and empathy.
Winter Safety for Kids
Whether winter brings severe storms, light dustings or just cold temperatures, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has some valuable tips on how to keep your children safe and warm.
Preventing the Flu
It's time to prepare for the 2021-22 influenza (flu) season, as the flu is often more serious than the common cold in children. Each year, millions of children get sick with the flu, which can result in hospitalization or death. 

Annual influenza vaccine is recommended for all people six months of age and older. Children younger than five, but especially children younger than two years old, are at an increased risk of hospitalization and complications due to influenza. 

When you and your child get a flu shot, you're not only protecting yourself and your child, but others in your community. Since infants younger than six months are too young to get their own flu shot, the best way to protect these very young children is for all family members and caregivers to get the flu vaccine. This is called cocooning and it is especially important for adults who care for infants younger than six months or families with young children in their home. 

Children who have chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or neurologic conditions, are also at higher risk for serious complications due to influenza. Parents and caregivers can help protect more vulnerable children by vaccinating both the children and themselves.

Talk to your child's healthcare provider about flu shots and keeping your child healthy. Visit the HealthyChildren.org website for more info.
Discipline Without Spanking
Spanking a child may increase aggression in a child, and may actually do long term harm to a child, says a study by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The use of spanking is also ineffective in teaching a child responsibility and self-control. New evidence shows that it may actually cause harm by impacting a child's normal brain development.

Research has shown that striking a child, yelling at or shaming them can increase stress hormones and lead to changes to a child's brain. Harsh verbal abuse is also linked to mental health problems as children get older.

There are other methods that teach children right from wrong and are safer and more effective. Depending on the age and development of a child, other methods may include redirecting their attention, distraction, changing the subject, positive reinforcement, time out and natural consequences. Visit the PA Promise website and watch the video below for resources related to parenting and discipline.

Contact your Early Learning Resource Center for more information about programs to support families in your community.
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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