November 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. Then visit the library to find a book about the activity.

We're learning Language and Literacy Skills 
Do it! 
Used stuffed animals, action figures or dolls to retell a story you've read with your preschooler. Use a sock to make a puppet for storytelling. Provide a variety of materials of various textures and patterns for your preschooler to decorate and accessorize the puppet. Allow them to hold handle and manipulate the puppet. Puppets can also be used to help preschoolers overcome a fear or explore an obstacle by creating a story just for them.  
Read it! 
The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. Neighborhood Mother Goose by Nina Crews.

We're learning Mathematical Thinking and Expression
Do it! 
Use objects to make patterns with your preschooler. Lay out spoon, spoon, cup and ask your child to make the same pattern. Try black sock, white socks, black sock and see if your preschooler can tell you what's next. Clap, tap or move your bodies in a repeated motion. Include opportunities to touch and feel textures and shapes of objects as a means of sorting. When your preschooler is hesitant to participate, bring in things of interest to get them engaged. Use familiar objects like favorite toy animals, cars or trains. Introduce descriptive written and signed words including the colors and sizes of the objects.
Read it! 
Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale. Elmer by David McKee.

We're learning Science Thinking and Technology 
Do it! 
Play Guess the Taste game. On a plate, put different foods (like peanut butter, orange, cheese and pretzel). Have your preschooler close their eyes, then give them a taste. See if they can guess which it is! If your preschooler is hesitant to taste the items, have them smell each item. Use items with strong scents. Ask them to identify the scent. If an open ended question is too difficult, simplify by giving a choice, "Is this peanut butter or an orange?" Allow your preschooler to feel the food. Use descriptive words and signs like stickysmooth and hard to describe each item. Allow them to help you make something using these foods. When children help prepare food they are more likely to try something new! 
Read it! 
Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan. Bread and Jam for Frances  by Russell Hoban.

We're learning Social Emotional Development
Do it! 
Look through magazines to find people's faces. Talk about the expressions and emotions showing on their faces. How many different expressions can you and your preschooler find? Allow your preschooler to feel your face as you make each expression. Describe in details what you see to enhance the activity for children with limited vision. Use the signs, words and photos of emotions to reinforce language development. This is a good time to talk about appropriate actions and responses to emotions. Take time to explain that people are allowed to feel any emotion, but there are appropriate and inappropriate ways to convey feeling. Social stories are often used to help children learn about their emotions. Even with practice and encouragement, emotions can be difficult to recognize. If this is the case with your preschooler, seek assistance from a trusted professional. 
Read it! 
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz. The Pout-Pout Fish (A Pout-Pout Fish Adventure) by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna.
Featured Article: 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!

Health Coverage with Pennie
The way individuals and families access health coverage is changing in Pennsylvania. Shop and purchase quality health insurance plans at now through Open Enrollment which runs from November 1, 2020 through January 15, 2021. Current customers are being transitioned to Pennie for their 2021 coverage.

Pennie is available to all Pennsylvanians and aims to improve the accessibility and affordability of individual market health coverage. 

Pennie is the ONLY place that can connect Pennsylvanians to financial assistance to lower monthly payments and/or out-of-pocket expenses. Nearly 9 out of 10 Pennie customers currently qualify for financial assistance.

Pennie provides free customer assistance and is there to help every step of the way. For more information on Pennie’s coverage options for 2021, please visit
Reading Stories Aloud to Support the Transition to Kindergarten
Reading books about kindergarten to children is a wonderful way to help them prepare for the big transition from Head Start to elementary school. These special read-alouds were recorded with love by staff from the Office of Head Start (OHS). 

Access the Videos On-Demand:
  • The Kissing Hand (Un Beso En Mi Mano) by Audrey Penn
  • Read in English by Dr. Deborah Bergeron, director, OHS
  • Read in Spanish by Jennifer Amaya, culturally linguistic responsive practices content lead, OHS
  • First Day Jitters (¡Qué nervios! El primer día de escuela) by Julie Danneberg
  • Read in English by Amanda Bryans, education and research to practice supervisor, OHS
  • Read in Spanish by Dayana Garcia, disability and inclusion specialist, OHS
6 Tips to Help Your Preschooler Learn to Read
Reading skills begin to develop before your preschooler picks up a book! Hearing language is an important part of developing the skills necessary to learn to read. 

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.
Preschooler Safety While in Vehicles
Did you know your preschooler should still be using a car or booster seat whenever traveling in a vehicle?
The website, sponsored by the PA Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can find all types of safety information to keep your preschooler safe, including car seat loan programs, car seat fitting station locations and access to a child car seat technician to ensure the correct installation of a car or booster seat in a vehicle.
7 Ways to Save Your Sanity While Traveling With Preschoolers
Traveling with a preschooler can be challenging, especially if you're unprepared. Try these tips to keep your preschooler occupied and save your sanity this upcoming holiday season! 

  1. Plan ahead. If your trip is delayed due to weather, traffic or cancellations, be prepared with enough drinks and snacks.
  2. Start singing! Singing with your child will help pass the miles. Your library has music to borrow to help keep your child entertained.
  3. Pack smart. Add a small pad of paper and crayons or colored pencils to a purse or backpack for drawing pictures, creating origami (fold into the shape of a square!), or playing a game (like tic-tac-toe).
  4. Be selective. Set aside specific toys and books for use only while traveling.
  5. Keep it real. Have reasonable expectations of yourself and your child. Take breaks when needed.
  6. Stay well hydrated and well fed. Travel can be dehydrating, and empty tummies are grumpy tummies, so take travel-friendly snacks like dry cereal and fruit. Pack water or juice boxes.
  7. Fly friendly. Traveling by plane? The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has some tips for traveling with children.
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.
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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