July 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.

We're learning Language and Literacy Skills  
Do it! 
Sort toys and objects with your preschooler by the beginning letter. Tell your preschooler, "Let's put all the things that start with 'C' together...cars, can, cups." 
Read it! 
Sorting through Spring by Lizann Flatt. Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry.

We're learning Health, Wellness and Physical Development
Do it!  
Play "Moving Questions." Ask your preschooler questions like, "How many ways can you balance yourself besides standing?" or "How many different ways can you move your arms? Your head? Your legs?"
Read it!  
Fireflies! by Julie Brinckloe. Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee.

We're learning Science Thinking and Technology 
Do it! 
Go outside on a warm night. Look at the sky. Talk about things that are found in the daytime or the nighttime sky, like sun, stars, moon, clouds, birds, airplanes, etc. 
Read it! 
When Day Became Night by Jules Miller. Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch.

We're learning Mathematical Thinking and Expression
Do it! 
Make a puzzle with your preschooler. Cut a picture from a magazine or an old calendar into 4-6 pieces. Help your preschooler put the pieces together.
Read it!  
Two Speckled Eggs by Jennifer K. Mann. Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh.      
Join Weeks 5-8 on the Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip

During July, join the virtual road trip to explore the Beaver Area Memorial Library, Erie County Public Library, Lackawanna County Library System, and Upper Darby Township & Sellers Memorial Free Public Library.

Print the Road Map and My Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip Travel Journal and share with your child. My Summer Learning and Literacy Road Trip Travel Journal is a great way to help children explore books and fun activities. Each week, discover something new with children, then help them complete their Travel Journal.

Resources are available in English and Spanish.
What Families Need to Know about the COVID Vaccine for Their Child
Video Chat
The past two years have been a challenging time for families and caregivers of children under the age of five. With the recent availability of and recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the COVID-19 vaccine for children age six months through four years, families and caregivers may have questions or concerns about the vaccine and their child.

Healthychildren.org (from the American Academy of Pediatrics) offers this article, What Should Parents Know About the COVID Vaccine for Kids Under 5? which provides information about:
  • What parents should know about COVID vaccine safety for kids under 5
  • What's happening with COVID-19 right now
  • What else parents can do to protect kids under 5

Sesame Street has new resources that let families know it’s okay to have questions about getting their children vaccinated and to encourage parents and caregivers to get informed about the COVID-19 vaccines. Watch Elmo get the vaccine video, print the You can do it poster and the printable Questions for my Doctor sheet.

Make sure any information you receive and read about the COVID vaccine comes from a reliable and science-based source. Families and caregivers with questions or concerns about the vaccine and their child's health should talk with their child's healthcare provider.
Physical Punishment and Child Outcomes
Studies shows physical punishment (spanking) doesn't improve children's behavior and may actual cause long-term harm.

There are ways to address behavioral challenges in children without physical punishment. In Pennsylvania, programs like Nurse Family Partnership, Early Head Start, Family Check-Up, Healthy Families America, Parents As Teachers and Family Centers can provide families the support they need to address challenges that arise with young children before these concerns become more serious or problematic.

Your Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) can help you find assistance. Find your ELRC at www.raiseyourstar.org.
Are You Following Us on Social Media?
Get the most up-to-date resources and information from PA's Promise for Children and our partners. Follow us on social media!

Your Child Care Provider's Emergency Plan
Did you know all regulated child care centers, group child care homes, and family child care homes in Pennsylvania are required to have an emergency plan to keep your child safe? An article from Child Care Aware states that 38% of parents are unsure of their child care provider's emergency plan. 
You can be sure your child's regulated early learning facility has an emergency plan that covers things like:
  • How you will be contacted in case of an emergency
  • How and where your child may be evacuated in case of emergency
  • You should also receive a letter, explaining the emergency procedures at your child's early learning facility. If you don't, or need a new copy, ask the Director or owner. 
Are you looking for a safe learning program for your child? Use Pennsylvania's www.findchildcare.pa.gov to locate an early learning program that is a good fit for you and your child.
Get information on the regulations for child care centers, group child care homes, and family child care homes in Pennsylvania.
Reading Aloud with your Preschooler
Grab a book and start reading to your preschooler! Read Aloud 15 Minutes, a non-profit organization recognizes the benefits of reading aloud to children and encourages families and caregivers to read aloud every day for at least 15 minutes.  
At readaloud.org materials and resources are ready for you to share with others to inspire reading every day. Be sure to look at the family handouts "Where Will Books Take You?" available for various ages and in both English and Spanish:
Ages 4 to 5 (English)                         Ages 4 to 5 (Spanish)
PA's Promise for Children has book recommendations for preschoolers. Use these resources to share with others to help promote reading aloud every day.
Keeping Your Preschooler Healthy: Pennsylvania CHIP
CHIP is short for the Children's Health Insurance Program, Pennsylvania's program to provide health insurance to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance. Regardless of the reasons your preschooler might not have health insurance, CHIP may be able to help you. 

CHIP's comprehensive, quality health care coverage includes:
  • Doctor Visits
  • Prescriptions
  • Dental, Vision, Eye Care
  • Emergency Care
  • Immunizations
  • Hospital Care
  • And much more!

Online Vaccine Quiz
An online quiz from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has brief questions to help you identify needed vaccines to keep your preschooler healthy. Take the quiz and get a list of vaccines based on your responses. Then discuss the vaccines on the list with your preschooler's doctor or health care professional.
Changes are Coming to Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance Program for the HealthChoices Physical Health Plans
Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services (DHS) is changing which Physical Health Managed Care Organizations (PH plans) are available for Medical Assistance (MA) consumers. This was a competitive process that allowed DHS to improve access to care and the quality of care for MA consumers. The PH plan changes are effective September 1, 2022.

MA Consumers will need to select a new PH plan if they are currently enrolled in:
  • Aetna Better Health statewide
  • Highmark Wholecare (formerly Gateway Health Plan) in the Northwest zone, and
  • United Healthcare in the Southwest and Lehigh/Capital zones.

If a consumer who needs to choose a new PH plan does not do so by August 16, DHS will auto-assign them to a to PH plan. It is vital for consumers to actively choose a PH plan to avoid being autoassigned to a PH plan that may not include their current providers in its network. MA consumers will not lose health coverage if they do not select a PH plan. Coverage will automatically continue under the PH plan they are autoassigned.

MA consumers must contact PA Enrollment Service to choose a new PH plan or change from one PH plan to another.
  • Going to PA Enrollment Services (enrollnow.net), or
  • Using the mobile app called PA Enrollment Services (available through the Apple store or Google Play), or
  • Calling 1-800-440-3989 (TTY: 1-800-618-4225) and select Option 6 to speak with a representative. Hours of operation are Mon - Fri, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

More information is available at dhs.pa.gov/PlanSelection.
Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) from the USDA provides free meals to children from low income families so they may receive the same high quality nutrition throughout the summer that they eat in school cafeterias during the school year. To find a SFSP site 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