Parents and families support Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children
As a parent or guardian, you are already an advocate for your child. Use that passion and power to advocate for all young children!
Here are some ways that you can support Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children:
- Join our family messaging workgroup or write a guest blog!
- Learn more about why early learning is so important to a child’s future success in school and in life
Help your child’s early learning and development everyday.
Here are some materials that help you make every moment with your child a fun learning experience:
- Kindergarten Here I Come! Activity Guide for families of three and four year olds to get them ready academically and emotionally for kindergarten. The activities are based on the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards. You can download a copy online or request a hard copy for you and your friends!
- Discover fun learning activities that you can do with your child in Learning is Everywhere. The activities are based on the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards and use everyday activities in everyday places to create fun learning experiences!
- PNC’s Grow Up Great campaign provides more ways to make everyday moments a learning opportunity.
- The United Way of America has created Born Learning materials for parents and teachers, in English and Spanish.
- Zero to Three has “The Magic of Everyday Moments” Guide for children from birth to 36 months. Free registration to the website is required.
Choose quality early learning programs for your child
- Look for a Keystone STARS early childhood program. Keystone STARS stands for Standards, Training, Assistance, Resources, and Support, is a voluntary continuous quality improvement initiative for child care and Head Start programs. Child care programs may enter at the Start with STARS level and earn STAR 1 through STAR 4 ratings. You can find out the STAR rating of a child care program at www.pakeys.org/stars/centers.aspx.
- Learn more about Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts provides free full-day and half-day quality pre-kindergarten to children at risk of school failure. You should find out about enrolling your child the spring before school starts.
Ask questions of those who are providing early learning and care to your child
You have a right to ask your child care program, schools, and after school programs what they are doing to make sure your child gets the quality early learning experience he deserves. Here are some questions you can ask:
- Are you participating in Keystone STARS? If not, why not? You can get information and enrollment forms at http://www.pakeys.org/.
- What is the educational background of your lead teachers?
- What is your staff-child ratio?
- How do you make sure that you are providing activities that are appropriate for my child’s development?
- What sort of curriculum do you use?
- How do you keep parents informed of their child’s progress?
- How can you help parents be better teachers for their child? Gain access to other services, such as nutritional, health, etc?
- How are you working with the local school districts/ child care programs to make sure that my child’s transition to kindergarten is a smooth one?
- (for after-school programs) How do you coordinate my child’s after school activities with what they are learning during the day?
Become a messenger – Educate your friends, family and colleagues
Think about ways to talk to your friends, family and colleagues about the importance of quality early learning opportunities for every child. Ask them to sign on to support Pennsylvania’s Promise for Children. Develop a short explanation in your own words of how quality early learning is vital to a child’s development and success in school, work and life.
You can also share your story online and tell your story to your state legislators.
Contact your legislators and community leaders and let them know you care about quality early learning for Pennsylvania’s young children
- Learn more about your legislators on the PA General Assembly website at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/. On the upper right side you can enter your zip code to find your legislators, then access their pages on this site and links to their own websites.
- Write a letter, telling them your story and how quality early learning has benefited you, your child and your family. Send them quick notes celebrating your child’s milestones, such as when your child graduates from preschool. Learn more about how to tell your story.
- Visit your legislators. You can go alone, bring a friend, or link up with a local advocacy organization.
You can access contact information for your state legislators at http://www.legis.state.pa.us/.
Become a public voice for quality early learning
Everyone wants to hear from parents. Legislators, businesses, and community organizations look to parents and the general public to gauge the importance of an issue. You can be the voice for many parents and their children. Make yourself available to speak at public functions, to be interviewed by media, to sign letters to the editor and Op-eds for the newspaper. Contact us and we can help you become that public voice.