Newsletter - September 2020
SPARK is the hub of a valuable wheel. An education initiative of Fox Valley United Way, SPARK (Strong, Prepared and Ready for Kindergarten) connects underserved Aurora, Illinois, families with early education and childcare opportunities that prepare their young children for success in school and life.
SPARK Calendar
Our SPARK monthly calendar has been created to share ideas for activities for young children, including easy things you can do at home as well as new places to explore in the community. This month we are highlighting National Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month! Click on the links for more information!
Virtual Play. Learn. Connect.
Check out our VIRTUAL Play. Learn. Connect. from University of Illinois Extension SNAP-Ed Program! We will be hosting a virtual Play. Learn. Connect. every Tuesday and Thursday on our social media. If you don't follow us click the links below to get to our account and give us a like!
University of Illinois Extension of DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties would like to introduce you to Tortilla Cups with Eggs, a tasty, nutritious on-the-go breakfast idea from the Eat Move Save website. Enjoy!
Gateway to Early Childhood: Virtual support now available for our families
The goal of SPARK is to connect families with children birth to 5 to quality early childhood supports and services. If you are looking for a program for you child, please watch this short video for more information on how to connect with our staff.
El objetivo de SPARK es conectar a las familias con niños desde el nacimiento hasta los 5 años con servicios y apoyos de calidad para la primera infancia. Si está buscando un programa para su hijo, mire este breve video para obtener más información sobre cómo conectarse con nuestro personal.
Statewide Return To School Family Virtual Convening, Friday, September 11, 2020, 1:30-3:30 pm

We would like to invite you to the first Statewide Return To School Family Convening, happening via Zoom on September 11, 2020 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm. The Statewide Return To School Family Convening is an opportunity for parents, caretakers, and students to dialogue with state agency, parent, and student advocacy group leaders about accessing and advocating for high-quality and equitable resources at local schools and programs that will ensure better educational outcomes for all Illinois students during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. Register here
Census 2020
Self-response rates for the 2020 Census continue to lag in neighborhoods with a high risk of under-counting young children. PRB Data is tracking the numbers weekly.
As the new school year approaches, we’ve been reading stories and comments on social media from educators across the country. To say the least, teachers are struggling with mixed feelings—fear and confusion, anger and apprehension, excitement and determination—and we empathize deeply. This is a uniquely trying time for teachers, parents, and students. We can’t make the enormous challenges you’re facing go away (though we wish we could!), but we’ll at least be here to bring you some relevant and helpful information as the new school year starts. (Please don’t hesitate to recommend a topic for a blog post or a coffee chat in the comments section—we want to know what would help you the most right now!)
Empathy is an important gateway to social and emotional growth in children. “Children who develop empathy and emotional regulation at a young age will be better prepared for the rigors of school—and on their way to becoming compassionate and considerate citizens” (Brookes Publishing Co, 2020).

Activity: Show them what emotions look like. Using photos and illustrations of a variety of facial expressions, directly teach children what emotions look like. Set up a mirror and ask children to imitate the facial expressions they see in the photos. Ask children questions: What might have made the person in the photo feel that way? What makes you feel the same way that this person feels?
La empatía es una puerta de entrada importante para el crecimiento social y emocional de los niños. “Los niños que desarrollan empatía y regulación emocional a una edad temprana estarán mejor preparados para los rigores de la escuela y en camino de convertirse en ciudadanos compasivos y considerados” (Brookes Publishing Co, 2020).
Actividad: Muéstreles cómo son las emociones. Usando fotografías e ilustraciones de una variedad de expresiones faciales, enseñe directamente a los niños cómo son las emociones. Instale un espejo y pida a los niños que imiten las expresiones faciales que ven en las fotos. Haga preguntas a los niños: ¿Qué pudo haber hecho que la persona de la foto se sintiera así? ¿Qué te hace sentir de la misma manera que siente esta persona?
Spotlight on Children's Books that Promote Diversity
This board book version of Harriet Tubman—from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series—follows the incredible life of Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad conductor who "never lost a single passenger."

Little Harriet was born into slavery on a plantation in Maryland. Though life was hard, Harriet persisted. She used all of her strength and bravery to escape slavery and journey north on the Underground Railroad. Harriet made the dangerous mission back to the South many times, fighting her whole life to bring others with her to freedom. Babies and toddlers will love to snuggle as you read to them the engaging story of this courageous activist, and will also enjoy exploring the stylish and quirky illustrations of this sturdy board book on their own.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children.

Inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world with Little People, BIG DREAMS!
Virtual Play. Learn. Connect. Activities
We have added a running list of virtual activities you can do with your children while you are home. We will continue to add this page as we find more activities. You can find virtual zoo tours, tours of national parks, hear a bedtime story from outer space, activities you can do with your children focusing on all different topics from math to literacy and everything in between. We are all in this together let's Live United and SPARK a love of learning while we are all staying home.
Preschool openings for children 3-5 years old in Aurora
YWCA Metropolitan Chicago has Early Head Start openings for children 6 weeks to Age 3 and Preschool For All openings for children ages 3-5 in Aurora. For more information please call 630-580-8344.