Look at me…I can vote at age 3!!

Look at me…I can vote at age 3!!

Students in the Pre-K Counts classroom at Wharton Elementary School got a chance to experience voting just like the adults did on Election Day this year.  The project originated when Instructor, Kimberly Brown, heard somebody comment that a 3 year old could never understand the concept of voting.  She and support staff Amy Ace-Feher decided that while their students were age 3-5 years, that was no reason they could not comprehend the voting process.  Their early childhood education wheels began to turn….soon the classroom was transformed into a mock election site.  Children began creating campaign signs (which had to be removed in a timely manner after the election), receive a voter number, sign in the voter registration, vote and cast ballot for their favorite choices and graph the results from their classroom election.  It was an exciting day when the winners were announced….Chocolate milk overwhelmingly won over white and strawberry AND another landslide victory resulted for cereal over muffins and toast!!!!  

Volunteer to Outwit Feeling Old

Volunteer to Outwit Feeling Old

We only feel old when we do nothing.
You have the power to change that right now -- through volunteer service. A core value of our country, volunteering can impact the community we live in. If you want to volunteer but you're not sure where to start think about your passions. Organizations that share similar passions would love to have you support their cause by offering your skills, expertise, experience and time. Your selfless act of giving may transform the organization, or help a member of your community. What's your passion? Helping a homeless family? Raising funds for charity? Helping a neglected animal? Helping a child learn? The community benefits of volunteer service are numerous, but did you know it can benefit you too?

People who volunteer:
• Make friends, connect to others
• Strengthen relationships
• Gain person satisfaction
• Make a difference
• Enhance social networks
• Increase relationship skills
• Gain valuable experience, even job skills
• Combat depression and isolation
• Exercise mental well-being
• Boost self-confidence and self-esteem
• Reduce stress levels, elevate mood
• Advance in career contacts
• Explore interests in a fun and easy way
• Stay active
• Gain independence
• Pass knowledge on to others

There are volunteer opportunities through the Private Industry Council's Foster Grandparent Program.

Recruiting Seniors 55+
Support children in educational settings
Join Today!
Call 724-728-2110 or 724-437-2590

Establishing a Back to School Routine

Establishing a Back to School Routine:

It was another fast summer and most students regardless of the age are back in school. The start of school tends to be an adjustment for the entire family until everyone gets used to the new school schedule. The sooner a parent or guardian starts the transition from summer mode to school mode is better for the whole house. Here are some suggestions so everyone has a successful 2015/2016 school year: 

• Establish an appropriate bedtime for each family member. (Most important stick to it even on the weekends or holidays!) 

• Set goals to start making healthy food choices. (There are numerous community farmer's markets and/or stands setup that sell inexpensive locally grown fruits and vegetables.) 

• All family members need to keep hydrated so drink plenty of fluids which are good for the body and skin. (Try to reduce the caffeinated and sugar based drinks that are not good for the body or teeth.) 

• Create good study, homework habits and work environment. (Make sure your work environment is well lit, no music, television or interruptions. Purchase a calendar or planner so you can write down your due dates and finish assignments on time and not at the last minute.) 

• Participate in a hobby or activity that helps you release your stress. (Stress is not good for the young or old so everyone needs a release when they feel like they're hitting their breaking point.) 

• Ensure there is an open line of communication with your child (ren)'s teachers and school(s). (Make sure to complete initial paperwork on time. Attend open houses, meet and greets and other functions to support your child (ren) in their learning environment.)




Technology for the Head Start and Pre-K Counts programs

Technology for the Head Start and Pre-K Counts programs

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. strives to enhance the knowledge of the children who participate in our Head Start, Early Head Start and Pre-K Counts programs. During the summer we have purchased Smartboard projectors and iPads to be used in our classrooms. With this technology, there is more interaction of the whole class by having the children manipulate objects on the board and use of the special pens. The iPads are connected to the smartboard projectors so the teacher can display what is on the iPad to the whole class. The teacher can use this as a basis of discuss with the children. The projectors are also connected to the Internet so staff can access a number of early learning sites, such as PBS.org. The goal is to make learning fun and ensure all children are being prepared for their transition to kindergarten.

This technology will expose the children to a new way to learn. With this interactive technology, the child is more motivated since they can actually touch and move objects that are being projected. There is more socialization in the classroom when the lessons are being taught to the whole group. The interaction will enhance "Team Building" skills.

In our Early Head Start program the staff will have iPads to take to the homes to support the curriculum and visits with the families. They will be able to assess the child's motor and vision skills.

The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. has always strived to enhance the knowledge and abilities of the children we serve. We will keep working on this goal so children in our programs can easily transition to kindergarten, and hopefully continue to be motivated to learn throughout their education.

Back to School

Are Your Elementary Kids Ready?
Submitted by Shelly Gilmore
CDE Supervisor, Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County

Back to School brings a lot of mixed emotions for children. Sadly, the sleepy mornings and lack of schedules are coming to an end, but the excitement of a new year awaits! There are a lot of ways parents can prepare children for the new year besides buying notebooks, bright shiny new shoes and school clothes. Here are 5 ways parents can assure their child has a smooth transition.

1. Work with your child to create a morning checklist
     The checklist can be posted on the refrigerator or in their room. Items on the checklist can be simple such as getting dressed, making the bed, brushing their teeth, feeding the dog, finding their bookbag, etc. Children can check items off each morning as completed.

2. Schedule a time and place to complete homework
     Head off daily battles by making homework part of your child's daily routine. Be sure to make yourself available during this time in case there are questions or assistance is needed. Provide input from your child and decide together when and where homework time should occur.

3. Make a sick day back up plan
     For working parents, parents attending training, etc., a good idea is not to wait for the morning the sickness strikes to panic that you do not have anywhere for your child to go. Since calling off from work is not always an option, a back up plan will assist you in getting to where you need to be on time.

4. Engage in regular conversations with your child
     My favorite place to do this is in the car when they can't run away or their friends are not around. Provide children with opportunities to tell you about their day and practice active listening. If children are having issues at school with other kids or they are worried about something this is the time to listen closely and provide suggestions on how to handle situations appropriately.

5. Touch base with the teacher periodically
     Let your child know that school is a family affair and you will be talking with the teachers regularly to check on progress and if there are any concerns. Email is a great way to communicate since life is hectic and everyone is busy. It's important to have the beginning of the year discussion and to ask the teacher what method of communication would work well for them.