Container Gardening with Children-Even in the Winter!


Kelli Harris

As an avid gardener, I start thinking about next year’s spring planting while I’m harvesting my sweet potatoes and the last of my other fall vegetables in late October. Over the winter months, I peruse seed catalogs and develop a plan for what I want to plant the following spring. I am fortunate to have a large space to plant a variety of vegetables and flowers.

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Science in the Classroom


by Tracy Walter

Science is both a body of knowledge that represents current understanding of natural systems and the process whereby that body of knowledge has been established and is continually extended, refined, and revised (Worth,2005). Because it’s important to understand that both elements (natural systems and the process) are essential it is important that we look at science in the early childhood classrooms.

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POI, LTQ, PD and FPOI… So Many Abbreviations that Are Resources for You!


By Amy Hoffman

Have you heard the news? The Program Quality Assessment (PQA) team at the Pennsylvania Key has a lot to offer to programs. You may already know that we (usually) conduct external assessments to support early learning and school-age programs; this involves an assessor visiting your program and observing a wide range of practices including teacher-child interactions, classroom environments, and/or business practices. Because of COVID-19, we are offering programs support through an internal assessment process; program staff complete internal assessments of their practices, and we meet to discuss these practices and to partner with them in their continuous quality improvement journey.

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Imagine the Pastabilities! Celebrate World Pasta Day, October 25

vegetable soup with tomato in the background

Natalie Grebe

Pasta has been satisfying hungry stomachs all over the world for thousands of years. Athletes use it for carb loading. Restaurants feature it on menus. Parents use it as their go-to when they need a quick and easy meal that the whole family will enjoy. Luckily, pasta is usually a favorite of most children, and the many varieties as well as the different ways to serve it make it worth celebrating in your classroom. A few ideas to celebrate all this food has to offer:

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Keeping Young Learners Engaged


Natalie Grebe

Its 9:00am in a preschool classroom. Two teachers have successfully orchestrated their class of 17 children to clean up their morning centers. One of the teachers calls out 9 names and asks those children to join her on the reading rug. The other teacher tells the remaining eight children to sit at their table seats for an activity. As the children get into their appropriate groups, they clumsily sit down, chatting and laughing, some poking their friends, others complaining they wanted to play longer. The teacher on the reading rug holds up a silver bell and rings it a few times. Almost immediately, many of the children quiet down and settle into their chairs or their space on the rug. A few continue to talk, but a gentle hand on their shoulder and one last ring of the bell tells them it is time to listen. For a moment, it is quiet and each teacher can use a soft voice to briefly tell their group what task they will be doing for the next few minutes.

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National Friendship Day

Group of cute kids playing in forest

Kelli Harris

National Friendship Day was originally founded by Hallmark in 1919. It was intended to be a day for people to celebrate their friendships by sending each other cards. By 1940, the market had dried up and the holiday fizzled. It was first proposed in Paraguay in 1958. In 1998, Winnie the Pooh was named the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations. In April 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations officially recognized July 30th as International Friendship Day, although most countries celebrate it on the first Sunday in August. This year, it will be celebrated on Sunday, August 1st. The exchange of small gifts like flowers, cards, and wristbands is a popular custom in some countries.

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Providing Nature and Science Experiments for Young Children

Play with slime

By: Lisa Mulliken  


Think about yourself as a child. Most likely, much of your time was spent exploring natural materials in your environment: digging for worms, lifting rocks in the creek to find salamanders, climbing trees, playing with your dog, building a snow fort in the backyard. These experiences engaged our senses, helped us construct knowledge about our environment and taught us to love and respect the world we live in.  

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How Sweet It Is…World Chocolate Day

Baby eating chocolate

Beth Simon

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

White, milk, dark, frozen or hot, in bars, drops, chips or chunks, chocolate has long provided us with comfort and joy. It soothes the soul and lifts spirits in difficult times, and it complements celebrations and parties in its own sweet way through cakes and cookies.

World Chocolate Day or International Chocolate Day is celebrated each year on July 7th. It’s said that Europe was first introduced to chocolate on July 7, 1550, which was then brought to the Americas. Can you even imagine living in a world without chocolate? Lucky us! We will never have to know such horror!

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National Lost Sock Memorial Day

Multi-colored socks on a bright background. View from above. Striped, blue, pink, patterned socks for autumn and winter. Warm clothes in the form of socks on a yellow background.

Aimee Currier

How many of us have pondered the thought of “just where did half of my socks go?” I read a funny quote that said lost socks come back as Tupperware lids! May 9th has been designated as “National Lost Sock Memorial Day.” It is quite a unique “holiday” and one that you can easily make into a fun day of learning in your classroom.

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