August 2020
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.

We're learning Language and Literacy Skills   
Do it! 
Help your preschooler practice writing their name on paper. Show them how to start with a big letter (capital letter) and use lower case (small letters) for the rest. Provide a variety of paper sizes and textures. Write with chalk on dark paper. Use your driveway or sidewalk. Encourage your preschooler to choose their own writing instrument (crayon, chalk, pencil, pen or marker). Put some sand on a cookie sheet and write letters using fingers, a stick, or a paintbrush.
Read it!  
Click, Clack Moo Cows That Type  by Doreen Cronin.  Dear Panda  by Miriam Latimer.

We're learning Social Studies Thinking
Do it!    
Talk about things your preschooler likes to do now. Then ask what they might like to do in the future, like next week, next year, when they grow up. Look through magazines with your preschooler and have them identify pictures of things they would like to do. Then help them to cut out those pictures and paste the pictures onto pages labeled   now, next week, next year , and  grown up
Read it!    
Maisy Goes to Preschool  by Lucy Cousins.  Mr. Gumpy's Motor Car  by John Burningham.

We're learning Science Thinking and Technology 
Do it
Make ramps by propping cardboard on objects of different heights. Roll balls and small cars down the ramps. Talk about which one goes faster and which one goes slower. Use your own or a town park sliding board for this as well. Take various sized balls and vehicles to roll and push.
Read it! 
Oscar and the Cricket  by Geoff Waring.  And Everyone Shouted, "Pull!"   by Claire Llewellyn.

We're learning Mathematical Thinking and Expression
Do it! 
Introduce your preschooler to a variety of measurement tools, such as a timer, a ruler, measuring cups, and thermometer. Talk about what each one measures or is used for. Help them practice using the the tools. Try indoor and outdoor, using sand, water, dirt, and measuring while working with real tools for projects.
Read it!   
Lengthy. The Long Long Dog  by Syd Hoff.   Big Dog...Little Dog  by P. D. Eastman.   
Featured Article: Teaching Children to Understand and Value Diversity
Do you think of cultural, racial and ethnic diversity as a melting pot, a mosaic or tapestry, tossed salad, vegetable soup, or some other equally picturesque description? All of these descriptions are pleasant and colorful reminders of the richness that comes from differences. Unfortunately, the differences among people also spark name-calling, bullying and violence, even by young children.
How can we teach children to understand and genuinely value people who look, sound and act different? To help people who work with young children and their families in early learning centers, the National Center for Cultural Competence developed a self-assessment checklist that gives specific examples of things you can do to create an environment where diversity is valued, modeled and taught. Read more
What article was featured this time last year?
Returning to Child Care
Families have been faced with important decisions about child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caregivers considering child care arrangements for their children should understand strategies used to reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19.  

This Frequently Asked Questions document—compiled by experts in pediatric primary care, infectious diseases, early childhood and child care at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia—is intended to provide parents and caregivers with information and guidance for returning their children to child care. It reflects the latest evidence on safety protocols for home and center-based care. Read the document.
Community Inclusion during COVID-19
The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has created a global health crisis and has a deep impact on the way we perceive our world and interactions with others in our everyday lives. Families of children with special needs are finding it increasingly difficult to explore ways of practicing meaningful community inclusion.

As a parent of a child with Autism, Sadia was worried about possible regression in social growth her daughter had accomplished over the last three years. She knew she had to do something to maintain the acquired skills and also to help her daughter understand and adapt to the new world. The biggest challenges were to help her understand what social distancing means and wearing a mask.

Register NOW for Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking—Early Intervention (C2P2 EI)
Families receiving Early Intervention Supports and Services are invited to participate with Competence and Confidence Partners in Policymaking—
Early Intervention (C2P2 EI). C2P2 EI is free training to help you learn the Early Intervention System and actively participate in your child’s team. You'll also learn to navigate the Pennsylvania Early Intervention System, identify best practice supports and connect with community resources.

Virtual and In-person sessions are planned. Alternative options and participant supports will be available if COVID restrictions occur.

Applicants should be Pennsylvania family members who:
  • Have a child—infant to school age­—who receives Early Intervention services.
  • Desire to advocate for themselves and others by building leadership skills.
  • Are willing to commit to ALL trainings, in-person and virtual.

6 Ways to Get Your Child Ready for Kindergarten
Looking for ways to help your child get ready for Kindergarten?

Get these tips from the  Kindergarten, Here I Come Activity Guide.

A Strong Start to School Success
Quality pre-kindergarten can give your child a strong start in school and in life. Find a preschool program that fits the needs of your child. Two programs to consider are Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and Head Start.

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts

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 such as a family of four earning $73,800; 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.

To find PA Pre-K Counts programs near you, visit   and search for a program in your area or contact your Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) at .

Head Start

Head Start programs are federally-funded programs that serve three and four-year-old children. Programs may be based in centers, schools, or family child care homes — or they may be provided at your own home. Services include education, as well as health, nutrition, social and other services.

Children up to age five from families with low income, according to the   Poverty Guidelines   published by the Federal government, may be eligible for Head Start services.

To find a Head Start program near you, visit the   PA Head Start website   and click on your county, or contact your Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) a .
Looking for a Child Care or Early Learning Program?
There's a free, online resource to help you find a child care or early learning program. Pennsylvania families can visit  to search for programs in their community. You can also get information about help paying for child care, the different types of early learning programs, and how you can use Keystone STARS to find a quality program for your child.

You can also contact your Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC). They can help you find an early learning program, after school program or other resources to support your child's early learning. Go to  and provide your county to find the ELRC in your community.
Stay Up-to-Date with Your Preschooler's Immunizations
Preschools and early learning programs may require immunizations to attend. Check with your preschooler's early learning program or preschool to find which immunizations are needed.

PA Health Department's Vaccine for Children Program   (VFC) provides vaccinations to children who do not have health insurance. 
Children who are insured, but insurance does not cover immunizations (underinsured), are eligible to receive federally funded vaccines at public sites. Ask your doctor or clinic if they are a VFC provider. If they are, you may go to them for the shots your child needs. To find a VFC-enrolled provider near you, call 1-877 PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).
If your child is not covered under Medical Assistance or insurance, you can apply for   PA CHIP .  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.
A Family Activity that Encourages Healthy Eating
How can your child participate in a valuable learning experience, while having family fun? Where can you get the freshest fruits and vegetables for your family without having to dig or plant? Try a Pick Your Own farm near you!
Children of all ages can help pick fruits and vegetables. Helping also mean they're more likely to try an unfamiliar fruit or vegetable!
Pick Your Own farms allow families to pick and purchase fruits and vegetables that someone else has been planted. There are several locations throughout Pennsylvania where families can pick their own fruits and vegetables. How much you purchase depends on how much you can pick!  Learn more .  
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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