Does your family need assistance? 211 is here to help. Click here to contact us.

BLOG

Weekly INBrief: March 10, 2021

Monday Mar 8th, 2021

What do authors, a physician and the Mascot for the Otters Have in Common?  Love of Reading! 

Local children’s authors David Gorman and Ramone Outlaw, Dr. Kristen Chandler, Erie Otters coach Chris Hartsburg and mascot Otto, Erie Seawolves coach Greg Coleman and mascot C. Wolf and PLAYtime coordinator and educator Trish Yates were featured in United Way’s Read Across America Day video promoting the importance of early learning.  Check out these local reading advocates!

Bridging the Gap So All Children Have Access to High Quality Early Learning  

United Way is committed to maximizing early learning for all children in Erie County and supports programs such as Erie’s Future Fund, the Iroquois Elementary School Pre-K Summer Boot Camp (see below), Imagination Library as well as the Little Free Library initiative. 

In addition, through United Way’s Raising Reader’s initiative, more than 500 Kindergarten Readiness Toolkits (see below) have been distributed this spring to help parents teach their children basic early development skills through a variety of items supplied in the kit.  The following locations were distribution sites: 

  • Harding Elementary, a United Way community school
  • U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants  
  • Iroquois Elementary, a United Way community school
  • Elk Valley Elementary, a United Way community school
  • Perry Elementary, a United Way community school
  • Edison Elementary, a United Way community school
  • Wattsburg Area School District Foundation 
  • Erie Family Center  
  • McKinley Elementary, a United Way community school

Iroquois Kindergarten Bootcamp Jump Starts Learning for Children

Iroquois BootcampIroquois Kindergarten Summer Bootcamp is designed to help students feel more comfortable and be better prepared when they enter Kindergarten at Iroquois Elementary, a United Way community school. The goal is for students to become familiar with school routines, the school building, especially the location of the cafeteria, the gym, and the library; their fellow classmates; as well as teachers, staff and administration. 

This program gives students the opportunity to prepare socially, emotionally, physically, and academically for school. The final component of the program comes in the fall when they return to school and find their kindergarten teacher is the same teacher they had for bootcamp! This provides a sense of comfort for the students as they begin their transition into a new learning environment.

A teacher shared a story with the Iroquois Community School Director regarding a young girl who attended the camp in 2020.  While this student was not far behind academically, she was very shy socially.  She ended bootcamp with more confidence in herself and her work.  This past year, her teacher reports that her academic achievements have continued to climb and she was one of her strongest students in the class, both academically and emotionally. 

Early Learning for Children Begins at Birth 2019 K Ready Toolkits Backpacks v2 

Early childhood education, including learning the alphabet and numbers, identifying shapes, colors and basic household objects, developing motors skills and hand-eye coordination and drawing are just a few skills that children should be proficient in before starting kindergartenUnited Way is committed to school readiness and raising readers and has created a Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit to help children and parents.    

The Kindergarten Readiness Toolkit items correlate with Pennsylvania Pre-K Standards.

United Way has also created accompanying age specific Toolkit videos for parents. Check them out!

The items in the toolkits have been carefully selected in order to help develop the following early learning skills. Please see below.

Crayons 

  • To draw a picture and label the parts  
  • To practice writing letters, numbers, and name 
  • To learn to grip 
  • Students this age utilize “static tripod grasp”
  • The static tripod grasp is a 3-finger grasp, two fingers pinching the writing utensil and the 3rd (middle) finger tucked to the side of the pencil, forming a tripod. The 4th and 5th fingers are usually static next to these fingers and do not tuck into the palm of the hand yet. 

Notepad 

  • To demonstrate an understanding of “color,” “shape,” and “line” 
  • To use imagination and creativity to express self through visual arts 
  • To Practice writing letters and numbers 

Puzzle 

  • To identify numbers, letters, and shapes 
  • To use hands, fingers, and wrists to manipulate objects – fine motor movements 
  • To coordinate eye and hand movements to complete tasks – fine motor movements 

Alphabet Blocks 

  • To identify basic features of print
  • Differentiate between numbers and letters and letters and words
  • Recognize and name some upper- and lower-case letters of the alphabet
  • To use hands, fingers, and wrists to manipulate objects – fine motor movements
  • To coordinate eye and hand movements to complete tasks – fine motor movements 

Number Cards 

  • To learn number names 
  • To learn the count sequence 
  • To count to tell the number of objects 

Alphabet Cards 

  • To identify basic features of print
  • Differentiate between numbers and letters and letters and words
  • Recognize and name some upper- and lower-case letters of the alphabet
  • To develop beginning phonics and word skills 

Book 

  • To practice appropriate book handling skills
  • To describe pictures in books using details
  • To answer questions about a story such as who, what, where and why 

Building Blocks for Babies 

  • Fun activities for families and children to do together
  • The fun at-home experiences build infants’ and toddlers’ learning in the areas of social, emotional, physical, and academic development

The toolkits also have information for parents including a calendar with monthly activities for the whole family and a kindergarten readiness checklist to track the progress of a child’s learning.