Learning is everywhere: August 2021

Fun activities, aligned with the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards, to help prepare children for school success!
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We’re Learning in an Early Learning Program!


Use a song to describe every day activities. The tune of London Bridges Falling Down is an easy one to use–just insert the description of what is being done. “Now we’re putting on your socks, on your socks, on your socks. Now we’re putting on your socks, my dear baby.” Sing and sign the song to your baby, while holding their hand to your throat so they can feel the vibration. If your child avoids music, make picture cards or signs and braille to make task cards. Picture cards posted in the area where the tasks are done. If they respond to movement, add fun gestures that make the activity more enjoyable.  Read more.


Use a wading pool (or bathtub) and different sized cups to encourage your toddler to pour water from one place to the next. Help them select the big cup or the little cup, and talk about full and empty. Ask them to make predictions about what will happen when they move the containers. Will the large cup of water fit in the small cup? How many small cups fill the large cup? Encourage them to move their hands to explore the containers and feel the water moving. Explore what the water sounds like/feels like when it’s dumped out of the container. Read more.


What is your preschooler’s favorite book about Kindergarten? Visit your local library to discover books with different characters who go to Kindergarten or see the 11 family recommended books about going to school (below). What do they like best about each book? Try to find books that show a child similar to your preschooler in the illustrations. If your preschooler uses a wheelchair or wears glasses, they will enjoy seeing similar characters in the books. If your preschooler is especially concerned about a certain aspect of school, try to find a book or write a story that directly addresses that concern. Read more.


Make giant ice-cubes by using clean yogurt, cottage cheese or sour cream plastic containers filled with water, then set into the freezer. Add a small item to the water filled container, like a small toy or other item. Have your kindergartner decide what item will be added. Is it too big or will it fit? Can they see the item once the ice is frozen? Once it’s frozen, remove it from the container and use the ice block as ice puck to kick or push around in the grass or hard top (such as a sidewalk). How fast will it melt? What happens when it melts? Provide your kindergartner opportunities to touch the containers, feel the water before and after freezing, feel the weight and compare the containers empty, filled with water, and filled with ice. Read more.

      11 Books About Going to School

The Night Before Preschool   by Natasha Wing
Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!   by Nancy Carlson
First Day Jitters   by Julie Danneberg
Countdown Kindergarten   by Alison McGhee
Do I Have to go to School?   by Pat Thomas
If You Take a Mouse to School   by Laura Numeroff
The Bus for Us   by Suzanne Bloom
The Kissing Hand   by Audrey Penn
My Teacher Sleeps in School   by Leatie Weiss
Dinosaur Roar!   by Henrietta Stickland
My Kindergarten   by Rosemary Wells 

Teaching Children to Understand and Value Diversity

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 .

Eating Healthy: Tomatoes in August!

Eating healthy as a family has life-long benefits for you and your child. Each month, we’ll explore healthy foods through the Pennsylvania Harvest of the Month program!
August’s feature item for PA Harvest of the Month is tomatoes! Did you know tomatoes are a good source of lycopene and Vitamin C? Both are powerful antioxidants that can help prevent certain kinds of cancer and help strengthen your immune system. 
Visit the PA’s Promise for Children website for resources and family-friendly recipes!


Set the Right Course for Your Child’s Success

Pennsylvania’s Early Learning GPS has a lot of great information and resources for families and caregivers.
The Early Learning GPS can help you set the right course for your child’s success in kindergarten and beyond.
Choose between the infant, toddler or preschooler quiz and find 10 questions about your child. Get information about your child’s brain, their development, you and your child, and when your child is not with you. At the end of the quiz, you’ll get a list of helpful resources. 
You can stop the quiz at any time and jump right to the resources! Responses are not recorded and you don’t give any personal information about yourself or your child to take the quiz or get the resources. 
Ready to start the quiz?  Visit www.earlylearninggps.com .

What Early Learning Resource Centers Can Do for You

Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Resources Centers, or ELRCs, are a single point-of-contact for families, early learning service providers, and communities to gain information and access services that support high-quality child care and early childhood education programs.
An ELRC can help you find the best child care for your child. They offer links to or information about services like:
  • Individualized list of child care programs based on a child’s specific needs
  • Child Care Works, Pennsylvania’s child care subsidy program
  • Keystone STARS, Pennsylvania’s quality improvement program for child care providers
  • PA Pre-K Counts and Head Start
  • Early Intervention Services
  • Family Centers
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • And other services
To find your ELRC and additional information, visit www.raiseyourstar.org and search by your county.

Summer P-EBT

The Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) helps families cover the cost of breakfasts and lunches their children would have been eligible to receive for free or at reduced price through the National School Lunch Program. The American Rescue Plan authorizes the continued distribution of P-EBT benefits over the summer months to assist households with children that may have otherwise received meals at school or in child care settings.
  • Summer P-EBT is available to all children under six years of age living in a SNAP household.
  • If you have a child under six and you were in enrolled in SNAP starting on June 1, 2021, you don’t need to do anything! $375 per child will be automatically deposited directly on to your household’s EBT card in late September/early October 2021.
  • No separate application is necessary to receive Summer P-EBT for families enrolled in SNAP as of June 1, 2021.
  • Have a child under six but you aren’t currently enrolled in SNAP? Check your eligibility now! If you are eligible and enroll in SNAP before August 31, 2021, you will receive the benefit, too.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

We all need shots (also called vaccinations or immunizations) to help protect us from serious diseases. Shots can prevent serious diseases like the flu, measles, and pneumonia. It’s important to know which shots you need and when to get them. 
Everyone age six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. Many other shots work best when they are given at certain ages. 
Talk to your doctor or nurse to make sure that everyone in your family gets the shots they need.
What to do if you can’t afford vaccinations for your child? The  PA Vaccines for Children Program   provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. You can also apply for the  PA Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)  that includes coverage like vaccines.

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 .

August 1-7: World Breastfeeding Week

Having a new baby is an exciting time for a family. By choosing to breastfeed, moms are providing their baby with food that is uniquely made for him and benefits their health and well-being.
The WIC Program is available to answer any questions and help with any breastfeeding challenges a mom may face.  Get information  about how the WIC Program can help moms reach their breastfeeding goals with a little loving support.

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Starting Kindergarten in the Fall?

Will your preschooler enter Kindergarten in the fall of 2021? Sign up for the FREE monthly Kindergarten, Here I Am eNews ! Each month get activities, tips and resources you can use to help your kindergartner prepare for and have a successful Kindergarten year.